Bibliographies of Sociopolitical Literary Criticism

EXPLORATIONS OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SOCIETY AND IMAGINATIVE LITERATURE (FICTION, POETRY, DRAMA, CREATIVE NON-FICTION – ALSO FILM, MUSIC, CARTOONS, AND ART IN GENERAL).

BIBLIOGRAPHY – 1800s TO TODAY
A listing primarily of books of political, social and cultural criticism on imaginative literature, the novel in particular – some landmarks and assorted works, mainly American and English – a truncated and otherwise incomplete chronology. A few texts on novel form and technique are also included.

BIBLIOGRAPHIES – PARTICULAR
The general bibliographic list broken into several groupings, including lists of: “propaganda” titles; “social change” titles; “politic”… titles; assorted anthologies of literary criticism; assorted interview collections;  encyclopedias and other reference volumes; and key works on propaganda (public relations) and the public.

CRITICAL EXCERPTS
From works on political, social, and cultural criticism of imaginative literature, with an emphasis on the nature and role of propaganda.

 

ABOUT THE BIBLIOGRAPHIES AND EXCERPTS

These partial bibliographies explore imaginative literature and literary criticism and social change, and in particular how the former two can contribute to the latter. These lists and excerpts are designed for, among others, activists and scholars, students and teachers, and readers and writers of literature who work for social change.

The lists of works on society and imaginative literature are rough and ready. I did not undertake a comprehensive search for criticism on imaginative literature and its social relationship, because I don’t know how to do it and I don’t think it’s possible – there is a tremendous amount of information available from a wide variety of sources.

I don’t necessarily agree with everything I’ve chosen to excerpt, and as far as the books go – as they seem to me – many are very good, plenty are solid, some are mixed, some are less insightful or unfortunate, and some are not very socially focused at all. On the whole, in my judgment, the books make some thoughtful and useful exploration of imaginative literature and its relation to society, as well as to individuals.
For more explanation about the bibliographies and excerpts, their context and critical tradition with its roots in the Enlightenment, see the lengthy excerpt of Edmund Wilson’s article “The Historical Interpretation of Literature“; also see these early books on the subject: VF Calverton’s The Liberation of American Literature, Bernard Smith’s Forces in American Criticism, Kenneth Burke’s The Philosophy of Literary Form, and Vernon Louis Parrington’s Main Currents in American Thought, among many others.
 
 
 
 

 

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Bibliography – 1800s to 2003            
Critical Excerpts – 1883 to 2003 
Quick Views    
Social and Political Novel  
Social and Political Literature  

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