As the paradigmatic trend in literary study at present, “postcritique” implies that a great epoch of critique has come to a close. Taking the charge to look back over fifty years of Marxist theory of the novel, this polemic argues that critique cannot come to a close because it has not yet properly begun. The fundamentally dialectical project of critique—what Marx called the “ruthless criticism of everything existing” and what he practiced as its correlative utopian striving for what does not exist—has not yet taken foot in literary method. To explore what that project might look like, I outline a theory of the critique immanent to the literary form of the novel itself, and I conclude with a brief reading of a recent novel as critique, Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad.

You do not currently have access to this content.