Mr. Saulius Jurga (University of Palermo)
Currently: Visiting PhD Student
at the University of Basel
Universität Basel
Philosophisches Seminar
Steinengraben 5, CH-4051 Basel
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Eine Brücke, die trennt: The Logic of the Tragic and the Aesthetic Paradox in Early Lukács

Lukács’s early Heidelberg Philosophy of Art represents an ambitious project of grounding aesthetics within the theoretical framework of the Southwest school of Neo-Kantianism. Typically, these manuscripts are also treated as the place where Lukács first strove to provide a rational foundation for the “irrationalist” tragic view of life and art that pervades his “pre-critical” essayist period in Soul and Forms. This approach to Lukács’s work would seem to be supported by how the concepts of “misunderstanding” and “isolation,” which he used to describe a metaphysical relationship between the aesthetic subject and its objects (artworks) in his earlier work, later became theoretically purified and reinterpreted in normative terms in the Heidelberg Manuscripts. This paper, however, argues that Lukács’s “essayist” period already represented a rational attempt to deal with fundamental problems of art, and that it was precisely the formal elements underlying Lukács’s conception of the tragic that led him to further develop his aesthetic system.