As capitalism took shape in the United States during the late 19th century, there was nothing metaphorical about the idea of class war. For American workers facing the merciless brutality of employers and the state, it was simply a fact of life.
Mark Steven is senior lecturer in 20th- and 21st-century literature at the University of Exeter, UK. He is the author of Red Modernism: American Poetry and the Spirit of Communism (2017) and Splatter Capital (2017).
On Bloomsday, we’re celebrating James Joyce’s Ulysses. It’s one of the greatest novels ever, and it calls forth a world where every named and unnamed minor character gets to be the hero. What could be more socialist?
Life under capitalism is the experience of horror — and there is no better guide to it than Karl Marx.