Karl Marx and World Literature

Karl Marx and World Literature

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“A landmark in comparative literature in Britain.” —George Steiner, Sunday Times

“Very few men,” said Bakunin, “have read as much, and, it may be added, have read as intelligently, as M. Marx.” S. S. Prawer’s highly influential work explores how the world of imaginative literature—poems, novels, plays—infused and shaped Marx’s writings, from his unpublished correspondence, to his pamphlets and major works. In exploring Marx’s use of literary texts, from Aeschylus to Balzac, and the central role of art and literature in the development of his critical vision, Karl Marx and World Literature is a forensic masterpiece of critical analysis.


  • Prawer’s book is a milestone: the first important, very well informed and open, non-marxist study in dept of Marx on literature.

    Lee Baxandall, author of Marxism and Aesthetics: A Selective Annotated Bibliography
  • Here is a major book on Marx, the imagination of history, and nineteenth-century literary taste, executed with standards of scholarship as rare among Marx’s adherents as among his detractors.

    Bruce ErlichPrairie Schooner
  • By clarifying Marx’s countless allusions not only to the classics of literature but also to more obscure writings, Prawer enhances our understanding and appreciation of Marx’s argument. Since few of us have the remarkable literary range of Marx, Prawer is an invaluable guide through the labyrinth of Marx’s literary metaphor.

    David MacGregorContemporary Sociology