Recovering Georg Lukács

In: Historical Materialism
Daniel Lopez La Trobe University Melbourne

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I review Georg Lukács Reconsidered and Georg Lukács: The Fundamental Dissonance of Existence from a Lukácsian point of view, informed by a close reading of his works from the 1920s. The essays in these books, despite their heterogeneity, contribute towards revivifying Lukácsian Marxism, both philosophically and literarily. Specifically, many of the contributors criticise Honneth’s appropriation of the theory of reification, rejecting readings of Lukács that hypostatise or reify aspects of his theory. They begin to explore Lukács’s labour-centred ontology and the resultant philosophy of praxis, most importantly, returning the emphasis to the mediations whereby reification is overcome as a process, in contrast to those who see him as a voluntarist or messianic thinker. This allows a deeper engagement with Lukács’s theory of politics. While I contend that the authors explore this insufficiently, I conclude that these two books signify an important rediscovery of Lukács.

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