Georg Lukâacs: Theory, Culture, and Politics

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Judith Marcus, Zoltâan Tarr
Transaction Publishers, Jan 1, 1989 - Political Science - 224 pages
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The Hungarian social philosopher and literary critic Georg Lukcs (1885-1971) is one of the seminal intellectual figures of the twentieth century. With the possible exception of Leon Trotsky, he is also widely recognized as the outstanding Marxist thinker aside from Marx himself. Yet, as Lewis Coser has observed, Lukcs has remained the most enigmatic figure of the modern communist movement. Why were his theories so important to modern political and social thought? How did he come to have such influence on so many distinguished Western Intellectuals, and for such a long time? And why, despite this, did so many of his writings infuriate contemporary readers and critics?

The centenary of Lukcs birth was celebrated in 1985 with symposia in a number of countries on several continents. Hundreds of Lukcs scholars and students attended, along with others who were interested in his time and his ideas, as well as the man and his work. In the process, new understanding of some of his most controversial concepts, ideas, and theses emerged. Newly discovered information and writings, as well as previously unknown preocupations in his seventy-year intellectual career were shared. This volume brings together some of the best and most original of the essays of participants in New York, Paris, Budapest, and Mexico City.

Some of the contributions in this volume are sharply critical of Lukcs; others are clearly admiring. A great many take an objective but severe look at diverse aspects of his work. Together they constitute a close examination of the life work of the man Thomas Mann once called "The most important literary critic of today," Jean-Paul Sartre hailed as a significant modern philosopher," and Irving Howe declared "a major force in European intellectual life." Collectively, this volume shows why Georg Lukcs remains one of the remarkable intellectual figures of the twentieth century, whose work is of enduring significance for us today.

Judith Marcus is on the faculty of Kenyon College. She is the author of Thomas Mann and Lukcs.

Zoltn Tarrwas visiting Fulbright Scholar to Budapest, Hungary, and has taught sociology and history at the City College of CUNY, New School for Social Research, and Rutgers University. He is author of The Frankfurt School, The Critical Theories of Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno.

 

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Page 22 - Man must be able to comprehend the present as a becoming. He can do this by seeing in it the tendencies out of whose dialectical opposition he can make the future.

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