In comparison with his art criticism, verse, and screenplays, Bela Balazs's (1884-1949) writings on aesthetics and the history of genres have received little attention. His essay 'A lirai erzekenysegrol' (On lyrical sensibility) consists of lectures that were heard in the extracurricular series Freie Schule der Geisteswissenschaften (Open School of the Humanities), which was established in Budapest, in 1917, by the Sonntagskreis (Sunday Circle) discussion group, whose members included Georg Lukacs, Karl Mannheim, and Arnold Hauser. In these lectures, Balazs describes the development of lyric verse, culminating with Goethe, as being a process distinguished by an emerging distance and complexity in the relationship between the human soul and nature. This change, resulting in a gradual growing apart of religion, the arts and science, and Romantic utopia, has meant that lyric verse may have gained in subject matter, but these newer topics are no longer manifested as an 'extension of the soul', but as a sign of the increasingly intense feeling of loneliness amidst alienated reality. Balazs's approach to questions related to the history of genres evokes social-historical contexts, and is typical of comparable approaches taken by the thinkers of the Sonntagskreis. They too were determined to capture the singularity of each work of art by questioning the special features of the times or the continuous development of genres.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.