Date of Award


Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science

First Advisor

Joseph Schwartz


Marxist-oriented governments control nearly one-half the world 's people, making communism an ideology that cannot be ignored. In view of such phenomena as the war in Viet Nam and the suppurating geographical wounds carved across Germany and Korea, it is unlikely that anyone could forget about it. Although political power does not ensure the validity of Marxist opinions on matters of art and literature, neither can the polemics of these individuals be ignored. Daniel Aaron, in his evaluation of American leftist writers, speaks of their "blundering and ineffective [efforts] to change the world." His opinion is blunt and constitutes shortsightedness. A more useful and thought-provoking thesis is that advanced by Rene Wellek and Austin Warren that the Marxists "practice evaluative, 'judicial' criticism, based on non-literary political a~d ethical criteria." One Marxist critic, almost as though to bear this out, has written, "as regards [the critical] study of poetry, we reject from the outset any limitation to purely aesthetic categories". In reaction to this practice on the part of Marxist critics, most opponents of Marxism record beliefs in concert with the thesis put forward by Wellek and Warren to the effect that "art is art; propaganda is propaganda and never the twain should meet". Yet this dialectically opposed proposition is exactly the basis for much Marxist criticism.