Marx, Literature, and the Arts: Select Secondary Bibliography

Compiled by Ralph Dumain


Universally developed individuals, whose social relations, as their own communal relations, are hence also subordinated to their own communal control, are no product of nature, but of history. The degree and the universality of the development of wealth where this individuality becomes possible supposes production on the basis of exchange values as a prior condition, whose universality produces not only the alienation of the individual from himself and from others, but also the universality and the comprehensiveness of his relations and capacities. In earlier stages of development the single individual seems to be developed more fully, because he has not yet worked out his relationships in their fullness, or erected them as independent social powers and relations opposite himself. It is as ridiculous to yearn for a return to that original fullness as it is to believe that with this complete emptiness history has come to a standstill. The bourgeois viewpoint has never advanced beyond this antithesis between itself and this romantic viewpoint, and therefore the latter will accompany it as legitimate antithesis up to its blessed end.

— Karl Marx, Grundrisse


Ahearn, Edward J. Marx and Modern Fiction. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989.

Alizadeh, Ali. Marx and Art. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield International, 2019.

Breckman, Warren. “Marx and Romanticism,” Critical Review, 2022, pp. 1-25.

Demetz, Peter. Marx, Engels, and the Poets: Origins of Marxist Literary Criticism, revised and enlarged by the author and translated by Jeffrey L. Sammons. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1967.

Egan, Gabriel. Shakespeare and Marx. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Fischer, Michael. “Marxism and English Romanticism: The Persistence of the Romantic Movement,” Romanticism Past and Present, vol. 6, no. 1, 1982, pp. 27-46.

Gandesha, Samir; Hartle, Johan F.; eds. Aesthetic Marx. London; New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017.

Howard, Jean E.; Shershow, Scott Cutler; eds. Marxist Shakespeares. London; New York: Routledge, 2001.

Kain, Philip J. Schiller, Hegel, and Marx: State, Society, and the Aesthetic Ideal of Ancient Greece. Kingston; Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, Year: 1982. (McGill-Queen’s Studies in the History of Ideas; 4)

Kangal, Kaan. “Marx’s Bonn Notebooks in Context: Reconsidering the Relationship between Bruno Bauer and Karl Marx between 1839 and 1842,” Historical Materialism, vol. 28, no.4, 2020, pp. 102–138.

One-of-a-kind study of Marx’s relationship to Bruno Bauer, their divergence on the approach to atheism, Marx’s study of art and religion (in MEGA but not in English) and aborted plan to publish. See also Schimmenti.

Kemble, Thomas M. Reading Marx Writing: Melodrama, the Market, and the Grundrisse. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1995.

Lifshitz, Mikhail. Philosophy of Art of Karl Marx, translated from the Russian by Ralph B. Winn. London: Pluto Press Ltd., 1973.

Luna, Joe. “Money, die Ware, and Marx’s Shakespeare,” Textual Practice, vol. 29, no. 5, 2015, pp. 927-947.

Marx, Karl; Engels, Frederick. Karl Marx, Frederick Engels on Literature and Art: A Selection of Writings, edited by Lee Baxandall and Stefan Morawski, with introduction by Stefan Morawski. New York: International General, 1973.

Marx, Karl; Engels, Frederick. On Literature and Art. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1976.

Mehlman, Jeffrey. Revolution and Repetition: Marx/Hugo/Balzac. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977.

Prawer, S. S. Karl Marx and World Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978. (Orig. 1976.)

Raphael, Max. Proudhon, Marx, Picasso: Three Studies in the Sociology of Art, translated by Inge Marcuse, edited, introduced, and with a bibliography by John Tagg. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1980.

Rose, Margaret A. Marx’s Lost Aesthetic: Karl Marx and the Visual Arts. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1984.

Rose, Margaret A. Reading the Young Marx and Engels: Poetry, Parody, and the Censor. London: Croom Helm; Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, 1978.

Sánchez Vázquez, Adolfo. Art and Society: Essays in Marxist Aesthetics, translated by Maro Riofrancos. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1974.

Schimmenti, Gabriele. “Bruno Bauer’s Critical Theory of Tragedy. The Aesthetics of Collision,Critique, no. 93 (vol. 50, no. 1), 2022, pp. 221-232.

Wessell, Leonard P., Jr. Karl Marx, Romantic Irony, and the Proletariat: The Mythopoetic Origins of Marxism. Baton Rouge; London: Louisiana State University Press, 1979.

A fraudulent view of Marx and his thought, but with much on-topic information and Marx’s Romantic poems.

Wilson, Sarah. Picasso/Marx and Socialist Realism in France. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2013.

Digital Libraries:

Literary Criticism: Marxists Internet Archive

Note: The literature on Marxism, literature, the arts, and aesthetics in general comprises thousands of books and even more essays. Some of these works include selections by or about Marx himself, others are mainly Marxist perspectives or analyses of aforesaid aesthetic matters. Some works with ‘Marx’ in the title may be about Marxism more than about Marx himself. I have included a few of these along with selected titles of books about Marx’s own views on literature and the arts or uses of literature and literary devices.


Marxist Aesthetics: Anthologies in English

Hegel's Aesthetics: Selected Bibliography

Heinrich Heine: Selected Bibliography

The Young Hegelians: Selected Bibliography

Philosophy of Early German Romanticism,
the Oriental Renaissance, and the Historiography of Philosophy:
An Introductory Bibliography

Irony in Philosophy, Romanticism, & Criticism: Selected Bibliography

‘World Literature’: A Bibliography

Marx and Marxism Web Guide


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Uploaded 18 February 2020
Last update 2 August 2022
Previous update 1 July 2022

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