LITS3303 TERM PAPER 2008-2009


Answer ONE (1) of the following questions, referring closely to the text(s) of the theorist in question:

1.    Karl Marx's career is often said to be divided into two phases.  There is thought to exist a

so-called 'early Marx' whose conception of society in work like The German Ideology (1845-1846) is informed by the Hegelian notion of the 'expressive totality,' and a 'late Marx' synonymous with works like A Contribution to a Critique of Political Economy (1859) and Capital (1867-1894) and a 'base/superstructure' model of society.   

Compare the two models of society advanced by Marx and discuss their respective implications for the study of literature and culture.

2.    Georg Lukacs argues in "What is Orthodox Marxism" that "dialectical materialism is the road to truth."  Discuss, in the light of this claim, Lukacs' conception of the nature of knowledge.

3.    The notion of 'hegemony,' Raymond Williams contends in "Base and Superstructure in Marxist Cultural Theory,"

supposes the existence of something which is truly total, which is not merely secondary or superstructural, like the weak sense of ideology, but which is lived at such a depth, which saturates the society to such an extent, and which, as Gramsci puts it, even constitutes the substance and limit of common sense for most people under its sway, that it corresponds to the reality of social experience very much more clearly than any notions derived from the formula of base and superstructure.  (37)

Examine, in the light of William's claim, Antonio Gramsci’s concept of ‘hegemony.’

4.    Georg Lukács argues that the truly historical literary work "by its very nature offers a truer, more complete, more vivid and more dynamic reflection of reality than the receptant otherwise possesses."  Discuss the conception of ‘realism’ advanced in his “Art and Objective Truth.”

5.    What does Lucien Goldmann mean when he writes, in "The Genetic Structuralist Method in the History of Literature," that the

relations between the truly important work and the social group, which – through the medium of the creator – is, in the last resort, the true subject of creation, are of the same order as relations between the elements of the work and the work as a whole(158)

6.    Referring closely to "The Artist in the Caribbean," discuss C. L. R. James' claim that the "analysis of the artist in the Caribbean properly done" (183) is a "pointer to the general social and political problems there" (183).

7.    What role, according to Ngugi wa Thiong'o in "Literature and Society: the Politics of the Canon," does literature play in the colonial and neo-colonial periods of African history?

8.    “Marxist analysis should always be slightly stretched every time we have to do with the colonial problem” (Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth).  Discuss, in the light of this quotation, the six (6) categories which Chidi Amuta proposes for the study of African literature in The Theory of African Literature.

DEADLINE: 6 pm, Thursday, November 13, 2008

LENGTH: 7-10 pages (double-spaced)

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