Conclusions: Literature and Dialectical Materialism

  • Cliff Slaughter
Chapter
Part of the Critical Social Studies book series

Abstract

In every work of literature the writer has reworked elements taken from experience, in such a way that interconnections between them and the whole from which they were ‘abstracted’ are revealed. The reader experiences a degree of shock. He is brought by the writer’s struggle with his material to a confrontation with what effort must be made to make a step from illusion to reality. What he is brought to see in the artistic representation is not some example in verification of a logical generalisation (an example would be ‘art’ which illustrated the operation of a divine spirit in all human acts, or exciting ‘structural’ transformations between objects previously considered uniquely different one from another) but rather the actual relation between particular (individual) and general (universal), which is very different from this formal-logical one, with its dependence on the idealist notion of universals. If the relation between individual and universal is understood dialectically, then it renders more comprehensible the idea that the artistic consciousness grasps the world by taking a different route from the scientist’, and presents its results in entirely different form, requiring a different mode of reception.

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Chapter 7

  1. 1.
    V. I. Lenin, Philosophical Notebooks, Collected Works, vol. 38 (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1961) p. 361.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Max Raphael, The Demands of Art, Bollingen series (Princeton University Press, 1968) p. 217.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Terry Eagleton, Criticism and Ideology (London: New Left Books, 1976).Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Cited in S. S. Prawer, Karl Marx and World Literature (Oxford University Press, 1976).Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Cf. A. N. Leontyev, ‘Activity and Consciousness’, in Philosophy in the USSR (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1977) pp. 180–202.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    K. Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1959) p. 108Google Scholar

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© Cliff Slaughter 1980

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  • Cliff Slaughter

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