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Ever since Baumgarten and Winckelmann, Germany has been the classical land of ‘aesthetic thought in Europe, In the 20th century, Marxism itself has repeated the rule, No other country has produced « tradition of major aesthetic debate to ‘compare with that which unfolded in German culture from the thirties to the fifties. The key texts ofthese great Marxist controversies over literature and art are now, for the first time anywhere outside Germany, assembled in a coherent order. ‘They do not form a conventional collection of separate documents. but a ‘continuous debate between their dramatis personae. Tn exile before the war, Bloch and Lukes polemicized against each other over the nature of expressionism, Brecht attacked Lukécs for literary formalism, Benjamin disputed over classical and modern works of art with Brecht, Adorno criticized Benjamin's hermeneutics, ‘and challenged Brecht’s poetics and Lukécs's politics, The multilateral exchanges which resulted have a variety and eloquence without rival. Fredric Jameson, Professor of French at Yale University and author of Marsism and Form and The Prison House of Language, sums up their paradoxical lessons for art and criticism today, in an essay of theoretical conclusion. Aesthetics and Politics will provide a pole of reference and 2 source of illumination to students of literature throughout the English-speaking world, Ernst Bloch | Aesthetics and Politics Georg Lukacs Bertolt Brecht Walter Benjamin Theodor Adorno Afterword by Fredric Jameson Verso Translation Editor: Ronald Taylor Emst Bloch ‘Discussing Expressionism’, first published in Das Wort 1938, then in Exbuhaft dieser Zee, Prankturt 1962, ©Suhskamp Verlag: Georg Lukies, ‘Realism in the Balance’, first published in Das Wort 1938 then in Probleme dee Reams, Neuvied 1971, © Antisjus; Bertolt Brecht, texts of ‘Against Georg Lubics’ frst published in Schrfen sur Kus und Literatur, Frankfurt 1967, © Stefan Brecht, 1967. Al rights reserved through Subrkamp Verlag; Walter Benjamin ‘Conversations with Brecht, frst published in Versche ier Breck, Frankfurt 1966, (© Suhrkamp Verlag ~ this translation fist published in Walter Benjamin, Understanding Brecht, London 1973, © NLB; ‘Theodor Adorno, ‘Letters to Walter Benjamin’, published in Uber Walter Benjamin, Frankfurt 1970, © Suhrkamp Verlag, and Walter Benjarsin ‘Repl’, published in Briefe Ul, Frankfurt 1966, © Suhrkamnp ~ these translations first published in New Left Review, September-October 1973, ©New Left Review; Theodor Adorno, ‘Reconciliation under Duress’ and ‘Engagement’ published in Noten aur Literatur Wand 1, Frankfurt 1961 and 1965, © Suhrkamp Verlag; Fredric Jameson, ‘Reflections in Conclusion’, ‘ONLB 197. Aesthetics and Polis frst published 1977 ONLB 1977 Verso edition fist published 1980, ‘Verso Editions, 7 Carlisle Street, London W.1 Printed and bound in Great Britain by Whitstable Litho Led, Whitstable ISBN 86091 722 3 (paper) ISBN 902308 38 6 (cfoch) Contents Presentation I Exnst Bloch Discussing Expressionism Georg Lukes Realism in the Balance Presentation I Bertolt Brecht Against Georg Lukécs Walter Benjamin Conversations with Brecht Presentation III Theodor Adorno _Letters to Walter Benjamin Walter Benjamin Reply Presentation IV Theodor Adorno —_Reconciliation under Duress Theodor Adorno Commitment Fredric Jameson Reflections in Conclusion Index 16 28 60 86 100 110 134/ 142 151 177 196 214