Terminological Web of Georg Lukács’s Novel Theory

In this paper I focus on The Theory of the Novel by Georg Lukács, with particular attention to the concepts that have organizing force on the composition. According to my thesis, novel theory can be reconstructed in a relevant way through the analysis of terminology, and this approach lead to illuminating and novel findings in several instances. The paper is divided into two main parts: in the first part, I contextualise the novel theory of Lukács and its terminology. Firstly, I position my thesis methodologically based on Theodor W. Adorno’s reflections on philosophical terminology. After that outline the features that may have been decisive in the construction of the concepts of novel theory along three aspects (disciplinary definition, synthetic approach, Weberian ideal types). In the second part of the essay, at first, I am going to discuss the so-called multilevel conceptual construction that I have created, and in which I suppose the terms used by Lukács can be adequately illustrated. Thereafter I will examine the concepts of novel and epos, together with the related concepts (closed world, organicity, essentialism, contingent world, problematic individual, loss of essence, age of perfect guilt, transcendental homelessness, biographical form), and I present the theoretical considerations of novel theory. Finally, I will turn to two concepts what have repeatedly defined The Theory of the Novel: the concepts of totality and irony.

Released: Replika 125, 103–126.