Cleanth Brooks's Essay Irony as a Principle of Structure

9113 Words Nov 7th, 2011 37 Pages
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Home » texts » History & Class Consciousness: Preface by Georg Lukács (1923)
Thursday, February 3, 2011
History & Class Consciousness: Preface by Georg Lukács (1923)
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History and Class Consciousness
Preface
THE collection and publication of these essays in book form is not intended to give them a greater importance as a whole
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The immediate practical importance of each of his utterances for the particular moment in which they are made is always so great as to blind some people to the fact that, in the last resort, he is only so effective in practice because of his greatness, profundity and fertility as a theoretician. His effectiveness rests on the fact that he has developed the practical essence of Marxism to a pitch of clarity and concreteness never before achieved. He has rescued this aspect of Marxism from an almost total oblivion and by virtue of this theoretical action he has once again placed in our hands the key to a right understanding of Marxist method.

For it is our task ÔÇö and this is the fundamental conviction underlying this book ÔÇö to understand the essence of MarxÔÇÖs method and to apply it correctly. In no sense do we aspire to ÔÇÿimproveÔÇÖ on it. If on a number of occasions certain statements of EngelsÔÇÖ are made the object of a polemical attack this has been done, as every perceptive reader will observe, in the spirit of the system as a whole. On these particular points the author believes, rightly or wrongly, that he is defending orthodox Marxism against Engels himself.

We adhere to MarxÔÇÖs doctrines, then, without making any attempt to diverge from them, to improve or correct them. The goal of these arguments is an interpretation, an exposition of MarxÔÇÖs theory as Marx understood it. But this ÔÇÿorthodoxyÔÇÖ does not in the least strive to preserve what Mr.…

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