Marx Vs Greenblatt

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Although theorists many year apart Stephen Greenblatt and Karl Marx have a lot in common. Greenblatt, the originator of “New Historicism”, studied literary texts not just as texts but as “ material artifacts made in interaction with specific social, cultural, and political forces” ( Leitch, et al. 30). His theory highlights the connections between literature and the culture and society around it. Marx too writes about the connection between culture, society and literature, but he emphasis the rise of the bourgeoisie and their control of the arts while Greenblatt is focused on the oppression of struggling minorities. In The Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engel comment on the importance of class struggle in history and the impact this class…show more content…
The first is, “The belief that processes are at work in history that man can do little to alter” (Greenblatt 2153). Man is constantly changing himself and the history around him. The belief at the time was that the only the ruling class could control and change history and his fate, but Greenblatt clearly states that the common man has the power to change history and his life. The next is “the theory that the historians must avoid all value judgments in his study of past periods and former cultures” (Greenblatt 2155). The only culture and period that would be shamed after being judged would be one that rules with corruption and too much power. The proletariat would feel that the bourgeois would fit this label well. Greenblatt argues that writing that does not dip deep into the roots of the culture is worthless writing. Judgment on a culture is not a condemnation but an observation. In order to see how the society and cultural shaped and interacted you need to judge it. And his last point is, “veneration of the past or of tradition” (Greenblatt 2157). The focus here is not on the past and traditional way of thinking, but on the new and bizarre. Marxism focuses on the bourgeois and their control of society. The class struggle is what controls society, and indirectly literature. But Greenblatt sees the new and no traditional people who are stretching society, culture, and
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