Michael Löwy | Incandescent Flame: Surrealism as a Romantic Revolutionary Movement

  What is romanticism? Often it is reduced to a nineteenth century literary school, or to a traditionalist reaction against the French Revolution—two propositions found in countless works by eminent specialists in literary history and the history of political thought. This is too simple a formulation. Rather, Romanticism is a form of sensibility nourishing all fields of culture, a worldview which extends from the second half of the eighteenth century to today, a comet whose flaming “core” is revolt directed against modern industrial civilization, in the name of some of the social and cultural values of the past. Nostalgic for…

Jean-Marc Lachaud, Olivier Neveux | Arts and Revolution. On Some Theoretical and Practical Elements

  It would be wrong to consider constructing a fully established aesthetic theory from a reading of the few pages that Karl Marx dedicates to artistic and literary creation. In L’Idéologie allemande, while countering an idealist approach, Marx affirms that a work of art needs to be analyzed in its context of production and reception. Nevertheless, in Grundrisse, while resisting a simplistic reflection theory, he stresses the unique character of artistic and literary products. Observing that his contemporaries can still be moved by the masterpieces of ancient Greek art, he also admits that they evidence “inequalities between the evolution of art in general…

César Vallejo | From “Art and Revolution”

    THE REVOLUTIONARY FUNCTION OF THOUGHT Confusion is a phenomenon with a permanent, organic character in bourgeois society. Confusion grows ever thicker when it is addressed as already confusing problems by the very historical terms of its utterance. The latter occurs with the brand new and, at once, very old problem of the intellectual’s obligations with regard to revolution. As posed by historical materialists, this problem is already a tangle. When formulated or simply outlined by bourgeois intellectuals, it acquires the aspect of insoluble chaos. *** “The philosophers,” Marx says, “have only interpreted the world in various ways. The…