Lukács George

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Lukács George

(1885-1971) widely influential Hungarian Marxist, philosopher and literary theorist. The young Lukács attended the Universities of Budapest, Berlin and Heidelberg where he studied under George SIMMEL and Max WEBER. At the end of the First World War he joined the Communist Party and became Deputy Commissar for Education in the short-lived 1919 Hungarian Soviet Republic. His literary writings which attempted to develop a Marxist theory of AESTHETICS established him as a theorist of international distinction. The best-known book by Lukács, History and Class Consciousness (1923) covered several major themes, including the importance of HEGEL for the interpretation of Marx; Marx's theory of ALIENATION; and the relationship between ideology, class consciousness and revolution. In ways that later influenced members of the Western European NEW LEFT and members of the FRANKFURT SCHOOL OF CRITICAL THEORY, Lukács argued against scientistic interpretations of Marxism, emphasizing the importance of historical PRAXIS. In some tension with this view, however, he also gave strong support to Leninist conceptions of the supremacy of the Communist Party. In 1930 Lukács moved to the Soviet Union where he remained until 1945 when he was appointed Professor of Aesthetics and Philosophy at the University of Budapest. He was always a controversial figure, accused by his critics of condoning STALINISM. Nevertheless, during the Hungarian popular uprising of 1956 he was appointed Minister of Culture in Imre Nagy's government. Other major works by Lukács include Theory of the Novel (1920), The Historical Novel (1937), The Young Hegel (1948), The Meaning of Contemporary Realism (1963), On Aesthetics (1963), Solzhenitsyn (1969).