CHAPTER II
The Victim

To begin with, about all one can say is that the bolsheviks simply did not know how to develop a literature. . . . the assumption of power by the proletariat took literature by surprise. -- Brecht, Arbeitsjournal

By the late thirties Bertolt Brecht had grown bitterly disillusioned with Soviet cultural policy. The "theoretical line" in the USSR thwarted all that he had worked for over the last two decades, he told Benjamin in 1938. 1 In his journal he added that Soviet literature and art struck him as "shitty." 2 Five years later his disenchantment, in this instance with Soviet literary criticism, hit a new low. When studies were undertaken at all, they were tantamount in character to a trial. The tone was appallingly unproductive, venomous, personal, and concurrently authoritative and servile--obviously no atmosphere in which a "vibrant, militant, exuberant literature" could thrive. 3 Something had gone wrong along the way, and Brecht seemed aware of the fact that more than the passing prevalence of an especially constrictive line advocated by one group of hidebound functionaries was involved. He attributed Lukács' overriding authority as a literary critic, for instance, precisely to his geographic locality in Moscow and the political-ideological backing that it lent his arguments. 4 Yet Brecht was peculiarly reticent about taking the problems he spotted in Soviet literature back to their original source. The plain fact that Soviet literature was plagued by the effects of Stalin's literary policies in force over the last decade or so escaped Brecht. He somehow missed the various link between Stalin's political policies and the literary and cultural modalities spawned by them, so that the damage naturally done to Soviet art in Stalin's time took Brecht largely by surprise. Although the situation in the Soviet

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Lukacs and Brecht
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgnents xvii
  • Part One - Lukács 1
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 3
  • Chapter 2 - Excursus the Philosophy Debate 15
  • Chapter 3 - Moscow, 1930-1931 24
  • Chapter 4 - Interlude 42
  • Chapter 5 - Berlin, 1931-1933 53
  • Chapter 6 - Lukács' Theory of Fascism, Part I 72
  • Chapter 7 - The ImpasseLukács' Theory of Fascism, Part 2 103
  • Chapter 8 - Lukács in Soviet Exile, 1933-1939 119
  • Chapter 9 - The Dialectic of Reality 156
  • Chapter 10 - Conclusion 176
  • Part - Two Brecht 193
  • Chapter 11 - The Victim 195
  • Chapter 12 - The Apologist 222
  • Chapter 13 - The Dialectician 245
  • Notes 261
  • Bibliography 323
  • Index 333
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