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Beyond Imitation: The Relationship between Literature and Social Reality as Implied in Georg Lukács’s Reflection Theory


Reflection is not a new concept in literary criticism. However, this concept reached its dialectic perfection at the hand of the Marxist philosopher Georg Lukács (1885-1971). Believing that Man is the focal point in every literary content, Lukács conceives Realism as the basis of all literary genres due to its significant role in solving Man’s problems of alienation and the self- spilt caused by Capitalism, and it is, therefore, the best representation of his Reflection Theory. Reflection for Lukács is neither spontaneous nor photographic, but deliberate and conscious. In this process, the writer plays the role of the mediator between literature and the society. A great writer has, thus, to portray his characters and their struggle for self-realization objectively without imposing his political orientation. Through his typical characters and situations, the writer brings the reality in front of his readers’ eyes so as to enable them to confront their troubles and think of change, and this is “intellectual and moral work” of the realist writer in Lukács’s perspective.

Keywords: Realism, Reflection, Reification., Totality, type.

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