Georg Lukács

(2507 words)
  • Esther Leslie (Birkbeck, University of London)

Georg Lukács is best known for his insistence on a realist aesthetic as the appropriate means to convey socialist ideas. To this end he engaged in various polemics and debates - perhaps most notably posing the ultimatum: “Franz Kafka or Thomas Mann?” Lukács plumps for the panoramic and clear-headed bourgeois realist Mann over Kafka's chronicling of alienation, confusion and modern bureaucracy-inspired horror. This part of Lukács' career is most notorious, but it is only a small part of a career in literary criticism and philosophical theory which stretches from 1909 to 1971. The polemical critique of modernism is concentrated in the 1930s, and to a certain extent is annexed to shifts in cultural policy in the Soviet Union where …

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Leslie, Esther. "Georg Lukács". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 February 2003
[, accessed 06 July 2015.]