The Historical Novel

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Georg Lukacs (1885-1971) is now recognized as one of the most innovative and best-informed literary critics of the twentieth century. Trained in the German philosophic tradition of Kant, Hegel, and Marx, he escaped Nazi persecution by fleeing to the Soviet Union in 1933. There he faced a new set of problems: Stalinist dogmatism about literature and literary criticism. Maneuvering between the obstacles of censorship, he wrote and published his longest work of literary criticism, The Historical Novel, in 1937. Beginning with the novels of Sir Walter Scott, The Historical Novel documents the evolution of a genre that came to dominate European fiction in the years after Napoleon. The novel had reached a point at which it could be socially and politically critical as well as psychologically insightful. Lukacs devotes his final chapter to the anti-Nazi fiction of Germany and Austria.