Lukácsian film theory and cinema

A study of Georg Lukács’ writings on film, 1913–71

Author: Ian Aitken

This book explores Georg Lukács' writings on film. The Hungarian Marxist critic Georg Lukács is primarily known as a literary theorist, but he also wrote extensively on the cinema. These writings have remained little known in the English-speaking world because the great majority of them have never actually been translated into English until now. This book contains the most important writings and the translations. This book thus makes a decisive contribution to understandings of Lukács within the field of film studies, and, in doing so, also challenges many existing preconceptions concerning his theoretical position. For example, whilst Lukács' literary theory is well known for its repudiation of naturalism, in his writings on film Lukács appears to advance a theory and practice of film that can best be described as naturalist. Lukácsian film theory and cinema is divided into two parts. In part one, Lukács' writings on film are explored, and placed within relevant historical and intellectual contexts, whilst part two consists of the essays themselves.

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‘What makes Aitken's analysis peculiar is the seriousness and consistency with which he delves into Lukács' philosophical and political universe. He explicitly takes the time to unravel the philosophical framework through which the aesthetic notions are then analysed. The filmic medium is thus understood for itself, in its own terms, but also as embedded in a complex of conceptual relations exceeding it. Hence, his book not only gives a comprehensive insight into Lukács' original thinking and the way he correlates politics, philosophy, art and film, but also an illustration of the fruitfulness and the need of trespassing (while respecting at the same time) the intellectual division of labour in the analysis of specific art forms, particularly the filmic medium.'
Stefanie Baumann (IFILNOVA)

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