Lukacs, Georg

born Gyorgy Szegedy von Lukacs (1885-1971)
   philosopher; a brilliant Marxist theorist, known for his critique of Marxism. Although he was a Hungarian, born to a Jewish family in Budapest (his father, Hungarian state counselor Joszef Lowinger, changed his name to Lukacs in 1890), he was raised in a German milieu. He studied economics and law and earned a doctorate at a provincial university, but he retained a youthful commitment to modern drama; he founded a theater* group, the Thaliabuhne, in 1904. From 1906 he wrote for Huszadik Szazad (also known as 20 Jahrhundert [20th Century]), the journal of Budapest's Social Sciences Society.
   Drawn to philosophy, Lukacs settled from 1906 for brief periods in Berlin* and, after meeting Georg Simmel, attended the philosopher's lectures and sem-inars. His first serious essays, which appeared in Nyugat (Western), reflected Simmel's theories. In 1908 his two-volume Entwicklungsgeschichte des mod-ernen Dramas (History of the development of modern drama) won him the Kisfaludy Tarsasag prize. Using part of the work as a dissertation, he returned to Budapest in 1909 to win a second doctorate (he failed to convince Simmel to accept the work at Berlin). In 1912 he went to Heidelberg to study with Max Weber.* But while he was active in Heidelberg's Weber Circle, he was drawn to the neo-Kantianism of Wilhelm Windelband and Heinrich Rickert,* an inter-est he later abandoned in favor of Hegel. Back in Budapest in 1915, he founded the Sunday Circle (Sonntagskreis), an eclectic collection of idealists whose members included Karl Mannheim* and the poet Bela Balazs. In 1917 the group spawned the Freie Schule für Geisteswissenschaften (Free School for Humani-ties). A counteruniversity offering lectures for two semesters, the Freie Schule opposed positivism and materialism (providing a key to Lukacs's later disquiet with Marxism).
   In 1918 Lukacs joined the Hungarian Communist Party and began editing the theoretical journal Die Internationale. A member of the Party's central committee, he became Cultural Minister and political commissar in Bela Kun's short-lived Soviet Republic. After Kun's collapse in 1919, Lukacs performed Party work in Budapest and Vienna while contributing to such pe-riodicals as Rote Fahne. Mirroring the ideas of Karl Korsch,* his writings, the best-known being Geschichte und Klassenbewusstsein (History and class con-sciousness, 1923), accused the Marxist parties of abandoning the Hegelian method inherent in Marx's ideas. Only by wedding itself to a holistic dialectical method could German socialism blend theory and practice. Moscow condemned his ideas. Expelled from Austria* in 1930, Lukaacs worked in Moscow at the Marx-Engels Institute, but returned to Berlin in 1932. He joined several Marxist groups and wrote regularly for Die Linkskurve* and Internationale Literatur. Upon Hitler's* seizure of power, he fled to Moscow, where, as a member of the Academy of Science of the USSR, he worked with other Hungarian eamigreas. The Soviets never trusted Lukaacs; fearing for his survival, he felt compelled to renounce Geschichte und Klassenbewusstsein on three separate occasions. With the collapse of Hungary's fascist regime in 1944, he returned to Budapest and soon became Professor for Aesthetics and Cultural Philosophy at the university. Elected to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, he sat in the Hungarian parlia-ment during 1949-1956. After serving with Imre Nagy's cabinet during the uprising of 1956, he was briefly deported to Rumania. He thereafter devoted his life to intellectual endeavors.
   REFERENCES:Gluck, Georg Lukacs; Kadarkay, Georg Lukacs; Lunn, Marxism andMod-ernism; George Parkinson, Georg Lukacs; Wurgaft, Activists.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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