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Gyorgy Lukacs Library Project

György Lukács Library project: assistance sought
György Lukács was a fundamental figure in the development of twentieth-
century Marxist philosophy, theory of culture, and literary
criticism. His works have inspired radical Marxist thinkers from
Ernst Bloch and Walter Benjamin to Agnes Heller and Fredric Jameson.
Moreover, his critical and historical writings on the literary realism
played a crucial role in European literary politics from the 1930s to
the 1960s. He was already a key figure in Central European and German
cultural life prior to his turn to Marxism in 1919, a leader in the
1919 Hungarian Commune, a communist organizer, cultural politician,
ideologist, and scholar of renown. Subject to a persecutory “Lukács
debate” during the Stalinist dictatorship in Hungary in the early
1950s, he participated in the 1956 uprising and, following his arrest
and eventual return from Romania, was restricted in Hungary for the
remaining decade of his life to conducting his scholarship with a
limited circle of students and collaborators, despite his continuing
international influence and prestige. Throughout his extraordinary
six decades of intellectual, political, and cultural life, Lukács
wrote constantly, both in German and Hungarian, in forms ranging from
reviews, lectures, and polemics to major essays to full-scale studies,
including his monumental late aesthetics and ontology.

Although some of Lukács’s major works–such as History and Class
Consciousness and Theory of the Novel–have been long translated and
widely read, other of the major works have never seen translation into
English. This is true of a large number of major essays in German as
well, and of the Hungarian essays, few have even appeared in German,
much less English. There are well over 10,000 pages of Lukács’s work
that have never appeared in English translation; the already-
translated portion is thus only a fraction, which represents at best a
partial view of his thought and life work. Lukács’s constant
correspondence, speaking, and writing as he moved between Budapest,
Vienna, Berlin, and Moscow over the course of his adventurous life
also means that a substantial amount of his work was disseminated in
difficult-to-find periodicals, pamphlets, or books. Nor are even
existing English translations easy to access. Many of the earlier
translations of Lukács into English from the 1940s to the 1970s remain
out of print or mostly out of reach in limited distribution journals.

A project is underway to collect and bring out in English a large
amount of previously untranslated writing by Lukács, a “Lukács
library,” in the Historical Materialism book series at Brill
Publishers. The first volume, The Culture of People’s Democracy:
Hungarian Essays on Literature, Art, and Democratic Transition will
appear in 2012, and the translation of the first volume of The
Particularity of the Aesthetic has been initiated. Although we are
exploring grant and other funding, we presently have no financial
backing. Therefore we are seeking two kinds of assistance:

• Suggestions about how we might obtain funds for the project : Are
there cultural institutions, university translation offices,
government funded academic research programs or philanphropic
institutions which we could tap into, either on our own as project
editors or through your assistance and collaboration in the project?
• We would also like to solicit qualified translators who are
prepared to donate their efforts to the project. The translations will
be from German (the majority), Hungarian (a sizeable minority), and
Russian (a limited number) into English. The contribution of
translations of individual, shorter works as well as longer texts
would be appreciated. All translators will be acknowledged for their
contributions.
We would particularly like to hear from individual translators or a
small group of collaborators who would commit to realizing one of the
project volumes of the Lukács Library. I will be serving as series
editor and in many case also editing the individual volumes, providing
historical and critical introductions, annotations, and other
apparatus. However, if anyone would like to participate in an
editorial or co-editorial role as well, I am open to discussing the
possibility of editorial collaboration on particular volumes. We are
interested in getting several volumes into print at the earliest date
possible, to help gain institutional support for the project and to
make an impact on current discussions with an influx of previously
unavailable Lukács writings.

If you are interested in assisting with this project, please get in
touch with me.

In solidarity,
Tyrus Miller
tyrus@ucsc.edu

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