Writing From the Left

Writing From the Left:New Essays on Radical Culture and Politics

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In this collection of essays, the author combines a series of assessments of “classic” and “lost” texts in the US Marxist literary tradition, and analyzes developments in Marxist scholarship by Robin Kelley, Michael Löwy, James Murphy, Paula Rabinowitz and Alexander Saxton

In this wide-ranging new collection the author of the acclaimed The New York Intellectuals surveys the current crisis of the writers and cultural workers radicalized by the 1960s. He argues that the left can draw strength by reconceptualizing its cultural legacy as a rich, diverse stream of political and cultural experiences flowing over six decades. Writing from the Left draws deeply on this tradition, highlighting its contemporary relevance.

After an assessment of some classic US Marxist texts, Wald resurrects numerous "lost" radical writers from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, applying today's concerns about race, gender and mass culture to the past. He then analyzes more recent developments in Marxist scholarship, combining oral history, close textual analysis, fresh primary research, and empirically grounded theory to argue that a Marxism based on anti-Stalinist principles can learn much from the hidden, misunderstood legacy of US Communism. Indeed, in his view the importance of anti-racist political struggle in this tradition has been - and should remain - the "great theme" of the US cultural and political left.