PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Jamie OsbornIn conversation with Sasha Dugdale
(PN Review 240)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PN Review Blog
Monthly Carcanet Books
Next Issue Vahni Capildeo The Boisterous Weeping of Margery Kempe Paul Muldoon The Fly Sinead Morrissey Put Off That Mask Jane Yeh Three Poems Sarah Rothenberg Poetry and Music: Exile and Return

This article is taken from PN Review 53, Volume 13 Number 3, January - February 1987.

Critic of Crisis Nicolas Tredell

The case of Georg Lukács remains compelling and controversial. To call him, with demeaning intent, a 'Marxist' critic is like calling F. R. Leavis a 'liberal-humanist' critic; their work has a range, a pressure, a cohesion that resists such pejorative placement. But Lukács was a Marxist, and one who stayed the course; who lived through the darkest oppressions of Stalinism; who served in two Communist governments in Hungary, those of Béla Kun in 1919 and Imre Nagy in 1956, and survived the fall of both; who could easily have gone West, whether recanting like a Kolakowski or keeping heterodox faith like a Bloch, but who chose not to do so. In 1968, when - the image is from a contemporary poster - Lenin wept as the Russian tanks destroyed the Prague springtime, Lukács apparently said: 'I suppose that the whole experiment that began in 1917 has now failed and has to be tried again at some other time and place' (Record of a Life, 1983). But in 1971 he declared: 'I have always thought that the worst form of socialism was better to live in than the best form of capitalism', and his final autobiographical notes affirmed: 'Authentic Marxism the only solution'.

But Lukács did not join the Hungarian Communist Party until December 1918, when he was thirty-nine, and that fate would not necessarily have been predicted for him. For instance, Irma Seidler, whom it seemed at one time he might marry, wrote to him in 1910: ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image