Aesthetic and Social Form after Lukács
Special Section New German Critique
This issue of the New German Critique features a special section dedicated to the legacy of the Hungarian political philosopher, literary critic, and revolutionary Georg Lukács (1885–1971) in contemporary debates in literary and political theory. The special section, “Aesthetic and Social Form after Lukács,” marks the centennial of Lukács’s groundbreaking History and Class Consciousness (1923) and centers on Lukács’s notion of “form.” For Lukács, form is always both aesthetic and social, and the concept thus mediates between literary and political theory.
Introduced by Jette Gindner and Patrick Eiden-Offe, the articles in this section examine the relevance of this expanded understanding of form for literary genre theory (Eva Geulen and Kirk Wetters), excavate its origins in Émile Boutroux and Georg Simmel (Rüdiger Campe), and recover form in the sense of an analytical totality as Lukács’s central contribution to contemporary Marxian theory (Jette Gindner). The last two essays explore the pertinence of Lukács’s theory for two of today’s most exigent political problems: Kohei Saito’s essay develops a Lukácsian “theory of metabolism between society and nature” as the foundation of an ecosocialist theory of the Anthropocene, while György Túry demonstrates the potential of Lukács’s political theory to dismantle neo-authoritarian ideology in Viktor Orbán’s Hungary. Rounding out the issue are two additional essays on contemporary theoretical concepts: André Fischer’s study of polytheism in political theory, which examines particularly Carl Schmitt, Ernst Cassirer, and Hans Blumenberg; and Marie Kolkenbrock’s study of “distance” in emotional culture critiques, focusing on Helmuth Plessner, Richard Sennett, and Frank Furedi.