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Literature and Democracy: Left Review

David Margolies

Abstract

Left Review appeared for forty-four monthly issues between 1934 and

1938, produced by a group of volunteer poets, novelists and critics.

However exciting it may have been as literary criticism, it can also be

seen as a model of cultural democracy. The general notion of how

culture and politics come together often does not extend beyond the

recruitment of prominent cultural figures to endorse political positions.

Left Review’s editors had a more fundamental concern and were

constructing a relationship between politics and culture that was

active; through their activity as writers, of both imaginative writing

and critical commentary, they were contributing to social change –

they were not just interpreting the world but helping to change it. That

meant a serious rethinking of the nature of literature and also of the

nature of political processes.

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