This book introduces the English-speaking reader to the thought of Stanislaw Brzozowski (1878-1911), the outstanding Polish philosopher and literary critic. Although practically unknown in the West, Brzozowski is an important but neglected forerunner of the intellectual tradition of `Western Marxism', most commonly associated with Georg Lukács and Antonio Gramsci.Concentrating first on the early phase of Brzozowski's thought, Professor
Walicki goes on to analyse his ideas on the working class and its relation to the intelligentsia and contemporary working-class ideologies. Finally he deals with aspects of his thought which go beyond the
Marxian problematic and round off the intellectual portrait of the man.Brzozowski's anti-naturalistic approach resulted in a radical reinterpretation of Marxism which dealt with many of the problems of the revolt against positivism in European philosophy. Professor Walicki argues that the retrieval of the philosophical and humanist aspect of Marxism, and its separation from the Engels-inspired `scientific Marxism', was the achievement of Brzozowski and not, as frequently
assumed, of Lukács, who came to similar conclusions only some ten years later.By placing Brzozowski within the cross-currents of the various philosophical, sociological, literary,
and political streams of Western and Eastern European thought in which Marxism was situated, Professor Walicki produces a fascinating study of an early East European challenge to orthodox Marxism.