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Proust in Time: The Guermantes Way

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research @ Online Classroom

Explore Proust's The Guermantes Way as he delves into the complexities of aristocratic society, individual psyche, and the turbulent politics of the Dreyfus Affair. Examine themes of desire, social mobility, and the creation of art as the narrator matures alongside literary modernism. Reflect on Proust’s modernity and its enduring relevance to our own historical moment.

(29) All levels 21 and older

4 sessions

+3350 pts
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Marxism and Literature

Embark on an exploration of the dynamic interplay between Marxism and literature. Delve into the multifaceted relationships, from historical analysis to ideological critique, that have shaped Marxist literary criticism. Engage with key concepts like history, ideology, mediation, and form, as we unravel the complexities of literary study through a materialist lens.

  • All levels
  • 21 and older
  • $335
  • Earn 10% Rewards
  • Price Lock
  • Online Classroom
  • 12 hours over 4 sessions

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  • $335/person
  • 12 hours over 4 sessions
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Class Description


What you'll learn in this literature class:

Literature and Marxism are neither stable nor static categories. From Marx’s preoccupations with Shakespeare to Leninist debates about the role of literature under communism to the contemporary theorist Sianne Ngai’s explorations of the aesthetics of advanced capitalism, Marxism and literature have shaped one another in complex and dynamic ways. Among many other things, Marxist critics have positioned literature as a window onto structures of class, political economy, feeling, totality, ideology, history, and contemporaneity; an alternative hegemony; a reactionary opiate; a challenge to coercive realities; the “roses” in “bread and roses”; a trick utopia; and a key to utopian possibility. Meanwhile, historical shifts in literary modes have goaded Marxist thought into a continual attempt to adapt its descriptions to account for what new forms have to say about the world that produced them. What do we gain, and what might we lose, from taking a materialist approach to literary study? How can we understand the relationship between Marxism and literature?

An introduction to the various, agonistic, and generative relationships between Marxism and literature, this course will offer a selection of entry-points into the major questions and debates of Marxist literary criticism.Our study will center on four concepts: history, ideology, mediation, and form—and questions of aesthetics and dialectics will be with us throughout. These will be some of our primary questions: In what sense is literature historical, and what can it tell us about history? What is ideology, and what role does literature play with respect to ideology? What do Marxist critics mean by mediation, and why has literature proven such a valuable instrument for theorizing mediation? What kinds of politics inhere in form, and is there, in form, anything that exceeds or escapes the political? What uses have Marxist critics found for different kinds of literary genres and forms, from realism and the novel to high modernism and poetry? How should we understand the tensions between different strains of Marxist literary criticism and theory and the stakes of these debates about making and receiving literature? The syllabus is likely to include some of the following figures: Theodor Adorno, Louis Althusser, Walter Benjamin, Ernst Bloch, Bertolt Brecht, Angela Davis, Barbara Foley, Antonio Gramsci, Fredric Jameson, György Lukács, Pierre Macherey, Karl Marx, Fred Moten, Sianne Ngai, Jean Starobinski, and Raymond Williams.

Remote Learning

This course is available for "remote" learning and will be available to anyone with access to an internet device with a microphone (this includes most models of computers, tablets). Classes will take place with a "Live" instructor at the date/times listed below.

Upon registration, the instructor will send along additional information about how to log-on and participate in the class.

Refund Policy

  • Upon request, we will refund less 5% cancellation fee of a course up until 6 business days before its start date.
  • Students who withdraw after that point but before the first class are entitled to 75% refund or full course credit.
  • After the first class: 50% refund or 75% course credit.
  • No refunds or credits will be given after the second class.

In any event where a customer wants to cancel their enrollment and is eligible for a full refund, a 5% processing fee will be deducted from the refund amount.

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Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research was established in 2011 in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Its mission is to extend liberal arts education and research far beyond the borders of the traditional university, supporting community education needs and opening up new possibilities for scholarship in the...

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Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

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