The Culture of People’s Democracy

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Published Nov 2016
ISBN: 9789004217270

Hungarian Essays on Literature, Art, and Democratic Transition, 1945-1948

György Lukács. Edited and translated by Tyrus Miller, University of California at Santa Cruz

When the Hungarian Marxist philosopher and literary critic György Lukács returned to Hungary from Moscow after World War II, he engaged in a highly active phase of writing and speaking about the democratic culture needed to exorcise the remnants of fascism and to create the conditions for the advance of socialism in Central Europe. His essays of the period, including the influential volume Literature and Democracy, appear here for the first time in English translation. Engaged with questions of realist and modernist world-views in art, the relations of literary history to politics and social history, and the role of cultural intellectuals in public life, these essays offer a new look at one of the most influential Marxist thinkers of the twentieth century.

Biographical note

György Lukács, 1885-1971, was one of the twentieth century’s most influential Marxist philosophers and literary critics.

Tyrus Miller, Ph.D. (1994), Stanford University, is Professor of Literature at the University of California at Santa Cruz. He is the author of books and articles on twentieth-century culture including Late Modernism: Politics, Fiction, and the Arts between the World Wars (University of California Press, 1999) and Singular Examples: Artistic Politics and the Neo-Avant-Garde (Northwestern University Press, 2009)


Scholars interested in the history of Marxism and socialism, twentieth-century literary criticism, and cultural historians of twentieth-century Central Europe.

Table of contents

Editor’s Introduction

Literature and Democracy (1947)

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Democracy and Culture
Chapter 3: Lenin and the Question of Culture
Chapter 4: Literature and Democracy I
Chapter 5: Literature and Democracy II
Chapter 6: Populist Writers in the Balance
Chapter 7: Poetry of the Party
Chapter 8: Free or Directed Art?
Chapter 9: Against Old and New Legends
Chapter 10: The Unity of Hungarian Literature

Supplementary Related Essays, 1947–8

Chapter 11: The Tasks of Marxist Philosophy in New Democracy (1947)
Chapter 12: On Proletcult and Kitsch (1947)
Chapter 13: Hungarian Theories of Abstract Art (1947)
Chapter 14: The Hungarian Communist Party and Hungarian Culture (1948)
Chapter 15: The Revision of Hungarian Literary History (1948)

Historical and Biographical Glossary