Advertisement

The Reader’s Progress: Remarks on Arnold Hauser’s Philosophy of Art History

  • Anna Wessely
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 165)

Abstract

In 1918, at the University of Budapest, two friends, Karl Mannheim and Arnold Hauser, defended and subsequently published their theses in Athenaeum, a Hungarian journal of philosophy.1 Although one discussed epistemology and the other aesthetics, their theoretical premises, modes of argumentation, and suggested solutions were so close that, had these papers been preserved anonymously, readers of a later generation would probably have attributed them to the same author.

Keywords

Social History False Consciousness Theoretical Premise Dialectical Materialism Foreign Language Publishing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 002A.
    The first version of this paper was presented at the symposium ‘Arnold Hauser and The Social History of Art — Modernism and Modernity’ organized by Jery Zaslove at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, September 1992.Google Scholar
  2. 1a.
    K. Mannheim, ‘Az ismeretelmélet szerkezeti elemzése’, Athenaeum 4 (1918), pp. 233–247 and 315–330;Google Scholar
  3. 1b.
    A. Hauser, ‘Az esztétikai rendszerezés problémája’, Athenaeum 4 (1918), pp. 331–354.Google Scholar
  4. 2.
    Both papers betray in their direction and methods the dominant influence of two contemporary Hungarian philosophers, Béla Zalai and Gyögy Lukács.Google Scholar
  5. 3a.
    Detailed discussions of the problem of meaning and understanding can be found in the early works of Lukács and Mannheim, cp. G. Lukács, Heidelberger Philosophie der Kunst (1912–1914) edited by F. Benseler and Gy. Márkus. Neuwied: Luchterhand, 1974–75Google Scholar
  6. 3b.
    Heidelberger Aesthetik (1916–1918),Heidelberger Philosophie der Kunst edited by F. Benseler and Gy. Márkus. Neuwied: Luchterhand, 1974–75;Google Scholar
  7. 3c.
    K. Mannheim, Wissenssoziologie, edited by Kurt H. Wolff, Neuwied: Luchterhand, 1964, particularly pp. 66–154.Google Scholar
  8. 3d.
    See also A. Wessely, ‘Karl Mannheim’s Program for the Sociology of Knowledge’, Semiotische Berichte 14 (1990), No. 4, pp. 343–368.Google Scholar
  9. 4a.
    Cp. D. Kettler, Marxismus und Kultur: Mannheim und Lukács in den ungarischen Revolutionen 1918/19, Neuwied: Luchterhand, 1967;Google Scholar
  10. 4b.
    E. Karádi & É. Vézer (eds.), Georg Lukács, Karl Mannheim und der Sonntagskreis, Frankfurt am Main: Sendler, 1985;Google Scholar
  11. 4c.
    and the contributions by E. Karadi and A. Wessely in the catalogue Wechselwirkungen, Ungarische Avantgarde in der Weimarer Republik, edited by H. Gassner, Marburg: Jonas, 1986, pp. 526–550.Google Scholar
  12. 5.
    Quoted from an interview that Arnold Hauser gave to M. Gach who published it in the periodical Nagyvilág, 1971, p. 272.Google Scholar
  13. 6.
    See the excerpt from the diary of Béla Balázs in: Karádi and Vezér, Georg Lukács, Karl Mannheim und der Sonntagskreis, Frankfurt am Main: Sendler, pp. 126–127.Google Scholar
  14. 7.
    This is how Gombrich characterized Hauser in his review of The Social History of Art (Art Bulletin, March 1953), reprinted in E. H. Gombrich, Meditations on a Hobby Horse and Other Essays on the Theory of Art, London/New York: Phaidon, 1971, p. 92.Google Scholar
  15. 8.
    On the interest in the sociology of art, prevalent in the Sunday Circle cp. A. Wessely, ‘Simmel’s Influence on Lukács’s Conception of the Sociology of Art’, in: M. Kaern and R. S. Cohen (eds.), Georg Simmel and Contemporary Sociology, Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science, Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1990, pp. 357–373.Google Scholar
  16. 9.
    E. H. Gombrich, Meditations on a Hobby Horse and Other Essays on the Theory of Art, London/New York: Phaidon, 1971, p. x.Google Scholar
  17. 10.
    Institut für Sozialforschung, Soziologische Exkurse. Nach Vorträdgen und Diskussionen, Frankfurt am Main/Köln: Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 1974, pp. 93–98.Google Scholar
  18. 11.
    E. H. Gombrich, Meditations on a Hobby Horse and Other Essays on the Theory of Art, London/New York: Phaidon, 1971, p. xGoogle Scholar
  19. 12.
    Cp. G. Simmel, Vom Wesen des historischen Verstehens, Berlin, 1918, particularly pp. 22–28.Google Scholar
  20. 13.
    The single chapters were written, as Hauser admits in the Preface, for various occasions: A. Hauser, The Philosophy of Art History, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1959, p. vii.Google Scholar
  21. 14.
    Hauser, The Philosophy of Art History, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1959, pp. v–vi.Google Scholar
  22. 15.
    The second German edition of the book appeared under the title Methoden moderner Kunstbetrachtung.Google Scholar
  23. 16.
    A. Hauser, Mannerism. The Crisis of the Renaissance and the Origin of Modern Act, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1965, vol. I, p. 61. Comments on pp. 153, 199, 205, 241, and 274 repeat the same idea without offering more evidence or substan tial social historical analysis.Google Scholar
  24. 17.
    V. I. Lenin, ‘The Economic Content of Narodism and the Criticism of it in Mr. Struve’s book (The Reflection of Marxism in Bourgeois Literature)’, Collected Works, Moscow: Foreign Language Publishing House, 1963, vol. 1, p. 418.Google Scholar
  25. 18.
    V. I. Lenin, ‘What the “Friends of the People” are and how they fight the Social Democrats’, Collected Works, Moscow: Foreign Language Publishing House, 1963, vol. 1, p. 165.Google Scholar
  26. 19.
    V. I. Lenin, ‘What the “Friends of the People” are and how they fight the Social Democrats’, Collected Works, Moscow: Foreign Language Publishing House, 1963, vol. 1, p. 142.Google Scholar
  27. 20.
    V. I. Lenin, ‘What the “Friends of the People” are and how they fight the Social Democrats’, Collected Works, Moscow: Foreign Language Publishing House, 1963, vol. 1, pp. 410–411.Google Scholar
  28. 21.
    V. I. Lenin, ‘Leo Tolstoy as mirror of the Russian Revolution’, Collected Works, Moscow: Foreign Language Publishing House, 1963, vol. 15, pp. 202–209. The reinterpretation of narodnost’ as the capability of grasping the totality of the social process supported itself on Lenin’s appreciation of Tolstoy “as the spokesman of the ideas and sentiments that emerged among the millions of Russian peasants”, because “the sum total of his views, taken as a whole, happens to express the specific features of our revolution as a peasant revolution” (p. 206).Google Scholar
  29. 22.
    Hauser claims, for example, that “the fact that there are such limits of objectivity [he means ‘the limits of what is thinkable and imaginable from our place in the world’] is the ultimate and decisive justification for a sociology of culture” (p. 8).Google Scholar
  30. 23.
    Cp. particularly Mannheim’s essays ‘On the Interpretation of Weltanschauung’ (1922), ‘The Ideological and Sociological Interpretation of Intellectual Phenomena’ (1926), and his book on the tasks of contemporary sociology (Die Gegenwartsaufgaben der Soziologie: Ihre Lehrgestalt, Tubingen, 1931).Google Scholar
  31. 24.
    Hauser offers an alternative view of the same matter in the chapter on psychoanalysis. There (p. 94) he suggests: “What Engels understands by the ‘triumph of realism’ may rather induce the artist to follow, instead of the ideological fallacies of his abstract thought, the unconscious direction of his genius, which represents the facts of life in a more adequate and, in the sense of historical materialism, more ‘concrete’ way than his social theories or political convictions.”Google Scholar
  32. 25.
    On this tradition, cp. Lenk, K., “Zur Methodik der Kunstsoziologie”, in: P. Bürger, Seminar: Literatur- und Kunstsoziologie, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1978, pp. 55–71.Google Scholar
  33. 26a.
    F. Antal, Florentine Painting and Its Social Background, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1948,Google Scholar
  34. 26b.
    F. Antal Rajfael zwischen Klassizismus und Manierismus, Giessen: Anabas Verlag, 1980.Google Scholar
  35. 27.
    This puzzlement was expressed by Martin Warnke in his obituary ‘Erfahrungen eines Jahrhunderts: Arnold Hauser’ (F.A.Z., Feb. 1, 1978), reprinted in his Künstler, Kunsthistoriker, Museen, Luzern/Frankfurt: Verlag J.C. Bucher, 1979, pp. 71–73.Google Scholar
  36. 28.
    The religious tone of Hauser’s descriptions of artworks is pointed out by J. Scharfschwerdt in his contribution to A. Silbermann (ed.), Klassiker der Kunstsoziologie, München: C.H. Beck’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1979, pp. 200–222.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Wessely
    • 1
  1. 1.Eötvöd Loránd UniversityBudapestHungary

Personalised recommendations