John Gray

‘The God That Failed’

Politics and the Novel During the Cold War

By

Transaction Publishers 403pp £35.95 order from our bookshop

Kafka died in 1924, twenty years before the start of the Cold War, but he understood the absurdities of life under totalitarian rule better than many of the protagonists in the conflict. The accuracy of Kafka’s insight was admitted even by the Marxist literary critic Georg Lukács, an abject Stalinist who denigrated the Czech writer for deviating from the tenets of ‘progressive humanism’. Appointed Minister of Culture in Imre Nagy’s government during the Hungarian Revolution, Lukács was arrested by the Soviets and transported to a castle in Romania, where he and the other prisoners lived at times as visiting dignitaries and at others as criminals. After some days of this treatment, David Caute tells us, Lukács commented, ‘So Kafka was a realist after all!’

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What a charming, candid blogpost from one of our dear contributing editors. ,
    • RT : The first guess from one of my 1st graders was “death” and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the clas… ,
    • Merry Christmas from Literary Review! Hope your stockings were laden with books, and the tree bending under the weight of further books....,
    • Last minute Christmas gift required? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions (20% no less!) with the cod… ,
    • In this issue's 'Silenced Voices', Lucy Popescu writes of Thailand's restrictive lese-majesty laws and their latest… ,
    • "Gunn was a disciple of the American formalist Yvor Winters, but Winters’s poetry could never give off such a scent… ,
    • Christmas gift hunting? Why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscr… ,