Socialist literature

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Re: Socialist literature

Postby dg61 » Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:56 am UTC

In addition to reading Marx, it might be helpful to read some of his philosophical forebearers, especially Rosseau, Kant(focus here on the Groundwork for The Metaphysics of Morals and the essays What is Enlightenment, Perpeptual Peace, and the Universal History from a Cosmopolitan point of View), and Hegel(especially the introduction to his Lectures on History, although this is very, very, very dense reading and it might be helpful to seek a study-partner for it). If you would like to read the primary texts of the first and second internationals, the reading list for the Platypus Affiliated Society's fall and spring reading groups is fairly solid and one could if one desires ignore the Frankfurt School readings.
n the department of avoiding retreads of the same debates, I would suggest as excellent studies in Marxist approaches to history E.P. Thompson's The Making of The English Working Class (one of my favorite works of history), Marx's 18th Brumaire(this one's a short phamplet and you could probably read it overnight) and James McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom(this one is debatable, admittedly). Other especially famous Marxian historians who might be of interest but whose work I have not read myself are A.J.P. Taylor(The Struggle for Mastery in Europe and his biography of Bismarck), Eric Hobswam(the trilogy The Age of Revolution, The Age of Capital, and The Age of Empire), or Karl Polyani(The Great Transformation).
For classical Marxist approaches to culture one might perhaps tackle the Frankfurt school writers, particuarly Adorno's essays(I can forward you some if you'd like) and the essays of Walter Benjamin collected in Illuminations and Reflections. The Arcades Project might be a bit difficult at this juncture, however. Other studies in Marxist approaches to culture focusing on the visual arts are John Beger's short book Ways of Seeing and T.J. Clark's books Image of The People (on the painter Gustave Courbet, who was notorious for his ordinary painting of ordinary people doing ordinary things) and The Painting of Modern Life( a critique of the Impressionists). The first is for the general reader, the second and third are more written for the specialist art-historian but still quite accessible.

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