Critical Realism and Socialist Realism: George Luckacs
For the modern world, George Luckacs discusses two forms of realism, Critical Realism and Socialist Realism. The theory of Critical Realism says that the bourgeois intellectual still has a positive role to play. In 1955 George Luckacs wote:
The real dilemma of our age is not the opposition between Capitalism and Socialism, but the opposition between peace and war. The first duty of the bourgeois intellectual has become the rejection of an all prevailing fatalistic angst, implying a rescue operation for humanity rather than any break through Socialism.
Against this perspective he sees as politically the most important task the building of a peace movement in which all ideological tendencies merge and artistically the contribution of the great tradition of the Nineteenth century Liberal novel. The hero of his phrase is Thomas Mann, compare to Gothe for his concern with the ‘totality of human relationship. Mann, with his development from purely unpolitical stance to his courage opposition to Hitler, fits the popular front paradigm perfectly. All that critical realism need to do is to show ‘ Readyness to respect the perspective of Socialism.’
The Concept of Socialist Realism:
The Concept of Socialist Realism is a more sensitive one for Luckacs than it was for Lhdanov. Nonetheless it implies the same basic conservatism. At worst, it is the realism of the accepted fact, the glorification of what is at the expense of what might be. In the essay ‘Solzhenitsym and the new Realism’, Luckacs attacks the art of the stalin era as naturalism, not realism. But his praise is reserved for the portrayal of, ‘A being of whose humanity nothing could destroy or disfigure’.
Thus,neither Critical nor Socialist Realism goes beyond the limits of Liberal Humanism. What Luckacs leaves out his picture is the writer who is revolutionary both in his conscious acceptance of Marxism and his treatment of literary form, who tries to write from the stand point of the working class and its new modes of struggle. Luckacs I’m his very salutary concern for totality tends to concentrate on those writers who achieve complete totality within their work, in a harmonious construction rather than than those who strive towards totality while engaged in struggle.