György Lukács

György Lukács[a] (also Georg Lukács;[b] born György Bernát Löwinger;[c] 13 April 1885 – 4 June 1971) was a Hungarian Marxist philosopher, aesthetician,[6] literary historian, and critic. He was one of the founders of Western Marxism, an interpretive tradition that departed from the Marxist ideological orthodoxy of the Soviet Union. He developed the theory of reification, and contributed to Marxist theory with developments of Karl Marx's theory of class consciousness. He was also a philosopher of Leninism. He ideologically developed and organised Lenin's pragmatic revolutionary practices into the formal philosophy of vanguard-party revolution.

As a literary critic Lukács was especially influential, because of his theoretical developments of realism and of the novel as a literary genre. In 1919, he was appointed the Hungarian Minister of Culture of the government of the short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic (March–August 1919).[7]

Lukács has been described as the preeminent Marxist intellectual of the Stalinist era, though assessing his legacy can be difficult as Lukács seemed both to support Stalinism as the embodiment of Marxist thought, and yet also to champion a return to pre-Stalinist Marxism.[8]

György Lukács
Lukács György
Lukács in 1952
György Bernát Löwinger

13 April 1885
Died4 June 1971 (aged 86)
EducationRoyal Hungarian University of Kolozsvár (Dr. rer. oec., 1906)
University of Berlin (1906–1907; no degree)
Royal Hungarian University of Budapest (Ph.D., 1909)[1]
Spouse(s)Jelena Grabenko
Gertrúd Jánosi (née Bortstieber)
AwardsOrder of the Red Banner (1969)[2]
Era20th-century philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolNeo-Kantianism[3] (1906–1918)
Western Marxism/Hegelian Marxism (after 1918)[4]
Academic advisorsGeorg Simmel
Main interests
Political philosophy, social theory, politics, literary theory, aesthetics, Marxist humanism
Notable ideas
Reification, class consciousness, transcendental homelessness, the genre of tragedy as an ethical category[5]

Life and politics

Lukács was born Löwinger György Bernát in Budapest, Austria-Hungary to the investment banker József Löwinger (later Szegedi Lukács József; 1855–1928) and his wife Adele Wertheimer (Wertheimer Adél; 1860–1917), who were a wealthy Jewish family. He had a brother and sister.

His father was knighted by the empire and received a baronial title, making Lukács a baron as well through inheritance.[9] As an Austro-Hungarian subject, the full names of Lukács were the German Baron Georg Bernhard Lukács von Szegedin and the Hungarian Szegedi Lukács György Bernát. As a writer, he published under the names Georg Lukács and György Lukács. Lukács participated in intellectual circles in Budapest, Berlin, Florence and Heidelberg.[4] He received his doctorate in economic and political sciences (Dr. rer. oec.) in 1906 from the Royal Hungarian University of Kolozsvár.[10] In 1909, he completed his doctorate in philosophy at the University of Budapest under the direction of Zsolt Beöthy.[11]

Pre-Marxist period

Whilst at university in Budapest, Lukács was part of socialist intellectual circles through which he met Ervin Szabó, an anarcho-syndicalist who introduced him to the works of Georges Sorel (1847–1922), the French proponent of revolutionary syndicalism.[12] In that period, Lukács's intellectual perspectives were modernist and anti-positivist. From 1904 to 1908, he was part of a theatre troupe that produced modernist, psychologically realistic plays by Henrik Ibsen, August Strindberg, and Gerhart Hauptmann.[13]

Lukács spent much time in Germany, and studied at the University of Berlin from 1906 to 1907, during which time he made the acquaintance of the philosopher Georg Simmel.[13] Later in 1913 whilst in Heidelberg, he befriended Max Weber, Emil Lask, Ernst Bloch, and Stefan George.[13] The idealist system to which Lukács subscribed at this time was intellectually indebted to neo-Kantianism (then the dominant philosophy in German universities)[13] and to Plato, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Søren Kierkegaard, Wilhelm Dilthey, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. In that period, he published Soul and Form (Die Seele und die Formen, Berlin, 1911; tr. 1974) and The Theory of the Novel (1916/1920; tr. 1971).[14]

After the beginning of the First World War, Lukács was exempted from military service.[4] In 1914, he married the Russian political activist Jelena Grabenko.[4]

In 1915, Lukács returned to Budapest, where he was the leader of the Sunday Circle, an intellectual salon. Its concerns were the cultural themes that arose from the existential works of Dostoyevsky, which thematically aligned with Lukács's interests in his last years at Heidelberg. As a salon, the Sunday Circle sponsored cultural events whose participants included literary and musical avant-garde figures, such as Karl Mannheim, the composer Béla Bartók, Béla Balázs, Arnold Hauser, Zoltán Kodály and Karl Polanyi;[15] some of them also attended the weekly salons. In 1918, the last year of the First World War (1914–1918), the Sunday Circle became divided. They dissolved the salon because of their divergent politics; several of the leading members accompanied Lukács into the Communist Party of Hungary.[4]

Communist leader

Lukács in 1919

In light of the First World War and the Russian Revolution of 1917, Lukács rethought his ideas. He became a committed Marxist in this period and joined the fledgling Communist Party of Hungary in 1918. As part of the government of the short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic, Lukács was made People's Commissar for Education and Culture (he was deputy to the Commissar for Education Zsigmond Kunfi).[16]

It is said by József Nádass that Lukács was giving a lecture entitled "Old Culture and New Culture" to a packed hall when the republic was proclaimed which was interrupted due to the revolution.[17]

During the Hungarian Soviet Republic, Lukács was a theoretician of the Hungarian version of the red terror.[18] In an article in the Népszava, 15 April 1919, he wrote that "The possession of the power of the state is also a moment for the destruction of the oppressing classes. A moment, we have to use".[19] Lukács later became a commissar of the Fifth Division of the Hungarian Red Army, in which capacity he ordered the execution of eight of his own soldiers in Poroszlo, in May 1919, which he later admitted in an interview.[20][21][22]

After the Hungarian Soviet Republic was defeated, Lukács was ordered by Kun to remain behind with Ottó Korvin, when the rest of the leadership evacuated. Lukács and Korvin's mission was to clandestinely reorganize the communist movement, but this proved to be impossible. Lukács went into hiding, with the help of photographer Olga Máté. After Korvin's capture in 1919, Lukács fled from Hungary to Vienna. He was arrested but was saved from extradition due to a group of writers including Thomas and Heinrich Mann.[23] Thomas Mann later based the character Naphta on Lukács in his novel The Magic Mountain.

He married his second wife, Gertrúd Bortstieber in 1919 in Vienna, a fellow member of the Hungarian Communist Party.[17][4]

During his time in Vienna in the 1920s, Lukács befriended other Left Communists who were working or in exile there, including Victor Serge, Adolf Joffe and Antonio Gramsci. Around that time, Lukács began to develop Leninist ideas in the field of philosophy. His major works in this period were the essays collected in his magnum opus History and Class Consciousness (Geschichte und Klassenbewußtsein, Berlin, 1923). Although these essays display signs of what Vladimir Lenin referred to as "ultra-leftism", they provided Leninism with a substantive philosophical basis. In July 1924, Grigory Zinoviev attacked this book along with the work of Karl Korsch at the Fifth Comintern Congress.[24]

In 1924, shortly after Lenin's death, Lukács published in Vienna the short study Lenin: A Study in the Unity of His Thought (Lenin: Studie über den Zusammenhang seiner Gedanken). In 1925, he published a critical review of Nikolai Bukharin's manual of historical materialism.[25]

As a Hungarian exile, he remained active on the left wing of Hungarian Communist Party, and was opposed to the Moscow-backed programme of Béla Kun. His 'Blum theses' of 1928 called for the overthrow of the counter-revolutionary regime of Admiral Horthy in Hungary by a strategy similar to the Popular Fronts that arose in the 1930s. He advocated a 'democratic dictatorship' of the proletariat and peasantry as a transitional stage leading to the dictatorship of the proletariat. After Lukács's strategy was condemned by the Comintern, he retreated from active politics into theoretical work.

Lukács left Vienna in 1929 first for Berlin, then for Budapest.[4]

Under Stalin and Rákosi

In 1930, while residing in Budapest, Lukács was summoned to Moscow.[4] This coincided with the signing of a Viennese police order for his expulsion. Leaving their children to attend their studies, Lukács and his wife ventured to Moscow in March 1930. Soon after his arrival, Lukács was "prevented" from leaving and assigned to work alongside David Riazanov ("in the basement") at the Marx–Engels Institute.[26]

Lukács returned to Berlin in 1931[6] and in 1933 he once again left Berlin for Moscow to attend the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences.[6] During this time, Lukács first came into contact with the works of Young Marx.[4]

Lukács and his wife were not permitted to leave the Soviet Union until after the Second World War. During Stalin's Great Purge, Lukacs was sent to internal exile in Tashkent for a time, where he and Johannes Becher became friends. Lukács survived the purges of the Great Terror, which claimed the lives of an estimated 80% of the Hungarian émigrés in the Soviet Union. There is much debate among historians concerning the extent to which Lukács accepted Stalinism.[4]

In 1945, Lukács and his wife returned to Hungary. As a member of the Hungarian Communist Party, he took part in establishing the new Hungarian government. From 1945 Lukács was a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Between 1945 and 1946 he strongly criticised non-communist philosophers and writers. Lukács has been accused of playing an "administrative" (legal-bureaucratic) role in the removal of independent and non-communist intellectuals such as Béla Hamvas, István Bibó, Lajos Prohászka, and Károly Kerényi from Hungarian academic life. Between 1946 and 1953, many non-communist intellectuals, including Bibó, were imprisoned or forced into menial work or manual labour.

Lukács's personal aesthetic and political position on culture was always that socialist culture would eventually triumph in terms of quality. He thought it should play out in terms of competing cultures, not by "administrative" measures. In 1948–49 Lukács's position for cultural tolerance was smashed in a "Lukács purge," when Mátyás Rákosi turned his famous salami tactics on the Hungarian Communist Party.

In the mid-1950s, Lukács was reintegrated into party life. The party used him to help purge the Hungarian Writers' Union in 1955–1956. Tamás Aczél and Tibor Méray (former Secretaries of the Hungarian Writers' Union) both believe that Lukács participated grudgingly, and cite Lukács leaving the presidium and the meeting at the first break as evidence of this reluctance.[27]


In 1956, Lukács became a minister of the brief communist revolutionary government led by Imre Nagy, which opposed the Soviet Union.[28] At this time Lukács's daughter led a short-lived party of communist revolutionary youth. Lukács's position on the 1956 revolution was that the Hungarian Communist Party would need to retreat into a coalition government of socialists, and slowly rebuild its credibility with the Hungarian people. While a minister in Nagy's revolutionary government, Lukács also participated in trying to reform the Hungarian Communist Party on a new basis. This party, the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party, was rapidly co-opted by János Kádár after 4 November 1956.[29]

During the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, Lukács was present at debates of the anti-party and revolutionary communist Petőfi Society while remaining part of the party apparatus. During the revolution, as mentioned in Budapest Diary, Lukács argued for a new Soviet-aligned communist party. In Lukács's view, the new party could win social leadership only by persuasion instead of force. Lukács envisioned an alliance between the dissident communist Hungarian Revolutionary Youth Party, the revolutionary Hungarian Social Democratic Party and his own Soviet-aligned party as a very junior partner.

Following the defeat of the Revolution, Lukács was deported to the Socialist Republic of Romania with the rest of Nagy's government.[30] Unlike Nagy, he narrowly avoided execution. Due to his role in Nagy's government, he was no longer trusted by the party apparatus. Lukács's followers were indicted for political crimes throughout the 1960s and '70s, and a number fled to the West. Lukács's books The Young Hegel (Der junge Hegel, Zurich, 1948) and The Destruction of Reason (Die Zerstörung der Vernunft, Berlin, 1954) have been used to argue that Lukács was covertly critical of Stalinism as an irrational distortion of Hegelian-Marxism.

He returned to Budapest in 1957.[6] Lukács publicly abandoned his positions of 1956 and engaged in self-criticism. Having abandoned his earlier positions, Lukács remained loyal to the Communist Party until his death in 1971. In his last years, following the uprisings in France and Czechoslovakia in 1968, Lukács became more publicly critical of the Soviet Union and Hungarian Communist Party.

In an interview just before his death, Lukács remarked:

Without a genuine general theory of society and its movement, one does not get away from Stalinism. Stalin was a great tactician... But Stalin, unfortunately, was not a Marxist... The essence of Stalinism lies in placing tactics before strategy, practice above theory... The bureaucracy generated by Stalinism is a tremendous evil. Society is suffocated by it. Everything becomes unreal, nominalistic. People see no design, no strategic aim, and do not move..." Thus Lukács concludes "[w]e must learn to connect the great decisions of popular political power with personal needs, those of individuals.

— Marcus, Judith; Zoltan, Tarr (1989). pp. 215–216


History and Class Consciousness

Written between 1919 and 1922, History and Class Consciousness (1923) initiated Western Marxism.[31] Lukács emphasizes concepts such as alienation, reification and class consciousness.[32]

Lukács argues that methodology is the only thing that distinguishes Marxism: even if all its substantive propositions were rejected, it would remain valid because of its distinctive method:[33]

Orthodox Marxism, therefore, does not imply the uncritical acceptance of the results of Marx's investigations. It is not the 'belief' in this or that thesis, nor the exegesis of a 'sacred' book. On the contrary, orthodoxy refers exclusively to method. It is the scientific conviction that dialectical materialism is the road to truth and that its methods can be developed, expanded and deepened only along the lines laid down by its founders.

— §1

He criticises Marxist revisionism by calling for the return to this Marxist method, which is fundamentally dialectical materialism. Lukács conceives "revisionism" as inherent to the Marxist theory, insofar as dialectical materialism is, according to him, the product of class struggle:

For this reason the task of orthodox Marxism, its victory over Revisionism and utopianism can never mean the defeat, once and for all, of false tendencies. It is an ever-renewed struggle against the insidious effects of bourgeois ideology on the thought of the proletariat. Marxist orthodoxy is no guardian of traditions, it is the eternally vigilant prophet proclaiming the relation between the tasks of the immediate present and the totality of the historical process.

— end of §5

According to him, "The premise of dialectical materialism is, we recall: 'It is not men's consciousness that determines their existence, but on the contrary, their social existence that determines their consciousness.' ...Only when the core of existence stands revealed as a social process can existence be seen as the product, albeit the hitherto unconscious product, of human activity." (§5). In line with Marx's thought, he criticises the individualist bourgeois philosophy of the subject, which founds itself on the voluntary and conscious subject. Against this ideology, he asserts the primacy of social relations. Existence — and thus the world — is the product of human activity; but this can be seen only if the primacy of social process on individual consciousness is accepted. Lukács does not restrain human liberty for sociological determinism: to the contrary, this production of existence is the possibility of praxis.

He conceives the problem in the relationship between theory and practice. Lukács quotes Marx's words: "It is not enough that thought should seek to realise itself; reality must also strive towards thought." How does the thought of intellectuals relate to class struggle, if theory is not simply to lag behind history, as it is in Hegel's philosophy of history ("Minerva always comes at the dusk of night...")? Lukács criticises Friedrich Engels's Anti-Dühring, saying that he "does not even mention the most vital interaction, namely the dialectical relation between subject and object in the historical process, let alone give it the prominence it deserves." This dialectical relation between subject and object is the basis of Lukács's critique of Immanuel Kant's epistemology, according to which the subject is the exterior, universal and contemplating subject, separated from the object.

For Lukács, "ideology" is a projection of the class consciousness of the bourgeoisie, which functions to prevent the proletariat from attaining consciousness of its revolutionary position. Ideology determines the "form of objectivity", thus the very structure of knowledge. According to Lukács, real science must attain the "concrete totality" through which only it is possible to think the current form of objectivity as a historical period. Thus, the so-called eternal "laws" of economics are dismissed as the ideological illusion projected by the current form of objectivity ("What is Orthodoxical Marxism?", §3). He also writes: "It is only when the core of being has showed itself as social becoming, that the being itself can appear as a product, so far unconscious, of human activity, and this activity, in turn, as the decisive element of the transformation of being." ("What is Orthodoxical Marxism?", §5) Finally, "orthodoxical marxism" is not defined as interpretation of Capital as if it were the Bible or an embrace of "marxist thesis", but as fidelity to the "marxist method", dialectics.

Lukács presents the category of reification whereby, due to the commodity nature of capitalist society, social relations become objectified. This precludes the spontaneous emergence of class consciousness. In this context, the need for a party in the Leninist sense emerges, the subjective aspect of the re-invigorated Marxian dialectic.

In his later career, Lukács repudiated the ideas of History and Class Consciousness, in particular the belief in the proletariat as a "subject-object of history" (1960 Postface to French translation). As late as 1925–1926, he still defended these ideas, in an unfinished manuscript, which he called Tailism and the Dialectic. It was not published until 1996 in Hungarian and English in 2000 under the title A Defence of History and Class Consciousness.

Literary and aesthetic work

In addition to his standing as a Marxist political thinker, Lukács was an influential literary critic of the twentieth century. His important work in literary criticism began early in his career, with The Theory of the Novel, a seminal work in literary theory and the theory of genre. The book is a history of the novel as a form, and an investigation into its distinct characteristics. In The Theory of the Novel, he coins the term "transcendental homelessness", which he defines as the "longing of all souls for the place in which they once belonged, and the 'nostalgia… for utopian perfection, a nostalgia that feels itself and its desires to be the only true reality'".[34][35]

Lukács later repudiated The Theory of the Novel, writing a lengthy introduction that described it as erroneous, but nonetheless containing a "romantic anti-capitalism" which would later develop into Marxism. (This introduction also contains his famous dismissal of Theodor Adorno and others in Western Marxism as having taken up residence in the "Grand Hotel Abyss".)

Lukács's later literary criticism includes the well-known essay "Kafka or Thomas Mann?", in which Lukács argues for the work of Thomas Mann as a superior attempt to deal with the condition of modernity, and criticises Franz Kafka's brand of modernism. Lukács steadfastly opposed the formal innovations of modernist writers like Kafka, James Joyce, and Samuel Beckett, preferring the traditional aesthetic of realism.

During his time in Moscow in the 1930s, Lukács worked on Marxist views of aesthetics while belonging to the group around an influential Moscow magazine "The Literary Critic" (Literaturny Kritik).[36] The editor of this magazine, Mikhail Lifshitz, was an important Soviet author on aesthetics. Lifshitz' views were very similar to Lukács's insofar as both argued for the value of the traditional art; despite the drastic difference in age (Lifschitz was much younger) both Lifschitz and Lukács indicated that their working relationship at that time was a collaboration of equals. Lukács contributed frequently to this magazine, which was also followed by Marxist art theoreticians around the world through various translations published by the Soviet government.

The collaboration between Lifschitz and Lukács resulted in the formation of an informal circle of the like-minded Marxist intellectuals connected to the journal Literaturnyi Kritik [The Literary Critic], published monthly starting in the summer of 1933 by the Organisational Committee of the Writers' Union. ... A group of thinkers formed around Lifschitz, Lukács and Andrei Platonov; they were concerned with articulating the aesthetical views of Marx and creating a kind of Marxist aesthetics that had not yet been properly formulated.[37]

Lukács famously argued for the revolutionary character of the novels of Sir Walter Scott and Honoré de Balzac. Lukács felt that both authors' nostalgic, pro-aristocratic politics allowed them accurate and critical stances because of their opposition (albeit reactionary) to the rising bourgeoisie. This view was expressed in his later book The Historical Novel (published in Russian in 1937, then in Hungarian in 1947), as well as in his essay "Realism in the Balance" (1938).

The Historical Novel is probably Lukács's most influential work of literary history. In it he traces the development of the genre of historical fiction. While prior to 1789, he argues, people's consciousness of history was relatively underdeveloped, the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars that followed brought about a realisation of the constantly changing, evolving character of human existence. This new historical consciousness was reflected in the work of Sir Walter Scott, whose novels use 'representative' or 'typical' characters to dramatise major social conflicts and historical transformations, for example the dissolution of feudal society in the Scottish Highlands and the entrenchment of mercantile capitalism. Lukács argues that Scott's new brand of historical realism was taken up by Balzac and Tolstoy, and enabled novelists to depict contemporary social life not as a static drama of fixed, universal types, but rather as a moment of history, constantly changing, open to the potential of revolutionary transformation. For this reason he sees these authors as progressive and their work as potentially radical, despite their own personal conservative politics.

For Lukács, this historical realist tradition began to give way after the 1848 revolutions, when the bourgeoisie ceased to be a progressive force and their role as agents of history was usurped by the proletariat. After this time, historical realism begins to sicken and lose its concern with social life as inescapably historical. He illustrates this point by comparing Flaubert's historical novel Salammbô to that of the earlier realists. For him, Flaubert's work marks a turning away from relevant social issues and an elevation of style over substance. Why he does not discuss Sentimental Education, a novel much more overtly concerned with recent historical developments, is not clear. For much of his life Lukács promoted a return to the realist tradition that he believed it had reached its height with Balzac and Scott, and bemoaned the supposed neglect of history that characterised modernism.

The Historical Novel has been hugely influential in subsequent critical studies of historical fiction, and no serious analyst of the genre fails to engage at some level with Lukács's arguments.

"Realism in the Balance" and defence of literary realism

The initial intent of "Realism in the Balance" (Es geht um den Realismus), stated at its outset, is debunking the claims of those defending Expressionism as a valuable literary movement. Lukács addresses the discordance in the community of modernist critics, whom he regarded as incapable of deciding which writers were Expressionist and which were not, arguing that "perhaps there is no such thing as an Expressionist writer".

Although his aim is ostensibly to criticise what he perceived as the over-valuation of modernist schools of writing at the time the article was published, Lukács uses the essay as an opportunity to advance his formulation of the desirable alternative to these schools. He rejects the notion that modern art must necessarily manifest itself as a litany of sequential movements, beginning with Naturalism, and proceeding through Impressionism and Expressionism to culminate in Surrealism. For Lukács, the important issue at stake was not the conflict that results from the modernists' evolving oppositions to classical forms, but rather the ability of art to confront an objective reality that exists in the world, an ability he found almost entirely lacking in modernism.

Lukács believed that desirable alternative to such modernism must therefore take the form of Realism, and he enlists the realist authors Maxim Gorky, Thomas and Heinrich Mann, and Romain Rolland to champion his cause. To frame the debate, Lukács introduces the arguments of critic Ernst Bloch, a defender of Expressionism, and the author to whom Lukács was chiefly responding. He maintains that modernists such as Bloch are too willing to ignore the realist tradition, an ignorance that he believes derives from a modernist rejection of a crucial tenet of Marxist theory, a rejection which he quotes Bloch as propounding. This tenet is the belief that the system of capitalism is "an objective totality of social relations," and it is fundamental to Lukács's arguments in favour of realism.

He explains that the pervasiveness of capitalism, the unity in its economic and ideological theory, and its profound influence on social relations comprise a "closed integration" or "totality," an objective whole that functions independent of human consciousness. Lukács cites Marx to bolster this historical materialist worldview: "The relations of production in every society form a whole." He further relies on Marx to argue that the bourgeoisie's unabated development of the world's markets are so far-reaching as to create a unified totality, and explains that because the increasing autonomy of elements of the capitalist system (such as the autonomy of currency) is perceived by society as "crisis," there must be an underlying unity that binds these seemingly autonomous elements of the capitalist system together, and makes their separation appear as crisis.

Returning to modernist forms, Lukács stipulates that such theories disregard the relationship of literature to objective reality, in favour of the portrayal of subjective experience and immediacy that do little to evince the underlying capitalist totality of existence. It is clear that Lukács regards the representation of reality as art's chief purpose—in this he is perhaps not in disagreement with the modernists—but he maintains that "If a writer strives to represent reality as it truly is, i.e. if he is an authentic realist, then the question of totality plays a decisive role." "True realists" demonstrate the importance of the social context, and since the unmasking of this objective totality is a crucial element in Lukács's Marxist ideology, he privileges their authorial approach.

Lukács then sets up a dialectical opposition between two elements he believes inherent to human experience. He maintains that this dialectical relation exists between the "appearance" of events as subjective, unfettered experiences and their "essence" as provoked by the objective totality of capitalism. Lukács explains that good realists, such as Thomas Mann, create a contrast between the consciousnesses of their characters (appearance) and a reality independent of them (essence). According to Lukács, Mann succeeds because he creates this contrast. Conversely, modernist writers fail because they portray reality only as it appears to themselves and their characters—subjectively—and "fail to pierce the surface" of these immediate, subjective experiences "to discover the underlying essence, i.e. the real factors that relate their experiences to the hidden social forces that produce them." The pitfalls of relying on immediacy are manifold, according to Lukács. Because the prejudices inculcated by the capitalist system are so insidious, they cannot be escaped without the abandonment of subjective experience and immediacy in the literary sphere. They can only be superseded by realist authors who "abandon and transcend the limits of immediacy, by scrutinising all subjective experiences and measuring them against social reality;" this is no easy task. Lukács relies on Hegelian dialectics to explain how the relationship between this immediacy and abstraction effects a subtle indoctrination on the part of capitalist totality. The circulation of money, he explains, as well as other elements of capitalism, is entirely abstracted away from its place in the broader capitalist system, and therefore appears as a subjective immediacy, which elides its position as a crucial element of objective totality.

Although abstraction can lead to the concealment of objective reality, it is necessary for art, and Lukács believes that realist authors can successfully employ it "to penetrate the laws governing objective reality, and to uncover the deeper, hidden, mediated, not immediately perceptible of relationships that go to make up society." After a great deal of intellectual effort, Lukács claims a successful realist can discover these objective relationships and give them artistic shape in the form of a character's subjective experience. Then, by employing the technique of abstraction, the author can portray the character's experience of objective reality as the same kind of subjective, immediate experience that characterise totality's influence on non-fictional individuals. The best realists, he claims, "depict the vital, but not immediately obvious forces at work in objective reality." They do so with such profundity and truth that the products of their imagination can potentially receive confirmation from subsequent historical events. The true masterpieces of realism can be appreciated as "wholes" which depict a wide-ranging and exhaustive objective reality like the one that exists in the non-fictional world.

After advancing his formulation of a desirable literary school, a realism that depicts objective reality, Lukács turns once again to the proponents of modernism. Citing Nietzsche, who argues that "the mark of every form of literary decadence ... is that life no longer dwells in the totality," Lukács strives to debunk modernist portrayals, claiming they reflect not on objective reality, but instead proceed from subjectivity to create a "home-made model of the contemporary world." The abstraction (and immediacy) inherent in modernism portrays "essences" of capitalist domination divorced from their context, in a way that takes each essence in "isolation," rather than taking into account the objective totality that is the foundation for all of them. Lukács believes that the "social mission of literature" is to clarify the experience of the masses, and in turn show these masses that their experiences are influenced by the objective totality of capitalism, and his chief criticism of modernist schools of literature is that they fail to live up to this goal, instead proceeding inexorably towards more immediate, more subjective, more abstracted versions of fictional reality that ignore the objective reality of the capitalist system. Realism, because it creates apparently subjective experiences that demonstrate the essential social realities that provoke them, is for Lukács the only defensible or valuable literary school of the early twentieth century.

Ontology of social being

Later in life, Lukács undertook a major exposition on the ontology of social being, which has been partly published in English in three volumes. The work is a systematic treatment of dialectical philosophy in its materialist form.


  • History and Class Consciousness (1972). ISBN 0-262-62020-0.
  • The Theory of the Novel (1974). ISBN 0-262-62027-8.
  • Lenin: A Study in the Unity of His Thought (1998). ISBN 1-85984-174-0.
  • A Defense of History and Class Consciousness (2000). ISBN 1-85984-747-1.

See also


  1. ^ UK: /ˈluːkætʃ/, US: /-kɑːtʃ/; Hungarian: [ˈɟørɟ ˈlukaːt͡ʃ]
  2. ^ German: [ˈluːkatʃ]
  3. ^ German: [ˈløːvɪŋɐ]


  1. ^ Marcus & Tarr 1989, p. 2.
  2. ^ Lichtheim 1970, p. ix.
  3. ^ Georg Lukács: Neo-Kantian Aesthetics, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Georg Lukács, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  5. ^ European writers, Volume 1, Scribner, 1983, p. 1258.
  6. ^ a b c d György Lukács –
  7. ^ Benét's Reader's Encyclopedia, Third Edition (1987) p. 588.
  8. ^ Leszek Kołakowski ([1981], 2008), Main Currents of Marxism, Vol. 3: The Breakdown, W. W. Norton & Company, Ch VII: "György Lukács: Reason in the Service of Dogma, W.W. Norton & Co.
  9. ^ Lunching under the Goya. Jewish Collectors in Budapest at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century, Konstantin Akinsha, Quest. Issues in Contemporary Jewish History
  10. ^ Júlia Bendl, "Lukács György élete a századfordulótól 1918-ig" Archived 13 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine, 1994 (Hungarian)
  11. ^ L. Ferenc Lendvai, A fiatal Lukács: utja Marxhoz, 1902–1918, Argumentum, 2008, p. 46; István Hermann, Georg Lukács: sein Leben und Wirken, Böhlau, 1986, p. 44.
  12. ^ Lukács 1989, pp. ix–x: "On the other hand, the contradictions in my social and political views brought me intellectually into contact with Syndicalism and above all with the philosophy of George Sorel. ... My interest in Sorel was aroused by Ervin Szabó"
  13. ^ a b c d Kołakowski, Leszek (2005). Main Currents of Marxism. London: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 991. ISBN 978-0-393-32943-8.
  14. ^ Benét's Reader's Encyclopedia Third Edition (1987) p. 588.
  15. ^ Kołakowski, Leszek (2005). Main Currents of Marxism. London: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 993. ISBN 978-0-393-32943-8.
  16. ^ Kołakowski, Leszek (2005). Main Currents of Marxism. London: W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 993–4. ISBN 978-0-393-32943-8.
  17. ^ a b The Conversion of Georg Lukács
  18. ^ The hinterland of the white terror. Wien, 1920. Online:
  19. ^ Népszava, 1919.04.15. Online:
  20. ^ Georg Lukács. Revolutionäres Denken. Eine Einführung in Leben und Werk (hg. v. Frank Benseler), Darmstadt-Neuwied, 1984, p. 64.
  21. ^ Lengyel András: A "tizedeltető" Lukács. Egy politikai folklór-szüzsé történeti hátteréhez. In Forrás, 2017-01. Online: page 75.
  22. ^ Váry Albert: A vörös uralom áldozatai Magyarországon (The victims of the Reds in Hungary. Online:
  23. ^ Congdon, Lee (2014). Exile and Social Thought: Hungarian Intellectuals in Germany and Austria, 1919–1933. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. pp. 45–46. ISBN 978-1-4008-5290-1.
  24. ^ Kołakowski, Leszek (2005). Main Currents of Marxism. London: W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 994–5. ISBN 978-0-393-32943-8.
  25. ^ Kołakowski, Leszek (2005). Main Currents of Marxism. London: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 995. ISBN 978-0-393-32943-8.
  26. ^ Kołakowski, Leszek (2005). Main Currents of Marxism. London: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 996. ISBN 978-0-393-32943-8.
  27. ^ Tamás Aczél, Tibor Méray (1960), The revolt of the mind: a case history of intellectual resistance behind the Iron Curtain.
  28. ^ Kołakowski, Leszek (2005). Main Currents of Marxism. London: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 997. ISBN 978-0-393-32943-8.
  29. ^ Woroszylski, Wiktor (1957), Diary of a revolt: Budapest through Polish eyes (pamphlet)|format= requires |url= (help), Trans. Michael Segal, Sydney: Outlook.
  30. ^ Kołakowski, Leszek (2005). Main Currents of Marxism. London: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 997. ISBN 978-0-393-32943-8.
  31. ^ Bien, Joseph (1999). Audi, Robert (ed.). The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 521. ISBN 0-521-63722-8.
  32. ^ McLellan, David (2005). Honderich, Ted (ed.). The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 547. ISBN 0-19-926479-1.
  33. ^ Wright, Erik Olin; Levine, Andrew; Sober, Elliott (1992). Reconstructing Marxism: Essays on Explanation and the Theory of History. London: Verso. pp. 103–4. ISBN 0-86091-554-9.
  34. ^ G. Lukacs, The Theory of the Novel, London: Merlin Press, 1963, p. 70.
  35. ^ Young, Joyce. A Book Without Meaning: Why You Aren't Happy With the Ending of Infinite Jest. May 2009, p. 4.
  36. ^ Gutov D., Learn, learn and learn. In: Make Everything New – A Project on Communism. Edited by Grant Watson, Gerrie van Noord & Gavin Everall. Published by Book Works and Project Arts Centre, Dublin, 2006 PP. 24–37.
  37. ^ Evgeni V. Pavlov, Perepiska (Letters), Mikhail Lifschitz and György Lukács. Moscow: Grundrisse, 2011.


  • Woroszylski, Wiktor, 1957. Diary of a revolt: Budapest through Polish eyes. Trans. Michael Segal. [Sydney : Outlook]. Pamphlet.
  • Aczel, Tamas, and Meray, Tibor, 1975. Revolt of the Mind: a case history of intellectual resistance behind the iron curtain. Greenwood Press Reprint.
  • Granville, Johanna. "Imre Nagy aka 'Volodya' – A Dent in the Martyr's Halo?", "Cold War International History Project Bulletin", no. 5 (Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, Washington, DC), Spring, 1995, pp. 28, and 34–37.
  • Granville, Johanna, "The First Domino: International Decision Making During the Hungarian Crisis of 1956", Texas A & M University Press, 2004. ISBN 1-58544-298-4
  • Kadvany, John, 2001. Imre Lakatos and the Guises of Reason. Duke University Press. ISBN 0-8223-2659-0.
  • KGB Chief Kryuchkov to CC CPSU, 16 June 1989 (trans. Johanna Granville). Cold War International History Project Bulletin 5 (1995): 36 [from: TsKhSD, F. 89, Per. 45, Dok. 82.].
  • Arato, Andrew, and Breines, Paul, 1979. The Young Lukács and the Origins of Western Marxism. New York: Seabury Press.
  • Baldacchino, John, 1996. Post-Marxist Marxism: Questioning the Answer: Difference and Realism after Lukacs and Adorno. Brookfield, VT: Avebury.
  • Corredor, Eva L., 1987. György Lukács and the Literary Pretext. New York: P. Lang.
  • Heller, Agnes, 1983. Lukacs Revalued. Blackwell.
  • Kettler, David, 1970. "Marxism and Culture: Lukács in the Hungarian Revolutions of 1918/19," Telos, No. 10, Winter 1971, pp. 35–92
  • Kołakowski, Leszek (2005). Main Currents of Marxism. London: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-32943-8.
  • Lichtheim, George (1970). Georg Lukács. New York: Viking Press. ISBN 0670019097.
  • Löwy, Michael, 1979. Georg Lukács—From Romanticism to Bolshevism. Trans. Patrick Chandler. London: NLB.
  • Marcus, Judith T.; Tarr, Zoltán (1989). Georg Lukács: Theory, Culture, and Politics. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers. ISBN 0887382444.
  • Lukács, Georg (1971). History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics. Cambridge: MIT Press. ISBN 0262620200.
  • Meszaros, Istvan, 1972. Lukács' Concept of Dialectic. London: The Merlin Press. ISBN 978-0850361599
  • Muller, Jerry Z., 2002. The Mind and the Market: Capitalism in Western Thought. Anchor Books.
  • Shafai, Fariborz, 1996. The Ontology of Georg Lukács : Studies in Materialist Dialectics. Brookfield, USA: Avebury. ISBN 978-1859724224
  • Sharma, Sunil, 1999. The Structuralist Philosophy of the Novel: a Marxist Perspective: a Critique of Georg Luckács [sic], Lucien Goldmann, Alan Swingewood & Michel Zéraffa. Delhi: S.S. Publishers.
  • Snedeker, George, 2004. The Politics of Critical Theory: Language, Discourse, Society. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
  • Thompson, Michael J. (ed.), 2010. Georg Lukács Reconsidered: Essays on Politics, Philosophy, and Aesthetics. Continuum Books.
  • Kadarkay, Arpad, 1991. Georg Lukács: Life, Thought, and Politics. Basil Blackwell.

Further reading

  • Furner, James. "Commodity Form Philosophy," in Marx on Capitalism: The Interaction-Recognition-Antinomy Thesis. (Leiden: Brill, 2018). pp. 85-128.
  • Gerhardt, Christina. "Georg Lukács," The International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest, 1500 to the Present. 8 vols. Ed. Immanuel Ness (Malden: Blackwell, 2009). 2135–2137.
  • Hohendahl, Peter Uwe. "The Scholar, The Intellectual, And The Essay: Weber, Lukács, Adorno, And Postwar Germany," German Quarterly 70.3 (1997): 217–231.
  • Hohendahl, Peter U. "Art Work And Modernity: The Legacy Of Georg Lukács," New German Critique: An Interdisciplinary Journal of German Studies 42.(1987): 33–49.
  • Hohendahl, Peter Uwe, and Blackwell Jeanine. "Georg Lukács In The GDR: On Recent Developments In Literary Theory," New German Critique: An Interdisciplinary Journal of German Studies 12.(1977): 169–174.
  • Jameson, Fredric. Marxism and Form: Twentieth-century Dialectical Theories of Literature. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972.
  • Stern, L. "George Lukacs: An Intellectual Portrait," Dissent, vol. 5, no. 2 (Spring 1958), pp. 162–173.

External links

Political offices
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People's Commissar of Education
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József Pogány
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József Darvas
Minister of Culture
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post abolished
Critical theory

Critical theory is the reflective assessment and critique of society and culture by applying knowledge from the social sciences and the humanities. As a term, critical theory has two meanings with different origins and histories: the first originated in sociology and the second originated in literary criticism, whereby it is used and applied as an umbrella term that can describe a theory founded upon critique; thus, the theorist Max Horkheimer described a theory as critical insofar as it seeks "to liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them."In sociology and political philosophy, the term "Critical Theory" describes the Western Marxist philosophy of the Frankfurt School, which was developed in Germany in the 1930s. This use of the term requires proper noun capitalization, whereas "a critical theory" or "a critical social theory" may have similar elements of thought, but not stress its intellectual lineage specifically to the Frankfurt School. Frankfurt School critical theorists drew on the critical methods of Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud. Critical theory maintains that ideology is the principal obstacle to human liberation. Critical theory was established as a school of thought primarily by the Frankfurt School theoreticians Herbert Marcuse, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Walter Benjamin, and Erich Fromm. Modern critical theory has additionally been influenced by György Lukács and Antonio Gramsci, as well as the second generation Frankfurt School scholars, notably Jürgen Habermas. In Habermas's work, critical theory transcended its theoretical roots in German idealism and progressed closer to American pragmatism. Concern for social "base and superstructure" is one of the remaining Marxist philosophical concepts in much of contemporary critical theory.Postmodern critical theory politicizes social problems "by situating them in historical and cultural contexts, to implicate themselves in the process of collecting and analyzing data, and to relativize their findings."

György Lukács (politician)

György Lukács de Erzsébetváros (10 September 1865 – 28 September 1950) was a Hungarian politician, who served as Minister of Religion and Education between 1905 and 1906. From 1887 to 1897 he worked for the Ministry of the Interior. He suggested to nationalise the institution of parish register. He had significant role in the crush of the peasant movements. He was member of the Diet of Hungary from 1921. During the Regency he was active in the works of the Interparliamentary Union and the League of Nations Union. He served as president of the Hungarian National Fine Art Association and manager chairman of the chauvinist Hungarian Revisionist League party.

György Lukács bibliography

There follows a bibliography of György Lukács. György Lukács (13 April 1885 – 4 June 1971) was a Hungarian Marxist philosopher and literary critic.

György Márkus

György Márkus (13 April 1934 – 5 October 2016) was a Hungarian philosopher, belonging to the small circle of critical theorists closely associated with György Lukács, usually referred to as the "Budapest School".

History and Class Consciousness

History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics (German: Geschichte und Klassenbewußtsein – Studien über marxistische Dialektik) is a 1923 book by the Hungarian philosopher György Lukács, in which the author re-emphasizes Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel's influence on Karl Marx, analyses the concept of class consciousness, and attempts a philosophical justification of Bolshevism.

The book helped to create Western Marxism and is the work for which Lukács is best known. Some of Lukács's pronouncements in History and Class Consciousness have become famous. Nevertheless, it was condemned in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and Lukács later repudiated its ideas, and came to believe that in it he had confused Hegel's concept of alienation with that of Marx. It has been suggested that the concept of reification as employed in Martin Heidegger's Being and Time (1927) shows the strong influence of History and Class Consciousness, though such a relationship remains disputed.

Karl Korsch

Karl Korsch (German: [kɔɐ̯ʃ]; August 15, 1886 – October 21, 1961) was a German Marxist theoretician. Along with György Lukács, Korsch is considered to be one of the major figures responsible for laying the groundwork for Western Marxism in the 1920s.

Lectures on Aesthetics

Lectures on Aesthetics (LA; German: Vorlesungen über die Ästhetik, VÄ) is a compilation of notes from university lectures on aesthetics given by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel in Heidelberg in 1818 and in Berlin in 1820/21, 1823, 1826 and 1828/29. It was compiled in 1835 by his student Heinrich Gustav Hotho, using Hegel's own hand-written notes and notes his students took during the lectures, but Hotho's work may render some of Hegel's thought more systematic than Hegel's initial presentation.Hegel's Aesthetics is regarded by many as one of the greatest aesthetic theories to have been produced since Aristotle. Hegel's thesis about the historical dissolution of art has been the subject of much scholarly debate and influenced such thinkers like Theodor W. Adorno, Martin Heidegger, György Lukács, Jacques Derrida and Arthur Danto. Hegel was himself influenced by Johann Joachim Winckelmann, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Schiller and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling. Heidegger calls Hegel's Lectures on Aesthetics "the most comprehensive reflection on the essence of art that the West possesses".

Lukacs and Heidegger

Lukacs and Heidegger: Towards a New Philosophy (French: Lukacs et Heidegger) is a book by Lucien Goldmann published after his death in 1973.


Lukács (pronounced [ˈlukaːt͡ʃ]) is a Hungarian surname, derived from the given name Lukács, which is the Hungarian equivalent of Lucas. Alternative spellings and derivative forms in neighboring languages include Lukacs, Lukáč, Lukač, Lukach, Lucaci and Lukačić. The surname may refer to:

Ádám Lukács (born 1996), Hungarian ice dancer

Attila Richard Lukacs (born 1962), Canadian artist

Dénes Lukács (colonel) (1816–1868), Hungarian colonel

Dénes Lukács (tennis) (born 1987), Hungarian tennis player

Eugene Lukacs (1906–1987), American statistician

György Lukács (1885–1971), Hungarian philosopher

György Lukács (politician) (1865–1950), Hungarian politician

István Lukács (1912–1960), Hungarian footballer

Ivan Lukačić (1587–1648), Croatian musician

John Lukacs (born 1924), American historian

John R. Lukacs (born 1947), American anthropologist

László Lukács (1850–1932), Hungarian politician and prime minister

Milan Lukač (born 1985), Serbian footballer

Paul Lukas (1891–1971), American actor

Pál Lukács (1919–1981), Hungarian violist

Paul Lukacs (1918–1982), Hungarian-Israeli bridge player

Raymond Lukacs (born 1988), Romanian footballer

Symeon Lukach (1893–1964), Ukrainian bishop

Tamás Lukács (born 1950), Hungarian politician

Tihamér Lukács (born 1980), Hungarian footballer

Vanda Lukács (born 1992), Hungarian tennis player

Vincent Lukáč (born 1954), Slovak ice hockey player and coach

Zoltán Lukács (born 1969), Hungarian politician

Marxist bibliography

Marxism is a method of socioeconomic analysis that analyzes class relations and societal conflict, that uses a materialist interpretation of historical development, and a dialectical view of social transformation. Marxist methodology uses economic and sociopolitical inquiry and applies that to the critique and analysis of the development of capitalism and the role of class struggle in systemic economic change.

This is a Marxist bibliography sorted by author.

Michael Löwy

Michael Löwy (born May 6, 1938 in São Paulo, Brazil) is a French-Brazilian Marxist sociologist and philosopher. He is emeritus research director in social sciences at the CNRS (French National Center of Scientific Research) and lectures at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS; Paris, France). Author of books on Karl Marx, Che Guevara, Liberation Theology, György Lukács, Walter Benjamin, Lucien Goldmann and Franz Kafka, he received the CNRS Silver Medal in 1994.

Mikhail Lifshitz

Mikhail Aleksandrovich Lifshitz (Russian: Михаи́л Алекса́ндрович Ли́фшиц; July 23, 1905, in Melitopol, Tavria (Crimea) – September 28, 1983, in Moscow) was a Soviet Marxian literary critic and philosopher of art who had a long and controversial career in the former Soviet Union. In the 1930s, he strongly influenced Marxist views on aesthetics while being a close associate of György Lukács. He also published important compilations of early Marxist literature on the role of art. In 1975, he was elected as a full member of the USSR Academy of Arts.

Open Marxism

Open Marxism is a school of thought which draws on libertarian socialist critiques of party communism and stresses the need for openness to praxis and history through an anti-positivist (dialectical) method grounded in the "practical reflexivity" of Karl Marx's own concepts. The "openness" in open Marxism also refers to a non-deterministic view of history in which the unpredictability of class struggle is foregrounded.The sources of open Marxism are many, from György Lukács' return to the philosophical roots of Marx's thinking to council communism and from anarchism to elements of Autonomism and situationism. Intellectual affinities with autonomist Marxism were especially strong and led to the creation of the journal The Commoner (2001–2012) following in the wake of previous open Marxist journals Arguments (1958–1962) and Common Sense (1987–1999). In the 1970s and 1980s, state-derivationist debates around the separation of the economic and the political under capitalism unfolded in the San Francisco-based working group Kapitalistate and the Conference of Socialist Economists journal Capital & Class, involving many of the theorists of Open Marxism and significantly influencing its theoretical development.Three volumes entitled Open Marxism were published by Pluto Press in the 1990s. Recent work by open Marxists has included a revaluation of Theodor W. Adorno. Those commonly associated with open Marxism include John Holloway, Simon Clarke, Werner Bonefeld, Ana C Dinerstein, Richard Gunn, Kosmas Psychopedis, Adrian Wilding, Peter Burnham, Mike Rooke, Hans-Georg Backhaus, Helmut Reichelt, Harry Cleaver, Johannes Agnoli, Kostas Axelos and Henri Lefebvre.

Realism in the Balance

"Realism in the Balance" (German: Es geht um den Realismus) is a 1938 essay by Georg Lukács (written while he lived in Soviet Russia and first published in a German literary journal) in which he defends the "traditional" realism of authors like Thomas Mann in the face of rising Modernist movements, such as Expressionism, Surrealism, and Naturalism. Practitioners of these movements, such as James Joyce, placed an emphasis on displaying the discord and disenchantment of modern life through techniques that highlight individualism and individual consciousness, such as stream of consciousness. In his essay, Lukács presents a complex, nuanced view of these movements and their relation to what he regards as "true" realism: On the one hand, Lukács argues that such movements are a historical necessity, but he also strongly expresses the sentiment that these new artistic movements lack what he views as revolutionary power.

Soul and Form

Soul and Form (German: Die Seele und die Formen) is a collection of essays in literary criticism by Georg Lukács. It was first published in Hungarian in 1908, then later republished in German with additional essays in 1911. Alongside The Theory of the Novel (1916) it is one of his most famous pre-Marxist critical works. The French Marxist intellectual Michael Löwy has described it as a text of pre-Marxist Romantic anti-capitalism. The collection primarily features essays on individual writers or philosophers, including Laurence Sterne, Richard Beer-Hofmann, Paul Ernst, Søren Kierkegaard, Theodor Storm, Novalis, Rudolf Kassner, Stefan George and Charles-Louis Philippe.

Spectacle (critical theory)

The spectacle is a central notion in the Situationist theory, developed by Guy Debord in his 1967 book, The Society of the Spectacle. In its limited sense, spectacle means the mass media, which are "its most glaring superficial manifestation." Debord said that the society of the spectacle came to existence in the late 1920s.The critique of the spectacle is a development and application of Karl Marx's concept of fetishism of commodities, reification and alienation, and the way it was reprised by György Lukács in 1923. In the society of the spectacle, the commodities rule the workers and the consumers, instead of being ruled by them, are passive subjects that contemplate the reified spectacle.

The Young Hegel

The Young Hegel (German: Der junge Hegel: Über die Beziehungen von Dialektik und Ökonomie) is a book by György Lukács about the philosophical development of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. The work was completed in 1938 and published in Zurich in 1948.

The book challenged many conventional readings of Hegel as a Conservative Idealist. He claims Hegel was less concerned with escapism than socioeconomic analysis. Lukacs discounts the metaphysical side of Hegel, and insists he was influenced by the materialism and anti-Christian secularism of the Enlightenment. Lukacs claims that Hegel was a Young Jacobin Radical and saw the radical direct democracy of the Greek polis as a model to emulate.

Tibor Déry

Tibor Déry (18 October 1894 in Budapest – 18 August 1977 in Budapest) was a Hungarian writer and poet. He also wrote under the names Tibor Dániel and Pál Verdes.

György Lukács praised Dery as being "the greatest depicter of human beings of our time".

Western Marxism

Western Marxism is a current of Marxist theory arising from Western and Central Europe in the aftermath of the 1917 October Revolution in Russia and the ascent of Leninism. The term denotes a loose collection of theorists who advanced an interpretation of Marxism distinct from that codified by the Soviet Union.The Western Marxists placed more emphasis on Marxism's philosophical and sociological aspects, and its origins in the philosophy of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (for which reason it is sometimes called Hegelian Marxism) and what they called "Young Marx" (i.e. the more humanistic early works of Marx). Although some early figures such as György Lukács and Antonio Gramsci had been prominent in political activities, Western Marxism became primarily the reserve of the academia especially after World War II. Prominent figures included Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer.

Since the 1960s, the concept has been closely associated with the New Left. While many of the Western Marxists were adherents of Marxist humanism, the term also encompasses their critics in the form of the structural Marxism of Louis Althusser.

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