Agnes Heller

Agnes Heller is the grande dame of Hungarian philosophy, whose work on Marxism represents a high-water mark of post-war political and social thought. Now Professor Emeritus at the New School for Social Research in New York, she began her career as a protégé of Marxist thinker György Lukács. Profoundly influenced by the failed Hungarian Revolution of 1956, she was one of the leading scholars, along with Lukács, to call for a return to the spirit of the early ‘humanist’ work of Karl Marx in order to move Marxism beyond the stale dogmas of Soviet orthodoxy. A victim of increasing antisemitic persecution in Hungary, in the 1970s she fled to Australia before moving to New York in 1986. Her later work has become increasingly critical of conventional Marxism, emphasizing the dangers of totalitarianism and the need for a humanist socialist politics. Her works with Polity include Eastern Left, Western Left, The Postmodern Political Condition (both with Ferenc Fehér) and Can Modernity Survive?.