Delight and Revolution: Literary Studies, Aesthetics and Ideology


This is not an essay claiming that literature should be the impetus for political (subversive, revisionary, transforming) acts. Nor is it an essay promoting the desire for literature to align itself with political/ ideological positions. Well before Trotsky's Revolution and Literature, and stretching back to Plato's famous diatribe against the danger of poets in Book X of The Republic, critics have discoursed variously on the relationship of literature and ideology; on the political springs of art; on politics' debt to artists; or the subversive effects of art; or on art as labour. In 2012, French cultural theorist Jacques Ranciere's The Politics of Aesthetics: The Distribution of the Sensible continues the application of his concept of 'dissensus', arguing for the politically transformative effects of art, art's 'thinking the unthinkable'.

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Published 1 June 2013 in Volume 28 No. 1-2. Subjects: Aesthetics, Political ideologies, Impact and literary studies.

Cite as: McCredden, Lyn. ‘Delight and Revolution: Literary Studies, Aesthetics and Ideology.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 28, no. 1-2, 2013, doi: 10.20314/als.4b9d92e149.