was a French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...
philosopher and sociologist of Jewish-Romanian origin. As a professor at the EHESS in Paris, he was an influential Marxist theorist.
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
The proletariat is a term used to identify a lower social class, usually the working class; a member of such a class is proletarian...
and contested the structuralist
Structural Marxism was an approach to Marxist philosophy based on structuralism, primarily associated with the work of the French philosopher Louis Althusser and his students. It was influential in France during the 1960s and 1970s, and also came to influence philosophers, political theorists and...
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
Jean Piaget was a French-speaking Swiss developmental psychologist and philosopher known for his epistemological studies with children. His theory of cognitive development and epistemological view are together called "genetic epistemology"....
and Alasdair MacIntyre
Alasdair Chalmers MacIntyre is a British philosopher primarily known for his contribution to moral and political philosophy but known also for his work in history of philosophy and theology...
, 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
Blaise Pascal , was a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Catholic philosopher. He was a child prodigy who was educated by his father, a tax collector in Rouen...
's in the existence of God. "Risk", Goldmann wrote in his classic study of Pascal's Pensées
The Pensées represented a defense of the Christian religion by Blaise Pascal, the renowned 17th century philosopher and mathematician. Pascal's religious conversion led him into a life of asceticism, and the Pensées was in many ways his life's work. "Pascal's Wager" is found here...
and Jean Racine
Jean Racine , baptismal name Jean-Baptiste Racine , was a French dramatist, one of the "Big Three" of 17th-century France , and one of the most important literary figures in the Western tradition...
Phèdre is a dramatic tragedy in five acts written in alexandrine verse by Jean Racine, first performed in 1677.-Composition and premiere:...
, "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
Genetic epistemology is a study of the origins of knowledge . The discipline was established by Jean Piaget.The goal of genetic epistemology is to link the validity of knowledge to the model of its construction. In other words, it shows that the method in which the knowledge was obtained/created...
" of Piaget with the Marxism of György Lukács; he was the founder of the theory of Genetic structuralism which he developed in the 1960s.
- 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.
- Towards a Sociology of the Novel
Towards a Sociology of the Novel is a book written by Lucien Goldmann. The book was published 1963 in French. The book was a seminal work for Goldmann...
. 1964. Trans. Alan Sheridan
-Life:Born Alan Mark Sheridan-Smith, Sheridan read English at St Catharine's College, Cambridge before spending 5 years in Paris as English assistant at Lycée Henri IV and Lycée Condorcet. Returning to London, he briefly worked in publishing before becoming a freelance translator...
. New York: Tavistock Publications, 1975.
- "The Epistemology of Sociology". TELOS
Telos is an academic journal published in the United States. It was founded in May 1968 to provide the New Left with a coherent theoretical perspective. It sought to expand the Husserlian diagnosis of "the crisis of European sciences" to prefigure a particular program of social reconstruction...
18 (Winter 1976-77). New York: Telos Press
- Cultural Creation in Modern Society Introduction by William Maryl and Translated by Bart Grahl (Published by Telos Press).
- Essays on Method in the Sociology of Literature Translated and edited by William Q. Boelhower (Published by Telos Press).
Jean Genet was a prominent and controversial French novelist, playwright, poet, essayist, and political activist. Early in his life he was a vagabond and petty criminal, but later took to writing...
The Balcony is a play by the French dramatist Jean Genet. Since Peter Zadek directed its first production at the Arts Theatre Club in London in 1957, the play has attracted many of the greatest directors of the 20th century, including Peter Brook, Erwin Piscator, Roger Blin, Giorgio Strehler, and...
: 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).