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Subjects Archives: Literature

News from Nowhere

Dreaming of communism: News from Nowhere

There can be no denying that the content of News from Nowhere, the utopian romance penned by painter, poet and designer William Morris, was heavily indebted to the writings of Karl Marx. Morris was exploring these from the spring of 1882, the year before Marx died and the year of his own 48th birthday. He […]

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Image: OnceAndFutureLaura/Flickr

A farewell to Omelas: remembering Ursula Le Guin

I had a friend who as a child wrote to Ursula Le Guin. He was feeling miserable, bad things had happened to him and he wanted to run away to Earthsea. He told her that he felt ashamed that he wasn’t facing up to life, felt it was a failing that he just wanted to […]

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Submissions to the We Are the 99 Percent Tumblr, 2011–2013

The kids aren’t alright

When we talk about generations, we tend to talk as if history has always been divided up into them. But the idea of distinct eras of cohorts each defined by some unique spirit is not timeless. The notion of a generation was borne of a conception of history as a machine of progress—a claim central […]

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Friedrich Engels

Engels’ “theoretical moment”?

In Marx and Engels’ Collected Works volume 47, I found a very interesting letter written by Engels to August Bebel. It was written about a month and half after Marx’s death, April 30 1883. Bebel seems to have suggested Engels to move somewhere else in Europe. Engels’ justifications to continue staying in England is quite […]

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writers congress

The Popular Front Novel

I became interested in literary relationships with communism and anti-fascism when I was an undergraduate student. I was curious about how modernist writing, often thought to have peaked by the mid-1920s, was transformed by the rise of fascism and the coming of the Second World War.

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Nazi flag flies from Austrian legation in Washington, D.C. on March 12, 1938 (New York Public Library) .

How American racism shaped nazism

Depending on the reader’s perspective, Whitman’s central argument seems either modest or bold, as he claims, “What all this research unmistakably reveals is that the Nazis did find precedents and parallels and inspirations in the United States” (10). The most radical Nazis were often the most enthused about American legal precedents. More moderate, less anti-Semitic […]

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Prashad-Noward

Writing while socialist

With each workshop the broad outlines of socialist writing become clear to me. I am now able to better distinguish between capitalist writing—which typically emerges from the liberal, mainstream media and is intended to produce commodities—and socialist writing—which is intended to produce a confident community of struggle.

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White people; Viewing the Performance of 'The Merry Wives of Windsor’ in the Globe Theatre (1840) by David Scott. Photo courtesy the V&A Musuem

How ‘white people’ were invented by a playwright in 1613

The Jacobean playwright Thomas Middleton invented the concept of ‘white people’ on 29 October 1613, the date that his play The Triumphs of Truth was first performed. The phrase was first uttered by the character of an African king who looks out upon an English audience and declares: ‘I see amazement set upon the faces/Of […]

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