From the 1920s on wards, the question of Hegelian philosophy’s vital influence on Marx as well as to contemporary Marxism was instead investigated with a greater intensity by a number of theorists in, above all, central Europe. One of the basic assumptions of this book is that there are reasons to regard and treat these quite diverse thinkers as Hegelian Marxists. The Hungarian philosopher and aestheticist Georg Lukács and the German theoretician Karl Korsch were pioneers in reexamining the relation between
Hegel and Marx.
From a variety of perspectives the present anthology addresses the theme of Hegelian Marxism. More specifically, it deals with how some Marxist thinkers, in different historical, political and intellectual contexts during the last century, have employed Hegel’s philosophy with the aim of developing and renewing Marxist theory. The principal focus is on a series of well known theorists from Central and Eastern Europe. Besides Lukács and Korsch—and to some extent also Lenin—the articles included in this volume deal mainly with the thoughts of Herbert Marcuse, Theodor W. Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Evald Ilyenkov and Slavoj Žižek; one text goes beyond the geographical focus of Central and Eastern Europe by highlighting the Italian philosopher Lucio Colletti, who was nonetheless critically engaged in exploring the extent of a (dis)connection between Hegel and Marx.
The overall purpose of the book is to investigate if and to what extent these thinkers could be interpreted as Hegelian Marxists, and how they use the Hegelian philosophy with the intention to better understand their own current society as well as situate themselves in relation to orthodox forms of Marxism. Another purpose is to illuminate, from the perspective of intellectual history, how Hegelian Marxism has served as a significant politico-philosophical tradition, with its beginnings in the early twentieth century and reaching up to, and including, today.