THE THEORY OF LITERARY GENRES IN GEORGE LUKACS (HUNGARY)
In spite of his high reputation among the contemporary intellectual audience, Lukacs' work is still perceived and treated reductively in parts, especially with respect to his literary theory and criticism. Believing that Lukacs' views particularly in this sphere of aesthetic form an evolving whole, this study seeks to construct the most fundamental principles on which he bases his genre theory. This perspective was chosen because, like many critics, I regard genre theory as the formative principle of literary theory as a whole. Mostly through descriptive method, this study exposes and explains the differences that Lukacs directly or indirectly makes between modes (the historically universal categories of the genre system), and genres (the variables that represent the more concrete changes in the historical process as aesthetically reflected in literary forms). Throughout his career, Lukacs established his genre theory on one central category, that of totality. The modes represent the most fundamental types of totality: totality of objects for epic, totality of movement for drama, and totality of the lyrical moment or the subjective for lyric. The genres, on the other hand, are the more concrete forms in which the modes, and thus the totalities, aesthetically objectify themselves. They are, in other words, the aesthetic forms of particular historical moments, such as the epic genre for early Greek society or the novel for the bourgeois society. Although it contains some weaknesses, Lukacs' genre theory does form a whole that is deep, rich, insightful, and very useful in understanding the problems of genre, especially from an historical perspective.