Georg [György] Lukács


Georg (György) Lukács (1885–1971) was a literary theorist and philosopher who is widely viewed as one of the founders of “Western Marxism”. Lukács is best known for his pre-World War II writings in literary theory, aesthetic theory and Marxist philosophy. Today, his most widely read works are the Theory of the Novel of 1916 and History and Class Consciousness of 1923. In History and Class Consciousness, Lukács laid out a wide-ranging critique of the phenomenon of “reification” in capitalism and formulated a vision of Marxism as a self-conscious transformation of society. This text became an important reference point both for critical social theory and for many currents of countercultural thought. Even though his later work could not capture the imagination of the intellectual public as much as his earlier writings, Lukács remained a prolific writer and an influential theorist in his later career and published hundreds of articles on literary theory and aesthetics, not to mention numerous books, including two massive works on aesthetics and ontology. He was also active as a politician in Hungary in both the revolution of 1919 and during the events of 1956. Today, his work remains of philosophical interest not only because it contains the promise of a reformulation of an undogmatic,non-reductionist Marxism, but also because it connects a philosophicalapproach drawing on Neo-Kantianism, Hegel and Marx with an acutecultural sensitivity and a powerful critique of modern life inspiredby Weber’s and Simmel’s sociological analyses of modernrationalization.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy