Marx and the Consumption of Literature

Within his two texts, Karl Marx discusses the interrelation between that of man and his political and economic environment. Within this premise, the notion of man’s relationship to art and literature is also brought to light. Marx transcribes the idea that individuals cannot ‘create’ outside of which they already know. Man is bound to the concepts already presented within the society. Marx states, “The production of ideas, of conceptions, of consciousness, is at first directly interwoven with the material activity and the material intercourse of men, the language of real life. Conceiving, thinking, the mental intercourse of men, appear at this stage as the direct efflux of their material behavior” (Marx 409). The idea of true independence from a society does not truly exist because man cannot create beyond that of what already exists. Perhaps it is possible to say that true originality in literature can never occur because the societal forces have shaped the way that literature and art is intended. Material interaction is just that, material. Within the consumption of material surroundings, art itself becomes a material that can be utilized for an economic purpose.