This book develops a Marxist theory of literary style. The first part explains why it was that Raymond Williams, Terry Eagleton and Fredric Jameson came to see style – a primarily literary or artistic concept – as central to political criticism. It delineates the historical and conceptual preconditions for the coming into being of a “politics of style,” including an account of the underground current of stylistics within the Marxist tradition from Marx to Barthes. The second part sets out in more detail precisely what each thinker has written on style and demonstrates how this came to figure in their overall intellectual and political projects – including a long chapter reconstructing the origins of Raymond Williams’ best-known concept of the ‘structure of feeling’ in his work on naturalist drama. The third part then sets out an independent theory of style, and calls for the establishment of this theory as a foundational element of a Marxist poetics.
“Hartley’s is an innovative and ambitious attempt to ground Marxist aesthetics in the micropoetics of style study and linguistic analysis. Williams certainly comes off better here than Eagleton or myself; but too bad for us! The book produces timely new problems and proposes impressive new (or renewed) projects. Its intelligence and energy mark Hartley’s as an authoritative new voice and reinvigorate a Marxist literary criticism too often pronounced unfashionable in the postmodern era.”
– Fredric Jameson, Duke University
“From now on, anyone entering the field of Marxist literary theory will have to take account of Daniel Hartley’s seminal work. He is Raymond Williams’s true successor, and he has gone further than his master, by developing Williams’s intuition of style as a social relationship into a comprehensive and systematic theory of literary style. In so doing, he has solved the conundrum posed by the concept of style, the contradiction between its collective (rococo style, modern style, etc.) and its irredeemably individual (le style c’est l’homme) characteristics. This is his first book, but it is already a monument.”
– Jean-Jacques Lecercle, L’Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense
Emergent Forms of Life in Anglophone Literature: Conceptual Frameworks and Critical Analyses. Ed. Michael Basseler, Daniel Hartley and Ansgar Nünning (Trier: WVT Trier, 2015)
Beyond Gender: An Advanced Introduction to Futures of Feminist and Sexuality Studies. Ed. Daniel Hartley, Mirjam Horn, Greta Olson & Regina Schmidt (Abingdon: Routledge, in press – forthcoming 2017)