German Realists in the Nineteenth Century

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MIT Press, Jul 24, 2000 - Literary Criticism - 392 pages
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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.

  

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Contents

The Tragedy of Heinrich von Kleist 1936
17
Eichendorff 1940
50
The Real Georg Biichner
69
Heinrich Heine as National Poet 1935
95
Gottfried Keller 1939
157
Wilhelm Raabe 1939
248
The Later Fontane 1950
283
Notes
335
Index
355
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About the author (2000)

Georg Lukacs (1885 1971) was a Hungarian Marxist philosopher and literary critic. Most scholars consider him to be the founder of the tradition of Western Marxism. He contributed the ideas of reification and class consciousness to Marxist philosophy and theory, and his literary criticism was influential in thinking about realism and about the novel as a literary genre. He served briefly as Hungary's Minister of Culture following the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.

Rodney Livingstone is Professor Emeritus in German Studies at the University of Southampton. He is well known as a translator of books by Walter Benjamin, Theodor W. Adorno, and Max Weber, among others.

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