Georg Lukács

Esther Leslie (Birkbeck, University of London)
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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 Lukács held considerable power in matters of cultural…

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Citation: Leslie, Esther. "Georg Lukács". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 February 2003 [, accessed 02 December 2023.]

2816 Georg Lukács 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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