‘The adequate presentation of the complete human personality’, Lukács and the nineteenth-century realist tradition
in Realist film theory and cinema
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This chapter describes the model of aesthetic realism developed by the Hungarian theorist György Lukács, and sets out the parameters of a Lukácsian theory of cinematic realism. It discusses one of the most trenchant criticisms levelled against Lukács: that the model of realism is umbilically associated with a particular form of literature: the nineteenth-century realist novel. As a consequence of this concentrated focus, the chapter dismisses some of the most vital artistic movements of the nineteenth and twentieth the nineteenth-century realist tradition and examines the two central aspects of Lukács's theory: the notion of alienation and the model of the intensive totality. Lukács's writings on cinematic realism are also considered and contradicted for the type of naturalist/impressionist realism.

Realist film theory and cinema

The nineteenth-century Lukácsian and intuitionist realist traditions

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