Georg Lukács’s argument of form and formation is traced from The Theory of the Novel to History and Class Consciousness, especially “Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat.” The concept of form in The Theory of the Novel is compared to the contemporary philosophy of science by Émile Boutroux’s and Georg Simmel’s lectures on Kant and, in particular, Kantian aesthetics. Form and formation are in the scientific and in the aesthetic context developed against the backdrop of the deficit or even lack of formal organization and, consequently, as a necessary yet contingent intervention. This understanding of form characterizes, for Lukács, the modern novel as well as the capitalist economic and social system. Against Hegel’s teleology of the spirit but consistent with Marx, the modernity of the novel and of capitalism, respectively, appears in Lukács thus as structurally defining in and of history.
“The Most Profound Confirmation of the Existence of a Dissonance”: Émile Boutroux, Georg Simmel, and Lukács’s Theory of the Novel, with an Outlook to History and Class Consciousness
Rüdiger Campe; “The Most Profound Confirmation of the Existence of a Dissonance”: Émile Boutroux, Georg Simmel, and Lukács’s Theory of the Novel, with an Outlook to History and Class Consciousness. New German Critique 1 August 2023; 50 (2 (149)): 49–70. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0094033X-10459940
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