Date of Award

Summer 1976

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Unlike Theodor Adorno or Georg Lukacs, Lucien Goldmann did not write a systematic aesthetics. Instead, he left behind a number of heuristic categories, elaborated in several volumes of essays and scattered articles, in which, however, he believed he had provided for a genetic structuralist methodology. Most of those who have commented upon his work consider it eclectic and dismiss him as a mere disciple of Georg Lukacs, usually on the basis of his two most widely known, though not theoretically complete, books The Hidden God and Towards a Sociology of the Novel. Furthermore, their attention has been primarily drawn to his practical criticism rather than to his theoretical essays in which his attempts to construct a methodology for the sociology of literature are original and successful. This is only apparent after one has made a complete inventory of his work, after one has collected and assessed the essays in their entirety, a task which puts to light the homogeneous status of his categories. My essay and selection of translations are an attempt to re-contextualize Goldmann within his properly French, rather than German milieu (this latter being the source of the charges of eclecticism and of the dismissal of Goldmann as Lukacsian) and in relation to. the interactionist epistemology of Jean Piaget, with whom Goldmann studied for two years. The result of such a profiling is that his genetic structuralism, an original synthesis of categories, from Piaget, Lukacs, and Marx, is a formalized model as he had claimed it was.



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