German Realists in the Nineteenth Century
Georg Lukács was one of the most controversial Marxist philosophers of this century. In this book, however, he appears in another guise: as a literary historian in the tradition of Sainte-Beuve and Belinsky, offering an advanced introduction to one of the richest periods of European literature.These previously untranslated essays - on Heinrich von Kleist, Joseph Eichendorff, Georg Büchner, Heinrich Heine, Gottfried Keller, Wilhelm Raabe, and Theodor Fontane - were written between 1936 and 1950. They illuminate Lukács's enduring love of German literature and his faith in the humanist tradition. In all of them, moreover, he can be seen actively intervening in the cultural debates of the time - on the role of literature, on the literary tradition in society, and on the relationship between literature and politics.Although his defense of realism against the crudities of socialist realism is implicit throughout these essays, Lukács's main purpose was to illuminate the intellectual, historical, and literary context in which these great writers worked, to attain a fuller understanding of what they wrote, and also to settle accounts with contemporary German critics who were attempting to create a fascist pantheon.Rodney Livingstone, Reader in German at the University of Southampton, has edited and translated numerous works by Lukács, Theodor Adorno, and others.