Published online by Cambridge University Press: 23 October 2020
The interesting question is in fact a two-way street. Familiar enough, with its accusatory hint of idealism and intellectualizing elitism, is the query, In what sense was Marx a Hegelian? But more tantalizing, more science fictional and counterfactual, is its echoing alternative: In what sense was Hegel a Marxist? The sharing of the dialectic is of course the easy way out, in a speculative dilemma calculated to open up fresh answers and unexpected new problems. I will only take on one of them here—namely, what Hegel might have to tell us about the possibilities, and also the limits, of Marxist literary criticism, an issue that may seem as remote today as literature itself (and the theorizing criticism of it).