The Sonntagskreis (Hungarian: Vasárnapi Kör, "Sunday Circle") was an intellectual discussion group in Budapest, Hungary, between 1915 and 1918. The main focus of the group was on the relationship between ideas and the social and historical context of those ideas, a line of thought that led towards the later concepts of "social history of art" and "sociology of knowledge.[1]

Vasárnapi Kör
Typeintellectual discussion group
Legal statusinformal
Founding members

The Sonntagskreis group

The Sonntagskreis was founded in the autumn of 1915 by Béla Balázs, Lajos Fülep, Arnold Hauser, György Lukács, and Károly (Karl) Mannheim; in December of that year Balázs noted the success of the group in his diary.[2] Others members of the group at various times included Frigyes (Frederick) Antal, Béla Fogarasi, Tibor Gergely, Edit Gyömrői, Edit Hajós, György Káldor, Juliska Láng, Anna Lesznai, Ernő Lörsy, Mihály (Michael) Polányi, László Radványi, Emma Ritoók,[3] Anna Schlamadinger, Ervin Sinkó, Vilmos Szilasi, Károly Tolnay (Charles de Tolnay) and János (Johannes) Wilde.[4] Admission to the group required the assent of all existing members; members could bring guests to meetings.[5] The group generally met on Sunday afternoons at Balázs' flat, and discussed literature and philosophy.[4][6]

The Free School of Humanist Studies

In the spring of 1917 members of the group founded the Szellemi Tudományok Szabad Iskolájána, or "Free School of Humanist Studies", which for two semesters in 1917 and 1918 organised lectures in a school building in Budapest.[4] Guest lecturers included Béla Bartók, Zoltán Kodály and Ervin Szabó.[7]


  1. Paul Stirton (2006). "The ‘Budapest School’ of Art History – from a British Perspective", lecture in Kultúra, nemzet, identitás a VI. Nemzetközi Hungarológiai Kongresszuson, Debrecen, 23–26 August 2006. Accessed May 2013
  2. Mary Gluck (1985) Georg Lukács and His Generation, 1900-1918. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. pp. 14–16
  3. Judith Marcus (1987). Georg Lukács and Thomas Mann: A Study in the Sociology of Literature. Univ of Massachusetts Press. pp. 198–. ISBN 0-87023-486-2.
  4. Mario D. Fenyo (1987) "Literature and Political Change: Budapest, 1908-1918". Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, New Series 77(6): 1-156 (subscription required)
  5. David Kettler (Winter 1986) "The Romance of Modernism" (review of Mary Gluck (1985) Georg Lukács and His Generation, 1900-1918). The Canadian Journal of Sociology / Cahiers canadiens de sociologie, 11 (4): 443-455 (subscription required)
  6. Zoltán Novák (1979) A Vasárnap Társaság. Budapest: Kossuth Könyvkiadó, ISBN 963-09-1245-7, back cover
  7. Éva Karádi, Erzsébet Vezér (1980) A Vasárnapi Kör, cited in: Peter Weibel (ed.) (2005) Beyond art: a third culture; a comparative study in cultures, art, and science in 20th century Austria and Hungary Wien; New York, NY: Springer, ISBN 9783211245620. pp. 449–454.

Further reading

  • Zoltán Novák (1979) A Vasárnap Társaság. Budapest: Kossuth Könyvkiadó, ISBN 963-09-1245-7 (in Hungarian)
  • Éva Karádi, Erzsébet Vezér (1980) A Vasárnapi Kör: dokumentumok. Budapest: Gondolat, 1980. ISBN 9789632807966 (in Hungarian)
  • Éva Karádi and Erzsébet Vezér; Albrecht Friedrich (trans.) (1985) Georg Lukacs, Karl Mannheim und der Sontntagskreis. Frankfurt am Main: Sendler Verlag, ISBN 9783880480742 (German translation of A Vasárnapi Kör)
  • Anna Wessely (1975) "A Szellemi Tudományok Szabad Iskolájána es a Vasärnapi Kör" (The Free School of Humanist Studies and the Sunday Circle). Világosság 16(10): 613–20 (in Hungarian)
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