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Not Just Anybody

Terry Eagleton: ‘The Limits of Critique’, 5 January 2017

The Limits of Critique 
by Rita Felski.
Chicago, 238 pp., £17, October 2015, 978 0 226 29403 2
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... of a young American professor in pursuit of tenure as it would be unthinkable in the writing of Georg Lukács. It is the kind of thing anybody might say, and academics are not paid for being just anybody. There are also, however, political and institutional reasons for the rise of critique, which Felski seemingly regards as beyond her brief. It has always ...

Crack Open the Shells

Hal Foster: The Situationist Moment, 12 March 2009

Correspondence: The Foundation of the Situationist International (June 1957-60) 
by Guy Debord, translated by Stuart Kendall and John McHale.
Semiotext(e), 397 pp., £12.95, February 2009, 978 1 58435 055 2
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... he cautions Constant in spring 1959. ‘Take note of it.’ A Hegelian Marxist in the line of Georg Lukács, Debord looked for art to be superseded not by philosophy but into praxis. ‘Nothing has ever interested me beyond a certain practice of life,’ he comments more than once in these letters, and clearly he does not mean at the level of individual ...


Sheila Fitzpatrick: Andrei Platonov, 1 December 2016

... drew Igor to people. Sats had become a literary critic in the orbit of the Marxist philosopher Georg Lukács, a Hungarian émigré then associated with Literary Critic (Literaturnyi kritik), the only ‘thick’ journal left in Stalinist Moscow that was able to maintain a distinctive and more or less independent line. Despite the fact that it was a journal ...

He speaks too loud

David Blackbourn: Brecht, 3 July 2014

Bertolt Brecht: A Literary Life 
by Stephen Parker.
Bloomsbury, 704 pp., £30, February 2014, 978 1 4081 5562 2
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... was run by the brother of the painter and Communist Party member Rudolf Schlichter. Works by Georg Grosz hung on the wall; Kurt Tucholsky, Alfred Döblin and John Heartfield were regulars. Brecht and his crowd were fascinated by America, by its new, brutal version of capitalism which was remaking the world, by its technology and its popular culture. The ...
Shakespearean Negotiations: The Circulation of Social Energy in Renaissance England 
by Stephen Greenblatt.
Oxford, 205 pp., £22.50, April 1988, 0 19 812980 7
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Representing the English Renaissance 
edited by Stephen Greenblatt.
California, 372 pp., $42, February 1988, 0 520 06129 2
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... social and cultural theory, from Mikhail Bakhtin and Roman Jakobson to Jacques Lacan and Georg Lukacs: given the concern with collective representations, it is surprising to find no reference to Emile Durkheim. However, other essays in the volume have little in common with Greenblatt’s work, beyond some vague concern for the relation between ...

For the hell of it

Terry Eagleton: Norberto Bobbio, 22 February 2001

In Praise of Meekness: Essays on Ethics and Politics 
by Norberto Bobbio, translated by Teresa Chataway.
Polity, 186 pp., £50, October 2000, 0 7456 2309 3
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... materialism. It was not until the Marxist rediscovery of Hegel, most notably with the writings of Georg Lukács, that this sterile coupling could be set aside. It has cropped up again in our own time in the incongruous Kantian turn of some post-structuralist thought, which is just as incapable as mechanistic Marxism of plucking moral norms from its view of ...

Hasped and Hooped and Hirpling

Terry Eagleton: Beowulf, 11 November 1999

translated by Seamus Heaney.
Faber, 104 pp., £14.99, October 1999, 9780571201136
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... calls the ‘hand-built, rock-sure feel’ of a poem like this. But modern objects, typified for Georg Lukács by Charles Bovary’s extraordinarily convoluted, visually unrepresentable hat, have also shed what seems to us the unalienated candour of material things in Beowulf, which exist more as narrative elements than as literary enigmas. In any ...

Report from the Interior

Michael Wood: Fredric Jameson, 9 January 2014

The Antinomies of Realism 
by Fredric Jameson.
Verso, 432 pp., £20, October 2013, 978 1 78168 133 6
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... pleasure but to be fully invested in realism as Jameson understands it. Paul de Man once said that Georg Lukács wrote about the novel as if he was the novel. Jameson doesn’t do that, but he does write about the novel in terms of a long-standing intimacy with the form, as if it were a roommate, say. This is a report from the interior. The novel rises in late ...

What is the rational response?

Malcolm Bull: Climate Change Ethics, 24 May 2012

A Perfect Moral Storm: The Ethical Tragedy of Climate Change 
by Stephen Gardiner.
Oxford, 512 pp., £22.50, July 2011, 978 0 19 537944 0
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... their objective class interests in a way they could not yet do themselves. In this manner, as Georg Lukács puts it, ‘the party, on the basis of its knowledge of society in its totality, represents the interests of the whole proletariat (and in doing so mediates the interests of all the oppressed – the future of mankind).’ The virtual ...

Walter Scott’s Post-War Europe

Marilyn Butler, 7 February 1980

Walter Scott and the Historical Imagination 
by David Brown.
Routledge, 239 pp., £9.75, August 1980, 0 7100 0301 3
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... more than half a Jacobite. The literary academic, especially since the appearance in English of Georg Lukacs’s Historical Novel in 1962, has seen him as an intellectual of quite a different cast: the first novelist to represent the historical process, the first portrayer of society in terms that Adam Smith might and Karl Marx did approve. David Brown ...


Hal Foster: ‘Inventing Abstraction’, 7 February 2013

... of the mass-produced commodity, the becoming-abstract of capitalist life, as variously explored by Georg Simmel, György Lukács and Alfred Sohn-Rethel. After Greenberg (not to mention Theodor Adorno), we often think of abstraction as a withdrawal from the modern world, almost a safehouse for art, but the converse is just as true: the modern world became too ...

Heil Heidegger

J.P. Stern, 20 April 1989

Martin Heidegger: Unterwegs zu seiner Biographie 
by Hugo Ott.
Campus Verlag, 355 pp., DM 48, December 1988, 3 593 34035 6
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... period, many of which are based on Heidegger’s readings of the poetry of Hölderlin, Rilke and Georg Trakl. All the same, he does quote abundantly from Heidegger’s philosophical writings, and his comments on these quotations are closely related to the biography. The strength of the book lies in the presentation of a life against the background of all ...

Baffled Traveller

Jonathan Rée: Hegel, 30 November 2000

Hegel: An Intellectual Biography 
by Horst Althaus, translated by Michael Tarsh.
Polity, 292 pp., £45, May 2000, 0 7456 1781 6
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Hegel: Biographie 
by Jacques D'Hondt.
Calmann-Lévy, 424 pp., frs 150, October 1998, 2 7021 2919 6
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... on the university. They were particularly bleak for a moody middle-aged philosopher called Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. He was unemployed, unmarried and unloved (although his stroppy housekeeper was five months pregnant with their child); and since the arrival of the French soldiers he was homeless as well. Though he had recently been ...

Why should you be the only ones that sin?

Colm Tóibín, 5 September 1996

Thomas Mann: Eros and Literature 
by Anthony Heilbut.
Macmillan, 636 pp., £20, June 1996, 9780394556338
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Thomas Mann: A Biography 
by Ronald Hayman.
Bloomsbury, 672 pp., £20, March 1996, 0 7475 2531 5
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Thomas Mann: A Life 
by Donald Prater.
Oxford, 554 pp., £20, September 1995, 0 19 815861 0
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... incidentally, Katia confirms that the character of Naphta in The Magic Mountain was based on Georg Lukács.) Similarly, in Doctor Faustus, Pfeiffering, the place where Leverkuhn becomes a recluse, which is dealt with so lovingly and in such careful detail, and the family who looked after him, the Schweigestills, are all based on moments in the life of ...

From Soixante-Huit to Soixante-Neuf

Glen Newey: Slack-Sphinctered Pachyderm, 29 April 1999

Collected Papers: Technology, War and Fascism 
by Herbert Marcuse, edited by Douglas Kellner.
Routledge, 278 pp., £25, March 1998, 0 415 13780 2
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The Contract of Mutual Indifference: Political Philosophy after the Holocaust 
by Norman Geras.
Verso, 181 pp., £15, June 1998, 1 85984 868 0
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... himself acquired the dogma from such ‘Frankfurt School’ followers of avowed arch-conspirator Georg Lukacs and the sometime OSS and CIA agent, sometime Communist, and active conspirator Herbert Marcuse, who used to begin his lectures with the singsong ‘There are no conspiracies in history.’ The ‘authoritarian personality’ dogma of such ...

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