Georg [György] Lukács

Stahl, Titus
Edited by Zalta, Edward N.
Encyclopedia entry
in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2016



Georg (György) Lukács (1885–1971) was a literary theoristand philosopher who is widely viewed as one of the founders of“Western Marxism”. Lukács is best known for hispre-World War II writings in literary theory, aesthetic theory andMarxist philosophy. Today, his most widely read works are theTheory of the Novel of 1916 and History and ClassConsciousness of 1923. In History and ClassConsciousness, Lukács laid out a wide-ranging critique ofthe phenomenon of “reification” in capitalism andformulated a vision of Marxism as a self-conscious transformation of society. This text became an important reference point both forcritical social theory and for many currents of counterculturalthought. Even though his later work could not capture the imaginationof the intellectual public as much as his earlier writings,Lukács remained a prolific writer and an influential theorist inhis later career and published hundreds of articles on literary theoryand aesthetics, not to mention numerous books, including two massiveworks on aesthetics and ontology. He was also active as a politicianin Hungary in both the revolution of 1919 and during the events of1956. Today, his work remains of philosophical interest not onlybecause 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.


Date of Publication
Edited by
Zalta, Edward N.
Stanford University