Lucien Goldmann (French: [ɡɔldman]; July 20, 1913 – October 8, 1970) was a French philosopher and sociologist of Jewish-Romanian origin. A professor at the EHESS in Paris, he was a Marxist theorist. He was born in Bucharest, Romania, grew up in Botoşani, and died in Paris.
While many Parisian leftists staunchly upheld Marxism's "scientificity" in the 1950s and 1960s, Lucien Goldmann insisted that Marxism was by then in severe crisis and had to reinvent itself radically if it were to survive. He rejected the traditional Marxist view of the proletariat and contested the structuralist movement. In fact, the popularity of such trends on the Left Bank was one reason why Goldmann's own name and work were eclipsed - this despite the acclaim of thinkers as diverse as Jean Piaget and Alasdair MacIntyre, who called him "the finest and most intelligent Marxist of the age."
He refused to portray his aspirations for humanity's future as an inexorable unfolding of history's laws, but saw them rather as a wager akin to Blaise Pascal's in the existence of God. "Risk", Goldmann wrote in his classic study of Pascal's Pensées and Jean Racine's Phèdre, "is possibility of failure, hope of success, and the synthesis of the three in a faith which is a wager are the essential constituent elements of the human condition". He called his work "dialectical" and "humanist."
Lucien Goldmann was a humanist socialist, disciple of György Lukács, his sociology of literature in an important critic of structuralism.
- Mensch, Gemeinschaft und Welt in der Philosophie Immanuel Kants (University of Zürich, 1945). Doctoral thesis.
- Le dieu caché ; étude sur la vision tragique dans les Pensées de Pascal et dans le théâtre de Racine. Paris: Gallimard, 1955.
- Recherches dialectiques. Paris: Gallimard, 1959.
- Sciences humaines et philosophie. Suivi de structuralisme génétique et création littéraire. Paris: Gonthier, 1966.
- Structures mentales et création culturelle. Paris: 10/18, 1970.
- Epistémologie et philosophie. Paris: Denoël, 1970.
- Pour une sociologie du roman. Paris: Gallimard, 1973.
- Lukacs et Heidegger. Paris: Denoël-Gonthier, 1973.
- The Hidden God: a study of tragic vision in the Pensees of Pascal and the tragedies of Racine. Trans. Philip Thody. London: Routledge, 1964.
- Immanuel Kant. Translated from the French and German by Robert Black. (London: New Left Books, 1971; Verso, 2011).
- The Human Sciences and Philosophy. London: Jonathan Cape, 1973.
- Towards a Sociology of the Novel. 1964. Trans. Alan Sheridan. New York: Tavistock Publications, 1975.
- "The Epistemology of Sociology". TELOS 18 (Winter 1976-77). New York: Telos Press
- Cultural Creation in Modern Society Introduction by William Maryl and Translated by Bart Grahl (New York: Telos Press, 1976).
- Essays on Method in the Sociology of Literature Translated and edited by William Q. Boelhower (New York: Telos Press, 1979).
- "Genet's The Balcony: A Realist Play." Trans. Robert Sayre. Praxis: A Journal of Radical Perspectives on the Arts 4 (1978): 123-131. Trans. of "Une Pièce réaliste: Le Balcon de Genet" in Les Temps Modernes 171 (June 1960).
- Lukacs and Heidegger: Towards a New Philosophy. Trans. William Q. Boelhower. London: Routledge, 2009.
Notes and references
- Cohen, Mitchell: The Wager of Lucien Goldmann: Tragedy, Dialectics, and a Hidden God, Princeton University Press, 1994