Fredric Jameson as a Neo-Marxist Critic

Fredric Jameson outlined a dialectic theory of literary criticism in his Marxism and Form (1971), drawing on Hegelian categories such as the notion of totality and the connections of abstract and concrete. Such criticism recognises the need to see its objects of analysis within a broad historical context, acknowledges its own history and perspective, and seeks the profound inner form of a literary text.

In The Political Unconscious (1981), Jameson attempts to integrate the dialectic thinking with insights from Structuralism and Freud, using the Freudian notion of repression to analyse the function of ideology, the status of literary texts, and the epistemological function of literary form. In Postmodernism or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1991) Jameson extended Marx’s insights into the central role of postmodernism in determining the very form of our artistic and intellectual experience.

However, Stephen Greenblatt questions Jameson’s generalisations of capitalism and his notion of the relation between art and spciety. Greenblatt points out that Jameson finds capitalism to be the root of the false differentiation between art and society, as he (Jameson) attempts to expose the fallaciousness of a separate artistic sphere and to celebrate the materialist integration of all discourses.


Categories: Literary Criticism, Literary Theory, Marxism, Postmodernism

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