Literature and Democracy

Left Review

in Critical Survey
David Margolies Goldsmiths, University of London

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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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