Georg Lukacs and Thomas Mann, two of the great figures in the history of twentieth-century cultural life, had a complex literary relationship. In this study, Judith Marcus suggests that Mann's character Leo Naphta in "The Magic Mountain" is modelled on Lukacs - the Jewish intellectual. Professor Marcus goes on to argue that Mann consistently portrayed this "ideal type" throughout his work as ironically containing a "totalitarian" personality which was inspired by radicalism, rigidity, dogmatism, and asceticism - all negative traits that Mann found in Lukacs and that prevented the growth of personal intimacy between these two men. Marcus' study is largely based on Lukacs' and Mann's early work, on their correspondence, and on previously undiscovered, untranslated, and/or unpublished archival materials. Her research was carried out in three countries and in interviews conducted with Lukacs, Katja Mann, Ernst Bloch, and Arnold Hauser, among others.
Judith Marcus, who is recognized as one of this country's top authorities on the Frankfurt School, has published widely on sociological and literary interrelations. Her other books include Georg Lukacs: Selected Correspondence, 1901-1920; Georg Lukacs: Theory, Culture, Politics; Foundations of the Frankfurt School of Social Research; German Jewry: Its History and Sociology; and Weber and Toennies: Comparative Sociology in Historical Perspective.