By Victor Serge
A brand new York assessment Books unique Victor Serge is likely one of the nice males of the 20 th century —and certainly one of its nice writers too. He used to be an anarchist, an agitator, a progressive, an exile, a historian of his instances, in addition to a super novelist, and in Memoirs of a innovative he devotes all his ardour and genius to describing this extraordinary—and exemplary—career. Serge tells of his upbringing between exiles and conspirators, of his involvement with the infamous Bonnot Gang and his years in felony, of his function within the Russian Revolution, and of the Revolution’s cave in into despotism and terror. Expelled from the Soviet Union, Serge went to Paris, the place he kept away from the KGB and the Nazis ahead of fleeing to Mexico. Memoirs of a innovative recounts an exhilarating existence at the entrance strains of historical past and comprises vibrant pics not just of Trotsky, Lenin, and Stalin yet of numerous different figures who struggled to remake the realm. Peter Sedgwick’s superb translation of Memoirs of a innovative was once abridged whilst first released in 1963. this is often the 1st version in English to give the whole lot of Serge’s booklet.
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Additional info for Memoirs of a Revolutionary
Org/). Sedgwick had a difficult childhood during World War II, became a Christian Socialist as a youth, then a member of the Com munist Party until the Soviet invasion o f Hungary in 1956. Leaving the Communist Party, Peter was a founding member of what became the New Left in Britain—first within the Socialist Review Group, then the International Socialism Group. 1 It took Sedgwick years to complete this heroic project, to which he brought scrupulous fidelity to Serge’s French, a vast (and indispensable) knowl edge of revolutionary history and politics, a wry sense of humor, and a vigorous English style that well-suited Serge’s passionate laconism.
On the other hand, the Trotskyist school o f Marxism has long insisted that Stalinism is the “direct negation” o f Bolshevism, while official Soviet theory after 1956 has increasingly tended to posit much the same kind o f polar opposition between “Le ninist norms” and at least some o f the “excesses, abuses, and crimes” o f Stalin’s day. Victor Serge’s answer to the problem was persistently double-sided. As against Trotsky and his followers he stresses the fatal T R A N S L A T O R ’S I N T R O D U C T I O N ■ xxix rigidities and ambiguities o f Leninist and Marxist doctrine, and the sources o f degeneracy in such early Soviet institutions as the Cheka.
We were living on the outskirts o f Verviers, in Belgium, in a country house with a big garden. Two days before, some gross misdeed, whose precise nature I no longer re member, had cast a shadow over the household. * As twilight appeared, my mother called us back into the big kitchen, where a deli cious smell o f warm bread hovered in the air. First she busied herself with my brother, washing him, feeding him, and putting him to bed. Then she made the wicked child sit on a chair, knelt before him, and washed his feet.
Memoirs of a Revolutionary by Victor Serge