Modern Intellectual History 16 (3):927-960 (2019)

For European literati of the early twentieth century, Fyodor Dostoevsky represented a mythically Russian spirituality in contrast to a soulless, rationalized West. One such enthusiast was Georg Lukács, who in 1915 began a never-completed book about Dostoevsky's work, a model of spiritual community that could redeem a fallen world. Though framing his analysis in the language and themes of broader Dostoevsky reception, Lukács used this idiom innovatively to go beyond the reactionary implications this model might connote. Highlighting similarities with Max Weber's account of political ethics, I argue that Lukács developed an ethic derived from his reading of Dostoevsky, which focused on the idea of a hero defined by an ability to resolve the specific ethical dilemma of adherence to duty and moral law on the one hand, and, on the other, the need to restore spontaneous human community at a time when the social institutions embodying such laws had fallen into decay. Crucially, he deployed the same framework after his conversion to Marxism to justify revolutionary terror. However different his position from Dostoevsky's, it was through engagement with these novels that Lukács not only clarified his thought but also came to identify Lenin as a Dostoevskyan hero figure.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/s1479244317000373
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 62,343
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Theory of the Novel.Robert D'Amico - 1975 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 35 (3):429-430.
Crime and Punishment.[author unknown] - forthcoming - Latest Results.
The Young Lukács.Lee Congdon - 1984 - Studies in Soviet Thought 28 (1):63-67.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Dostoevsky's Prodigal Son.V. A. Kotel'nikov - 2000 - Russian Studies in Philosophy 39 (1):87-100.
Review of N. Kashina's the Esthetics of Dostoevsky. [REVIEW]Iu G. Kudriavtsev - 1978 - Russian Studies in Philosophy 17 (3):89-92.
The Esthetics of Dostoevsky.G. M. Fridlende - 1972 - Russian Studies in Philosophy 11 (2):148-169.


Added to PP index

Total views
2 ( #1,404,912 of 2,445,352 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #457,131 of 2,445,352 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes