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The Radical Novel and the Classless Society

Utopian and Proletarian Novels in U.S. Fiction from Bellamy to Ellison

by Robert Birdwell


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The Radical Novel and the Classless Society analyzes utopian and proletarian novels as a single socialist tradition in U.S. literature. Utopian novels by such writers as Edward Bellamy, William Dean Howells, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Sutton E. Griggs and proletarian novels by such writers as Robert Cantwell, John Steinbeck, Richard Wright, Meridel Le Sueur, Claude McKay, and Ralph Ellison can help us conceive of a unity of utopian and Marxist socialisms. We can combine the imagination of the future classless society with present-day socialist strategy. Utopian and proletarian novels help us to imagine—and realize—the classless society as achieving the utopian goal of recognizing race and gender and the Marxist goal of overcoming social class.

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Lexington Books
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Robert Birdwell (Author)

Robert Birdwell is visiting assistant professor in the Department of English at Tulane University.

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The Radical Novel and the Classless Society
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