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Marxism General Outlook of Literature Bahasa Asing Sabtu, 15.12.12 =0= Karl Marx (1818-1883) was a Jewish-German philosopher, economist, poet, dramatist, short story writer, and literary critic. His most and influential book is Das Kapital(1867), written when he was living in England. There were two important events in the second half of the th 19 . This period is called Victorian Age, because under the reign of Queen Victoria, English Literature flourished very well. Queen Victoria was able to encourage her people to read, to write, to discuss literature, music, philosophy and other intellectual achievements. Great novelists, such as Charles Dickens (David Copperfield Oliver Twist, Great Expectations), George Eliot (The Mill on the Floss), Charlotte Bronte (Jane Eyre), Shirley Bronte (Wuthering Heights), and poet, Alfred Tennyson, lived in this period. Queen Victorias attention to literature was very great, and she knew personally the great writers under her reign, especially Alfred Tennyson. The second half of the 19th century, in the meantime, was the peak of the Industrial Revolution, as the results of the invention of steam-engine by James Watt (1736-1819). The invention of steam engine enabled people to built modern ships, trains, and modern machines for industries, and therefore it marked the beginning of modern industrialization. The Industrial Revolution itself, in the meantime, started at the beginning of the second half of the 19th century. The Industrial Revolution created a lot of social problems, a.o. the rich tended to be richer, while the poor tended to be poorer. Social injustices, as reflected in Charles Dickens novels and George Eliots novels, became the central issues of philosophers and intellectuals.

The social injustices, in the meantime, functioned as a catalyst in Karl Marxs writing of Das Kapital that marked the birth of Marxist ideology, whose basic ideas are: 1. Social life is like an edifice consisting of two layers 2. The lower layer, the more important layer than the first layer, is the economic base of the edifice. Commerce, trading, business activities, transactions, wages, and so on lie on the second layer 3. Philosophy, literature, arts, and other intellectual activities lie on the upper layer 4. If the second layer is stable, the first layer will also be stable, and, on the other way around, if the second layer is not stable, the first layer will be also unstable. There were, however, some exceptions, and one of them was the fact that under the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, economic condition was in fact not good, and yet, at the same time, William Shakespeare was able to prove himself to be a very great writer. Like Queen Victoria, who lived two centuries later, Queen Elizabeth was able to encourage her people to be involved in intellectual activities. Note: there are only two queens whose name are used in the periods of English Literature, Elizabethan Period/Age and Victorian Period/Age 5. Social conflicts lie on the second layer: the upper class/bourgeoisies constantly try to suppress the lower class/labors/proletarians, and the proletarians are too weak in facing the pressures of the bourgeoisies, and therefore the bourgeoisies tend to be constantly stronger and richer, while the proletarians tend to be constantly weaker and poorer 6. Evolution takes a very slow process, and therefore, in order to solve the problems, the only way the proletarians should take is to launch revolution 7. Marxism was too abstract, and the one who elaborated Marxism was his exponent, Lenin. It was Lenin who wrote and proclaimed Communist Manifesto and Marxist literary theories. =0=

Young critics and writers were enthusiastic in welcoming Marxism, and yet, later on they found that Marxism/Communism was cruel, ruthless, and inhuman, and therefore they criticized this ideology. George Orwell, for example, wrote an allegory, Animal Farm, in order to show that Marxism/Communism should be condemned. As the results of the revolution in Animal Farm, all animals are equal, suggesting that in the real society people were not divided into two classes, the bourgeoisies and the proletarians, but, unfortunately, it lasted only for a short period. The revolution leaders claim that it was true that all animals were equal, and yet some animals were more equal than other animals (the new upper class/bourgeoisies). The more equal animals, like Marx, Stalin, and so on, constantly oppress the lower class people. In his other novel, 1984, Orwell also criticized the practice of communism in totalitarian countries. The party people tried to oppress the common people by terrorizing them, cheating them, and control them tightly. The tyrant, Stalin, is represented by Big Brother, whose existence was mysterious and whose power was destructive. Literary critics enthusiastically welcome this new ideology, and one of them was Georg Lukacs, a great Hungarian expert in literature of realism. He was then involved in several conflicts, and then he was caught and thrown into prison by Hungarian Communist Party. =0= Scholars, like Theodor Adorno, JurgenHabermas, Herbert Marcuse, Max Horkheimer, and so on accepted Marxism, and yet at the same time they tried to be critical. Because they are critical to Marxism, their theories are called critical theories (critical theories in literature, critical theories in law, critical theories in social sciences, and so on). They wanted to correct Marxism, and revised Marxism in order to make Marxism a better ideological theory. Since they came from Frankfurt, these scholars were considered as the founders of Frankfurt School. The developments of Marxism created several Marxism theories/ideologies, and thus new terms came into existence,

such as Leftist ideology, New Leftist ideology, and so on. One of the theories developed by Lenin based on Marxism was social realism (by means of applying Marxism in writing literary works, literature should be able to make the world better; literary writers, therefore, attack capitalism, industrialists, feudalism, landowners, upper class, and so on). =0=