This book is a comparative study in the history of ideas. It is an innovative examination of the intellectual background, affiliations and contexts of two major twentieth-century thinkers and an historical interpretation of their work in aesthetics, cultural theory, literary history, and philosophy. Unlike all existing texts on Lukacs and Bakhtin, this book offers a comparison of their writings at different stages of their intellectual development and in the broad context of the ideas of their time. The book introduces unknown archival material and discusses hitherto disregarded or overlooked texts by Lukacs and Bakhtin. It puts forward new readings of best-known work on Dostoevsky, Rabelais, and Goethe and treats in an original way the question of the coherence of Bakhtin's ouevre. The book offers valuable insight into the sources of Bakhtin's terminological repertoire and through examination of Bakhtin's and Lukacs's intellectual affiliations--of the limits and substance of their originality as thinkers. Lukacs and Bakhtin emerge from the book as thinkers, whose intellectual careers followed strikingly similar paths. They both were confronted with similar agendas and questions posed for them by their time. Bakhtin however, had to find answers not only for this common agenda but also to the answers that Lukacs himself had already provided.