literary theorist, critic, and philosopher, born in Salford, Greater Manchester, educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. Much influenced by his Cambridge tutor Raymond Williams, he became known in the 1970s as a Marxist literary theorist and sometime political activist, joining striking car workers' picket lines during his tenure in the Oxford English Faculty. Author of a prodigious number of comprehensive works on literary theory, including Marxism and Literary Criticism (1976) and Literary Theory: An Introduction (1983, new edn 1996), he is also a trenchant critic of the assumptions of postmodernism. Now partly resident in Dublin, he is the author of several works on Irish cultural history, as well as meditations on major philosophical themes (The Ideology of the Aesthetic, 1990). Recent works have seen a return to orthodox critical studies of drama (Sweet Violence: The Idea of the Tragic, 2002), the novel (The English Novel: An Introduction, 2004), and poetry (How To Read a Poem, 2006). See Marxist literary criticism.