intellectually speaking, that is - I'm not talking about Hugo Chavez or Ken Livingstone. Over the last year, partly through having remained on some University e-mail lists related to literary theory seminars, partly through my general reading, I've noticed a lot of left-wing intellectuals sounding very plaintive. Over the next few weeks I'll post some thoughts and responses, and will try not to sound smug. In literary-critical terms, solid Marxism or neo-Marxism never had the zing of the (old-school) New Critics (now passe, of course) or of the more recent New Historicists. But a certain amount of respect was afforded to it due to the standing of British and Irish academics such as Raymond Williams and Terry Eagleton. Now, I hardly have my finger on the pulse, but the sampling of articles that have come my way - by avowedly at least quasi-Marxist critics themselves - does seem to suggest a certain bankruptcy.