A seminal work in Marxist literary and cultural criticism and analysis, this analysis of the German iconoclast Gotthold Ephraim Lessing by Franz Mehring is among his many substantial contributions to the canon of Marxism, and would help define those critics that followed him. Rich even beyond its subject, Mehring himself was no dilettante of the word, and not only crafted a classic of literary criticism, but a classic of literature in itself. Unavailable in full in English for decades, the Critics Group produced this abridged, but weight, translation in 1938. Very highly recommended. Full online text available here. The German introduction by Mehring, though profound, was not included in this edition, but was serialized in New International in 1941 and is available here.
‘The Lessing Legend: The Origins of German Middle Class Culture’ (1892/1893) by Franz Mehring from published by the Critics Group, New York. 1938.
Contents: Introduction by Joseph Kresh, Lessing’s Origins, The Prussian Monarchy, Minna von Barnhelm: A Satire on the Prussian State, Lessing and the French Classics Emilia Galotti, Lessing and Religion. Lessing and the Proletariat.
The Marxist Critics Group were an association of Communist and left wing writers who wanted, after the demise of Partisan Review, to have a space for long-form discussions of Marxist art criticism and felt that the New Masses could not provide it. Its leading figure was Angel Flores, based in New York City where an irregular publication ‘Dialectics’ was produced between 1936 and 1939. Along with Dialectics, the Critics Group produced, reprinted, and translated important discussion pieces as pamphlets and books.
PDF of full issue: http://fau.digital.flvc.org/islandora/object/fau%3A32171/datastream/OBJ/view/The_lessing_legend.pdf