Literary Aesthetics

Modernist & Postmodern Literary Aesthetics


This thesis examines Modernist and Postmodernist aesthetics as tools for judging literature in Pat Barker and Philip K. Dick and offers a Marxist critique of the criteria for the awarding of the Nobel Prize for Literature which has established itself as the goldstandard for literature.


Virginia Wolf

An encounter between Virginia Woolf and some Poets.


I shall argue that a dialectical tension existed between Woolf’s understanding of the aesthetic nature of poetry which as she articulated it in The Leaning Tower (1940) was essentially a Victorian poetic which I argue is flawed as it was an Astheticist view and was contradicted by the complexified literary method presented by many writers of W. H. Auden’s generation as illustrated in Christopher Caudwell Illusion and Reality (1937)...


Yeats, Sands & Heaney

A perspective on modern Irish poetry.


This analysis examines the poetry of Yeats and Heaney within the context of ‘The National Question’. I argue that opposition to British rule has informed much modern Irish poetry, but that current of petty-bourgeois nationalism reflected in Irish poetry although privileged by Lenin he also saw had inherent contradictions and limitations. I will show similarities, but also differentiate between Yeats and Heaney. Concluding that only a poetics expressed in the concrete conditions of international socialism can create a proletarian poetry of workers of all countries. Only once the chains of oppression have been cast off and hurled into the dustbin of history can the workers of the world write freely as sisters and brothers, comrades....


Ginsberg, Howl and Trotsky

On Allen Ginsberg, ‘Howl’ and Trotsky.


My argument is stated succinctly and argued to its conclusion. I contest that Allen Ginsberg’s Howl was, as some critics argue a popular, ‘an over-simplification’ of the poetry regarded by the Canon as high-quality literature. Rather, Howl formed a new genre which mirrored in its innovation other seminal moments in literature connected to changes of the ‘mode of production’ and had similar ramifications.


Prosporo and Caliban

"This thing of darkness I acknowledge mine" : Jungian analysis of The Tempest (Prospero and Caliban).


This analysis will argue that Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” functions on many levels:
1) the tempest as an allegory, 2) that the play can be understood, persuasively, by applying a model of Jungian psychology to it, 3) in this context Caliban is a projection of Prospero’s unconscious and, finally, 4) that Prospero’s achieves "individualization" by accepting his "darkness".
"(by individualisation I mean) becoming a single homogenous being.........Becoming one’s own self…….Coming into selfhood".


Mad Hatter

What is Mad Culture?

Dolly Sen

It is a celebration of the creativity of mad people, and pride in our unique way of looking at life, our internal world externalised and shared with others without shame, as a valid way of life.
It is an acknowledgement that we are reacting to a society that is scared of us and will hijack our art and literature once our artists and writers are dead and therefore deemed safe and easy to control, corrupt and capitalise.


Timothy Leary

Two disciples of Nietzsche. (a short-story from the "counter-culture").


1969 is buzzing like a swarm of unattached concepts; its lovers are dissolving into a vortex of mist. A stereo is spewing the music of the fashionably lost, Mick Jagger's voice is licking 'The Mid-Night Rambler' from speakers which are pulsating, the dust seems to leap off them in synchronized beats with the bass line which is jumping into this room, its haunted by 'the twilight of the gods'. Jeremiah, his body emaciated by the sea of speed which had frothed through his veins, they are now hardened and ulcerated by the pricks of needles, he had spent too many nights dancing on the periphery of nebulae and diving into the solar circle of sacrificial rite, smiles, Jagger sings...


Futuristic City

Thoughts on the FUTURE


The Future is coming! Some say that we are already living in it thanks to technology. Techno futurists suggest a future of gizmoes, gadgets and toys but they don't look out of the window. How about answering a basic question … how is perpetual growth supportable with finite natural resources?
Some people think we are building up to something, some big event - the second coming, the end of the world, the singularity, longevity, revolution, machine consciousness. In New Age circles the date 2012 is when it is all supposed to happen. The end of the Mayan calendar. If you are a Jehovah's Witness it was supposed to be 1974, (since then they have opted out of the prediction game). If you follow Nostrodamus the date was 1999, but why? It is a case of psychology.


Romance Fiction

Feminism and Romance Fiction

Richard Proffitt

Over the past 20 years, the rise in feminism has been parallel almost exactly by a mushroom growth in the popularity of romance fiction.

In 1979, the world's largest romance publishing house, Harlequin Enterprises, distributed 168,000,000 copies of their titles; books being issued in 98 countries worldwide. In 1990 Harlequin claimed a regular readership of 16 million women in North America alone. The extraordinary success of this and many other similar romance publishers seems unusual in a social climate where gendered stereotypes are apparently being broken down; how come, then, this increasing interest in romance fiction; the genre that surly most perpetuates the myths and misrepresentations of heterosexual partnering?


Bertolt Brecht

On the revolutionary poetry of Bertolt Brecht


‘The poet has watched the people’s mouth.’- Bertolt Brecht.

Bertolt Brecht is probably best known for his experimental plays and the dramatic theory he developed around them. But he was also one of the most important poets of the 20th century and arguably the most significant Marxist poet of this epoch, he wrote 1,500 poems. But he also entered into debates over the nature of ‘Socialist Realism’, which he deplored, with Lukacs in the 1920s/30s, a polemic which divided Marxist aesthetics into the 1960’s and beyond.


Socialists Patient's Collective

Petra daughter of the revolution.
A tale about the Socialist Patients Collective (S.P.K.).


The dark allurement of revolution and sweet aroma of introspection are intertwining like phantoms in this squat in 1975. Petra, a small round woman of 19 is sitting in the smog of contemplation. Her hair is brown, untidy and short, it sits on her head like the crown of a recently resurrected Rosa Luxemburg. A brown tee-shirt with embroidered flowers around the neck emphases her plump physic and faded tight black jeans combine to say that she is a goddess of the underground and nymph of primordial night. Smiling vaguely at a middle-aged man who looks like he comes out of some 19th century Russian novel, perhaps he keeps a chronicle of the demise of his shrink into madness, she suppresses a smile...



Dyslexia, My Story

Anne Walsh

In February 2000, I was on a welfare studies course at the time. I knew that the course was way out of my depth but I have always wanted to gain my education. I have been trying courses all my life hoping that there was some think out there for me that I could do, I knew it was going to be hard.
I was 27 years old at that time I thought that if I did not do a course now then I will never do it again, so I gave it one last go and yes as usual it got hard for me with essays, reading and writing, also thinking because you had to analyze the work, trying to copy off the board, well by time that I had finished the first line the teacher was rubbing it off to star some think new.


Elise Cowen

On Elise Cowen (1933-1962):
poetry on the margins.


"In the 1950's if you were male you could be a rebel, but if you were female your family had you locked-up. There were women, I knew them, their families put them in institutions, they were given electric shocks treatments". - Scobie (1994).

During the 1950's in America a literary bohemianism developed which was similar to the decadence of late 19th century Paris, indeed the poetry of Charles Baudelaire and his essays on hashish helped form the psyche of the sub-culture which became known as 'Beat'.

'Hashish, like all other solitary delights, makes the individual useless to society, and also makes society unnecessary to the individual.' - Baudelaire (1966) p39.


Karl Marx

On dialectics and Marxism:
a philosophy for today.


'Dialectical materialism is more than a philosophical system it is a philosophy of action.' - George Plekhanov.

Here is an explanation of the philosophical concepts which inspired and re-enforced much of the confrontation which occurred between rightist members of staff and myself. The theoreticians of the bourgeoisie, in their many manifestations from the academic to that of the padre who condones imperialism, exhibit a single and constant intellectual position in their opposition to the philosophical system of the oppressed which is dialectical materialism. The bourgeoisie are compelled to do so by their objective position in the class system of 'late-capitalism'. They are obliged not only to accumulate Capital but must, therefore, also reproduce the system of ideas. This is because ideas are created by the reproduction of the economic or material life of capitalism. In the same way the proletariat are placed in opposition to capitalism and its dominant ideas because they are economically exploited and also oppressed by bourgeois ideology.



The way the world perceives the stigma of 'Methadone.'


Methadone also known as Symoron, Dolophine, Amidone, Methadose, Physeptone, Heptadon, Phy and many other slang terms on the street…. such as medi and jungle juice. It is a synthetic 'opioid.' It is used medically as an alalgesic and maintenance anti-addictive for use in patients with opioid dependency. (SUCH AS BROKEN PEOPLE WHO USED DRUGS TO TAKE AWAY THE INNER PAIN AND TORMENT)


Situationalist International

The Situationalist International:
then and now.


'The spectacle is the moment when the commodity has achieved the total occupation of social life.' - Guy Debord: 'The Society of the Spectacle.'

Who were the Situationalist International (S.I.), what did they believe and how influential have their ideas been since their dissolution in 1972? These questions can be answered by examining: 1) the avant-garde movements in art and literature that first inspired the S.I., 2) the founding of the S.I. in 1957 and the ideas that they fused at that moment, 3) the split in 1962 and the creation of the Second S.I., 4) the rise of Guy Debord and the revolutionary upheavals in Paris in 1968, 5) the impact of Situationalist ideas in the politico-cultural scene in the UK during the 1970's and 6) the positions of individual Situationalists today.