Leszek Kołakowski

Kołakowski, Leszek (lĕshˈĕk kôˌwəkôfˈskē) [key], 1927–2009, Polish philosopher, b. Radom, Ph.D Univ. of Warsaw, 1953. A Marxist revisionist and a critic of the Eastern European Communism he once embraced, Kołakowski left Poland after his expulsion from the Polish Workers' party (1966) and his dismissal from his professorship at the Univ. of Warsaw (1968). He subsequently was a fellow at All Souls College, Oxford (1970–95) and a professor at the Univ. of Chicago (1981–94). While in exile, he wrote extensively and astutely on the history of philosophy, Marxism, and religion, influencing the Polish opposition to Communist rule in the 1970s and 80s and the formation of the Solidarity union. His more than 30 books include Toward a Marxist Humanism (tr. 1968), Main Currents of Marxism (3 vol., 1976, tr. 1978, repr. 2005; his most influential work), Religion: If There is No God (1982, 2d ed. 1993, repr. 2001), and Modernity on Endless Trial (1990). In addition to scholarly texts, he also wrote fables, stories, and plays.

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