Date of Award

1991

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Kevin L. Cope

Abstract

The alternative Marxist approach to literary criticism in the present study consists of three "vocal" modes of interpretation: the public voice, the private voice, and the homeless voice of the self. The public voice represents authorial visions of the ideological real projected by dominant ideology that covers up the "objective" real, while the private voice corresponds to the authorial conscious or unconscious insertion into radical ideology that turns the "objective" real into the ideological real. However, the homeless voice of the self obliterates any ties with history and authorial ideology. A personification of the Marxist "particular interest" of the self, the homeless voice echoes in the open space of the text and reaches for the distant real shaped by the reader's interpretive paradigms inside or outside the constraints of the institutional discourse. Incorporating both traditional and poststructuralist Marxist insights, the current Marxist framework departs from the traditional conviction of a neutral reality and from the postmodern concept of the totalizing ideology. It acknowledges the role of the dialectical real that is simultaneously "objective" (edited out by dominant ideology) and "subjective" (picked up by radical ideology to be molded as the ideological real). The alternative Marxist approach also attaches relative importance to authorial intention, the text, and reader response in an interpretive activity and values both historical studies and theoretical elucidations because the interplay between the two apparently contradictory modes of criticism may reinforce and supplement each other in their shared territory of the study of the private voice of the self in the text, although the public voice is more oriented towards history and the homeless voice towards theory. The different voices of the self are exemplified in a study of Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, Captain Singleton, Moll Flanders, and Roxana, which profits from both modern critical theory (deterritorialization, Schlegelian irony, and feminist theory) and historical insights into Defoe's fiction.

Pages

235

Share

COinS