Marxist literary criticism will be present as long as its raisons d'etre, literature and the poor, are present. This is not offered as prophecy or aphorism, but historical observation. For whatever the outcome of any social revolution that might take place — be it slow or sudden, abortive or apocalyptic — Marxism itself will persist, either as a newly established political system or an oppositional ideology as at present, and in either case, so will Marxist criticism. For all the methodological novelty of its recent manifestations, Marxist criticism is by far the oldest of the avant-garde movements currently vying for place, and that seems reason enough to deal with it first. Moreover, the problems that beset it at present seem to have done so from its inception in Marx's own sporadic comments upon literature, and these problems have as much to do with the elusive reserve of its literary object as with the questionable validity, in view of the uncanny resilience of capitalism to survive repeated crises, of its theory of history.
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