Capital and Poetics (913Q3B)

30 credits, Level 7 (Masters)

Spring teaching

Poetry in English is today more diversely invigorated by the ideas of Karl Marx and the tradition of critical theory his works helped to inspire than at any point since the 1930s.

For several decades, and in particular since the financial crash of 2008, many poets in North America and in the UK have tried to figure out how poetry itself might do the work that Marx called the ‘critique of political economy’.

Investigations by poets into the potential of poetry as a kind of explosive or hyperactive critique—not knowledge about the world, simply, but an attack on it—long ago exceeded the competence of traditional ‘Marxist literary criticism’ to analyse poetry’s new powers of signifying and shaping experience.

The aim of this seminar will be to investigate whether the greatest and most radical work by Marx, Capital, might itself be made to yield, through close reading and philological reinterpretation, a ‘poetics’ adequate to the task of analysing and evaluating the most radical poetry of the contemporary moment.


100%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

We’re currently reviewing contact hours for modules and will update with further information as soon as it is available.

This module is running in the academic year 2019/20. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. It may become unavailable due to staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of such changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.