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New Left Review I/110, July-August 1978

New Left Review

Introduction to Lukács

The aesthetic debates within German Marxism are now acknowledged to constitute one of the most remarkable sequences in European cultural history this century. Few episodes either in the general history of Marxist theory or in the course of aesthetic discussion as a whole can match the depth and range of the many-sided controversies that engaged Benjamin and Brecht, Adorno, Lukács and Bloch, across some three decades, from the thirties to the sixties. The major texts of the debate—Bloch’s public clash with Lukács, the Adorno-Benjamin correspondence, Brecht’s critique of Lukács and the record of his discussions with Benjamin in Denmark, Adorno’s post-war reflections on Lukács’s criticism and on the Brechtian theatre—have recently been assembled into a single volume, Aesthetics and Politics (nlb 1977). These are supplemented here with a series of four excerpts from Lukács’s culminating contribution to the theory of art, the Ästhetik. [1] Georg Lukács, Ästhetik, Neuwied and Berlin 1963 (2 vols.). See, respectively, Vol. 11, pp. 759–66; Vol. 1, pp. 679–80; Vol. 11, pp. 185–8; and Vol. ii, pp. 773–4.

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