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Kazimierz Kelles-Krauz was an extraordinary figure on the Polish political scene at the turn of the 20th century. A Marxist and patriot, academic and politician, Kelles-Krauz was most known for his efforts to reconcile the needs of the nation with international socialism. This volume, however, offers a selection of his writings centred on the history of ideas, published for the first time in English. Kelles-Krauz’s works, while Marxist at heart, linked ideas stemming from the concepts of German idealists, French positivists, as well as contemporary sociologists who offered a bridge between research on individuals and the workings of social systems. Kelles-Krauz, however, repeatedly transcended Marxist tenets, focusing on the construction of traditions, social norms, and the social role of art.

This edited volume was first published in Polish as Kazimierz Kelles-Krauz: Marksizm a socjologia. Wybór pism by Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego in 2014. This current work has been revised and translated into English.
This is the first study in any language to trace the emergence of the art historical interest in icon painting in the nineteenth century with its evident impact on the course of Russian modernism in the twentieth century. Given the surge in popularity of the Russian avant-garde, a book devoted to the gradual awareness of the artistic value of icons and their effect on Russian aesthetics is timely. The discoveries, the false starts, the incompetence, the interaction of dilettantes and academics, the meddling of tsars and church officials, all make for a fascinating tale of growing cultural awarenss. It is a story that prepares the ground for the explosioin of Russian cultural creativity and acceptability in the early twentieth century.