György Lukács was a Hungarian Marxist philosopher, writer, and
literary critic who shaped mainstream European Communist thought.
Soul and Form was his first book, published in 1910, and
it established his reputation, treating questions of linguistic
expressivity and literary style in the works of Plato, Kierkegaard,
Novalis, Sterne, and others. By isolating the formal techniques
these thinkers developed, Lukács laid the groundwork for his later
work in Marxist aesthetics, a field that introduced the historical
and political implications of text.
For this centennial edition, John T. Sanders and Katie Terezakis
add a dialogue entitled "On Poverty of Spirit," which Lukács wrote
at the time of Soul and Form, and an introduction by
Judith Butler, which compares Lukács's key claims to his later work
and subsequent movements in literary theory and criticism. In an
afterword, Terezakis continues to trace the Lukácsian system within
his writing and other fields. These essays explore problems of
alienation and isolation and the curative quality of aesthetic
form, which communicates both individuality and a shared human
condition. They investigate the elements that give rise to form,
the history that form implies, and the historicity that form
embodies. Taken together, they showcase the breakdown, in modern
times, of an objective aesthetics, and the rise of a new art born
from lived experience.
Subjects: Philosophy, Language & Literature
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