Lucien Goldmann  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Lucien Goldmann (July 20, 1913 in Bucharest but grew up in Botoşani, Romania – October 8, 1970 in Paris) was a French philosopher and sociologist of Jewish-Romanian origin. As a professor at the EHESS in Paris, he was an influential Marxist theorist.


Goldmann's thinking

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." He sought to synthesize the "Genetic epistemology" of Piaget with the Marxism of György Lukács;<ref>[1]</ref> he was the founder of the theory of Genetic structuralism which he developed in the 1960s.



Selected bibliography

In French

  • 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.

English translations

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