Evald Ilyenkov & Mikhail Lifshits:
Aesthetics, Symbolic Mediation, & the Ideal

Selected bibliography compiled by

Ralph Dumain


By Mikhail Lifshits

Lifshits, Mikhail [Aleksandrovich]. The Crisis of Ugliness: from Cubism to Pop-art, translated by David Riff. Leiden; Boston: Leiden, 2018.

Lifshits, Mikhail. “Karl Marx and Present-Day Culture,” translated by Bryan Bean, in Karl Marx and Modern Philosophy: Collection of Articles (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1968), pp. 143-181.

Lifshits, Mikhail. The Philosophy of Art of Karl Marx, translated by Ralph B. Winn, edited by Angel Flores. New York: Critics Group, 1938.; University Microfilms, 1972 (reprint); London: Pluto Press Ltd., 1973 (with updated footnotes).

About Lifshits

Gutov, Dmitry; Osmolovsky, Anatoly. “Concerning Abstractionism,” in Cosmic Shift: Russian Contemporary Art Writing, edited by Elena Zaytseva and Alex Anikina (London: Zed Books, 2017), pp.127-155.

Harutyunyan, Angela. “Hegel’s Aesthetics and Soviet Marxism: Mikhail Lifshits’s Communist Ideal,” 2019.

Maidansky, Andrey; Oittinen, Vesain. “Mikhail Lifshits: an enigmatic Marxist,” Studies in East European Thought, (2016) 68: 241–246.

Mareeva, Elena. “Lifshits’ Ontognoseology as a Version of Lenin’s Theory of Reflection,” Studies in East European Thought, (2016) 68: 295–305.

Pavlov, Evgeni V. Review: Perepiska [Letters], Mikhail Lifschitz and György Lukács, Historical Materialism 20.4 (2012) 187–198.

About Ilyenkov & Lifshits

Chehonadskih, Maria. “The Comrades of the Past: The Soviet Enlightenment Between Negation and Affirmation.”

Epstein, Mikhail. The Phoenix of Philosophy: Russian Thought of the Late Soviet Period (1953–1991). New York; London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2019.

Lifshits, Mikhail. Диалог с Эвальдом Ильенковым. (Проблема идеального) [Dialog s Evaldom Ilyenkovym. (Problema idealʼnogo)]. Moskva: Progress-Tradicija, 2003.

Maidansky, Andrey; Oittinen, Vesa (interviewer). “Evald Ilyenkov and Soviet Philosophy,” Monthly Review, vol. 71, no. 8, January 2020, pp. 15-20.

Maidansky, Andrey; Oittinen, Vesain. Introduction, The Practical Essence of Man: The ‘Activity Approach’ in Late Soviet Philosophy, edited by Andrey Maidansky & Vesa Oittinen (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2016), pp. 1-16. (Historical Materialism Book Series; 108) See also Levant (2016).

Mareev, Sergey. “Lifshits and Ilyenkov on the Nature of the Ideal,” Studies in East European Thought, 68, 319–329 (2016).

Мареева Е.В. Был ли Эвальд Ильенков эстетиком? // Вестник Московского государственного университета культуры и искусств. 2018. № 4. С. 80–89. [Mareyeva E. V. Was Evald Ilyenkov an Aesthetician?”] English abstract:

The article is devoted to the aesthetic views of the Soviet philosopher E.V. Ilyenkov, whose heritage is attributed to the classics of Marxist thought of the XXth century. In his understanding of art, he proceeds from the idea of the social and universal essence of man. At the same time, art specially cultivates the power of imagination, representing the universal nature of creativity in its pure form. From such standpoint, Ilyenkov criticizes modern art, drawing closer to another representative of Soviet «creative Marxism» M.A. Lifshits. The article points out the difference between Ilyenkov and Lifshits in interpreting Marx’s thesis of the transformation of the world according to the «laws of beauty». The author shows that in the works of Ilyenkov, art not only forms things in accordance with the standard of every species, but is also able to go beyond this framework, expressing an ideal determination peculiar only to man.

Oittinen, Vesa, “The Paradoxes of Ilyenkov and the Soviet Philosophy,” in Evald Ilyenkovʼs Philosophy Revisited, edited by Vesa Oittinen (Helsinki: Kikimora Publications, 2000), pp. 9-22. See also Bakhurst (2000), Jones, Knuuttila, Veresov.

About Ilyenkov

Bakhurst, David. “Ilyenkov on Aesthetics: Realism, Imagination, and the End of Art,” Mind, Culture and Activity, 8(2): 2001, pp. 187-199.

Bakhurst, David. “The Living and the Dead in Ilyenkovʼs Philosophy,” in Evald Ilyenkovʼs Philosophy Revisited, edited by Vesa Oittinen (Helsinki: Kikimora Publications, 2000), pp. 23-39.

Jones, Peter. “The Dialectics of the Ideal and Symbolic Mediation,” in Evald Ilyenkovʼs Philosophy Revisited, edited by Vesa Oittinen (Helsinki: Kikimora Publications, 2000), pp. 205-227.

Knuuttila, Tarja. “Semiosis and the Concept of the Ideal,” in Evald Ilyenkovʼs Philosophy Revisited, edited by Vesa Oittinen (Helsinki: Kikimora Publications, 2000), pp. 189-204.

Levant, Alex. “The Ideal and the Dream-World: Evald Ilyenkov and Walter Benjamin on the Significance of Material Objects,” in The Practical Essence of Man: The ‘Activity Approach’ in Late Soviet Philosophy, edited by Andrey Maidansky & Vesa Oittinen (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2016), pp. 167-187. (Historical Materialism Book Series; 108)

Levant, Alex. Review: From the History of Soviet Philosophy: Lukács – Vygotsky – Ilyenkov [Sergey Mareev, Moscow: Kul’turnaia revoliutsiia, 2008], Historical Materialism 19.3 (2011) 176–189.

Veresov, Nikolai. “Vygotsky, Ilyenkov and Mamardashvili: Searching for the Monistic Theory of Mind (Methodological Notes),” in Evald Ilyenkovʼs Philosophy Revisited, edited by Vesa Oittinen (Helsinki: Kikimora Publications, 2000), pp. 131-145.

By Ilyenkov

A Contribution to a Conversation About Esthetic Education (January 15, 1974),” Journal of Russian and East European Psychology, vol. 45, no. 4, July–August 2007, pp. 81–84.


Evald Ilyenkov & Activity Theory:
Bibliography of Writings in English

Salvaging Soviet Philosophy (1)

Soviet Philosophy from Progress Publishers: Selected Bibliography, 1968-1990 (1)

Merab Mamardashvili: Selected Bibliography & Web Links

Marxist Aesthetics: Anthologies in English

Marx, Literature, and the Arts: Select Bibliography

Georg Lukács’ The Destruction of Reason: Selected Bibliography

Cybernetics & Artificial Intelligence: Ideology Critique

Positivism vs Life Philosophy (Lebensphilosophie) Study Guide

Theodor W. Adorno & Critical Theory Study Guide

Marx and Marxism Web Guide


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Uploaded 7 February 2022
Last update 11 February 2022

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