History and Class Consciousness

History and Class Consciousness

  • Paperback

The centenary edition of a classic in Marxist philosophy

History and Class Consciousness was the most important of Georg Lukács’s early theoretical writings, published in Germany in 1923. The subject of high praise and passionate criticism, it had a major impact on all the Marxist debates that followed, introducing key new concepts such as ‘totality’, ‘reification’ and ‘imputed class consciousness’. This centenary edition, with a new preface by Michael Löwy, comprises a series of essays exploring, among other topics, the definition of orthodox Marxism, the question of legality and illegality, Rosa Luxemburg as a Marxist, the changing function of historic Marxism, and the substantiation and consciousness of the proletariat. This classic book has influenced many key philosophers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including Adorno, Debord, Heidegger, Lefebvre, Merleau-Ponty and Žižek, and it can lay claim to being one of the cornerstones of contemporary thought.


  • One of the indispensable works of the twentieth century.

    Raymond Williams
  • George Lukács's History and Class Consciousness is a truly extraordinary work, and its English translation, after almost fifty years of neglect by English and American publishers, is a major event. The full quality of Lukács's brilliance is most powerfully manifested in this 'youthful' work (done when merely 38!), where he reveals himself as by far and away the most talented philosopher among 20th-century Marxists, and as their most penetrating critic of contemporary culture. He is a major stimulus in the development of what is certainly the most creative school of social theorists in the 20th century, and of whom Herbert Marcuse is only the best-known member. For all this, then, we owe homage to Georg Lukács.

    Alvin W. GouldnerNew York Times Book Review
  • Lukacs’ book History and Class Consciousness leads Marx back to Hegel to a significant extent, and leads the latter meaningfully beyond himself; here, too, a metaphysics of understanding oneself in existence, of raising our head, our reality above the crooked process, traces its dialectical arcs.

    Ernst Bloch