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Marxist Arts Criticism

  Marxist criticism takes as its starting point the statement in Marx\'s preface to A Contribution to a Critique of Political Economy (1859): ‘The mode of production in material life determines the general character of the social, political and spiritual processes of life.’ The point, for critics, is that artistic creators are, consciously or unconciously, affected by the material, economic and social forces of their time and personal circumstances, and that these influences are perceptible in their work. This is readily apparent, and is a major strand in the criticism of, folk and traditional arts and crafts of every kind. In a sense, the art is the society and the society is the art. The application to ‘high art’, where individual creativity is a major factor, is more contentious, but it is generally accepted, if not exactly axiomatic, that to investigate the circumstances and cultural influences on such creators as Omar Khayyám, Hiroshige or Beethoven, say, is to discover more about their work. KMcL  



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