The Third International after Lenin

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Moleskine of a future Marxist

Documenta Notebooks: György Lukács

The fifth notebook in Documenta / Hatje Cantz’s excellent 100 Notes--100 Thoughts series is a fascinating archival retrieval: a 1906/7 notebook by one of the founders of the western Marxist tradition, the philosopher and critic György Lukács (1885–1971).
Documenta Notebooks: György Lukács
The notebook dates back to Lukács’ mid-twenties, when he undertook a visit to Berlin to attend the lectures of one of Germany’s first sociologists, Georg Simmel. The lectures Lukács attended were actually on problems of logic, and his notes on them--reproduced here in facsimile--will alas only be readable to those fluent in Hungarian. Nonetheless the document is loaded with historical resonance, not only as a memento of the encounter of these two exacting minds, but also because the back of the notebook contains a draft of Lukács’s “Sociology of Art,” which proposes “a sociology of art that is not restricted to the study of external influences on the arts, but includes an analysis of art as a social interaction in itself.” Also developed in this essay is Lukács' idea of "worldview" (the sum of cultural factors that determines what an artistic experience can be).

The notebook was chosen for the series by Lívia Páldi, chief curator at the Mûcsarnok / Kunsthalle Budapest since 2007 and collaborator on Documenta 13, who recounts in her introduction the notebook's precarious, nomadic existence before its arrival at the Lukács Archives and Library in Budapest in the late 70s.

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