Lukács, Gyorgy (1885–1971)
Lukács, Gyorgy (1885–1971)
Lukács, Gyorgy (1885–1971), Hungarian literary critic and philosopher. Gyorgy Lukács was one of the foremost Marxist literary critics and theorists. His influence on criticism has been considerable in both Western and Eastern Europe.
Gyorgy Lukács was born April 13, 1885, in Budapest, into a wealthy, intellectual, Jewish banking family. He was a brilliant student and was given a cosmopolitan education in Hungary and Germany. Until 1917 he devoted himself to art and esthetics and was not interested in politics. Writing primarily in German, he achieved his first fame as a literary critic with The Soul and the Forms (Hungarian, 1910; German, 1911) and The Theory of the Novel (1916 as an article; 1920 as a book), a study of the spiritual aspects of the novel. During World War I he taught in a German university.
Because of the shock of the war and the impressions made on him by the Russian Revolution, Lukács completed a move from Neo-Kantianism through Hegelianism to Marxism and joined the Hungarian Communist party. Despite the party's often official displeasure with his intellectual work, he remained faithful to it. In 1919 he served as deputy commissar of culture in the revolutionary Béla Kun Communist government in Hungary. After the government was overthrown, he had to emigrate to Vienna and for about a decade participated actively in party affairs and disputes.
In 1923 he wrote History and Class Consciousness. This complex, theoretical, sociological work explored important but, until then, little-emphasized aspects of Marx's work: the strong connection with Hegel, the importance of the dialectic, and the concept of alienation. He also examined the nature of the working class's own self-consciousness. Lukács argued that genuine Marxism was not a body of rigid economic truths but a method of analysis which could enable the revolution to be created. His interpretation of Marxism influenced many European intellectuals but was attacked as dangerously revisionist by Soviet dogmatists, and his career in party politics was over by the late 1920s.
With the danger of fascism growing in Europe, Lukács emigrated to the Soviet Union in 1933. He worked as a literary editor and critic, emphasizing the relationship between a work of art and its sociohistorical period. Several times he publicly repudiated all his previous work and occasionally shifted his views to conform to the official party line and paid lip service to official Soviet socialist realism, but he later regarded this as a tactical necessity to survive physically in Stalin's Russia and still get his ideas heard. Despite occasional Marxist-Leninist dogmatisms, he wrote perceptive criticism and concentrated on realistic 19th-century literature. Whether through personal predilection or the exigencies of the Communist party line, he became cold to almost the entire modernist movement in literature.
Returning to Hungary in 1945, Lukács was active in cultural affairs and as a professor of esthetics and cultural philosophy, but he was again stigmatized for his heterodox views. Deeply affected by Nikita Khrushchev's revelations of Stalin's crimes, he spoke out publicly against Stalinist dogmatism in Hungary, and in 1956, joined the short-lived Imré Nagy government. After the Soviet invasion of Hungary, he was exiled to Romania, allowed to return in 1957, and forced to retire and go into seclusion. However, after 1965 he was again publicly honored in Hungary. Lukács died on June 4, 1971, in Budapest.
"Lukács, Gyorgy (1885–1971)." Encyclopedia of European Social History. . Encyclopedia.com. (January 20, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/lukacs-gyorgy-1885-1971
"Lukács, Gyorgy (1885–1971)." Encyclopedia of European Social History. . Retrieved January 20, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/lukacs-gyorgy-1885-1971
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.