Culture as permanent revolution: Lev Trotsky’s Literature and Revolution

Studies in East European Thought 70 (2-3):181-193 (2018)
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First published in 1923, Lev Trotsky’s Literature and Revolution was the first systematic treatment of art by a Communist Party leader. The international history of its publication and reception has gone hand-in-hand with the development of the Marxist theory of culture. This article highlights several specific concepts in Trotsky’s Literature and Revolution which exerted decisive formative influence on critical theory, including the relative autonomy of culture, a broadening of ideology to include cultural practices, and an innovative treatment of class. I conclude that for Trotsky culture can only be described negatively, as its own constant overcoming, as permanent revolution.



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