Originally published in the 1930s, these essays on realism, expressionism, and modernism in literature present Lukács's side of the controversy among Marxist writers and critics now known as the Lukács-Brecht debate. The book also includes an exchange of letters between Lukács, writing in exile in the Soviet Union, and the German Communist novelist, Anna Seghers, in which they discuss realism, the European literary heritage, and the situation of the artist in capitalist culture.
"Considering [his] capacity for historical intervention and personal survival, the least one can say is that Lukcs was the most successful Marxist intellectual of the 20th century.... The six essays and one public exchange of letters that David Fernbach's translation makes available to English readers were all written between 1931 and 1940, a period during which Lukcs served the Comintern as one of its most formidable (and certainly its most erudite) critical hitmen." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice