Literary Theory

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… Read More ›

Louis Althusser: ISA and RSA

Althusser is a structuralist Marxist. This should make you ask: How can that be? How can you combine Marxism, which relies on social/historical analysis, with structuralism, which relies on ahistorical/asocial analysis? Althusser answers that initially with distinction between ideologies (historical/social)… Read More ›

Althusserian Marxism

Louis Althusser combined Marxism with the scientifically oriented methods of Structuralism in his essay, Ideology and the Ideological State Apparatuses (1970) and analysed how the dominant systems enforce their control by subtly moulding their subjects through ideology. Ideology has been… Read More ›

Mimicry in Postcolonial Theory

An increasingly important term in post-colonial theory, because it has come to describe the ambivalent relationship between colonizer and colonized. When colonial discourse encourages the colonized subject to ‘mimic’ the colonizer, by adopting the colonizer’s cultural habits, assumptions, institutions and… Read More ›

Strategic Essentialism

Gayatri Spivak, in Subaltern Studies: Deconstructing Historiography, posits that although essentialism is highly problematic for the knowledge it creates about the “other”, there is sometimes a political and social need for what she calls “strategic essentialism.” Spivak uses this term… Read More ›

Subaltern (Postcolonialism)

In the last two decades of the 20th century, Subaltern Studies, postcolonial theory and criticism gained momentum, especially, as a corollary to globalisation in the Third World countries. If postcolonial criticism is taken as an offshoot of postmodernism, subaltern studies… Read More ›

Postcolonialism

A critical analysis of the history, culture, literature and modes of discourse on the Third World countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean Islands and South America, postcolonialism concerns itself with the study of the colonization (which began as early as… Read More ›

Historiographic Metafiction

A term originally coined by Linda Hutcheon, in A Poetics of Postmodernism, historiographic metafiction includes those postmodern works, usually popular novels, which are “both intensely self-reflexive and paradoxically lay claim to historical events and personages”. This is categorically a postmodern… Read More ›

Historiography

The postmodern idea of history repudiates the humanist notion that it corresponds faithfully to reality and asserts that it is textual and mediated in order to validate power centres. Thus, while “history” deals with the past, “historiography” deals with the… Read More ›