Literature and Revolution [First Edition]

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Pickle Partners Publishing, Feb 27, 2018 - Political Science - 187 pages
Literature and Revolution, written by the founder and commander of the Red Army, Leon Trotsky, in 1924 and first published in 1925, represents a compilation of essays that Trotsky drafted during the summers of 1922 and 1923.

This book is a classic work of literary criticism from the Marxist standpoint. By discussing the various literary trends that were around in Russia between the revolutions of 1905 and 1917, Trotsky analyses the concrete forces in society, both progressive as well as reactionary, that helped shape the consciousness of writers at the time.

In the book, Trotsky also explains that since the dawn of civilisation art had always borne the stamp of the ruling class and was primarily a vehicle that expressed its tastes and its sensibilities.

“It is difficult to predict the extent of self-government which the man of the future may reach or the heights to which he may carry his technique. Social construction and psycho-physical self-education will become two aspects of one and the same process. All the arts—literature, drama, painting, music and architecture will lend this process beautiful form. More correctly, the shell in which the cultural construction and self-education of Communist man will be enclosed, will develop all the vital elements of contemporary art to the highest point. Man will become immeasurably stronger, wiser and subtler; his body will become more harmonized, his movements more rhythmic, his voice more musical. The forms of life will become dynamically dramatic. The average human type will rise to the heights of an Aristotle, a Goethe, or a Marx. And above this ridge new peaks will rise.”—Leon Trotsky

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About the author (2018)

LEON TROTSKY (7 November 1879 - 21 August 1940), born Lev Davidovich Bronstein, was a Marxist revolutionary, theorist, and Soviet politician.

Initially supporting the Menshevik Internationalists faction within the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, he joined the Bolsheviks just before the 1917 October Revolution and became a leader within the Communist Party. He rose to become one of the seven members of the first Politburo, founded in 1917, to manage the Bolshevik Revolution. During the early days of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) and the Soviet Union, he served first as People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs and later as the founder and commander of the Red Army, with the title of People’s Commissar of Military and Naval Affairs. He became a major figure in the Bolshevik victory in the Russian Civil War (1918-1923).

In 1927 Trotsky was removed from power, expelled from the Communist Party, exiled to Alma-Ata, and exiled from the Soviet Union in 1929. He continued to oppose the Stalinist bureaucracy in the Soviet Union from exile, but was assassinated on 20 August 1940 by Ramón Mercader, a secret agent, and died the following day, aged 60.

ROSE STRUNSKY LORWIN (1884-1963), born Rose Strunsky, was a Jewish Russian-American translator and socialist based in New York City. Born to a Jewish Russian family in what is now Belarus and was part of the Russian Empire, her family emigrated to the U.S. in 1886, settling in New York City. The family later moved to San Francisco, where she attended Stanford University and became active in socialist politics and San Francisco’s literary scene. She married Lewis Lorwin in 1920, and the couple had two children and lived in New York. Throughout her life, Strunsky worked as a translator. Her translations into English include Maxim Gorky’s The Confession, the journal of Leo Tolstoy and Leon Trotsky’s Literature and Revolution. She died in New York in 1963.

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