From ancient times, literature and the arts have portrayed, and criticism and
theory have discussed, differences in people's social class and history. But
with the spread and maturation of capitalism throughout its various stages,
economic and other disparities have more visibly polarized wealthy and poor
classes, city residents and ghetto dwellers, inhabitants of the first and
third worlds, whites and people of color, men and women. Class formations,
class consciousness, and class tensions form part of the historical experience of
modernization, and theory and criticism have been grappling with these and
related issues for several centuries now. 13 Norton
Many of the current concepts, terms, and issues related to social class derive from Marxist criticism . . . that stems from the work of the nineteenth-century German philosopher and economist Karl Marx. 13
- Even though Marxism generally has been discredited as an economic theory and
as a political philosophy (as recent events in Eastern Europe and what used to be
called the Soviet Union suggest), Marxism still informs the work and dominates
the thinking of large numbers of cultural critics-especially European ones, who
have influenced or shaped the thinking of critics elsewhere.
Many Marxist critics
do not believe that there should be a violent overthrow of the political system in
t heir countries. These Marxists use Marx's philosophical beliefs and concepts to
attack the ills they find . . . in so-called bourgeois capitalist societies. 41 C.C.
- Marxism is not monolithic, and neither is Marxist criticism. There are a number
of different schools of Marxist critics, and all of them base their criticism on
varying and sometimes conflicting interpretations of Marx's theories and how
they can be applied to analyzing culture in general and . . . Literary texts
. . . 41 C.C.
- [T]here were...