Act & Punishment: The Pussy Riot Trials

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Re: Act & Punishment: The Pussy Riot Trials

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Daniel De Leon
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 10/2/18



Daniel De Leon
Daniel De Leon in 1902.
Born December 14, 1852
Curaçao, Colony of Curaçao and Dependencies
Died May 11, 1914 (aged 61)
New York, New York
Nationality American
Marxist theoretician
Trade union organizer

Daniel De Leon (/də ˈliːɒn/; December 14, 1852 – May 11, 1914) was an American socialist newspaper editor, politician, Marxist theoretician, and trade union organizer. He is regarded as the forefather of the idea of revolutionary industrial unionism and was the leading figure in the Socialist Labor Party of America from 1890 until the time of his death.[1]


Early life and academic career

Daniel De Leon was born December 14, 1852 in Curaçao, the son of Salomon de Leon and Sarah Jesurun De Leon. His father was a surgeon in the Royal Netherlands Army and a colonial official. His family ancestry is believed to be Dutch Jewish of the Spanish and Portuguese community; "De León" is a Spanish surname, oftentimes toponymic, in which case it can possibly indicate a family's geographic origin in the Medieval Kingdom of León.

His father lived in the Netherlands before coming to Curaçao when receiving his commission in the military. Salomon De Leon died on January 18, 1865, when Daniel was twelve and was the first to be buried in the new Jewish cemetery.[2]

De Leon left Curaçao on April 15, 1866 and arrived in Hamburg on May 22. In Germany he studied at the Gymnasium in Hildesheim and in 1870 began attending the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. He studied medicine at Leiden and was a member of the Amsterdam student corps, but did not graduate. While in Europe he had become fluent in German, Dutch, French, English, ancient Greek and Latin, in addition to his first language Spanish.[3][4] Sometime between 1872 and 1874 he emigrated to New York, with his wife and mother. There he found work as an instructor in Latin, Greek and mathematics at Thomas B. Harrington's School in Westchester, New York. In 1876 he entered Columbia College, now Columbia University, earning an LLB with honors 1878.[5]

From 1878 to 1882, he lived in Brownsville, Texas as a practicing attorney, then returned to New York. While he maintained an attorney's office until 1884 he was more interested in pursuing an academic career at his alma mater, Columbia. A prize lectureship had been created in 1882. To be eligible a candidate had to be a graduate of Columbia, a member of the Academy of Political Science and read at least one paper before the academy. The three year appointment came with a $500 annual salary and required the lecturer to give twenty lectures a year, based on original research, to the students of the School of Political Science. De Leon devoted his lectures to Latin American diplomacy and the interventions of European powers in South American affairs. He received his first term in 1883 and his second term in 1886. In 1889 he was not kept on. Some allege that the University officials denied him a promised full professorship because of his political activities,[6] while other believe that his subject was too esoteric to be a permanent part of the curriculum.[7]

De Leon published no papers about Latin America during this period, but he did contribute an article to the debut issue of the Academy's Political Science Quarterly on the Berlin West Africa Conference.[8] He also wrote reviews on Franz von Holtzendorff's Handbuch des Völkerrechts in June 1888 and its French translation in March 1889 for the same publication.

Personal life

De Leon traveled back to Curaçao to marry the 16-year-old Sarah Lobo from Caracas, Venezuela. The Lobo were a prominent Jewish family in the area that lived in both the Dutch Antilles and Venezuela. After a traditional Jewish wedding in Caracas the family moved to a Spanish speaking area of Manhattan, at 112 West 14th street where their first son, Solon De Leon would be born on September 2, 1883. By the mid to late 1880s the family was living in the Lower East Side. In 1885 or 1886 another child, Grover Cleveland De Leon was born but only lived a year and a half. On April 29, 1887 Sarah Lobo De Leon died in childbirth while delivering stillborn twins; it was the same year that Grover had died. After this the De Leons left the Lower East Side and moved in with their housekeeper Mary Redden Maguire at 1487 Avenue A.[9]

In 1891, while on a speaking tour around the country for the SLP, De Leon found himself in Kansas when he learned that a planned speaking engagement in Lawrence had been canceled. He decided to head to Independence, Kansas where he had been advised there was some sympathy for the socialist movement. He arrived on April 23 and was hosted by a 26-year-old school teacher, Bertha Canary, who was the head of a local Bellamyite group, the Christian Socialist Club. Canary was familiar with De Leon, having read some of his articles in the Nationalist Club movement press, and the two apparently became infatuated with each other. In 1892 they were married in South Norwalk, Connecticut.[10] They had five children: Florence, Gertrude, Paul, Donald and Genseric. He named the latter, according to Solon De Leon, after the medieval king Genseric, a Vandal who made the Pope kiss his toes.[11]

Political career

De Leon settled in New York City, studying at Columbia University. He was a Georgist socialist during the 1886 Mayoral campaign of Henry George and in 1890 joined the Socialist Labor Party, becoming the editor of its newspaper, The People. He quickly grew in stature inside the party and in 1891, 1902, and 1904 he ran for the governorship of the state of New York, winning more than 15,000 votes in 1902, his best result.

De Leon became a Marxist in the late 1880s, and argued for the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism, trying to divert the SLP away from its Lassallian outlook. Some argue that his famous polemic with James Connolly showed him to have been an advocate of Lassalle's Iron Law of Wages.[12] Others question this assertion because by the same logic Marx and Engels could be described as advocates of the Iron Law because language in The Communist Manifesto and Value, Price and Profit pertaining to the level of wages and temporary effect of union activity on working conditions is similar to the language used by De Leon in his answer to Connolly, and the 'iron law of wages' is a Malthusian theory which De Leon did not indicate any support for.

De Leon was highly critical of the trade union movement in America and described the craft-oriented American Federation of Labor as the "American Separation of Labor". At this early stage in De Leon's development, there was still a considerable remnant of the general unionist Knights of Labor in existence, and the SLP worked within it until being driven out. This resulted in the formation of the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance (ST&LA) in 1895, which was dominated by the SLP.

By the early 20th Century, the SLP was declining in numbers, with first the Social Democratic Party and then the Socialist Party of America becoming the leading leftist political force in America (as these splinter groups embraced capitalist reforms). De Leon was an important figure in the US labor movement, and in 1904 he attended the International Socialist Congress, held in Amsterdam. Under the influence of the American Labor Union (ALU), he changed his politics around this time to put more focus on industrial unionism, and the ballot as a purely destructive weapon, in contrast to his earlier view of political organization as 'sword' and industrial union as 'shield'. He worked with the ALU in the founding of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in 1905. His participation in this organization was short-lived and acrimonious.

De Leon later accused the IWW of having been taken over by what he called disparagingly 'the bummery'. De Leon was engaged in a policy dispute with the leaders of the IWW. His argument was in support of political action via the Socialist Labor Party while other leaders, including founder Big Bill Haywood, argued instead for direct action. Haywood's faction prevailed, resulting in a change to the Preamble which precluded "affiliation with any political party." De Leon's followers left the IWW to form a rival Detroit-based IWW, which was renamed the Workers' International Industrial Union in 1915, and collapsed in 1925.[13]

Death and legacy

De Leon was formally expelled from the Chicago IWW after calling proponents of that organization "slum proletarians".[13] He died in New York on May 11, 1914. His Socialist Labor Party has remained influential, largely by keeping his ideas alive.

Daniel De Leon proved hugely influential to other socialists, also outside the US. For example, in the UK, a Socialist Labour Party was formed. De Leon's hopes for peaceful and bloodless revolution also influenced Antonio Gramsci's concept of passive revolution.[14] George Seldes quotes Lenin saying on the fifth anniversary of the revolution, "... What we have done in Russia is accept the De Leon interpretation of Marxism, that is what the Bolsheviki adopted in 1917."[15]

Electoral history

De Leon ran in 1891 for Governor of New York and received 14,651 votes. He ran in 1893 for Secretary of State of New York and received 20,034 votes. He ran again in 1902 for Governor and received 15,886 votes. He ran in 1903 for the New York Court of Appeals. He ran again in 1904 for Governor and received 8,976 votes.


• Reform or Revolution?, speech, 1896.
• What Means This Strike?, speech, 1898.
• Socialism vs Anarchism, speech, 1901.
• Two Pages from Roman History
• The Burning Question of Trade Unionism
• Preamble of the IWW, later renamed The Socialist Reconstruction of Society.
• DeLeon Replies ... (short essay, 1904)


1. Kenneth T. Jackson, ed. (1995-09-26). "DeLeon, Daniel". The Encyclopedia of New York City. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. p. 324.
2. Carl Reeve, The Life and Times of Daniel De Leon. New York: Humanities Press, pp. 2-3.
3. Stephen Coleman, Daniel De Leon. Manchester, England: University of Manchester Press, 1990; pg. 8.
4. Reeve, The Life and Times of Daniel De Leon, pg. 4.
5. Seretan, L. Glen Daniel DeLeon: The Odyssey of an American Marxist. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1979; p. 6
6. Reeve, The Life and Times of Daniel De Leon, pp. 19-20.
7. Lewis Hanke, "The First Lecturer on Hispanic American Diplomatic History in the United States," The Hispanic American Historical Review, Vol. 16, No. 3 (Aug. 1936), pp. 399-402.
8. Daniel De Leon, The Conference at Berlin on The West-African Question
9. Reeve op cit. pp.4-5
10. Coleman, op. cit. p.9
11. Reeve op cit. pp.6
12. Daniel De Leon (1904). "DeLeon Replies". Retrieved February 22, 2007.
13. Fred W. Thompson and Patrick Murfin, The IWW: Its First Seventy Years, 1905-1975, 1976; pg. 39.
14. Dan Jakopvich, "Revolution and the party in Gramsci’s thought." IV Online magazine (IV406, Nov. 2008), [1], See section: "The dialectics of consent and coercion."
15. Seldes, George (1987). Witness to a Century. New York: Ballantine Books. pp. 191–192. ISBN 0345331818.

Further reading

• Stephen Coleman, Daniel De Leon, Manchester, England: Manchester University Press.
• W.J. Ghent,"Daniel De Leon" in Dictionary of American Biography. New York: American Council of Learned Societies, 1928-1936.
• Lewis Hanke The first lecturer on Hispanic American diplomatic history. Durham, N.C., 1936 (Reprinted from The Hispanic American historical review, vol. XVI, no. 3, August, 1936)
• Frank Girard and Ben Perry, Socialist Labor Party, 1876-1991: A Short History. Philadelphia: Livra Books, 1991.
• David Herreshoff, "Daniel De Leon: The Rise of Marxist Politics," in Harvey Goldberg ed. American Radicals: Some Problems and Personalities. New York, Monthly Review Press, 1957.
• American Disciples of Marx: From the Age of Jackson to the Progressive Era. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1967.
• Olive M. Johnson, Daniel De Leon, American Socialist Pathfinder. New York: New York Labor News Company, 1923.
• Olive M. Johnson and Henry Kuhn, The Socialist Labor Party: During Four Decades, 1890-1930.Part 1. Part 2. New York: New York Labor News Company, 1931.
• Charles A. Madison, "Daniel De Leon: Apostle of Socialism," Antioch Review, vol. 5, no. 3 (Autumn 1945), pp. 402–414. In JSTOR
• Arnold Petersen, Daniel DeLeon: Social Architect. New York: New York Labor News Company, 1942.
• Leonid Raiskii, Daniel De Leon; the struggle against opportunism in the American labor movement, New York: New York Labor News Co., 1932.
• Carl Reeve, The Life and Times of Daniel De Leon. New York:AIMS/Humanities Press, 1972.
• L. Glen Seratan, Daniel DeLeon: The Odyssey of an American Marxist, Cambridge, MA: [Harvard University Press, 1979.
• "Daniel De Leon as American," Wisconsin Magazine of History, vol. 61, no. 3 (Spring 1978), pp. 210–223. In JSTOR.
• Daniel De Leon: The Man and his Work: A Symposium. New York: National Executive Committee, Socialist Labor Party, 1919.
• Golden jubilee of De Leonism, 1890-1940: Commemorating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Founding of the Socialist labor party. New York: National Executive Committee, Socialist Labor Party, 1940.
• Fifty years of American Marxism, 1891-1941: Commemorating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Founding of the Weekly People. New York: National Executive Committee, Socialist Labor Party, 1940.
• The Vatican in Politics: Ultramontanism, New York Labor News Company 1962

External links

• Socialist Labor Party official website.
• Daniel De Leon Internet Archive at the Marxists Internet Archive.
• Works by Daniel De Leon at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about Daniel De Leon at Internet Archive
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Re: Act & Punishment: The Pussy Riot Trials

Postby admin » Wed Oct 03, 2018 1:31 am

William Weinstone
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 10/2/18



Will Weinstone, 1927.

William Wolf "Will" Weinstone (1897–1985) was an American Communist politician and labor leader. Weinstone served as Executive Secretary of the unified Communist Party of America, the forerunner of today's Communist Party USA, from October 15, 1921 to February 22, 1922 and was an important figure in the party's activities among the auto workers of Detroit during the 1930s.


Early years

William Weinstone was born December 15, 1897 in Vilnius, then part of the Tsarist Russian Empire. Will was the son of Jewish parents who emigrated from Russia to escape that nation's pervasive anti-semitism during the late Tsarist period. His original surname was "Weinstein," a name which Will Americanized when he was older.

Political career

Weinstone was elected as an alternate delegate to the Left Wing National Conference held in New York City in June 1919, at which he was seated to replace a regular delegate on the last day of the gathering.

Weinstone was elected as a delegate to the founding convention of the Communist Party of America, called to order in Chicago on September 1, 1919.

During the first years of the 1920s the Communist Party of America was forced underground by the mass operation of the U.S. Department of Justice remembered as the Palmer Raids. During this interval, Weinstone served as Executive Secretary of the secret party organization from October 15, 1921 to February 22, 1922, under the pseudonym "G. Lewis."[1]

Following the removal of Jay Lovestone and Benjamin Gitlow from the leadership of the Communist Party in the summer of 1929, Weinstone was added to the ranks of a new collective leadership called the Secretariat.[2] Although he had aspirations of permanent leadership, he was ultimately unable to retain the top leadership, which soon fell to Earl Browder, a longtime factional rival.[2]

Weinstone ran for Mayor of New York City in 1929.[3] Following the campaign, Weinstone was selected by the Communist Party as its representative to the Executive Committee of the Communist International in Moscow, a post which he occupied until 1931.[2]

He ran for U.S. Senator from New York in 1932.

As an executive officer of the Communist Party in Michigan during a wave of Great Depression union activity during the mid-1930s, Weinstone played a significant role in the founding of the United Auto Workers Union (UAW) in May 1935, pressing the unionized workers to make use of the sit-down strike, a tactic first employed by the Industrial Workers of the World union.[4] The union's wave of successful sit-down strikes culminated in the Flint Sit-Down Strike of 1936-1937, in which the striking UAW workers occupied several General Motors plants for over forty days – repelling the efforts of the police and National Guard to drive them from the auto plant's premises.

A member of the Central Executive Committee of the Communist Party during the same period, Weinstone concurrently worked on the party's cause on behalf of oppressed African Americans in the segregated southern states. Writing for such Communist publications as The International Communist, he was a strong champion of the defense of the falsely-accused Scottsboro Boys, whose successful legal defense was organized by the Communist-funded International Labor Defense, as was the famous case of young African American organizer Angelo Herndon.

In 1938 Weinstone was named Director of the New York Workers School, the Communist Party's ideological training school located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.[5]

Later years

Still publishing material for the communist cause into the twilight of his life, Winestone, together with Theodore Bassett and Philip A. Bart, was also co-editor of Highlights of a Fighting History: 60 Years of the Communist Party, USA, a broad selection of speeches, essays, and documents from the party's history; his recollection of organizing work during the autoworkers' sit-down strike was published in The Great Sit-Down Strike, a work produced by the party-organized Workers Library Publishers in 1937.

In 1953, he and 12 other Communist leaders were convicted in Federal District Court in Manhattan under the Smith Act of conspiracy to advocate the violent overthrow of the Government. His role in the conspiracy was the writing of two newspaper articles, in 1948 and 1950, reviewing the party's educational work and plans to raise membership. He served two years in a Federal prison and was fined $4,000.[6] Weinstone remained a loyalist to the Communist Party throughout his entire life, remaining in the organization even after its bitter factional struggle of 1956 to 1958, brought about by the so-called "Secret Speech" of Nikita Khrushchev in February 1956 and the Soviet invasion of Hungary in November 1956.

In 1959, Weinstone was among the first American Communists to visit the Soviet Union again, following a protracted break in direct contacts with the outside world. Weinstone traveled at that time without portfolio and was reported by high-ranking party member and FBI informant Morris Childs to have been considering seeking employment and staying in the USSR on a long-term basis.[7] Childs persuaded Weinstone to return to the United States, however, and he returned to America on November 1, 1959.[7]

Death and legacy

Will Weinstone died on October 26, 1985. His papers reside with the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.[8]

Weinstone was immortalized in film as one of the "witnesses" in Warren Beatty's film, Reds, sharing his personal recollections of radical journalist John Reed and his wife, Louise Bryant.


1. "The Communist Party of America (1919-1946): Party Officials," Early American Marxism website, Retrieved June 6, 2011.
2. Theodore Draper, American Communism and Soviet Russia. New York: Viking Press, 1960; pg. 431.
3. "Communists Name Municipal Ticket: Weinstone Chosen to Run for Mayor," New York Times, July 15, 1929.
4. Berger, Michael L. The Automobile in American History: A Reference Guide. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2001; pg. 76; the Industrial Workers of the World union's role in the founding of the sit-down strike is retold by Bruce Watson in Bread and Roses: Mills, Migrants, and the Struggle for the American Dream. New York: Penguin Books, 2005; pg. 54.
5. Marvin E. Gettleman, "The New York Workers School, 1923-1944: Communist Education in American Society," in Michael E. Brown et al., New Studies in the Politics and Culture of U.S. Communism. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1993; pg. 271.
6. ... ditor.html
7. Morris Childs, "Information Concerning William Weinstone," December 3, 1959. Published in "FBI SOLO Files - March 1958 to August 1960." Washington, DC: Federal Bureau of Investigation, August 2011; part 15, pdf page 12.
8. Laura J. Kells, William W. Weinstone Papers: A Finding Aid to the Collection in the Library of Congress. Washington, DC: Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, 2009.


• How the Auto Workers Won. (with William Z Foster) New York: The Daily Worker, 1937.
• The Great Sit-down Strike. New York: Workers Library Pub., 1937.
• Factionalism — The Enemy of the Auto Workers. (with Boleslaw Gebert) Detroit, Communist Party of Michigan 1938.
• The Case against David Dubinsky. New York: New Century Publishers, 1946
• The Atom Bomb and You. New York: New Century Publishers, 1950.
• Our Generation Will Not Be Silent: Statement of the Labor Youth League in Answer to the Attorney General's Charges under the McCarran Act. New York: The League, 1953.
• Against Opportunism: For a Marxist-Leninist, Vanguard Party of the American Working Class. New York: Waterfront Section, Communist Party, U.S.A., 1956.
• Study Outline on the History of the Communist Party, USA. New York: National Education Dept., Communist Party, U.S.A., 1969.

External links

• Laura J. Kells, William W. Weinstone Papers: A Finding Aid to the Collection in the Library of Congress. Washington, DC: Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, 2009.

Communist Party USA

Nominees Presidential

• 1924: Foster
• 1928: Foster
• 1932: Foster
• 1936: Browder
• 1940: Browder
• 1968: Mitchell
• 1972: Hall
• 1976: Hall
• 1980: Hall
• 1984: Hall

Vice Presidential

• 1924: Gitlow
• 1928: Gitlow
• 1932: Ford
• 1936: Ford
• 1940: Ford
• 1968: Zagarell
• 1972: Tyner
• 1976: Tyner
• 1980: Davis
• 1984: Davis


• C. E. Ruthenberg (1919–1920; 1922–1927)
• Alfred Wagenknecht (1919–1921)
• Charles Dirba (1920–1921)
• Louis Shapiro (late 1920)
• L. E. Katterfeld (1921)
• William Weinstone (1921–1922)
• Jay Lovestone (1922; 1927–1929)
• James P. Cannon(1921–1922)
• Caleb Harrison (1921-1922)
• Abram Jakira (1922–1923)
• William Z. Foster(1929–1934)
• Earl Browder (1934–1945)
• Eugene Dennis (1945–1959)
• William Z. Foster(1945–1957)
• Gus Hall (1959–2000)
• Sam Webb (2000–2014)
• John Bachtell (2014–present)


• Albertson v. Subversive Activities Control Board
• Aptheker v. Secretary of State
• Communist Party v. Subversive Activities Control Board
• De Jonge v. Oregon
• Dennis v. United States
• Kent v. Dulles
• Keyishian v. Board of Regents
• Noto v. United States
• Scales v. United States
• Smith Act trials
• Watkins v. United States
• Yates v. United States

Related articles

• Bill of Rights socialism
• Communist Labor Party
• English-language press
• Non-English press
• International Publishers
• Language federation
• National conventions
• People's World
• Relations with African-Americans
• Young Communist League USA
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Re: Act & Punishment: The Pussy Riot Trials

Postby admin » Wed Oct 03, 2018 1:37 am

Bertram Wolfe
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 10/2/18



Bert Wolfe as he appeared in 1929 as National Agit-Prop director of the Workers (Communist) Party.

Bertram David "Bert" Wolfe (January 19, 1896 – February 21, 1977) was an American scholar and former communist best known for biographical studies of Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Leon Trotsky, and Diego Rivera.


Early life

Bertram Wolfe was born January 19, 1896, in Brooklyn, New York. His mother was a native-born American and his father was an ethnic Jewish immigrant from Germany who had arrived in the United States as a boy of 13.[1]

Wolfe studied to teach English literature and writing and received degrees from the College of the City of New York, Columbia University, and the University of Mexico.[1]

Communist Party

Wolfe was active with the Socialist Party of America in his youth and was an active participant in the Left Wing Section which emerged in 1919. Wolfe attended the June 1919 National Conference of the Left Wing and was elected by that body to its nine-member National Council.[1] He helped draft the manifesto of that organization, together with Louis C. Fraina and John Reed.[1]

In 1919 Wolfe became a founding member of the Communist Party of America (CPA). Together with Maximilian Cohen, Wolfe was responsible for The Communist World, the CPA's first newspaper in New York City.[2]

During the period of repression of leading Communists in New York conducted by the Lusk Committee, Wolfe fled to California. In 1920 he became a member of the San Francisco Cooks' Union.[2] He also edited a left wing trade union paper called Labor Unity from 1920 to 1922.[2] Wolfe was a delegate to the ill-fated August 1922 convention of the underground CPA held in Bridgman, Michigan, for which he was indicted under Michigan's "criminal syndicalism" law.[1]

In 1923, Wolfe departed for Mexico, where he became active in the trade union movement there.[2] He became a member of the Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Mexico and was a delegate of that organization to the 5th World Congress of the Communist International, held in Moscow in 1924.[1] Wolfe was also a leading member the Red International of Labor Unions (Profintern) from 1924 to 1928, sitting on that body's Executive Committee.[2]

Wolfe was ultimately deported from Mexico to the United States in July 1925 for activities related to a strike of Mexican railway workers.[2] Upon his return to America, Wolfe took over as head of the Party's New York Workers School, located at 26 Union Square and offering 70 courses in the social sciences to some 1500 students.[2]

After his return to the United States, Wolfe became a close political associate of factional leader Jay Lovestone, who became the leader of the American Communist Party following the death of C.E. Ruthenberg in 1927. He was editor of The Communist, the official theoretical journal of the Communist Party, in 1927 and 1928.[2]

Wolfe was chosen as a delegate of the American Communist Party to the Sixth World Congress of the Comintern in 1928.[1]

In 1928, Wolfe was made the national director of agitation and propaganda for the Workers (Communist) Party of America.[2] He also ran for U.S. Congress as a Communist in the 10th Congressional District of New York.[3]

Late in December 1928, with the election campaign at an end, Wolfe was dispatched by the Lovestone-dominated Central Executive Committee of the American Communist Party to serve as it delegate to the Executive Committee of the Communist International (ECCI), where he replaced J. Louis Engdahl.[4] In that capacity, he became involved in the attempt of Jay Lovestone to maintain control of the American organization over the growing opposition of Joseph Stalin and Vyacheslav Molotov, who ultimately supported the rival faction headed by William Z. Foster and Alexander Bittelman.

According to Benjamin Gitlow's 1940 memoir, I Confess, Wolfe was directed by the Comintern in April 1929 to be removed from his post in Moscow and to instead accept a dangerous assignment to Korea - at the time under Japanese rule - as part of the campaign against the Lovestone group in the American Communist Party.[5] Wolfe refused the assignment, providing a long statement of his reasons to ECCI for this decision, according to Gitlow.[5]

In June 1929, Wolfe was expelled from the Communist Party, USA for refusing to support the Comintern's decisions regarding the American Communist Party, which effectively removed Lovestone from power.[1]

Communist Party (Opposition)

Upon returning to the United States, he and Lovestone, who had also been expelled from the party, formed the Communist Party (Opposition) to further their views. Having expected a majority of American Communists to join them, they were disappointed at only being able to attract a few hundred followers. Wolfe became editor of the CP(O)'s newspaper Worker's Age and its chief theorist. Initially, Lovestone and Wolfe hoped to eventually be welcomed back into the Communist movement but when changes in the Comintern's line failed to result in a rapprochement, the CP(O) moved further and further away from communism. Wolfe and Lovestone were sympathisers of Nikolai Bukharin and helped found the International Communist Opposition (also known as the International Right Opposition) which for a time had some influence before petering out.

In the 1930s, Wolfe and his wife, Ella Goldberg Wolfe, travelled around the world visiting Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Mexico City in 1933 and spending time in Spain prior to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. By 1940, the Wolfes were living in Provincetown, Massachusetts where they befriended Alfred Kazin and introduced him to Mary McCarthy and the writers of the Partisan Review.[6]

The CP(O) meanwhile moved further away from the left and went through several name changes finally becoming the Independent Labor League of America in 1938 before dissolving at the end of 1940 in part because of a break between Lovestone and Wolfe on their interpretation of World War II - with Lovestone favoring American intervention and Wolfe opposing support for what he argued was an imperialist war.

Cold War

Wolfe's political perspective changed with time, however, and during the Cold War was a leading anti-Communist. In the 1950s, he worked as ideological advisor to the State Department's International Broadcasting Office which was in charge of Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe. He then joined Stanford University's Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace's library as senior fellow in Slavic studies and, in 1966, became a senior research fellow at the institution. He also served as a visiting professor at Columbia University and the University of California. In 1973 Wolfe was one of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto II.[7]

Death and legacy

Wolfe died February 21, 1977, from burns he suffered when his bathrobe caught fire. He was 81 years old at the time of his death.

See also

• New York Workers School
• New Workers School


1. Branko Lazitch with Milorad M. Drachkovitch, Biographical Dictionary of the Comintern: New, Revised, and Expanded Edition. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1986; pp. 514-515.
2. "Wolfe Starts Campaign Tour: Communist Candidate to Speak in Many Cities," Daily Worker, vol. 5, no. 235 (October 4, 1928), pp. 1, 3.
3. "Red Ticket Goes on Ballot in NY State," Daily Worker, vol. 5, no. 241 (October 11, 1928), pg. 3.
4. Theodore Draper, American Communism and Soviet Russia. New York: Viking Press, 1960; pg. 392.
5. Benjamin Gitlow, I Confess: The Truth About American Communism. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1940; pp. 547-548.
6. Kazin, Alfred (1965). Starting Out In The Thirties. Little, Brown and Company. pp. 151-155.
7. "Humanist Manifesto II". American Humanist Association. Retrieved October 9, 2012.


• Our Heritage from 1776: A Working Class View of the First American Revolution. With Jay Lovestone and William F. Dunne, New York: The Workers School, n.d. [1926] alternate link
• How class collaboration works Chicago: Daily Worker, 1926 (Little red library #9)
• Revolution in Latin America New York: Workers Library Publishers, 1928
• The Trotsky opposition: its significance for American workers New York: Workers Library Publishers, 1928 (Workers library #5)
• Economics of present day capitalism New York: New Workers school 1930s
• The nature of capitalist crisis New York: New Workers school 1930s
• What is the communist opposition? New York: Workers Age Pub. Ass'n. 1933
• Marx and America New York: John Day Co. 1934
• Things We Want to Know New York: Workers Age Pub. Association. 1934
• Marxian Economics: An Outline of Twelve Lectures. New York: New Workers school 1934
• Economics of Present Day Capitalism. New York: New Workers School, n.d. [1930s].
• Portrait of America (with Diego Rivera) New York: Covici, Friede 1934
• Portrait of Mexico (with Diego Rivera) New York: Covici, Friede 1937
• Civil war in Spain (with Andrés Nin) New York: Workers Age Publishers 1937
• The Truth about the Barcelona events by Lambda (Introduction) New York: Workers Age 1937
• Keep America out of war, a program (with Norman Thomas) New York: Frederick A. Stokes 1939
• Diego Rivera: his life and times New York: A.A. Knopf 1939
• The Russian Revolution by Rosa Luxemburg Intro. and trans. by Bertram D. Wolfe. New York: Workers Age 1940
• Poland, acid test for a people's peace New York: Polish Labor Group 1945
• Diego Rivera Washington: Pan American Union 1947
• Three who made a revolution, a biographical history Washington: Dial Press 1948
• Operation rewrite; the agony of Soviet historians New York, N.Y.?: Council on Foreign Relations?, 1948
• An exclusive radio interview with Stalin on peace and war: based on a series of three broadcasts by the Voice of America, October, 1951(with Catharine de Bary) S.l. : Distributed by the United States Information Service, 1951
• Six keys to the Soviet system Boston: Beacon Press 1956
• Khrushchev and Stalin's ghost; text, background, and meaning of Khrushchev's secret report to the Twentieth Congress on the night of February 24-25, 1956. New York: Praeger 1957
• The durability of despotism in the Soviet system; Changes in Soviet Society, conference under the auspices of St. Anthony's College in association with the Congress for Cultural Freedom (June 24-29, 1957) Oxford: St. Anthony's College 1957
• The Russian Revolution, and Leninism or Marxism? by Rosa Luxemburg (new introduction) Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press 1961
• The fabulous life of Diego Rivera - Stein and Day Publishers New York 1963
• Leninism Palo Alto, Calif.: Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace 1964
• Strange Communists I have known New York: Stein and Day 1965
• Marxism, one hundred years in the life of a doctrine New York, Dial Press 1965
• The bridge and the abyss; the troubled friendship of Maxim Gorky and V.I. Lenin New York, Published for the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif. by F.A. Praeger 1967
• An ideology in power; reflections on the Russian revolution New York: Stein and Day 1969
• Lenin: notes for a biographer by Leon Trotsky (introduction) New York: Capricorn Books 1971
• Revolution and reality: essays on the origin and fate of the Soviet system Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press 1981
• A life in two centuries: an autobiography New York: Stein and Day 1981
• Lenin and the twentieth century: a Bertram D. Wolfe retrospective Stanford, Calif.:Hoover Institution Press, Stanford University 1984
• Breaking with communism: the intellectual odyssey of Bertram D. Wolfe edited and with an introduction by Robert Hessen Stanford, Calif.: Hoover Institution Press, Stanford University 1990

External links

• Bertram Wolfe Archive at
• Life of the Party article on Ella Wolfe
• Bertram D. Wolfe materials in the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA)
• Bertram Wolfe's FBI files:
• HQ-1
• HQ-2
• HQ-EBF32
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Re: Act & Punishment: The Pussy Riot Trials

Postby admin » Wed Oct 03, 2018 1:46 am

Philosopher's stone
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 10/2/18



This article is about the legendary substance. For other uses, see Philosopher's Stone (disambiguation).

The Alchymist, in Search of the Philosopher's Stone by Joseph Wright of Derby, 1771.

The philosopher's stone, or stone of the philosophers (Latin: lapis philosophorum) is a legendary alchemical substance capable of turning base metals such as mercury into gold (chrysopoeia, from the Greek χρυσός khrusos, "gold", and ποιεῖν poiēin, "to make") or silver. It is also called the elixir of life, useful for rejuvenation and for achieving immortality; for many centuries, it was the most sought goal in alchemy. The philosopher's stone was the central symbol of the mystical terminology of alchemy, symbolizing perfection at its finest, enlightenment, and heavenly bliss. Efforts to discover the philosopher's stone were known as the Magnum Opus ("Great Work").[1]


Ancient Greece

Mention of the philosopher's stone in writing can be found as far back as Cheirokmeta by Zosimos of Panopolis (c. 300 AD).[2] Alchemical writers assign a longer history. Elias Ashmole and the anonymous author of Gloria Mundi (1620) claim that its history goes back to Adam who acquired the knowledge of the stone directly from God. This knowledge was said to be passed down through biblical patriarchs, giving them their longevity. The legend of the stone was also compared to the biblical history of the Temple of Solomon and the rejected cornerstone described in Psalm 118.[3]

The theoretical roots outlining the stone’s creation can be traced to Greek philosophy. Alchemists later used the classical elements, the concept of anima mundi, and Creation stories presented in texts like Plato's Timaeus as analogies for their process.[4] According to Plato, the four elements are derived from a common source or prima materia (first matter), associated with chaos. Prima materia is also the name alchemists assign to the starting ingredient for the creation of the philosopher's stone. The importance of this philosophical first matter persisted throughout the history of alchemy. In the seventeenth century, Thomas Vaughan writes, "the first matter of the stone is the very same with the first matter of all things".[5]

Middle Ages

The 8th-century Muslim alchemist Jabir ibn Hayyan (Latinized as Geber) analyzed each classical element in terms of the four basic qualities. Fire was both hot and dry, earth cold and dry, water cold and moist, and air hot and moist. He theorized that every metal was a combination of these four principles, two of them interior and two exterior. From this premise, it was reasoned that the transmutation of one metal into another could be affected by the rearrangement of its basic qualities. This change would presumably be mediated by a substance, which came to be called al-iksir in Arabic (from which the Western term elixir is derived). It is often considered to exist as a dry red powder (also known as al-Kibrit al-Ahmar الكبريت الأحمر—red sulphur) made from a legendary stone—the philosopher's stone.[6][7] Jabir's theory was based on the concept that metals like gold and silver could be hidden in alloys and ores, from which they could be recovered by the appropriate chemical treatment. Jabir himself is believed to be the inventor of aqua regia, a mixture of muriatic (hydrochloric) and nitric acids, one of the few substances that can dissolve gold (and which is still often used for gold recovery and purification).[citation needed]

In the 11th century, there was a debate among Muslim world chemists on whether the transmutation of substances was possible. A leading opponent was the Persian polymath Avicenna (Ibn Sina), who discredited the theory of transmutation of substances, stating, "Those of the chemical craft know well that no change can be effected in the different species of substances, though they can produce the appearance of such change."[8]

According to legend, the 13th-century scientist and philosopher Albertus Magnus is said to have discovered the philosopher's stone and passed it to his pupil, Thomas Aquinas, shortly before his death circa 1280. Magnus does not confirm he discovered the stone in his writings, but he did record that he witnessed the creation of gold by "transmutation".[9]

Renaissance to early modern period

The Squared Circle: an alchemical symbol (17th century) illustrating the interplay of the four elements of matter symbolising the philosopher's stone

The 16th-century Swiss alchemist Paracelsus (Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim) believed in the existence of alkahest, which he thought to be an undiscovered element from which all other elements (earth, fire, water, air) were simply derivative forms. Paracelsus believed that this element was, in fact, the philosopher's stone.

The English philosopher Sir Thomas Browne in his spiritual testament Religio Medici (1643) identified the religious aspect of the quest for the philosopher's Stone when declaring:

The smattering I have of the Philosophers stone, (which is something more than the perfect exaltation of gold) hath taught me a great deale of Divinity.

— (R.M.Part 1:38)[10]

A mystical text published in the 17th century called the Mutus Liber appears to be a symbolic instruction manual for concocting a philosopher's stone. Called the "wordless book", it was a collection of 15 illustrations.

In Buddhism and Hinduism

The equivalent of the philosopher's stone in Buddhism and Hinduism is the Cintamani.[11] It is also referred to[12] as Paras/Parasmani (Hindi: पारस/पारसमणि) or Paris (Marathi: परिस).

In Mahayana Buddhism, Chintamani is held by the bodhisattvas, Avalokiteshvara and Ksitigarbha. It is also seen carried upon the back of the Lung ta (wind horse) which is depicted on Tibetan prayer flags. By reciting the Dharani of Chintamani, Buddhist tradition maintains that one attains the Wisdom of Buddhas, is able to understand the truth of the Buddhas, and turns afflictions into Bodhi. It is said to allow one to see the Holy Retinue of Amitabha and his assembly upon one's deathbed. In Tibetan Buddhist tradition the Chintamani is sometimes depicted as a luminous pearl and is in the possession of several of different forms of the Buddha.[13]

Within Hinduism it is connected with the gods Vishnu and Ganesha. In Hindu tradition it is often depicted as a fabulous jewel in the possession of the Nāga king or as on the forehead of the Makara.[citation needed] The Yoga Vasistha, originally written in the 10th century AD, contains a story about the philosopher's stone.[14]

A great Hindu sage wrote about the spiritual accomplishment of Gnosis using the metaphor of the philosopher's stone. Saint Jnaneshwar (1275–1296) wrote a commentary with 17 references to the philosopher's stone that explicitly transmutes base metal into gold. The seventh century Siddhar Thirumoolar in his classic Tirumandhiram explains man's path to immortal divinity. In verse 2709 he declares that the name of God, Shiva is an alchemical vehicle that turns the body into immortal gold.


The most commonly mentioned properties are the ability to transmute base metals into gold or silver, and the ability to heal all forms of illness and prolong the life of any person who consumes a small part of the philosopher's stone.[15] Other mentioned properties include: creation of perpetually burning lamps,[15] transmutation of common crystals into precious stones and diamonds,[15] reviving of dead plants,[15] creation of flexible or malleable glass,[16] or the creation of a clone or homunculus.[17]


Numerous synonyms were used to make oblique reference to the stone, such as "white stone" (calculus albus, identified with the calculus candidus of Revelation 2:17 which was taken as a symbol of the glory of heaven[18]), vitriol (as expressed in the backronym Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem), also lapis noster, lapis occultus, in water at the box, and numerous oblique, mystical or mythological references such as Adam, Aer, Animal, Alkahest, Antidotus, Antimonium, Aqua benedicta, Aqua volans per aeram, Arcanum, Atramentum, Autumnus, Basilicus, Brutorum cor, Bufo, Capillus, Capistrum auri, Carbones, Cerberus, Chaos, Cinis cineris, Crocus, Dominus philosophorum, Divine quintessence, Draco elixir, Filius ignis, Fimus, Folium, Frater, Granum, Granum frumenti, Haematites, Hepar, Herba, Herbalis, Lac, Melancholia, Ovum philosophorum, Panacea salutifera, Pandora, Phoenix, Philosophic mercury, Pyrites, Radices arboris solares, Regina, Rex regum, Sal metallorum, Salvator terrenus, Talcum, Thesaurus, Ventus hermetis.[19] Many of the medieval allegories for a Christ were adopted for the lapis, and the Christ and the Stone were indeed taken as identical in a mystical sense. The name of "Stone" or lapis itself is informed by early Christian allegory, such as Priscillian (4th century), who stated Unicornis est Deus, nobis petra Christus, nobis lapis angularis Jesus, nobis hominum homo Christus.[20] In some texts it is simply called 'stone', or our stone, or in the case of Thomas Norton's Ordinal, "oure delycious stone".[21] The stone was frequently praised and referred to in such terms.

It needs to be noted that philosophorum does not mean "of the philosopher" or "the philosopher's" in the sense of a single philosopher. It means "of the philosophers" in the sense of a plurality of philosophers.


Philosopher's stone as pictured in Atalanta Fugiens Emblem 21

The first key of Basil Valentine, emblem associated with the 'Great Work' of obtaining the Philosopher's stone (Twelve Keys of Basil Valentine).

Descriptions of the Philosopher's Stone are numerous and various.[22] According to alchemical texts, the stone of the philosophers came in two varieties, prepared by an almost identical method: white (for the purpose of making silver), and red (for the purpose of making gold), the white stone being a less matured version of the red stone.[23] Some ancient and medieval alchemical texts leave clues to the physical appearance of the stone of the philosophers, specifically the red stone. It is often said to be orange (saffron colored) or red when ground to powder. Or in a solid form, an intermediate between red and purple, transparent and glass-like.[24] The weight is spoken of as being heavier than gold,[25] and it is soluble in any liquid, yet incombustible in fire.[26]

Alchemical authors sometimes suggest that the stone's descriptors are metaphorical.[27] The appearance is expressed geometrically in Michael Maier's Atalanta Fugiens. "Make of a man and woman a circle; then a quadrangle; out of this a triangle; make again a circle, and you will have the Stone of the Wise. Thus is made the stone, which thou canst not discover, unless you, through diligence, learn to understand this geometrical teaching."[28] Rupescissa uses the imagery of the Christian passion, telling us it ascends "from the sepulcher of the Most Excellent King, shining and glorious, resuscitated from the dead and wearing a red diadem...".[29]


The various names and attributes assigned to the philosopher's stone has led to long-standing speculation on its composition and source. Esoteric candidates have been found in metals, plants, rocks, chemical compounds, and bodily products such as hair, urine, and eggs. Justus von Liebig states that 'it was indispensable that every substance accessible... should be observed and examined'.[30] Alchemists once thought a key component in the creation of the stone was a mythical element named carmot.[31][32]

Esoteric hermetic alchemists may reject work on exoteric substances, instead directing their search for the philosopher's stone inward.[33] Though esoteric and exoteric approaches are sometimes mixed, it is clear that some authors "are not concerned with material substances but are employing the language of exoteric alchemy for the sole purpose of expressing theological, philosophical, or mystical beliefs and aspirations".[34] New interpretations continue to be developed around spagyric, chemical, and esoteric schools of thought.


The philosopher's stone is created by the alchemical method known as The Magnum Opus or The Great Work. Often expressed as a series of color changes or chemical processes, the instructions for creating the philosopher's stone are varied. When expressed in colors, the work may pass through phases of nigredo, albedo, citrinitas, and rubedo. When expressed as a series of chemical processes it often includes seven or twelve stages concluding in multiplication, and projection.

Art and entertainment

The philosopher's stone has been an inspiration, plot feature, or subject of innumerable artistic works: animations, comics, films, musical compositions, novels, and video games.

See also

• Angelicall Stone
• Azoth
• Biological transmutation
• Cintamani
• Cupellation
• Elixir of life
• Filius philosophorum
• Homunculus
• Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
• Midas
• Nicolas Flamel
• Nuclear transmutation
• Panacea (medicine)
• Synthesis of precious metals
• The Net (substance)
• Unobtainium
• FullMetal Alchemist


1. Heindel, Max, Freemasonry and Catholicism, ISBN 0-911274-04-9
2. Andrew Ede, Lesley B. Cormack. A History of Science in Society: from philosophy to utility. University of Toronto Press. p .66
3. Raphael Patai. The Jewish Alchemists: A History and Source Book Princeton University Press, 1995. p.19
4. Stanton J. Linden. The alchemy reader: from Hermes Trismegistus to Isaac Newton Cambridge University Press. 2003. p. 29.
5. Mark Haeffner. Dictionary of Alchemy: From Maria Prophetessa to Isaac Newton. Karnac Books, 2004. p.211
6. Ragai, Jehane (1992), "The Philosopher's Stone: Alchemy and Chemistry", Journal of Comparative Poetics, 12 (Metaphor and Allegory in the Middle Ages): 58–77
7. Holmyard, E. J. (1924), "Maslama al-Majriti and the Rutbatu'l-Hakim", Isis, 6 (3): 293–305, doi:10.1086/358238
8. Robert Briffault (1938). The Making of Humanity, p. 196-197.
9. Julian Franklyn and Frederick E. Budd. A Survey of the Occult. Electric Book Company. 2001. p. 28-30. ISBN 1-84327-087-0.
10. The Major Works ed C.A. Patrides Penguin 1977
11. Guénon, René (2004) (1962). Symbols of Sacred Science. Sophia Perennis, USA. ISBN 0-900588-78-0. pp. 277.
13. R. A. Donkin, Beyond price: pearls and pearl-fishing : origins to the Age of Discoveries, p. 170
14. Venkatesananda, Swami (1984). The Concise Yoga Vasistha. Albany: State University of New York Press. pp. 346–353. ISBN 0-87395-955-8. OCLC 11044869.
15. Theophrastus Paracelsus. The Book of the Revelation of Hermes. 16th century
16. An unknown German Sage. A Very Brief Tract Concerning the Philosophical Stone. (unknown date, possibly 16th century)
17. Theophrastus Paracelsus. Of the Nature of Things. 16th century
18. Salomon Glass, Johann Gottfried Olearius, Philologia sacra: qua totius Vet. et Novi Testamenti Scripturae tum stylus et litteratura, tum sensus et genuinae interpretationis ratio et doctrina libris V expenditur ac traditur^, imp. J. Fred. Gleditschius (1743)
19. listed e.g. in W. Schneider, Lexikon alchemistisch-pharmazeutischer Symbole, Weinheim 1962.
20. Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum t. XVIII, p. 24, cited by C. G. Jung in Roots of Consciousness.
21. Line 744 in Thomas Norton's The Ordinal of Alchemy by John Rediry. The Early English Text Society no. 272.
22. John Read "From Alchemy to Chemistry" p.29
23. A German Sage. A Tract of Great Price Concerning the Philosophical Stone. 1423.
24. John Frederick Helvetius. Golden Calf. 17th Century.
25. Anonymous. On the Philosophers' Stone. (unknown date, possibly 16th century)
26. Eirenaeus Philalethes. A Brief Guide to the Celestial Ruby. 1694 CE
27. Charles John Samuel Thompson. Alchemy and Alchemists. p.70
28. J.B. Craven. "Count Michael Maier". p.90
29. Leah DeVun. Prophecy, alchemy, and the end of time: John of Rupescissa in the late Middle Ages. Columbia University Press, 2009. p.118
30. John Read. From Alchemy to Chemistry London: G. Bell. 1957. p. 29.
31. Burt, A.L. 1885. The National Standard Encyclopedia: A Dictionary of Literature, the Sciences and the Arts, for Popular Use p. 150. Available online.
32. Sebastian, Anton. 1999. A Dictionary of the History of Medicine. p. 179. ISBN 1-85070-021-4. Available online.
33. Stanton J. Linden. The alchemy reader: from Hermes Trismegistus to Isaac Newton Cambridge University Press. 2003. p. 16.
34. Eric John Holmyard. Alchemy Courier Dover Publications, 1990. p. 16.

Further reading

• Encyclopædia Britannica (2011). Philosophers' stone and Alchemy.
• Guiley, Rosemary (2006). The Encyclopedia of Magic and Alchemy. Infobase Publishing, USA. ISBN 0-8160-6048-7. pp. 250–252.
• Myers, Richard (2003). The basics of chemistry. Greenwood Publishing Group, USA. ISBN 0-313-31664-3. pp. 11–12.
• Pagel, Walter (1982). Paracelsus: An Introduction to Philosophical Medicine in the Era of the Renaissance. Karger Publishers, Switzerland. ISBN 3-8055-3518-X.
• Marlan, Stanton (2014). The Philosophers' Stone: Alchemical Imagination and the Soul's Logical Life. Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University.
• Thompson, Charles John Samuel (2002) [1932]. Alchemy and Alchemists. Chapter IX. Courier Dover Publications, USA. ISBN 0-486-42110-4. pp. 68–76.

External links

• "The Stone of The Philosophers" by Edward Kelly
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Re: Act & Punishment: The Pussy Riot Trials

Postby admin » Wed Oct 03, 2018 2:03 am

Charles S. Zimmerman
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 10/2/18



Charles S. "Sasha" Zimmerman

Charles S. "Sasha" Zimmerman (1896–1983) was an American socialist activist and trade union leader, who was an associate of Jay Lovestone. Zimmerman had a career spanning five decades as an official of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. During the early 1970s, Zimmerman and Bayard Rustin were national Co-Chairmen the Socialist Party of America and the Social Democrats USA.


Early years

Charles S. Zimmerman was born of ethnic Jewish parents as Alexander Ubsushone in 1896. Alexander, known to family and friends as "Sasha," was born in the Ukrainian shtetl of Talna, then part of the Russian empire.[1] Sasha's father died when he was 7 and his widowed mother opened up a small grocery store and candy shop to support Sasha, his two siblings, and her mother.[2] Sasha was raised in large measure by his grandmother, a very orthodox observer of the Judaic religion.[1]

Sasha attended Talmud Torah for three years and had two years of Russian schooling, gaining admission to the Russian gymnasium, which already had its quota of Jewish students, only after a battle made with the assistance of a local doctor.[2]

At the age of 12, Sasha began transcribing communiques to help a young man he knew who was connected with the revolutionary movement in Odessa and Kiev.[2]

Zimmerman later recalled:

Apparently he didn't want his handwriting to be on it... I asked him questions... [He replied that] when you will grow up, you'll understand. But whether I understood or not, it was bound to leave some impression. There was the revolutionary movement in town ... and the kids knew all about it, and there were meetings.

All these things had an effect... At the age of eleven and twelve you were no longer a child.[3]

Sasha emigrated to the United States in 1913 at the age of 16, where he joined a sister in living with an uncle in New York City.[4] Sasha had his name changed to Charles Sasha Zimmerman by an official at Ellis Island upon arrival and he was thereafter known by this new moniker.[1]

Zimmerman first went to work as a retail clerk in a store near his apartment, but the hours of employment made it impossible for the boy to attend night school.[5] Charles quit and took a job in the burgeoning New York garment industry making knee-pants, a position which allowed him to continue his studies in the evening. Pay for the immigrant workers was low and conditions poor in the New York sweatshops. Within a year, the young Zimmerman had helped to form a union local and had led a three-week strike of his fellows for better wages.[1]

In 1914, Zimmerman found himself laid off his job. He was taken to work by his uncle, a factory foreman in Astoria, where he was taught carpentry, a job which netted him just $5.80 per week after car fare was paid.[6] After less than a year, Zimmerman again found himself unemployed, and he returned to work in the garment industry, working in a factory in New Jersey.[7]

Political career

In 1916, Zimmerman joined the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU), and was elected chairman of his shop within a few weeks.[7]

In 1917, Zimmerman joined the Socialist Party of America (SPA).[7] He remained active in the radical labor movement for the rest of his life.

Zimmerman joined the Communist Party of America (CPA) at the time of its formation in 1919.[7] In the CPA, Zimmerman was a close associate of Jay Lovestone, who emerged as Executive Secretary of the organization after the sudden death of C.E. Ruthenberg in 1927.

From 1923 until 1958, except for one interlude, Zimmerman was prominent in the powerful Local 22 of the ILGWU in New York.[8] Zimmerman was stripped of his position due to his Communist political affiliation in 1925.[9]

During the period in which he was excluded from the ILGWU, Zimmerman was influential in establishing the Needle Trades Workers Industrial Union, a dual union sponsored by the Communist Party's Trade Union Unity League (TUUL) and affiliated with the Red International of Labor Unions (RILU).[10] Zimmerman's expulsion from the Communist Party in 1929 led to his expulsion from the NTWIU in 1930,[10] paving his way for a return to ILGWU Local 22 shortly thereafter.[9]

Zimmerman was three times a candidate for elective political office, running in Bronx County for New York State Assembly in 1925, 1926, and 1928 on the ticket of the Workers (Communist) Party.[11]

Zimmerman was in Moscow on party business in association with RILU in May 1929 at the time of the decisive showdown between Lovestone and his associates with the Communist International.[12] The Comintern's was at the time attempting to solve the unceasing and bitter factional war in the American Communist Party by equalizing factional strength in the party leadership and reassigning factional leaders Lovestone and Alexander Bittelman to Comintern work abroad, decisions which the Lovestone majority group deeply resented. Zimmerman soon found himself expelled from the organization along with Lovestone and most of the others in his circle for their defiance of the Comintern's instructions.[13]

Zimmerman joined with Lovestone in establishing the Communist Party (Majority Group), an organization which underwent a series of name changes before eventually emerging as the Independent Labor League of America in the late 1930s. He was among the initial members of the governing National Council of the CPMG.[14]

In 1933, Zimmerman was asked by the retiring manager of Local 22 to run for his post. The election was held on April 6, 1933, with Zimmerman elected manager by a narrow margin, receiving 396 votes out of 825 cast in a three-way race.[15] Zimmerman remained in this position heading Local 22 of the ILGWU for the next 40 years, retiring only in the early 1970s.[15]

In 1934, Zimmerman was elected as a national vice-president of the ILGWU.[9] His election to such a prestigious position did not necessarily follow that Zimmerman had left his radical political orientation behind, however. Zimmerman was a bitter critic of the National Recovery Act of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the period, regarding it in particular and the New Deal in general as "a Fascist idea," and he was outspoken in holding the view, saying as much to a convention of the ILGWU.[16]

In the middle 1930s, with the ultra-radical "Third Period" at an end in favor of the coalition-building of the "Popular Front," the official Communists were persuaded to drop their dual union activities and to rejoin the ILGWU. Communist Party loyalists contested the "Lovestoneite" Zimmerman's leadership of Local 22 for a number of years, without success.[17]

As a national leader of the ILGWU, Zimmerman proved a loyal supporter of union head David Dubinsky, supporting the affiliation of the union to the Congress of Industrial Organizations in 1935 and backing Dubinsky's decision to withdraw from the CIO in 1938 in order to return to the American Federation of Labor (AFL), a decision made in the face of particularly bitter opposition from official Communists in the union.[18]

During the years of the Spanish Civil War, Zimmerman led a trade union campaign to aid the Spanish workers and civilian populations in Spain who suffered under shortages of food, clothing, and medicine. The initial impulse for this fund-raising work was an appeal that came to Dubinsky and the ILGWU from secretary general Walter Schevenels and president Walter M. Citrine of the International Federation of Trade Unions, which had established a Labor Solidarity Fund for the relief work. In response the ILGWU took the lead in founding the Trade Union Red Cross for Spain, with Zimmerman as chairman, Dubinsky as treasurer, and Alex Rose, of the Hat, Cap, and Millinery Workers Union, as secretary. Promoting the humanitarian effort as support to Spanish labor in the fight against fascism, the union leaders raised $125,000 by May 1937.[19] The relief organization was later renamed Trade Union Relief for Spain, and remained in existence through early 1939.[20]

By the end of the 1930s, Zimmerman had come over to lending the Roosevelt Administration and its New Deal policies his full sympathy and support. In January 1939 he sent a telegram to William Green, president of the American Federation of Labor, accusing "conservative forces in Congress" of "organizing to prevent enactment of new social legislation" and of acting "to worsen the unemployment situation by cutting down WPA appropriations." Zimmerman called for a national conference bringing together representatives of the AFL, the CIO, and the railway brotherhoods as a means of establishing "united labor action" to defend the Rooseveltian policies.[21]

Along with his political allies David Dubinsky and Jay Lovestone, Zimmerman emerged as a prominent anti-communist "Cold War liberal" in the years after the conclusion of World War II. Early in 1946, Zimmerman was dispatched to Europe on behalf of the Jewish Labor Committee to make a survey of the political situation on the ground there. Zimmerman made his report on his trip in April 1946, detailing his perspective on Scandinavia, France, Poland, and Germany.[22] Zimmerman was particularly concerned that in the zone of divided Germany controlled by the Soviet Union, Communist unionists were receiving five times the amount of newsprint allotted to the Socialists, thus making them far better able to advance their views.[22]

In 1958, Zimmerman became the head of the Dress Waistmakers Union.[8] He also served as chairman of the Civil Rights Committee of the AFL-CIO.[8]

Death and legacy

Charles S. Zimmerman suffered a stroke in 1966, which blinded him but did not remove him from active political activity.[7] In 1972, he and Bayard Rustin were elected co-chairman of the Socialist Party -Democratic Socialist Federation, and supports its changing its name to Social Democrats, USA.[8]

After his retirement from union work in 1972, Zimmerman continued to live in New York City. He died on June 3, 1983, at the age of 86.[23] Zimmerman's son Paul is the famed football writer for the weekly magazine Sports Illustrated.

Zimmerman's papers are housed at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.


1. Gerald Sorin, The Prophetic Minority: American Jewish Immigrant Radicals, 1880-1920.Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985; pg. 149.
2. Sorin, The Prophetic Minority, pg. 151.
3. Interview, Charles Zimmerman, Howe collection, YIVO, 1968, pp. 2-3. Cited in Geral Sorin, The Prophetic Minority, p. 151.
4. Sorin, The Prophetic Minority, pp. 151-152.
5. Sorin, The Prophetic Minority, pg. 152.
6. Sorin, The Prophetic Minority, pg. 153.
7. Sorin, The Prophetic Minority, pg. 154.
8. Sorin, The Prophetic Majority, pg. 155.
9. "Guide to the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. Charles S. Zimmerman papers, 1919-1958." Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library. Retrieved October 26, 2009.
10. Alexander, The Right Opposition, pg. 45.
11. Lawrence Kestenbaum (ed.), "Charles Zimmerman,", Retrieved October 26, 2009.
12. Robert J. Alexander, The Right Opposition: The Lovestoneites and the International Communist Opposition of the 1930s. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1981; pg. 22.
13. Instead of accepting the decisions of the American Commission of the Executive Committee of the Communist International, Lovestone and his associates issued a statement declaring that "the Executive Committee of the Communist International desires to destroy the [American] Central Committee and therefore follows the policy of legalizing the past factionalism of the opposition block and inviting its contiuation in the future." Cited in Alexander, The Right Opposition, pg. 23. Specific note that Zimmerman was among those expelled appears Ibid., pg. 28.
14. The Revolutionary Age, November 1, 1929. Cited in Alexander, The Right Opposition, pg. 35.
15. Alexander, The Right Opposition, pg. 46.
16. Robert D. Parmet, The Master of Seventh Avenue: David Dubinsky and the American Labor Movement.New York: New York University Press, 2005; pg. 100.
17. Alexander, The Right Opposition, pg. 47.
18. Alexander, The Right Opposition, pp. 47-48.
19. Parmet, The Master of Seventh Avenue: David Dubinsky and the American Labor Movement. p. 137.
20. Zimmerman's papers related to trade union relief efforts during the Spanish Civil War are contained in the Spanish Civil War Collection, RG 1477, YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, New York, N.Y.
21. "Zimmerman Calls for United Labor Front: New Congress Threatens Past Gains," Workers Age, vol. 8, no. 2 (January 14, 1939), pg. 1.
22. Parmet, The Master of Seventh Avenue, pg. 224.
23. Joseph B. Treaster, Charles S. Zimmerman Dies at 86; Longtime Garment Union Leader," New York Times, June 5, 1983, section 1, pg. 32.


• American labor faces the future; the problems of trade unionism in the light of the San Francisco general strike. New York, Dressmakers union local 22, I.L.G.W.U. 1934
• The labor movement and the NRA: the standpoint of progressive unionism. New York, Dressmakers union local 22, I.L.G.W.U. 1934
• Our Union at work; Summary report of the executive board of Dressmakers Union, Local 22, I.L.G.W.U., for the year April 1933 to April 1934 New York, Dressmakers union local 22, I.L.G.W.U. 1934
• Report on the medical administration of sick benefits to Dressmakers' Union Local 22 of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union for the year 1935. New York, Dressmakers union local 22, I.L.G.W.U. 1936
• Probable effect of the war on the New York women's garment industry and some recommendations: report by a special committee of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. New York: Jewish Labor Committee 1942
• In freedom 's cause. Report Antidiscrimination department Jewish Labor Committee [of the] 1957 Biennial Convention, Atlantic City, N.J. New York: Jewish Labor Committee 1957

External links

• "Guide to the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. Charles S. Zimmerman papers, 1919-1958 (bulk 1920-1945)." Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library. Collection Number: 5780/014. Retrieved October 26, 2009.
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Boris Pasternak
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Accessed: 10/2/18



This name uses Eastern Slavic naming customs; the patronymic is Leonidovich and the family name is Pasternak.

Boris Pasternak
Pasternak on a 1990 Soviet stamp
Born Boris Leonidovich Pasternak
10 February [O.S. 29 January] 1890
Moscow, Russian Empire
Died 30 May 1960 (aged 70)
Peredelkino, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Occupation Poet, writer
Citizenship Russian Empire (1890–1917)
Soviet Russia (1917–1922)
Soviet Union (1922–1960)
Notable works My Sister, Life, The Second Birth, Doctor Zhivago
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Literature

Boris Leonidovich Pasternak (|p|æ|s|t|ər|ˌ|n|æ|k) (29 January 1890 – 30 May 1960) was a Russian poet, novelist, and literary translator. In his native Russian, Pasternak's first book of poems, My Sister, Life (1917), is one of the most influential collections ever published in the Russian language. Pasternak's translations of stage plays by Goethe, Schiller, Calderón de la Barca and Shakespeare remain very popular with Russian audiences.

As a novelist, Pasternak is also known as the author of Doctor Zhivago (1957), a novel which takes place between the Russian Revolution of 1905 and the Second World War. Doctor Zhivago was rejected for publication in the USSR.[1] Pasternak was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958, an event which enraged the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which forced him to decline the prize, though his descendants were later to accept it in his name in 1988. Doctor Zhivago has been part of the main Russian school curriculum since 2003.[2]

Early life

Boris Pasternak c. 1908

Boris (left) with his brother Alex; painting by their father, Leonid Pasternak

Pasternak was born in Moscow on 10 February, into a wealthy assimilated Jewish family.[3] His father was the Post-Impressionist painter, Leonid Pasternak, professor at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture. His mother was Rosa Kaufman, a concert pianist and the daughter of Odessa industrialist Isadore Kaufman and his wife. Pasternak had a younger brother Alex and sisters Lydia and Josephine. The family claimed to be descended on the paternal line from Isaac Abrabanel, the famous 15th-century Sephardic Jewish treasurer of Portugal.[4]

Early education

From 1904 to 1907 Boris Pasternak was the cloister-mate of Peter Minchakievich (1890–1963) in Holy Dormition Pochayiv Lavra, located in West Ukraine. Minchakievich came from an Orthodox Ukrainian family and Pasternak came from a Jewish family. Some confusion has arisen as to Pasternak attending a military academy in his boyhood years. The uniforms of their monastery Cadet Corp were only similar to those of The Czar Alexander the Third Military Academy, as Pasternak and Minchakievich never attended any military academy. Most schools used a distinctive military looking uniform particular to them as was the custom of the time in Eastern Europe and Russia. Boyhood friends, they parted in 1908, friendly but with different politics, never to see each other again. Pasternak went to the Moscow Conservatory to study music (later Germany to study philosophy), and Minchakievich went to L'viv University (L'vov, L'wow) to study history and philosophy. The good dimension of the character Strelnikov in Dr. Zhivago is based upon Peter Minchakievich. Several of Pasternak's characters are composites. After World War One and the Revolution, fighting for the Provisional or Republican government under Kerensky, and then escaping a Communist jail and execution, Minchakievich trekked across Siberia in 1917 and became an American citizen. Pasternak stayed in Russia.

In a 1959 letter to Jacqueline de Proyart, Pasternak recalled,

I was baptized as a child by my nanny, but because of the restrictions imposed on Jews, particularly in the case of a family which was exempt from them and enjoyed a certain reputation in view of my father's standing as an artist, there was something a little complicated about this, and it was always felt to be half-secret and intimate, a source of rare and exceptional inspiration rather than being calmly taken for granted. I believe that this is at the root of my distinctiveness. Most intensely of all my mind was occupied by Christianity in the years 1910–12, when the main foundations of this distinctiveness – my way of seeing things, the world, life – were taking shape...[5]

Shortly after his birth, Pasternak's parents had joined the Tolstoyan Movement. Novelist Leo Tolstoy was a close family friend, as Pasternak recalled, "my father illustrated his books, went to see him, revered him, and ...the whole house was imbued with his spirit."[6]

In a 1956 essay, Pasternak recalled his father's feverish work creating illustrations for Tolstoy's novel Resurrection.[7] The novel was serialized in the journal Niva by the publisher Fyodor Marx, based in St Petersburg. The sketches were drawn from observations in such places as courtrooms, prisons and on trains, in a spirit of realism. To ensure that the sketches met the journal deadline, train conductors were enlisted to personally collect the illustrations. Pasternak wrote,

My childish imagination was struck by the sight of a train conductor in his formal railway uniform, standing waiting at the door of the kitchen as if he were standing on a railway platform at the door of a compartment that was just about to leave the station. Joiner's glue was boiling on the stove. The illustrations were hurriedly wiped dry, fixed, glued on pieces of cardboard, rolled up, tied up. The parcels, once ready, were sealed with sealing wax and handed to the conductor.[7]

According to Max Hayward, "In November 1910, when Tolstoy fled from his home and died in the stationmaster's house at Astapovo, Leonid Pasternak was informed by telegram and he went there immediately, taking his son Boris with him, and made a drawing of Tolstoy on his deathbed."[8]

Regular visitors to the Pasternak's home also included Sergei Rachmaninoff, Alexander Scriabin, Lev Shestov, Rainer Maria Rilke. Pasternak aspired first to be a musician.[9] Inspired by Scriabin, Pasternak briefly was a student at the Moscow Conservatory. In 1910 he abruptly left for the German University of Marburg, where he studied under Neo-Kantian philosophers Hermann Cohen, Nicolai Hartmann and Paul Natorp.

Life and Career

Olga Freidenberg

In 1910 Pasternak was reunited with his cousin, Olga Freidenberg (1890-1955). They had shared the same nursery but had been separated when the Freidenberg family moved to Saint Petersburg. They fell in love immediately but were never lovers. The romance however is made clear from their letters, Pasternak writing:

‘You do not know how my tormenting feeling grew and grew until it became obvious to me and to others. As you walked beside me with complete detachment, I could not express it to you. It was a rare sort of closeness, as if we two, you and I, were in love with something that was utterly indifferent to both of us, something that remained aloof from us by virtue of its extraordinary inability to adapt to the other side of life.'

The cousins' initial passion developed into a lifelong close friendship. From 1910 Pasternak and Freidenberg exchanged frequent letters, and their correspondence lasted over 40 years until 1954. The cousins last met in 1936.[10][11]

Ida Wissotzkaya

Boris Pasternak in 1910, by his father Leonid Pasternak

Pasternak fell in love with Ida Wissotzkaya, a girl from a notable Moscow Jewish family of tea merchants, whose company Wissotzky Tea was the largest tea company in the world. Pasternak had tutored her in the final class of high school. He helped her prepare for finals. They met in Marburg during the summer of 1912 when Boris' father, Leonid Pasternak, painted her portrait.[12]

Although Professor Cohen encouraged him to remain in Germany and to pursue a Philosophy doctorate, Pasternak decided against it. He returned to Moscow upon the outbreak of World War I. His first book of poems was published later that year. In the aftermath, Pasternak proposed marriage to Ida. However, the Wissotzky family was disturbed by Pasternak's poor prospects and persuaded Ida to refuse him. She turned him down and he told of his love and rejection in the poem "Marburg" (1917):[12]

I quivered. I flared up, and then was extinguished.
I shook. I had made a proposal—but late,
Too late. I was scared, and she had refused me.
I pity her tears, am more blessed than a saint.

Another failed love affair in 1917 inspired the poems in his first book, My Sister, Life. His early verse cleverly dissimulates his preoccupation with Immanuel Kant's philosophy. Its fabric includes striking alliterations, wild rhythmic combinations, day-to-day vocabulary, and hidden allusions to his favourite poets such as Rilke, Lermontov, Pushkin and German-language Romantic poets.

During World War I, Pasternak taught and worked at a chemical factory in Vsevolodovo-Vilve near Perm, which undoubtedly provided him with material for Dr. Zhivago many years later. Unlike the rest of his family and many of his closest friends, Pasternak chose not to leave Russia after the October Revolution of 1917. According to Max Hayward,

Pasternak remained in Moscow throughout the Civil War (1918–1920), making no attempt to escape abroad or to the White-occupied south, as a number of other Russian writers did at the time. No doubt, like Yuri Zhivago, he was momentarily impressed by the "splendid surgery" of the Bolshevik seizure of power in October 1917, but – again to judge by the evidence of the novel, and despite a personal admiration for Vladimir Lenin, whom he saw at the 9th Congress of Soviets in 1921 – he soon began to harbor profound doubts about the claims and credentials of the regime, not to mention its style of rule. The terrible shortages of food and fuel, and the depredations of the Red Terror, made life very precarious in those years, particularly for the "bourgeois" intelligentsia. In a letter written to Pasternak from abroad in the twenties, Marina Tsvetayeva reminded him of how she had run into him in the street in 1919 as he was on the way to sell some valuable books from his library in order to buy bread. He continued to write original work and to translate, but after about the middle of 1918 it became almost impossible to publish. The only way to make one's work known was to declaim it in the several "literary" cafes which then sprang up, or – anticipating samizdat – to circulate it in manuscript. It was in this way that My Sister, Life first became available to a wider audience.[13]

Pasternak (second from left) in 1924, with friends including Lilya Brik, Sergei Eisenstein (third from left) and Vladimir Mayakovsky (centre)

When it finally was published in 1921, Pasternak's My Sister, Life revolutionised Russian poetry. It made Pasternak the model for younger poets, and decisively changed the poetry of Osip Mandelshtam, Marina Tsvetayeva and others.

Following My Sister, Life, Pasternak produced some hermetic pieces of uneven quality, including his masterpiece, the lyric cycle Rupture (1921). Both Pro-Soviet writers and their White emigre equivalents applauded Pasternak's poetry as pure, unbridled inspiration.

In the late 1920s, he also participated in the much celebrated tripartite correspondence with Rilke and Tsvetayeva.[14] As the 1920s wore on, however, Pasternak increasingly felt that his colourful style was at odds with a less educated readership. He attempted to make his poetry more comprehensible by reworking his earlier pieces and starting two lengthy poems on the Russian Revolution of 1905. He also turned to prose and wrote several autobiographical stories, notably "The Childhood of Luvers" and "Safe Conduct".

Pasternak with Evgeniya Lurye and son

In 1922 Pasternak married Evgeniya Lurye (Евгения Лурье), a student at the Art Institute. The following year they had a son, Evgenii.

Evidence of Pasternak's support of still-revolutionary members of the leadership of the Communist Party as late as 1926 is indicated by his worshipful poem "In Memory of Reissner"[15] presumably written upon the shockingly premature death from typhus of legendary Bolshevik leader Larisa Reisner at age 30 in February of that year.

By 1927, Pasternak's close friends Vladimir Mayakovsky and Nikolai Aseyev were advocating the complete subordination of the arts to the needs of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.[16] In a letter to his sister Josephine, Pasternak wrote of his intentions to, "break off relations," with both of them. Although he expressed that it would be deeply painful, Pasternak explained that it could not be prevented. He explained,

They don't in any way measure up to their exalted calling. In fact, they've fallen short of it but – difficult as it is for me to understand – a modern sophist might say that these last years have actually demanded a reduction in conscience and feeling in the name of greater intelligibility. Yet now the very spirit of the times demands great, courageous purity. And these men are ruled by trivial routine. Subjectively, they're sincere and conscientious. But I find it increasingly difficult to take into account the personal aspect of their convictions. I'm not out on my own – people treat me well. But all that only holds good up to a point. It seems to me that I've reached that point.[17]

By 1932, Pasternak had strikingly reshaped his style to make it more understandable to the general public and printed the new collection of poems, aptly titled The Second Birth. Although its Caucasian pieces were as brilliant as the earlier efforts, the book alienated the core of Pasternak's refined audience abroad, which was largely composed of anti-communist emigres.

In 1932 Pasternak fell in love with Zinaida Neuhaus, the wife of the Russian pianist Heinrich Neuhaus. They both got divorces and married two years later.

He continued to change his poetry, simplifying his style and language through the years, as expressed in his next book, Early Trains (1943).

Stalin Epigram

In April 1934 Osip Mandelstam recited his "Stalin Epigram" to Pasternak. After listening, Pasternak told Mandelstam: "I didn't hear this, you didn't recite it to me, because, you know, very strange and terrible things are happening now: they've begun to pick people up. I'm afraid the walls have ears and perhaps even these benches on the boulevard here may be able to listen and tell tales. So let's make out that I heard nothing."[18]

On the night of 14 May 1934, Mandelstam was arrested at his home based on a warrant signed by NKVD boss Genrikh Yagoda. Devastated, Pasternak went immediately to the offices of Izvestia and begged Nikolai Bukharin to intercede on Mandelstam's behalf.

Soon after his meeting with Bukharin, the telephone rang in Pasternak's Moscow apartment. A voice from The Kremlin said, "Comrade Stalin wishes to speak with you."[18] According to Ivinskaya, Pasternak was struck dumb. "He was totally unprepared for such a conversation. But then he heard his voice, the voice of Stalin, coming over the line. The Leader addressed him in a rather bluff uncouth fashion, using the familiar thou form: 'Tell me, what are they saying in your literary circles about the arrest of Mandelstam?'" Flustered, Pasternak denied that there was any discussion or that there were any literary circles left in Soviet Russia. Stalin went on to ask him for his own opinion of Mandelstam. In an "eager fumbling manner" Pasternak explained that he and Mandelstam each had a completely different philosophy about poetry. Stalin finally said, in a mocking tone of voice: "I see, you just aren't able to stick up for a comrade," and put down the receiver.[18]

Great Purge

According to Pasternak, during the 1937 show trial of General Iona Yakir and Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky, the Union of Soviet Writers requested all members to add their names to a statement supporting the death penalty for the defendants. They demanded Pasternak's signature as well, but he refused to give it. Vladimir Stavski, the chairman of the Union, was terrified that he would be punished for Pasternak's dissent. The leadership of the Union travelled to Pasternak's dacha at Peredelkino and severely threatened the writer, who refused to sign the statement and returned to his dacha. Hearing this, Zinaida Pasternak, who was pregnant, was terribly upset, accusing him of risking the destruction of their family. Pasternak went to bed. He and Zinaida expected to be arrested that evening. They later learned that an NKVD agent was hiding in the bushes outside their window and wrote down every word they said to each other.[19]

Soon after, Pasternak appealed directly to Stalin. He wrote about his family's strong Tolstoyan convictions, which he still held dear. He declared that his own life was at the Leader's disposal. He said that he could not stand as a self-appointed judge of life and death. Pasternak was certain that he would be instantly arrested, but he was not.[19] Stalin is said to have crossed Pasternak's name off an execution list during the Great Purge. According to Pasternak, Stalin declared, "Do not touch this cloud dweller" (or, in another version, "Leave that holy fool alone!")[20]

Although Pasternak was never arrested by the Soviet secret police, his close friend Titsian Tabidze fell victim to the Great Purge. In an autobiographical essay published in the 1950s, Pasternak described the execution of Tabidze and the suicides of Marina Tsvetaeva and Paolo Iashvili as the greatest heartbreaks of his entire life.

Ivinskaya wrote, "I believe that between Stalin and Pasternak there was an incredible, silent duel."[21]

World War II

Pasternak was elated by the outbreak of war between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. When the Luftwaffe began bombing Moscow, Pasternak immediately began to serve as a fire warden on the roof of the writer's building on Lavrushinski Street. According to Ivinskaya, he repeatedly helped to dispose of German bombs which fell on it.[22]

In 1943, Pasternak was finally granted permission to visit the soldiers at the front. He bore it well, considering the hardships of the journey (he had a weak leg from an old injury), and he wanted to go to the most dangerous places. He read his poetry and talked extensively with the active and injured troops.[22]

With the end of the war in 1945, the Soviet people expected to see the end of the devastation of Nazism, and hoped for the end of Stalin's Purges. But sealed trains began carrying large numbers of prisoners to the Soviet Gulags. Some were Nazi collaborators who had fought under General Andrey Vlasov, but most were ordinary Soviet officers and men. Pasternak watched as ex-POWs were directly transferred from Nazi Germany to Soviet concentration camps. White emigres who had returned due to pledges of amnesty were also sent directly to the Gulag, as were Jews from the Anti-Fascist Committee and other organizations. Many thousands of innocent people were incarcerated in connection with the Leningrad Affair and the so-called Doctor's Plot, while whole ethnic groups were deported to Siberia.[23]

Pasternak later said, "If, in a bad dream, we had seen all the horrors in store for us after the war, we should not have been sorry to see Stalin fall, together with Hitler. Then, an end to the war in favour of our allies, civilized countries with democratic traditions, would have meant a hundred times less suffering for our people than that which Stalin again inflicted on it after his victory."[24]

Olga Ivinskaya

In October 1946, the twice married Pasternak met Olga Ivinskaya, a 34 year old single mother employed by Novy Mir. Deeply moved by her resemblance to his first love Ida Vysotskaya,[25] Pasternak gave Ivinskaya several volumes of his poetry and literary translations. Although Pasternak never left his wife Zinaida, he started an extramarital relationship with Ivinskaya that would last for the remainder of Pasternak's life. Ivinskaya later recalled, "He phoned almost every day and, instinctively fearing to meet or talk with him, yet dying of happiness, I would stammer out that I was "busy today." But almost every afternoon, toward the end of working hours, he came in person to the office and often walked with me through the streets, boulevards, and squares all the way home to Potapov Street. 'Shall I make you a present of this square?' he would ask."

She gave him the phone number of her neighbour Olga Volkova who resided below. In the evenings, Pasternak would phone and Volkova would signal by Olga banging on the water pipe which connected their apartments.[26]

When they first met, Pasternak was translating the verse of the Hungarian national poet, Sándor Petőfi. Pasternak gave his lover a book of Petőfi with the inscription, "Petőfi served as a code in May and June 1947, and my close translations of his lyrics are an expression, adapted to the requirements of the text, of my feelings and thoughts for you and about you. In memory of it all, B.P., 13 May 1948."

Pasternak later noted on a photograph of himself, "Petőfi is magnificent with his descriptive lyrics and picture of nature, but you are better still. I worked on him a good deal in 1947 and 1948, when I first came to know you. Thank you for your help. I was translating both of you."[27] Ivinskaya would later describe the Petőfi translations as, "a first declaration of love."[28]

According to Ivinskaya, Zinaida Pasternak was infuriated by her husband's infidelity. Once, when his younger son Leonid fell seriously ill, Zinaida extracted a promise from her husband, as they stood by the boy's sickbed, that he would end his affair with Ivinskaya. Pasternak asked Luisa Popova, a mutual friend, to tell Ivinskaya about his promise. Popova told him that he must do it himself. Soon after, Ivinskaya happened to be ill at Popova's apartment, when suddenly Zinaida Pasternak arrived and confronted her.

Ivinskaya later recalled,

But I became so ill through loss of blood that she and Luisa had to get me to the hospital, and I no longer remember exactly what passed between me and this heavily built, strong-minded woman, who kept repeating how she didn't give a damn for our love and that, although she no longer loved [Boris Leonidovich] herself, she would not allow her family to be broken up. After my return from the hospital, Boris came to visit me, as though nothing had happened, and touchingly made his peace with my mother, telling her how much he loved me. By now she was pretty well used to these funny ways of his.[29]

In 1948, Pasternak advised Ivinskaya to resign her job at Novy Mir, which was becoming extremely difficult due to their relationship. In the aftermath, Pasternak began to instruct her in translating poetry. In time, they began to refer to her apartment on Potapov Street as, "Our Shop."

On the evening of 6 October 1949, Ivinskaya was arrested at her apartment by the KGB. Ivinskaya relates in her memoirs that, when the agents burst into her apartment, she was at her typewriter working on translations of the Korean poet Won Tu-Son. Her apartment was ransacked and all items connected with Pasternak were piled up in her presence. Ivinskaya was taken to the Lubyanka Prison and repeatedly interrogated, where she refused to say anything incriminating about Pasternak. At the time, she was pregnant with Pasternak's child and had a miscarriage early in her ten-year sentence in the GULAG.

Upon learning of his mistress' arrest, Pasternak telephoned Liuisa Popova and asked her to come at once to Gogol Boulevard. She found him sitting on a bench near the Palace of Soviets Metro Station. Weeping, Pasternak told her, "Everything is finished now. They've taken her away from me and I'll never see her again. It's like death, even worse."[30]

According to Ivinskaya, "After this, in conversation with people he scarcely knew, he always referred to Stalin as a 'murderer.' Talking with people in the offices of literary periodicals, he often asked: 'When will there be an end to this freedom for lackeys who happily walk over corpses to further their own interests?' He spent a good deal of time with Akhmatova—who in those years was given a very wide berth by most of the people who knew her. He worked intensively on the second part of Doctor Zhivago."[30]

In a 1958 letter to a friend in West Germany, Pasternak wrote, "She was put in jail on my account, as the person considered by the secret police to be closest to me, and they hoped that by means of a gruelling interrogation and threats they could extract enough evidence from her to put me on trial. I owe my life, and the fact that they did not touch me in those years, to her heroism and endurance."[31]

Translating Goethe

Pasternak's translation of the first part of Faust led him to be attacked in the August 1950 edition of Novy Mir. The critic accused Pasternak of distorting Goethe's "progressive" meanings to support "the reactionary theory of 'pure art'", as well as introducing aesthetic and individualist values. In a subsequent letter to the daughter of Marina Tsvetaeva, Pasternak explained that the attack was motivated by the fact that the supernatural elements of the play, which Novy Mir considered, "irrational," had been translated as Goethe had written them. Pasternak further declared that, despite the attacks on his translation, his contract for the second part had not been revoked.[32]

Khrushchev thaw

When Stalin died of a stroke on 5 March 1953, Olga Ivinskaya was still imprisoned in the Gulag, and Pasternak was in Moscow. Across the nation, there were waves of panic, confusion, and public displays of grief. Pasternak wrote, "Men who are not free... always idealize their bondage."[33]

After her release, Pasternak's relationship with Ivinskaya picked up where it had left off. Soon after he confided in her, "For so long we were ruled over by a madman and a murderer, and now by a fool and a pig. The madman had his occasional flights of fancy, he had an intuitive feeling for certain things, despite his wild obscurantism. Now we are ruled over by mediocrities."[34] During this period, Pasternak delighted in reading a clandestine copy of George Orwell's Animal Farm in English. In conversation with Ivinskaya, Pasternak explained that the pig dictator Napoleon, in the novel, "vividly reminded" him of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev.[34]

Doctor Zhivago

Although it contains passages written in the 1910s and 1920s, Doctor Zhivago was not completed until 1956. Pasternak submitted the novel to Novy Mir, which refused publication due to its rejection of socialist realism.[35] The author, like his protagonist Yuri Zhivago, showed more concern for the welfare of individual characters than for the "progress" of society. Censors also regarded some passages as anti-Soviet, especially the novel's criticisms[citation needed] of Stalinism, Collectivisation, the Great Purge, and the Gulag.

Pasternak's fortunes were soon to change, however. In March 1956, the Italian Communist Party sent a journalist, Sergio D'Angelo, to work in the Soviet Union, and his status as a journalist as well as his membership in the Italian Communist Party allowed him to have access to various aspects of the cultural life in Moscow at the time. A Milan publisher, the communist Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, had also given him a commission to find new works of Soviet literature that would be appealing to Western audiences, and upon learning of Doctor Zhivago's existence, D'Angelo travelled immediately to Peredelkino and offered to submit Pasternak's novel to Feltrinelli's company for publication. At first Pasternak was stunned. Then he brought the manuscript from his study and told D'Angelo with a laugh, "You are hereby invited to watch me face the firing squad."[36]

According to Lazar Fleishman, Pasternak was aware that he was taking a huge risk. No Soviet author had attempted to deal with Western publishers since the 1920s, when such behavior led the Soviet State to declare war on Boris Pilnyak and Evgeny Zamyatin. Pasternak, however, believed that Feltrinelli's Communist affiliation would not only guarantee publication, but might even force the Soviet State to publish the novel in Russia.[37]

In a rare moment of agreement, both Olga Ivinskaya and Zinaida Pasternak were horrified by the submission of Doctor Zhivago to a Western publishing house. Pasternak, however, refused to change his mind and informed an emissary from Feltrinelli that he was prepared to undergo any sacrifice in order to see Doctor Zhivago published.[38]

In 1957, Feltrinelli announced that the novel would be published by his company. Despite repeated demands from visiting Soviet emissaries, Feltrinelli refused to cancel or delay publication. According to Ivinskaya, "He did not believe that we would ever publish the manuscript here and felt he had no right to withhold a masterpiece from the world – this would be an even greater crime."[39] The Soviet government forced Pasternak to cable the publisher to withdraw the manuscript, but he sent separate, secret letters advising Feltrinelli to ignore the telegrams.[40]

Helped considerably by the Soviet campaign against the novel (as well as by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's secret purchase of hundreds of copies of the book as it came off the presses around the world – see "Nobel Prize" section below), Doctor Zhivago became an instant sensation throughout the non-Communist world upon its release in November 1957. In the State of Israel, however, Pasternak's novel was sharply criticized for its assimilationist views towards the Jewish people. When informed of this, Pasternak responded, "No matter. I am above race..."[41] According to Lazar Fleishman, Pasternak had written the disputed passages prior to Israeli independence. At the time, Pasternak had also been regularly attending Russian Orthodox Divine Liturgy. Therefore, he believed that Soviet Jews converting to Christianity was preferable to assimilating into atheism and Stalinism.[42]

The first English translation of Doctor Zhivago was hastily produced by Max Hayward and Manya Harari in order to coincide with overwhelming public demand. It was released in August 1958, and remained the only edition available for more than fifty years. Between 1958 and 1959, the English language edition spent 26 weeks at the top of The New York Times' bestseller list.

Ivinskaya's daughter Irina circulated typed copies of the novel in Samizdat. Although no Soviet critics had read the banned novel, Doctor Zhivago was pilloried in the State-owned press. Similar attacks led to a humorous Russian saying, "I haven't read Pasternak, but I condemn him".[43]

During the aftermath of the Second World War, Pasternak had composed a series of poems on Gospel themes. According to Ivinskaya, Pasternak had regarded Stalin as a, "giant of the pre-Christian era." Therefore, Pasternak's Christian-themed poems were, "a form of protest."[44]

On 9 September 1958, the Literary Gazette critic Viktor Pertsov retaliated by denouncing, "the decadent religious poetry of Pasternak, which reeks of mothballs from the Symbolist suitcase of 1908–10 manufacture."[45] Furthermore, the author received much hate mail from Communists both at home and abroad. According to Ivinskaya, Pasternak continued to receive such letters for the remainder of his life.[46]

In a letter written to his sister Josephine, however, Pasternak recalled the words of his friend Ekaterina Krashennikova upon reading Doctor Zhivago. She had said, "Don't forget yourself to the point of believing that it was you who wrote this work. It was the Russian people and their sufferings who created it. Thank God for having expressed it through your pen."[47]

Nobel Prize

Copy of the original Russian-language edition of Doctor Zhivago, covertly published by the CIA. The front cover and the binding identify the book in Russian; the back of the book states that it was printed in France.

According to Yevgeni Borisovich Pasternak, "Rumors that Pasternak was to receive the Nobel Prize started right after the end of World War II. According to the former Nobel Committee head Lars Gyllensten, his nomination was discussed every year from 1946 to 1950, then again in 1957 (it was finally awarded in 1958). Pasternak guessed at this from the growing waves of criticism in USSR. Sometimes he had to justify his European fame: 'According to the Union of Soviet Writers, some literature circles of the West see unusual importance in my work, not matching its modesty and low productivity…'"[48]

According to journalist Ivan Tolstoi, the British MI6 and the American CIA lent a hand to ensure that Doctor Zhivago was submitted to the Nobel Committee in the original Russian. According to Tolstoi, this was done so that Pasternak could win the Nobel prize and harm the international credibility of the Soviet Union. He repeats and elaborates upon Feltrinelli's claims that the CIA operatives had photographed a manuscript of the novel and secretly printed a small number of books in the Russian language.[49][50][40] More recently, Anna Sergeyeva-Klyatis wrote that the first Russian edition of Doctor Zhivago, which was a pirated version with numerous typographical errors and omissions, was actually initiated by the Central Association of Postwar Émigrées, in response to a growing demand among Russian émigrés.[51]

The issue of whether or not the CIA had a hand in creating the international controversy that led to Pasternak's winning the Nobel Prize was definitively settled on 11 April 2014 when the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency released "nearly 100 declassified documents"[52] confirming that it had, in fact, undertaken a massive propaganda campaign to influence the Nobel Prize committee to consider Zhivago for the award, starting as early as 12 December 1957: "Dr. Zhivago should be published in a maximum number of foreign editions, for maximum free world discussion and acclaim and consideration for such honor as the Nobel prize" [sic][53] In order to turn Pasternak's novel into an international bestseller worthy of consideration for the Nobel Prize, the CIA purchased thousands of copies of the novel as they came off the presses throughout Europe. When in the summer of 1958 the Dutch publishing house of Mouton brought out an edition of Zhivago, the CIA secretly arranged to "obtain first thousand copies of the book off the press and of these send 500 copies to the Brussels Fair" (i.e., the World Fair held that summer in Brussels, Belgium).[54] In its announcement of the declassification of the Zhivago documents the CIA states that it also published "thousands" of copies of Zhivago and gave them out to Soviet tourists on holiday in Western Europe and had them smuggled into the Soviet Union: "After working secretly to publish the Russian-language edition in the Netherlands, the CIA moved quickly to ensure that copies of Doctor Zhivago were available for distribution to Soviet visitors at the 1958 Brussels World's Fair. By the end of the Fair, 355 copies of Doctor Zhivago had been surreptitiously handed out, and eventually thousands more were distributed throughout the Communist bloc. [...] Subsequently, the CIA funded the publication of a miniature, lightweight paperback edition of Doctor Zhivago that could be easily mailed or concealed in a jacket pocket. Distribution of the miniature version began in April 1959."[55]

Meanwhile, Pasternak wrote to Renate Schweitzer[56] and his sister, Lydia Pasternak Slater.[57] In both letters, the author expressed hope that he would be passed over by the Nobel Committee in favour of Alberto Moravia. Pasternak wrote that he was wracked with torments and anxieties at the thought of placing his loved ones in danger.

On 23 October 1958, Boris Pasternak was announced as the winner of the Nobel Prize. The citation credited Pasternak's contribution to Russian lyric poetry and for his role in, "continuing the great Russian epic tradition." On 25 October, Pasternak sent a telegram to the Swedish Academy: "Infinitely grateful, touched, proud, surprised, overwhelmed."[58] That same day, the Literary Institute in Moscow demanded that all its students sign a petition denouncing Pasternak and his novel. They were further ordered to join a "spontaneous" demonstration demanding Pasternak's exile from the Soviet Union.[59] On 26 October, the Literary Gazette ran an article by David Zaslavski entitled, Reactionary Propaganda Uproar over a Literary Weed.[60]

According to Solomon Volkov:

The anti-Pasternak campaign was organized in the worst Stalin tradition: denunciations in Pravda and other newspapers; publications of angry letters from, "ordinary Soviet workers," who had not read the book; hastily convened meetings of Pasternak's friends and colleagues, at which fine poets like Vladimir Soloukin, Leonid Martynov, and Boris Slutsky were forced to censure an author they respected. Slutsky, who in his brutal prose-like poems had created an image for himself as a courageous soldier and truth-lover, was so tormented by his anti-Pasternak speech that he later went insane. On October 29, 1958, at the plenum of the Central Committee of the Young Communist League, dedicated to the Komsomol's fortieth anniversary, its head, Vladimir Semichastny, attacked Pasternak before an audience of 14,000 people, including Khrushchev and other Party leaders. Semishastny first called Pasternak, "a mangy sheep," who pleased the enemies of the Soviet Union with, "his slanderous so-called work." Then Semichastny (who became head of the KGB in 1961) added that, "this man went and spat in the face of the people." And he concluded with, "If you compare Pasternak to a pig, a pig would not do what he did," because a pig, "never shits where it eats." Khrushchev applauded demonstratively. News of that speech drove Pasternak to the brink of suicide. It has recently come to light that the real author of Semichastny's insults was Khrushchev, who had called the Komsomol leader the night before and dictated his lines about the mangy sheep and the pig, which Semichastny described as a, "typically Khrushchevian, deliberately crude, unceremoniously scolding."[61]

Furthermore, Pasternak was informed that, if he traveled to Stockholm to collect his Nobel Medal, he would be refused re-entry to the Soviet Union. As a result, Pasternak sent a second telegram to the Nobel Committee: "In view of the meaning given the award by the society in which I live, I must renounce this undeserved distinction which has been conferred on me. Please do not take my voluntary renunciation amiss."[62] The Swedish Academy announced: "This refusal, of course, in no way alters the validity of the award. There remains only for the Academy, however, to announce with regret that the presentation of the Prize cannot take place."[63]

According to Yevgenii Pasternak, "I couldn't recognize my father when I saw him that evening. Pale, lifeless face, tired painful eyes, and only speaking about the same thing: 'Now it all doesn’t matter, I declined the Prize.'"[48]
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Deportation plans

Despite his decision to decline the award, the Soviet Union of Writers continued to demonise Pasternak in the State-owned press. Furthermore, he was threatened at the very least with formal exile to the West. In response, Pasternak wrote directly to Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev,

I am addressing you personally, the C.C. of the C.P.S.S., and the Soviet Government. From Comrade Semichastny's speech I learn that the government, 'would not put any obstacles in the way of my departure from the U.S.S.R.' For me this is impossible. I am tied to Russia by birth, by my life and work. I cannot conceive of my destiny separate from Russia, or outside it. Whatever my mistakes or failings, I could not imagine that I should find myself at the center of such a political campaign as has been worked up round my name in the West. Once I was aware of this, I informed the Swedish Academy of my voluntary renunciation of the Nobel Prize. Departure beyond the borders of my country would for me be tantamount to death and I therefore request you not to take this extreme measure with me. With my hand on my heart, I can say that I have done something for Soviet literature, and may still be of use to it.[64]

In The Oak and the Calf, Alexander Solzhenitsyn sharply criticized Pasternak, both for declining the Nobel Prize and for sending such a letter to Khrushchev. In her own memoirs, Olga Ivinskaya blames herself for pressuring her lover into making both decisions.

According to Yevgenii Pasternak, "She accused herself bitterly for persuading Pasternak to decline the Prize. After all that had happened, open shadowing, friends turning away, Pasternak's suicidal condition at the time, one can... understand her: the memory of Stalin's camps was too fresh, [and] she tried to protect him."[48]

On 31 October 1958, the Union of Soviet Writers held a trial behind closed doors. According to the meeting minutes, Pasternak was denounced as an internal White emigre and a Fascist fifth columnist. Afterwards, the attendees announced that Pasternak had been expelled from the Union. They further signed a petition to the Politburo, demanding that Pasternak be stripped of his Soviet citizenship and exiled to, "his Capitalist paradise."[65] According to Yevgenii Pasternak, however, author Konstantin Paustovsky refused to attend the meeting. Yevgeny Yevtushenko did attend, but walked out in disgust.[48]

According to Yevgenii Pasternak, his father would have been exiled had it not been for Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who telephoned Khrushchev and threatened to find a Committee for Pasternak's protection.[48]

It is possible that the 1958 Nobel Prize prevented Pasternak's imprisonment due to the Soviet State's fear of international protests. Yevgenii Pasternak believes, however, that the resulting persecution fatally weakened his father's health.[40]

Meanwhile, Bill Mauldin produced a political cartoon which won the 1959 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning. The cartoon depicts Pasternak and another GULAG inmate, splitting trees in the snow. The caption reads, "I won the Nobel Prize for literature. What was your crime?"[66]

Last years

Boris Pasternak's dacha in Peredelkino, where he lived between 1936 and 1960

Pasternak's post-Zhivago poetry probes the universal questions of love, immortality, and reconciliation with God.[67][68] Boris Pasternak wrote his last complete book, When the Weather Clears, in 1959.

According to Ivinskaya, Pasternak continued to stick to his daily writing schedule even during the controversy over Doctor Zhivago. He also continued translating the writings of Juliusz Słowacki and Pedro Calderón de la Barca. In his work on Calderon, Pasternak received the discreet support of Nikolai Mikhailovich Liubimov, a senior figure in the Party's literary apparatus. Ivinskaya describes Liubimov as, "a shrewd and enlightened person who understood very well that all the mudslinging and commotion over the novel would be forgotten, but that there would always be a Pasternak."[69] In a letter to his sisters in Oxford, England, Pasternak claimed to have finished translating one of Calderon's plays in less than a week.[70]

During the summer of 1959, Pasternak began writing The Blind Beauty, a trilogy of stage plays set before and after Alexander II's abolition of serfdom in Russia. In an interview with Olga Carlisle from The Paris Review, Pasternak enthusiastically described the play's plot and characters. He informed Olga Carlisle that, at the end of The Blind Beauty, he wished to depict "the birth of an enlightened and affluent middle class, open to occidental influences, progressive, intelligent, artistic".[71] However, Pasternak fell ill with terminal lung cancer before he could complete the first play of the trilogy.

Pasternak's last poem

How I remember solstice days
Through many winters long completed!
Each unrepeatable, unique,
And each one countless times repeated.

Of all these days, these only days,
When one rejoiced in the impression
That time had stopped, there grew in years
An unforgettable succession.

Each one of them I can evoke.
The year is to midwinter moving,
The roofs are dripping, roads are soaked,
And on the ice the sun is brooding.

Then lovers hastily are drawn
To one another, vague and dreaming,
And in the heat, upon a tree
The sweating nesting-box is steaming.

And sleepy clock-hands laze away
The clock-face wearily ascending.
Eternal, endless is the day,
And the embrace is never-ending.[72]


Boris Pasternak died of lung cancer in his dacha in Peredelkino on the evening of 30 May 1960. He first summoned his sons, and in their presence said, "Who will suffer most because of my death? Who will suffer most? Only Oliusha will, and I haven't had time to do anything for her. The worst thing is that she will suffer."[73] Pasternak's last words were, "I can't hear very well. And there's a mist in front of my eyes. But it will go away, won't it? Don't forget to open the window tomorrow."[73]

Shortly before his death, a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church had given Pasternak the last rites. Later, in the strictest secrecy, a Russian Orthodox funeral liturgy, or Panikhida, was offered in the family's dacha.[74]

Funeral demonstration

Despite only a small notice appearing in the Literary Gazette,[73] handwritten notices carrying the date and time of the funeral were posted throughout the Moscow subway system.[73] As a result, thousands of admirers braved Militia and KGB surveillance to attend Pasternak's funeral in Peredelkino.[75]

Before Pasternak's civil funeral, Olga Ivinskaya had a conversation with Konstantin Paustovsky. According to Ivinskaya,

He began to say what an authentic event the funeral was—an expression of what people really felt, and so characteristic of the Russia which stoned its prophets and did its poets to death as a matter of longstanding tradition. At such a moment, he continued indignantly, one was bound to recall the funeral of Pushkin and the Tsar's courtiers – their miserable hypocrisy and false pride. "Just think how rich they are, how many Pasternaks they have—as many as there were Pushkins in the Russia of Tsar Nicholas... Not much has changed. But what can one expect? They are afraid..."[76]

Then, in the presence of a large number of foreign journalists, the body of Pasternak was removed to the cemetery. According to Ivinskaya,

The graveside service now began. It was hard for me in my state to make out what was going on. Later, I was told that Paustovski had wanted to give the funeral address, but it was in fact Professor Asmus who spoke. Wearing a light colored suit and a bright tie, he was dressed more for some gala occasion than for a funeral. "A writer has died," he began, "who, together with Pushkin, Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy, forms part of the glory of Russian literature. Even if we cannot agree with him in everything; we all none the less owe him a debt of gratitude for setting an example of unswerving honesty, for his incorruptible conscience, and for his heroic view of his duty as a writer." Needless to say, he mentioned [Boris Leonidovich]'s, "mistakes and failings," but hastened to add that, "they do not, however, prevent us from recognizing the fact that he was a great poet." "He was a very modest man," Asmus said in conclusion, "and he did not like people to talk about him too much, so with this I shall bring my address to a close."[77]

To the horror of the assembled Party officials, however, someone with "a young and deeply anguished voice"[78] began reciting Pasternak's banned poem Hamlet.

Гул затих. Я вышел на подмостки. Прислонясь к дверному косяку, Я ловлю в далеком отголоске, Что случится на моем веку.

На меня наставлен сумрак ночи Тысячью биноклей на оси. Если только можно, Aвва Отче, Чашу эту мимо пронеси.

Я люблю твой замысел упрямый И играть согласен эту роль. Но сейчас идет другая драма, И на этот раз меня уволь.

Но продуман распорядок действий, И неотвратим конец пути. Я один, все тонет в фарисействе. Жизнь прожить – не поле перейти.

The murmurs ebb; onto the stage I enter.
I am trying, standing at the door,
To discover in the distant echoes
What the coming years may hold in store.

The nocturnal darkness with a thousand
Binoculars is focused onto me.
Take away this cup, O Abba, Father,
Everything is possible to Thee.

I am fond of this Thy stubborn project,
And to play my part I am content.
But another drama is in progress,
And, this once, O let me be exempt.

But the plan of action is determined,
And the end irrevocably sealed.
I am alone; all round me drowns in falsehood:
Life is not a walk across a field.[79]

According to Ivinskaya,

At this point, the persons stage-managing the proceedings decided the ceremony must be brought to an end as quickly as possible, and somebody began to carry the lid toward the coffin. For the last time, I bent down to kiss Boria on the forehead, now completely cold... But now something unusual began to happen in the cemetery. Someone was about to put the lid on the coffin, and another person in gray trousers... said in an agitated voice: "That's enough, we don't need any more speeches! Close the coffin!" But people would not be silenced so easily. Someone in a colored, open-necked shirt who looked like a worker started to speak: "Sleep peacefully, dear Boris Leonidovich! We do not know all your works, but we swear to you at this hour: the day will come when we shall know them all. We do not believe anything bad about your book. And what can we say about all you others, all you brother writers who have brought such disgrace upon yourselves that no words can describe it. Rest in peace, Boris Leonidovich!" The man in gray trousers seized hold of other people who tried to come forward and pushed them back into the crowd: "The meeting is over, there will be no more speeches!" A foreigner expressed his indigation in broken Russian: "You can only say the meeting is over when no more people wish to speak!"[78]

The final speaker at the graveside service said,

God marks the path of the elect with thorns, and Pasternak was picked out and marked by God. He believed in eternity and he will belong to it... We excommunicated Tolstoy, we disowned Dostoevsky, and now we disown Pasternak. Everything that brings us glory we try to banish to the West... But we cannot allow this. We love Pasternak and we revere him as a poet... Glory to Pasternak![80]

As the spectators cheered, the bells of Peredelkino's Church of the Transfiguration began to toll. Written prayers for the dead were then placed upon Pasternak's forehead and the coffin was closed and buried. Pasternak's gravesite would go on to become a major shrine for members of the Soviet dissident movement.[74]


USSR, 4 kopek stamp, 1990

After Pasternak's death, Olga Ivinskaya was arrested for the second time, with her daughter, Irina Emelyanova. Both were accused of being Pasternak's link with Western publishers and of dealing in hard currency for Doctor Zhivago. All of Pasternak's letters to Ivinskaya, as well as many other manuscripts and documents, were seized by the KGB. The KGB quietly released them, Irina after one year, in 1962, and Olga in 1964.[81] By this time, Ivinskaya had served four years of an eight-year sentence, in retaliation for her role in Doctor Zhivago's publication.[82] In 1978, her memoirs were smuggled abroad and published in Paris. An English translation by Max Hayward was published the same year under the title A Captive of Time: My Years with Pasternak.

Ivinskaya was rehabilitated only in 1988. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Ivinskaya sued for the return of the letters and documents seized by the KGB in 1961. The Russian Supreme Court ultimately ruled against her, stating that, "there was no proof of ownership," and that the, "papers should remain in the state archive".[81] Olga Ivinskaya died of cancer on 8 September 1995.[82] A reporter on NTV compared her role to that of other famous muses for Russian poets: "As Pushkin would not be complete without Anna Kern, and Yesenin would be nothing without Isadora, so Pasternak would not be Pasternak without Olga Ivinskaya, who was his inspiration for Doctor Zhivago.".[82]

Meanwhile, Boris Pasternak continued to be pilloried by the Soviet State until Mikhail Gorbachev proclaimed Perestroika during the 1980s.

In 1988, after decades of circulating in Samizdat, Doctor Zhivago was serialized in the literary journal Novy Mir.[83]

In December 1989, Yevgenii Borisovich Pasternak was permitted to travel to Stockholm in order to collect his father's Nobel Medal.[84] At the ceremony, acclaimed cellist and Soviet dissident Mstislav Rostropovich performed a Bach serenade in honor of his deceased countryman.

A 2009 book by Ivan Tolstoi reasserts claims that British and American intelligence officers were involved in ensuring Pasternak's Nobel victory however another Russian researcher disagrees.[50][51] When Yevgeny Borisovich Pasternak was questioned about this, he responded that his father was completely unaware of the actions of Western intelligence services. Yevgeny further declared that the Nobel Prize caused his father nothing but severe grief and harassment at the hands of the Soviet State.[49][40]

The Pasternak family papers are stored at the Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford University. They contain correspondence, drafts of Doctor Zhivago and other writings, photographs, and other material, of Boris Pasternak and other family members.

Since 2003, the novel Doctor Zhivago has entered the Russian school curriculum, where it is read in the 11th grade of high-school.[85]

Cultural influence

• A minor planet (3508 Pasternak) discovered by Soviet astronomer Lyudmila Georgievna Karachkinain 1980 is named after him.[86]
• Russian-American singer and songwriter Regina Spektor recites a verse from "Black Spring", a 1912 poem by Pasternak in her song "Apres Moi" from her album Begin to Hope.
• Russian-Dutch composer Fred Momotenko (Alfred Momotenko) wrote a companion composition to Sergej Rachmaninov's All-Night Vigil Op 37. based on the eponymous poem from the diptych Doktor Zhivago Na Strastnoy


The first screen adaptation of Doctor Zhivago, adapted by Robert Bolt and directed by David Lean, appeared in 1965. The film, which toured in the roadshow tradition, starred Omar Sharif, Geraldine Chaplin, and Julie Christie. Concentrating on the love triangle aspects of the novel, the film became a worldwide blockbuster, but was unavailable in Russia until Perestroika.

In 2002, the novel was adapted as a television miniseries. Directed by Giacomo Campiotti, the serial starred Hans Matheson, Alexandra Maria Lara, Keira Knightley, and Sam Neill.

The Russian TV version of 2006, directed by Alexander Proshkin and starring Oleg Menshikov as Zhivago, is considered more faithful to Pasternak's novel than David Lean's 1965 film.



Thoughts on poetry

According to Ivinskaya:

In Pasternak the 'all-powerful god of detail' always, it seems, revolted against the idea of turning out verse for its own sake or to convey vague personal moods. If 'eternal' themes were to be dealt with yet again, then only by a poet in the true sense of the word – otherwise he should not have the strength of character to touch them at all. Poetry so tightly packed (till it crunched like ice) or distilled into a solution where 'grains of true prose germinated,' a poetry in which realistic detail cast a genuine spell – only such poetry was acceptable to Pasternak; but not poetry for which indulgence was required, or for which allowances had to be made – that is, the kind of ephemeral poetry which is particularly common in an age of literary conformism. [Boris Leonidovich] could weep over the 'purple-gray circle' which glowed above Blok's tormented muse and he never failed to be moved by the terseness of Pushkin's sprightly lines, but rhymed slogans about the production of tin cans in the so-called 'poetry' of Surkov and his like, as well as the outpourings about love in the work of those young poets who only echo each other and the classics – all this left him cold at best and for the most part made him indignant."[87]

For this reason, Pasternak regularly avoided literary cafes where young poets regularly invited them to read their verse. According to Ivinskaya, "It was this sort of thing that moved him to say: 'Who started the idea that I love poetry? I can't stand poetry.'"[87]

Also according to Ivinskaya, "'The way they could write!' he once exclaimed – by 'they' he meant the Russian classics. And immediately afterward, reading or, rather, glancing through some verse in the Literary Gazette: 'Just look how tremendously well they've learned to rhyme! But there's actually nothing there – it would be better to say it in a news bulletin. What has poetry got to do with this?' By 'they' in this case, he meant the poets writing today."[88]


Reluctant to conform to Socialist Realism, Pasternak turned to translation in order to provide for his family. He soon produced acclaimed translations of Sándor Petőfi, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Rainer Maria Rilke, Paul Verlaine, Taras Shevchenko, and Nikoloz Baratashvili. Osip Mandelstam, however, privately warned him, "Your collected works will consist of twelve volumes of translations, and only one of your own work."[32]

In a 1942 letter, Pasternak declared, "I am completely opposed to contemporary ideas about translation. The work of Lozinski, Radlova, Marshak, and Chukovski is alien to me, and seems artificial, soulless, and lacking in depth. I share the nineteenth century view of translation as a literary exercise demanding insight of a higher kind than that provided by a merely philological approach."[32]

According to Ivinskaya, Pasternak believed in not being too literal in his translations, which he felt could confuse the meaning of the text. He instead advocated observing each poem from afar to plumb its true depths.[89]

Pasternak's translations of William Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, Othello, King Henry IV (Parts I and II), Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear)[90] remain deeply popular with Russian audiences because of their colloquial, modernised dialogues. Pasternak's critics, however, accused him of "pasternakizing" Shakespeare. In a 1956 essay, Pasternak wrote, "Translating Shakespeare is a task which takes time and effort. Once it is undertaken, it is best to divide it into sections long enough for the work to not get stale and to complete one section each day. In thus daily progressing through the text, the translator finds himself reliving the circumstances of the author. Day by day, he reproduces his actions and he is drawn into some of his secrets, not in theory, but practically, by experience."[91]

According to Ivinskaya:

Whenever [Boris Leonidovich] was provided with literal versions of things which echoed his own thoughts or feelings, it made all the difference and he worked feverishly, turning them into masterpieces. I remember his translating Paul Verlaine in a burst of enthusiasm like this – Art poétique (Verlaine) was after all an expression of his own beliefs about poetry.[92]

While they were both collaborating on translating Rabindranath Tagore from Bengali into Russian, Pasternak advised Ivinskaya, "1) Bring out the theme of the poem, its subject matter, as clearly as possible; 2) tighten up the fluid, non-European form by rhyming internally, not at the end of the lines; 3) use loose, irregular meters, mostly ternary ones. You may allow yourself to use assonances."[89]

Later, while she was collaborating with him on a translation of Vítězslav Nezval, Pasternak told Ivinskaya:

Use the literal translation only for the meaning, but do not borrow words as they stand from it: they are absurd and not always comprehensible. Don't translate everything, only what you can manage, and by this means try to make the translation more precise than the original – an absolute necessity in the case of such a confused, slipshod piece of work."[89]

According to Olga Ivinskaya, however, translation was not a genuine vocation for Pasternak. She later recalled:

One day someone brought him a copy of a British newspaper in which there was a double feature under the title, "Pasternak Keeps a Courageous Silence." It said that if Shakespeare had written in Russian he would have written in the same way he was translated by Pasternak... What a pity, the article continued, that Pasternak published nothing but translations, writing his own work for himself and a small circle of intimate friends. "What do they mean by saying that my silence is courageous?" [Boris Leonidovich] commented sadly after reading all this. "I am silent because I am not printed."[93]


Boris Pasternak was also a composer, and had a promising musical career as a musician ahead of him, had he chosen to pursue it. He came from a musical family: his mother was a concert pianist and a student of Anton Rubinstein and Theodor Leschetizky, and Pasternak's early impressions were of hearing piano trios in the home. The family had a dacha (country house) close to one occupied by Alexander Scriabin; Sergei Rachmaninoff, Rainer Maria Rilke and Leo Tolstoy were all visitors to the family home. His father Leonid was a painter who produced one of the most important portraits of Scriabin, and Pasternak wrote many years later of witnessing with great excitement the creation of Scriabin's Symphony No. 3 (The Divine Poem), in 1903.

Pasternak began to compose at the age of 13. The high achievements of his mother discouraged him from becoming a pianist, but – inspired by Scriabin – he entered the Moscow Conservatory, but left abruptly in 1910 at the age of twenty, to study philosophy in Marburg University. Four years later he returned to Moscow, having finally decided on a career in literature, publishing his first book of poems, influenced by Alexander Blok and the Russian Futurists, the same year.

Pasternak's early compositions show the clear influence of Scriabin. His single-movement Piano Sonata of 1909 shows a more mature and individual voice. Nominally in B minor, it moves freely from key to key with frequent changes of key-signature and a chromatic dissonant style that defies easy analysis. Although composed during his time at the Conservatory, the Sonata was composed at Raiki, some 27 miles north-east of Moscow, where Leonid Pasternak had his painting studio and taught his students. (NB. This is not the site of the Pasternak family dacha, now open to the public, in the writers' colony at Peredelkino, which is about 16 miles south-west of the capital.)

Selected books by Pasternak

Poetry collections

• Twin in the Clouds (1914)
• Over the Barriers (1916)
• Themes and Variations (1917)
• My Sister, Life (1922)
• On Early Trains (1944)
• Selected Poems (1946)
• Poems (1954)
• When the Weather Clears (1959)
• In The Interlude: Poems 1945–1960 (1962)

Books of prose

• Safe Conduct (1931)
• Second Birth (1932)
• The Last Summer (1934)
• Childhood (1941)
• Selected Writings (1949)
• Collected Works (1945)
• Goethe's Faust (1952)
• Essay in Autobiography (1956)
• Doctor Zhivago (1957)

See also

• Novels portal
• List of Jewish Nobel laureates


1. – CIA Declassifies Agency Role in Publishing Doctor Zhivago
2. «Не читал, но осуждаю!»: 5 фактов о романе «Доктор Живаго» 18:17 23/10/2013, Елена Меньшенина
3. "Boris Leonidovich Pasternak Biography". Retrieved 24 January 2014.
4. Boris Pasternak: A Literary Biography, By Christopher Barnes, page 2
5. Ivinskaya (1978), p 137.
6. Pasternak (1959) p 25
7. Pasternak (1959) pp 27–28.
8. Ivinskaya (1978), p xvi.
9. Pasternak (1967)
10. Braginskaya, Nina V. (2016). "Olga Freidenberg: A Creative Mind Incarcerated". In Wyles, Rosie; Hall, Edith. Women Classical Scholars: Unsealing the Fountain from the Renaissance to Jacqueline de Romilly (PDF). Translated by Tarlone, Zara M.; Zeide, Alla; Maslov, Boris. Oxford University Press. pp. 286–312. ISBN 9780191089657.
11. "BOOKS OF THE TIMES". Retrieved 2018-06-28.
12. Ivinskaya (1978) p 395.
13. Ivinskaya (1978) p xxiii.
14. Bayley, John (5 December 1985). "Big Three". The New York Review of Books. 32. Retrieved 28 September 2007.
15. Pasternak, Boris (1926). "In Memory of Reissner". Retrieved 19 September 2014.
16. Boris Pasternak: Family Correspondence, 1921–1960, p 78.
17. Nicholas Pasternak Slater, Boris Pasternak: Family Correspondence 1921–1960, p 80.
18. Ivinskaya (1978) pp 61–63
19. Ivinskaya (1978) pp 132–133
20. Ivinskaya (1978) p 133.
21. Ivinskaya (1978), p 135.
22. Ivinskaya (1978) pp 72–73.
23. Ivinskaya (1978) p 75.
24. Ivinskaya (1978) p 80.
25. Ivinskaya (1978) pp 12, 395, footnote 3.
26. Ivinskaya (1978) p 12.
27. Ivinskaya (1978) p 27.
28. Ivinskaya (1978), p 28.
29. Ivinskaya (1978), p 23.
30. Ivinskaya (1978), p 86.
31. Ivinskaya (1978) p 109.
32. Ivinskaya (1978) pp 78–79.
33. Ivinskaya (1978) p 144.
34. Ivinskaya (1978) p 142.
35. "Doctor Zhivago": Letter to Boris Pasternak from the Editors of Novyi Mir. Daedalus, Vol. 89, No. 3, The Russian Intelligentsia (Summer, 1960), pp. 648–668
36. Lazar Fleishman, Boris Pasternak: The Poet and His Politics, p 275.
37. Fleishman, pp 275–276.
38. Fleishman, p 276.
39. Ivinskaya (1978), p 203.
40. "The Plot Thickens A New Book Promises an Intriguing Twist to the Epic Tale of 'Doctor Zhivago'". Retrieved 24 January 2014.
41. Ivinskaya (1978), p 136.
42. Fleishman, pp 264–266.
43. Ivinskaya (1978), pp 268–271.
44. Ivinskaya (1978), p 134.
45. Ivinskaya (1978), p 231.
46. Ivinskaya (1978), p 230.
47. Boris Pasternak: Family Correspondence 1912–1960, p 403.
48. "Boris Pasternak: Nobel Prize, Son's Memoirs". 18 December 2003. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
49. How the CIA won Zhivago a Nobel
50. "Was Pasternak's Path to the Nobel Prize Paved by the CIA?". Retrieved 24 January 2014.
51. "Social sciences – A Quarterly Journal of the Russian Academy of Sciences: INTERNATIONAL PROVOCATION: ON BORIS PASTERNAK's NOBEL PRIZE" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF)on 1 November 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
52. "Doctor Zhivago &123; CIA FOIA (". U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. 11 April 2014. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
53. "Document 19571212 MEMORANDUM ON PASTERNAK'S DR. ZHIVAGO" (PDF). U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. 12 December 1957. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
54. "Document 19590203 NOTE ON THE STORY OF DR. ZHIVAGO" (PDF). U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. 3 February 1959. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
55. "CIA Declassifies Agency Role in Publishing Doctor Zhivago". U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. 14 April 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
56. Ivinskaya (1978), p 220.
57. Boris Pasternak: Family Correspondence 1921–1960, Hoover Press, 2010. p 402.
58. Ivinskaya (1978), p 221.
59. Ivinskaya (1978), pp 223–224.
60. Ivinskaya (1978), p 224.
61. Solomon Volkov, The Magical Chorus: A History of Russian Culture from Tolstoy to Solzhenitsyn, Alfred A. Knopf, 2008. Pages 195–196.
62. Ivinskaya (1978), p 232.
63. Frenz, Horst (ed.) (1969). Literature 1901–1967. Nobel Lectures. Amsterdam: Elsevier. (Via "Nobel Prize in Literature 1958 – Announcement". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 24 May 2007.)
64. Ivinskaya (1978), pp 240–241.
65. Ivinskaya (1978), pp 251–261.
66. Bill Mauldin Beyond Willie and Joe (Library of Congress)
67. Hostage of Eternity: Boris Pasternak Archived 27 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine. (Hoover Institution)
68. Conference set on Doctor Zhivago writer (Stanford Report, 28 April 2004)
69. Ivinskaya (1978), p 292.
70. Ivinskaya (1978), p xxxix.
71. "The Paris Review" interviews Boris Pasternak.
72. " Is it easy to be a Jew? Jewish News
73. Ivinskaya (1978), pp 323–326
74. Ivinskaya (1978), p 332.
75. Ivinskaya (1978), pp 326–327.
76. Ivinskaya (1978), p 328.
77. Ivinskaya (1978), pp 330–331.
78. Ivinskaya (1978), p 331.
79. Lydia Pasternak Slater, Pasternak: Fifty Poems, Barnes & Noble Books, 1963. p 57.
80. Ivinskaya (1978), pp 331–332.
81. "OBITUARY: Olga Ivinskaya". The Independent. UK. 13 September 1995. Retrieved 27 October2010.
82. "Olga Ivinskaya, 83, Pasternak Muse for 'Zhivago'". New York Times. 13 September 1995. Retrieved 27 October 2010.
83. Contents Archived 9 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine. of Novy Mir magazines (in Russian)
84. "Boris Pasternak: The Nobel Prize. Son's memoirs". (Pravda, 18 December 2003)
85. «Не читал, но осуждаю!»: 5 фактов о романе «Доктор Живаго» 18:17 23/10/2013, Елена Меньшенина
86. Schmadel, Lutz D. (2003). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names (5th ed.). New York: Springer Verlag. p. 294. ISBN 3-540-00238-3.
87. Ivinskaya (1978), p 145.
88. Ivinskaya (1978), p 146.
89. Ivinskaya (1978) pp 28–29.
90. Boris Pasternak, I Remember: Sketch for an Autobiography, Pantheon Books, 1959. p 127.
91. Pasternak, (1959) p 142.
92. Ivinskaya (1978), p 34.
93. Ivinskaya (1978), p 35.


• Boris Pasternak, I Remember; Sketches for an Autobiography, Pantheon Books, 1959.
• Boris Pasternak. "Sister, My Life" Translated by C. Flayderman. Introduction by Robert Payne. Washington Square Press, 1967.
• Olga Ivinskaya, A Captive of Time; My Years with Pasternak, Doubleday, 1978. Translated by Max Hayward.
• ed. Elliott Mossman, The Correspondence of Boris Pasternak and Olga Freidenberg 1910 - 1954, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982 ISBN 9780151226306

Further reading

• Paolo Mancosu, Inside the Zhivago Storm: The Editorial Adventures of Pasternak's Masterpiece,Milan: Feltrinelli, 2013
• Peter Finn and Petra Couvee, The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book, New York: Pantheon Books, 2014
• Paolo Mancosu, Zhivago's Secret Journey: From Typescript to Book, Stanford: Hoover Press, 2016
• Anna Pasternak, Lara: The Untold Love Story and the Inspiration for Doctor Zhivago, Ecco, 2017; ISBN 978-0062439345.

External links

• Works by or about Boris Pasternak at Internet Archive
• Free scores by Boris Pasternak at the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP)
• Read Pasternak's interview with The Paris ReviewSummer-Fall 1960 No. 24
• 1958 Nobel Prize in Literature
• Pasternak profile at
• PBS biography of Pasternak
• Register of the Pasternak Family Papers at the Hoover Institution Archives
• profile and images at the Pasternak Trust
• pp. 36–39: Pasternak as a student at Marburg University, Germany
• Boris Pasternak poetry
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Re: Act & Punishment: The Pussy Riot Trials

Postby admin » Wed Oct 03, 2018 3:28 am

Osip Mandelstam
by Wikipedia
October 2, 2018



Osip Mandelstam
Osip Mandelstam in 1914
Born Osip Emilyevich Mandelstam
15 January [O.S. 3 January] 1891
Warsaw, Congress Poland, Russian Empire
Died 27 December 1938 (aged 47)
Transit Camp "Vtoraya Rechka" (near Vladivostok), USSR
Occupation Poet, Essayist
Literary movement Acmeist poetry

Osip Emilyevich Mandelstam[1] (Russian: О́сип Эми́льевич Мандельшта́м, IPA: [ˈosʲɪp ɪˈmʲilʲjɪvʲɪtɕ məndʲɪlʲˈʂtam]; 15 January [O.S. 3 January] 1891 – 27 December 1938) was a Russian Jewish poet and essayist. He was the husband of Nadezhda Mandelstam and one of the foremost members of the Acmeist school of poets. He was arrested by Joseph Stalin's government during the repression of the 1930s and sent into internal exile with his wife Nadezhda. Given a reprieve of sorts, they moved to Voronezh in southwestern Russia. In 1938 Mandelstam was arrested again and sentenced to five years in a corrective-labour camp in the Soviet Far East. He died that year at a transit camp near Vladivostok.

Life and work

Mandelstam was born in Warsaw (then part of the Russian Empire) to a wealthy Polish-Jewish family. His father, a leather merchant by trade, was able to receive a dispensation freeing the family from the pale of settlement and, soon after Osip's birth, they moved to Saint Petersburg. In 1900, Mandelstam entered the prestigious Tenishev School. His first poems were printed in 1907 in the school's almanac.

In April 1908, Mandelstam decided to enter the Sorbonne in Paris to study literature and philosophy, but he left the following year to attend the University of Heidelberg in Germany. In 1911, he decided to continue his education at the University of Saint Petersburg, from which Jews were excluded. He converted to Methodism and entered the university the same year.[2] He did not complete a formal degree.[3]

Mandelstam's poetry, acutely populist in spirit after the first Russian revolution in 1905, became closely associated with symbolist imagery. In 1911, he and several other young Russian poets formed the "Poets' Guild", under the formal leadership of Nikolai Gumilyov and Sergei Gorodetsky. The nucleus of this group became known as Acmeists. Mandelstam wrote the manifesto for the new movement: The Morning Of Acmeism (1913, published in 1919).[4] In 1913 he published his first collection of poems, The Stone; it was reissued in 1916 under the same title, but with additional poems included.

Marriage and family

Mandelstam was said to have had an affair with the poet Anna Akhmatova. She insisted throughout her life that their relationship had always been a very deep friendship, rather than a sexual affair.[5] In the 1910s, he was in love, secretly and unrequitedly, with a Georgian princess and St. Petersburg socialite Salomea Andronikova, to whom Mandelstam dedicated his poem "Solominka" (1916).[6]

In 1922, Mandelstam married Nadezhda Khazina in Kiev, Ukraine, where she lived with her family.[7] He continued to be attracted to other women, sometimes seriously. Their marriage was threatened by his falling in love with other women, notably Olga Vaksel in 1924-25 and Mariya Petrovykh in 1933-34.[8]

During Mandelstam's years of imprisonment, 1934–38, Nadezhda accompanied him into exile. Given the real danger that all copies of Osip's poetry would be destroyed, she worked to memorize his entire corpus, as well as to hide and preserve select paper manuscripts, all the while dodging her own arrest.[9] In the 1960s and 1970s, as the political climate thawed, she was largely responsible for arranging clandestine republication of Mandelstam's poetry.[10]

Career, political persecution and death

In 1922, Mandelstam and Nadezhda moved to Moscow. At this time, his second book of poems, Tristia, was published in Berlin. For several years after that, he almost completely abandoned poetry, concentrating on essays, literary criticism, memoirs The Noise Of Time, Feodosiya - both 1925; (Noise of Time 1993 in English) and small-format prose The Egyptian Stamp (1928). As a day job, he translated literature into Russian (19 books in 6 years), then worked as a correspondent for a newspaper.

Silver Age poets Mandelstam, Chukovsky, Livshits and Annenkov in 1914. Photo of Karl Bulla

In the autumn of 1933, Mandelstam composed the poem "Stalin Epigram", which he read at a few small private gatherings in Moscow. The poem was a sharp criticism of the "Kremlin highlander". Six months later, in 1934, Mandelstam was arrested. But, after interrogation about his poem, he was not immediately sentenced to death or the Gulag, but to exile in Cherdyn in the Northern Ural, where he was accompanied by his wife. After he attempted suicide, and following an intercession by Nikolai Bukharin, the sentence was lessened to banishment from the largest cities.[11] Otherwise allowed to choose his new place of residence, Mandelstam and his wife chose Voronezh.

NKVD photo after the second arrest, 1938

This proved a temporary reprieve. In the next years, Mandelstam wrote a collection of poems known as the Voronezh Notebooks, which included the cycle Verses on the Unknown Soldier. He also wrote several poems that seemed to glorify Stalin (including "Ode To Stalin"). However, in 1937, at the outset of the Great Purge, the literary establishment began to attack him in print, first locally, and soon after from Moscow, accusing him of harbouring anti-Soviet views.

Second arrest and death

Early the following year, Mandelstam and his wife received a government voucher for a vacation not far from Moscow;[citation needed] upon their arrival in May 1938, he was arrested on 5 May (ref. camp document of 12 October 1938, signed by Mandelstam) and charged with "counter-revolutionary activities". Four months later, on 2 August 1938,[12] Mandelstam was sentenced to five years in correction camps. He arrived at the Vtoraya Rechka (Second River) transit camp near Vladivostok in Russia's Far East and managed to get a note out to his wife asking for warm clothes; he never received them. He died from cold and hunger. His death was described later in a short story "Cherry Brandy" by Varlam Shalamov.

Mandelstam's own prophecy was fulfilled: "Only in Russia is poetry respected, it gets people killed. Is there anywhere else where poetry is so common a motive for murder?" Nadezhda Mandelstam wrote memoirs about her life and times with her husband in Hope against Hope (1970) [9] and Hope Abandoned.[10] She also managed to preserve a significant part of Mandelstam's unpublished work.[11]

Posthumous Reputation and Influence

• In 1956, during the Khrushchev thaw, Osip Mandelstam was rehabilitated and exonerated from the charges brought against him in 1938.
• The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation aired Hope Against Hope, a radio dramatization about Mandelstam's poetry based on the book of the same title by Nadezhda Mandelstam, on 1 February 1972. The script was written by George Whalley, a Canadian scholar and critic, and the broadcast was produced by John Reeves.
• In 1977, a minor planet, 3461 Mandelstam, discovered by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Stepanovich Chernykh, was named after him.[13]
• On 28 October 1987, during the administration of Mikhail Gorbachev, Mandelstam was also exonerated from the 1934 charges and thus fully rehabilitated.[14]

Selected poetry and prose collections

• 1913 Kamen (Stone)
• 1922 Tristia
• 1923 Vtoraia kniga (Second Book)
• 1925 Shum vremeni (The Noise Of Time) Prose
• 1928 Stikhotvoreniya 1921–1925 (Poems 1921-1925)
• 1928 Stikhotvoreniya (Poems)
• 1928 O poesii (On Poetry)
• 1928 Egipetskaya marka (The Egyptian Stamp)
• 1930 Chetvertaya proza, (The Fourth Prose). Not published in Russia until 1989
• 1930-34 Moskovskiye tetradi (Moscow Notebooks)
• 1933 Puteshestviye v Armeniyu (Journey to Armenia)
• 1933 Razgovor o Dante, (Conversation about Dante); published in 1967[15]
• Voronezhskiye tetradi (Voronezh Notebooks), publ. 1980 (ed. by V. Shveitser)

Selected translations

• Ahkmatova, Mandelstam, and Gumilev (2013) Poems from the Stray Dog Cafe, translated by Meryl Natchez, with Polina Barskova and Boris Wofson, hit & run press, (Berkeley, CA) ISBN 0936156066
• Mandelstam, Osip and Struve, Gleb (1955) Sobranie sočinenij (Collected works). New York OCLC 65905828
• Mandelstam, Osip (1973) Selected Poems, translated by David McDuff, Rivers Press (Cambridge) and, with minor revisions, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (New York)
• Mandelstam, Osip (1973) The Complete Poetry of Osip Emilevich Mandelstam, translated by Burton Raffel and Alla Burago. State University of New York Press (USA)
• Mandelstam, Osip (1973) The Goldfinch. Introduction and translations by Donald Rayfield. The Menard Press
• Mandelstam, Osip (1974). Selected Poems, translated by Clarence Brown (ru) and W. S. Merwin. NY: Atheneum, 1974.
• Mandelstam, Osip (1976) Octets 66-76, translated by Donald Davie, Agenda vol. 14, no. 2, 1976.
• Mandelstam, Osip (1977) 50 Poems, translated by Bernard Meares with an Introductory Essay by Joseph Brodsky. Persea Books (New York)
• Mandelstam, Osip (1980) Poems. Edited and translated by James Greene. (1977) Elek Books, revised and enlarged edition, Granada/Elek, 1980.
• Mandelstam, Osip (1981) Stone, translated by Robert Tracy. Princeton University Press (USA)
• Mandelstam, Osip (1993, 2002) The Noise of Time: Selected Prose, translated by Clarence Brown, Northwestern University Press; Reprint edition ISBN 0-8101-1928-5

Further reading

• Coetzee, J.M. "Osip Mandelstam and the Stalin Ode", Representations, No.35, Special Issue: Monumental Histories. (Summer, 1991), pp. 72–83.
• Davie, Donald (1977) In the Stopping Train Carcanet (Manchester)
• Freidin, Gregory (1987) A Coat of Many Colors: Osip Mandelstam and His Mythologies of Self-Presentation. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London
• Анатолий Ливри, "Мандельштам в пещере Заратустры", - в Вестнике Университета Российской Академии Образования, ВАК, 1 – 2014, Москва, с. 9 – 21. ... vry026.pdf Copie of : ... andelstam/[permanent dead link]. Version française : Anatoly Livry, Nietzscheforschung, Berlin, Humboldt-Universität, 2013, Band 20, S. 313-324 : ... .1.313.xml
• Dr. Anatoly Livry, « Mandelstam le nietzschéen: une origine créative inattendue » dans Журнал Вісник Дніпропетровського університету імені Альфреда Нобеля. Серія «Філологічні науки» зареєстровано в міжнародних наукометричних базах Index Copernicus, РИНЦ, 1 (13) 2017, Університет імені Альфреда Нобеля, м. Дніпро, The Magazine is inscribed by the Higher Certifying Commission on the index of leading reviewing scientific periodicals for publications of main dissertation of academic degree of Doctor and Candidate of Science, p. 58-67. ... 3-2017.pdf[permanent dead link]
• MacKay, John (2006) Inscription and Modernity: From Wordsworth to Mandelstam. Bloomington: Indiana University Press ISBN 0-253-34749-1
• Nilsson N. A. (1974) Osip Mandel’štam: Five Poems. (Stockholm)
• Platt, Kevin, editor (2008) Modernist Archaist: Selected Poems by Osip Mandelstam [16]
• Riley, John (1980) The Collected Works. Grossteste (Derbyshire)
• Ronen, O. (1983) An Аpproach to Mandelstam. (Jerusalem)
• Mikhail Berman-Tsikinovsky (2008), play "Continuation of Mandelstam" (published by Vagrius, Moskow. ISBN 978-5-98525-045-9)


1. Also romanized Osip Mandelstam, Ossip Mandelstamm
2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-16. Retrieved 2011-08-27.
3. Vitaly Charny, "Osip Emilyevich Mandelshtam (1889-1938) Russian Poet"
4. Brown, C.; Mandelshtam, O. (1965). "Mandelshtam's Acmeist Manifesto". Russian Review. 24 (1): 46–51. JSTOR 126351.
5. Feinstein, Elaine. Anna of All the Russias, New York: Vintage Press, 2007.
6. Zholkovsky, Alexander (1996), Text Counter Text: Rereadings in Russian Literary History, p. 165. Stanford University Press, ISBN 0-8047-2703-1.
7. Morley, David (1991) Mandelstam Variations Littlewood Press p75 ISBN 978-0-946407-60-6
8. Clarence Brown, Mandelstam, Cambridge University Press, 1973
9. Nadezhda Mandelstam (1970, 1999) Hope against Hope ISBN 1-86046-635-4
10. Nadezhda Mandelstam Hope Abandoned ISBN 0-689-10549-5
11. Ronen, O. (2007). "Mandelshtam, Osip Emilyevich.". In M. Berenbaum and F. Skolnik. Encyclopaedia Judaica. Detroit (2 ed.). Macmillan Reference USA. pp. 462–464.
12. Extract from court protocol No. 19390/Ts
13. Dictionary of Minor Planet Names, p. 290
14. Kuvaldin, Y. (Юрий Кувалдин): Улица Мандельштамa, повести. Издательство "Московский рабочий", 1989, 304 p. In Russian. URL last accessed 20 October 2007.
15. Freidin, G.: Osip Mandelstam, Encyclopædia Britannica, 2001. Accessed 20 October 2007.
16. Modern Archaist: Selected Poems by Mandelstam

External links

• Poetry Foundation. Poems and biography. Accessed 2010-09-11
• Finding aid to the Osip Mandel'shtam Papers at the Princeton University Library. Accessed 2010-09-11
• Osip Mandelstam poetry at Stihipoeta
• Academy of American Poets, Biography of Mandelstam. Accessed 2010-09-11
• Osip Mandelstam: New Translations (e-chapbook from Ugly Duckling Presse)
• Songs on poetry by Osip Mandelshtam on YouTube, Poems "How on Kama the river" and "Life fell" dedicated to the wife of the poet, Nadezhda Mandelstam; music and performance by Larisa Novoseltseva.
• The Poems of Osip Mandelstam (ebook of poems in translation, mostly from the 1930s)
• English translation of Osip Mandelstam's longest and only free verse poem, "He Who Had Found a Horseshoe," in the New England Review
• English translation of Osip Mandelstam's poems "Menagerie" (1915) and "The Sky is Pregnant with the Future" (1923, 1929) in the Colorado Review
• Works by or about Osip Mandelstam at Internet Archive
• Works by Osip Mandelstam at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
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Re: Act & Punishment: The Pussy Riot Trials

Postby admin » Wed Oct 03, 2018 3:54 am

Arthur Koestler
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 10/2/18



Arthur Koestler
Arthur Koestler (1969)
Born Artúr Kösztler
5 September 1905
Budapest, Austria-Hungary
Died 1 March 1983 (aged 77)
London, England
Occupation Novelist, essayist, journalist
Nationality Hungarian, British
Citizenship Naturalized British subject
Period 1934–1983
Subject Fiction, non-fiction, history, autobiography, politics, philosophy, psychology, parapsychology, science
Notable works Darkness at Noon
The Thirteenth Tribe
Notable awards Sonning Prize (1968)
CBE (1972)
Spouse Dorothy Ascher (1935–50)
Mamaine Paget (1950–52)
Cynthia Jefferies[1] (1965–83)

Arthur Koestler, CBE (UK: /ˈkɜːrstlər/, US: /ˈkɛst-/; German: [ˈkœstlɐ]; Hungarian: Kösztler Artúr; 5 September 1905 – 1 March 1983) was a Hungarian-British author and journalist. Koestler was born in Budapest and, apart from his early school years, was educated in Austria. In 1931 Koestler joined the Communist Party of Germany until, disillusioned by Stalinism, he resigned in 1938. In 1940 he published his novel Darkness at Noon, an anti-totalitarian work that gained him international fame. Over the next 43 years, from his residence in Britain, Koestler espoused many political causes, and wrote novels, memoirs, biographies and numerous essays. In 1968 he was awarded the Sonning Prize "for [his] outstanding contribution to European culture" and in 1972 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). In 1976 he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and in 1979 with terminal leukaemia.[2] In 1983 he and his wife committed suicide at their home in London.


[Koestler] began his education in the twilight of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, at an experimental kindergarten in Budapest. His mother was briefly a patient of Sigmund Freud's. In interwar Vienna he wound up as the personal secretary of Vladimir Jabotinsky, one of the early leaders of the Zionist movement. Travelling in Soviet Turkmenistan as a young and ardent Communist, he ran into Langston Hughes. Fighting in the Spanish Civil War, he met W. H. Auden at a "crazy party" in Valencia before winding up in one of Franco's prisons. In Weimar Berlin he fell into the circle of the Comintern agent Willi Münzenberg, through whom he met the leading German Communists [and fellow-travellers] of the era, including Johannes Becher, Hanns Eisler and Bertolt Brecht. Afraid of being caught by the Gestapo while fleeing France, he borrowed suicide pills from Walter Benjamin. He took them several weeks later when it seemed he would be unable to get out of Lisbon, but he did not die. Along the way he had lunch with Thomas Mann, got drunk with Dylan Thomas, made friends with George Orwell, flirted with Mary McCarthy and lived in Cyril Connolly's London flat. In 1940 Koestler was released from a French detention camp, partly thanks to the intervention of Harold Nicolson and Noël Coward. In the 1950s he helped to found the Congress for Cultural Freedom, together with Melvin Lasky and Sidney Hook. In the 1960s he took LSD with Timothy Leary. In the 1970s he was still giving lectures that impressed, among others, the young Salman Rushdie.

-- Anne Applebaum, reviewing Michael Scammell: Koestler: The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth-Century Skeptic[3]

Origins and early life

Koestler was born in Budapest to Henrik and Adele Koestler (née Jeiteles). He was an only child. His father Henrik Koestler had been born on 18 August 1869 in the town of Miskolc in northeastern Hungary. His paternal grandfather Lipót Koestler, was a soldier in the Austro-Hungarian Army.[4] In 1861 he married Karolina Schon, the daughter of a prosperous timber merchant. Henrik left school at age 16 and took a job as an errand boy with a firm of drapers. He taught himself English, German and French, and eventually became a partner in the firm. He then set up his own business importing textiles into Hungary.[5]

Arthur's mother, Adele Koestler (née Jeiteles), was born on 25 June 1871 into a prominent Jewish family in Prague. Among her ancestors was Jonas Mischel Loeb Jeitteles, a prominent 18th-century physician and essayist, whose son Juda Jeitteles became a well-known poet. Beethoven set some of his poems to music. Adele's father, Jacob Jeiteles, moved the family to Vienna, where she grew up in relative prosperity until about 1890. Faced with financial difficulties, her father abandoned his wife and daughter, and emigrated to the United States. Adele and her mother moved from Vienna to Budapest to stay with Adele's married sister.

Henrik Koestler met Adele in 1898 and married her in 1900. Arthur, their only child, was born on 5 September 1905. The Koestlers lived in spacious, well-furnished, rented apartments in various predominantly Jewish districts of Budapest. During Arthur's early years they employed a cook/housekeeper as well as a foreign governess. His primary school education started at an experimental private kindergarten founded by Laura Striker (née Polányi). Her daughter Eva Striker later became Koestler's lover, and they remained friends all his life.[6]

The outbreak of World War I in 1914 deprived Koestler's father of foreign suppliers and his business collapsed. Facing destitution, the family moved temporarily to a boarding house in Vienna. When the war ended the family returned to Budapest.

As noted in Koestler's autobiography, he and his family were sympathetic to the short-lived Hungarian Bolshevik Revolution of 1919. Though the small soap factory owned at the time by Koestler's father was nationalized, the elder Koestler was appointed its director by the revolutionary government and was well-paid. Even though the autobiography was published in 1953, when Koestler had become an outspoken anti-Communist, he wrote favorably of the Hungarian Communists and their leader Béla Kun, and recalled fondly the hopes for a better future he had felt as a teenager in revolutionary Budapest.

Later the Koestlers witnessed the temporary occupation of Budapest by the Romanian Army and then the White Terror under the right-wing regime of Admiral Horthy. In 1920 the family returned to Vienna, where Henrik set up a successful new import business.

In September 1922 Arthur enrolled in the Vienna Polytechnic University to study engineering, joining a Zionist duelling student fraternity.[7] When Henrik's latest business failed Koestler stopped attending lectures, and was expelled for non-payment of fees. In March 1926 he wrote a letter to his parents telling them that he was going to Palestine for a year to work as an assistant engineer in a factory, for the purpose of gaining experience that would help him find a job in Austria. On 1 April 1926 he left Vienna for Palestine.[8]

1926–1931 Palestine, Paris, Berlin and Polar flight

For a few weeks Koestler lived in a kibbutz, but his application to join the collective (Kvutzat Heftziba) was rejected by its members.[9] For the next twelve months he supported himself with menial jobs in Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Frequently penniless and starving, he often depended on friends and acquaintances for survival.[10] He occasionally wrote or edited broadsheets and other publications, mostly in German. In the spring of 1927 he left Palestine briefly, to run the Secretariat of Ze'ev Jabotinsky's Revisionist Party in Berlin.

Later that same year, through a friend, Koestler obtained the position of Middle East correspondent for the prestigious Berlin-based Ullstein-Verlag group of newspapers. He returned to Jerusalem, where for the next two years he produced detailed political essays, as well as some lighter reportage, for his principal employer and for other newspapers. He travelled extensively, interviewed heads of state, kings, presidents and prime ministers,[11] and greatly enhanced his reputation as a journalist. As noted in his autobiography, he came to realize that he would never really fit in Palestine's Zionist Jewish community, the Yishuv, and particularly that he would not be able to have a journalistic career in Hebrew.

In June 1929, while on leave in Berlin, Koestler successfully lobbied at Ullstein for a transfer away from Palestine.[12] In September he was sent to Paris to fill a vacancy in the bureau of the Ullstein News Service. A year later, in 1931, he was called to Berlin and appointed science editor of the Vossische Zeitung and science adviser to the Ullstein newspaper empire.[13] The same year he was Ullstein's choice to represent the paper on board the Graf Zeppelin's Polar flight, which carried a team of scientists and the Polar aviator Lincoln Ellsworth to 82 degrees North (thus not to the North Pole) and back. Koestler was the only journalist on board: his live wireless broadcasts, and subsequent articles and lecture tours throughout Europe, brought him further kudos. Soon afterwards he was appointed foreign editor and assistant editor-in-chief of the mass-circulation Berliner Zeitung am Mittag.[14][15]

In 1931 Koestler, encouraged by Eva Striker, and impressed by what he believed to be the achievements of the Soviet Union, became a supporter of Marxism-Leninism, and on 31 December 1931, he applied for membership of the Communist Party of Germany.[16] As noted in his biography, he was disappointed in the conduct of the Vossische Zeitung, "The Flagship of German Liberalism", which adapted to changing times by firing Jewish journalists, hiring writers with marked German Nationalist views, and dropping its longstanding campaign against capital punishment. This led Koestler to the conclusion that Liberals and moderate Democrats could not stand against the rising Nazi tide and that the Communists were the only real counter-force.

The 1930s

Koestler wrote a book on the Soviet Five-Year Plan, but it did not meet with the approval of the Soviet authorities and was never published in Russian. Only the German version, heavily censored, was published in an edition for German-speaking Soviet citizens.

In 1932 Koestler travelled in Turkmenistan and Central Asia. In September 1933 he returned to Paris and for the next two years was active in anti-Fascist movements, writing propaganda under the direction of Willi Münzenberg, the Comintern's chief propaganda director in the West.

In 1935 Koestler married Dorothy Ascher, a fellow Communist activist (they separated amicably in 1937).[17]

In 1936, during the Spanish Civil War, he undertook a visit to General Francisco Franco's headquarters in Seville on behalf of the Comintern, pretending to be a Franco sympathizer and using credentials from the London daily News Chronicle as cover. He collected evidence of the direct involvement of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany on Franco's side, which at that time the Nationalist rebels were still trying to conceal.[18] He had to escape after he was recognized and denounced as a Communist by a German former colleague. Back in France he wrote L'Espagne Ensanglantée, which was later incorporated into his book Spanish Testament.

In 1937 he returned to Loyalist Spain as a war correspondent for the News Chronicle, but was in Málaga when it fell to the Nationalists and was captured. From February until June he was imprisoned in Seville under sentence of death. He was eventually exchanged for a "high value" Nationalist prisoner held by the Loyalists, the wife of one of Franco's ace fighter pilots. Koestler thus became one of the few authors to have been sentenced to death, an experience he wrote about in Dialogue with Death. As he noted in his autobiography, his separated wife Dorothy Ascher had greatly contributed to saving his life by very intensive months-long lobbying in Britain. When he arrived in Britain after his release, they tried to resume their marriage, but Koestler's gratitude to her proved an insufficient foundation for a daily life together.

Koestler then returned to France, where he agreed to write a sex encyclopaedia to support himself. It was published to great success under the title The Encyclopœdia of Sexual Knowledge under the pseudonyms of "Drs A. Costler, A. Willy, and Others".[19]

In July 1938 Koestler finished work on his novel The Gladiators. Later that year he resigned from the Communist Party and started work on a new novel that in 1941 was published in London under the title Darkness at Noon. It was also in 1938 that he became editor of Die Zukunft (The Future), a German-language weekly published in Paris.[20]

In 1939 Koestler met and formed an attachment to the British sculptor Daphne Hardy. They lived together in Paris, and she translated the manuscript of Darkness at Noon from German into English in early 1940. She smuggled it out of France when they left ahead of the German occupation and arranged for its publication after reaching London that year.

The war years, 1939–45

After the outbreak of World War II Koestler returned from the South of France to Paris. He attempted to turn himself in to the authorities as a foreign national several times and was finally arrested on 2 October 1939. The French government first detained Koestler at Stade Roland Garros until he was moved to Le Vernet Internment Camp among other "undesirable aliens", most of them refugees.[21] He was released in early 1940 in response to strong British pressure. Milicent Bagot, an intelligence officer at MI5, recommended his release from Camp Vernet, but said that he should not be granted a British visa. (She was later the model for Connie Sachs in the George Smiley spy novels of John Le Carre and was the first to warn that Kim Philby of MI6 was probably spying for the USSR.)[22] Koestler describes the period 1939 to 1940 and his incarceration in Le Vernet in his memoir Scum of the Earth.

Shortly before the German invasion of France Koestler joined the French Foreign Legion in order to get out of the country. He deserted in North Africa and tried to get back to England.[23] While waiting to gain passage on a ship out of Lisbon, he heard a false report that the ship on which Hardy was travelling had sunk, and that she and his manuscript were lost. He attempted suicide, but survived.

Arriving in the UK without an entry permit, Koestler was imprisoned pending examination of his case. He was still in prison when Daphne Hardy's English translation of his book Darkness at Noon was published in early 1941.

Immediately after Koestler was released he volunteered for Army service. While awaiting his call-up papers, between January and March 1941, he wrote Scum of the Earth, the first book he wrote in English. For the next twelve months he served in the Pioneer Corps.[24]

January 1945, Kibbutz Ein HaShofet, Koestler is 5th from the right

In March 1942 Koestler was assigned to the Ministry of Information, where he worked as a scriptwriter for propaganda broadcasts and films.[25] In his spare time he wrote Arrival and Departure, the third in his trilogy of novels that included Darkness at Noon. He also wrote several essays, which were subsequently collected and published in The Yogi and the Commissar. One of the essays, titled "On Disbelieving Atrocities" (originally published in The New York Times),[26] was about Nazi atrocities against the Jews.

Daphne Hardy, who had been doing war work in Oxford, joined Koestler in London in 1943, but they parted company a few months later. They remained good friends until Koestler's death.[27]

In December 1944 Koestler travelled to Palestine with accreditation from The Times. There he had a clandestine meeting with Menachem Begin, the head of the Irgun paramilitary organisation, who was wanted by the British and had a 500-pound bounty on his head. Koestler tried to persuade him to abandon militant attacks and accept a two-state solution for Palestine, but failed. Many years later Koestler wrote in his memoirs: "When the meeting was over, I realised how naïve I had been to imagine that my arguments would have even the slightest influence."[28]

Staying in Palestine until August 1945, Koestler collected material for his next novel, Thieves in the Night. When he returned to England Mamaine Paget, whom he had started to see before going out to Palestine, was waiting for him.[29][30] In 1945 August the couple moved to the cottage of Bwlch Ocyn, a secluded farmhouse that belonged to Clough Williams-Ellis, in the Vale of Ffestiniog. Over the next three years Koestler would become a close friend of George Orwell. The region had its own intellectual circle, which would have been sympathetic to Koestler: Williams-Ellis' wife, Amabel, a niece of Lytton Strachey was also a former communist; other associates included Rupert Crawshay-Williams, Michael Polanyi, Storm Jameson and, most significantly, Bertrand Russell, who lived just a few miles from the Koestler cottage.[31]

The post-war years

In 1948, when war broke out between the newly declared State of Israel and the neighbouring Arab states, Koestler was accredited by several newspapers, American, British and French, and travelled to Israel.[32] Mamaine Paget went with him. They arrived in Israel on 4 June and stayed there until October.[33] Later that year they decided to leave the UK for a while and move to France. News that his long-pending application for British nationality had been granted reached him in France in late December and early in the 1949 he returned to London to swear the oath of allegiance to the British Crown.[34]

In January 1949 Koestler and Mamaine moved to a house he had bought in France, where he wrote a contribution to The God That Failed and finished work on Promise and Fulfilment. The latter book received poor reviews in both the U.S. and the UK. His other book published in 1949 was Insight and Outlook. This too received lukewarm reviews.

In July Koestler began work on Arrow in the Blue, the first volume of his autobiography, and hired a new part-time secretary, Cynthia Jefferies, who eventually became his third wife. In the autumn he started work on The Age of Longing, on which he continued to work until mid-1950.

Koestler had reached agreement with his first wife, Dorothy, on an amicable divorce, and their marriage was dissolved on 15 December 1949.[35] This cleared the way for his marriage to Mamaine Paget,[36] which took place on 15 April 1950 at the British Consulate in Paris.[37]

In June Koestler delivered a major anti-Communist speech in Berlin under the auspices of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, an organisation funded (though he did not know this) by the Central Intelligence Agency. In the autumn he went to the United States on a lecture tour, during which he lobbied for permanent resident status in the U.S. At the end of October, on impulse, he bought Island Farm being a small island with a house on it on the Delaware River near New Hope, Pennsylvania, with the intention of living there at least for part of each year.[38]

In January 1951 a dramatised version of Darkness at Noon, by Sidney Kingsley, opened in New York. It won the New York Drama Critics Award. Koestler donated all his royalties from the play to a fund he had set up to help struggling authors, the Fund for Intellectual Freedom (FIF).[39] In June a bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate to grant Koestler permanent residence in the U.S.[40] Koestler sent tickets for the play to his House sponsor Richard Nixon and his Senate sponsor Owen Brewster, a close confidant of Joseph McCarthy.[41] The bill became law on 23 August 1951 as Private Law 221 Chapter 343 "AN ACT For the relief of Arthur Koestler".[42]

In 1951 the last of Koestler's political works, The Age of Longing, was published. In it he examined the political landscape of post-war Europe and the problems facing the continent.

In August 1952 his marriage to Mamaine collapsed. They separated, but remained close until her sudden and unexpected death in June 1954.[43][44] The book Living with Koestler: Mamaine Koestler's Letters 1945-51, edited by Mamaine's twin sister Celia Goodman, gives an insight into their lives together.

Koestler now decided to make his permanent home in Britain. In May 1953 he bought a three-storey Georgian town house on Montpelier Square in London, and sold his houses in France and the United States.

The first two volumes of his autobiography, Arrow in the Blue, which covers his life up to December 1931 when he joined the German Communist Party, and The Invisible Writing, which covers the years 1932 to 1940, were published in 1952 and 1954, respectively. A collection of essays, The Trail of the Dinosaur and Other Essays, on the perils he saw facing western civilisation, was published in 1955.

On 13 April 1955 Janine Graetz, with whom Koestler had an on-off relationship over a period of years, gave birth to his daughter Cristina.[45] Despite repeated attempts by Janine to persuade Koestler to show some interest in her, Koestler had almost no contact with Cristina throughout his life. Early in 1956 he arranged for Cynthia to have an illegal abortion.[46]

Koestler's main political activity during 1955 was his campaign for the abolition of capital punishment (which in the UK was by hanging). In July he started work on Reflections on Hanging.


Although Koestler resumed work on a biography of Kepler in 1955, it was not published until 1959, and in the interim it acquired the title The Sleepwalkers. The emphasis of the book had changed and broadened to "A History of Man's Changing Vision of the Universe", which also became the book's subtitle. Copernicus and Galileo were added to Kepler as the major subjects of the book.

Later in 1956, as a consequence of the Hungarian Uprising, Koestler became busy organising anti-Soviet meetings and protests.

In June 1957 Koestler gave a lecture at a symposium in Alpbach, Austria, and fell in love with the village. He bought land there, had a house built, and for the next twelve years used it as a place for summer vacations and for organising symposia.

In May 1958 he had a hernia operation.[47] In December he left for India and Japan, and was away until early 1959. The resulting book was The Lotus and the Robot.

In early 1960, on his way back from a conference in San Francisco, Koestler interrupted his journey at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where some experimental research was going on with hallucinogens. He tried psilocybin and had a "bad trip". Later, when he arrived at Harvard to see Timothy Leary, he experimented with more drugs, but was not enthusiastic about that experience either.[48]

In November 1960 he was elected to a Fellowship of The Royal Society of Literature.

In 1962, along with his agent, A D Peters and the editor of The Observer, David Astor, Koestler set up a scheme to encourage prison inmates to engage in arts activities and to reward their efforts. The charity exists to this day and holds an exhibition in London each year.

Koestler's book The Act of Creation came out in May 1964. In November he undertook a lecture tour of various universities in California. In 1965 he married Cynthia in New York,[49] and moved to California, where he participated in a series of seminars at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford.

Koestler spent most of 1966 and the early months of 1967 working on The Ghost in the Machine. In his article "Return Trip to Nirvana", published in 1967 in the Sunday Telegraph, Koestler wrote about the drug culture and his own experiences with hallucinogens. The article also challenged the defence of drugs in Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception.

In April 1968 Koestler was awarded the Sonning Prize "for [his] outstanding contribution to European culture". The Ghost in the Machine was published in August of same year and in the autumn he received an honorary doctorate from Queen's University, Kingston, Canada. In the later part of November the Koestlers flew to Australia for a number of television appearances and press interviews.

The first half of the 1970s saw the publication of four more books by Koestler: The Case of the Midwife Toad (1971), The Roots of Coincidence and The Call-Girls (both 1972), and The Heel of Achilles: Essays 1968-1973 (1974). In the New Year Honours List for 1972 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).

Final years, 1976–83

Early in 1976 Koestler was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. The trembling of his hand made writing progressively more difficult.[50] He cut back on overseas trips and spent the summer months at a farmhouse in Denston, Suffolk, which he had bought in 1971. That same year saw the publication of The Thirteenth Tribe, which presents his theory about the Khazar origins of European Jewry.

In 1978 Koestler published Janus: A Summing Up. In 1980 he was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.[51] His book Bricks to Babel was published that year. His final book, Kaleidoscope, containing essays from Drinkers of Infinity and The Heel of Achilles: Essays 1968–1973, with some later pieces and stories, was published in 1981.

During the final years of his life, Koestler, Brian Inglis and Tony Bloomfield established the KIB Society (named from the initials of their surnames) to sponsor research "outside the scientific orthodoxies". After his death it was renamed The Koestler Foundation.

In his capacity as Vice President of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, later renamed Exit, Koestler wrote a pamphlet on suicide, outlining the case both for and against, with a section dealing specifically with how best to do it.[52] He and Cynthia killed themselves on the evening of 1 March 1983 with overdoses of the barbiturate Tuinal taken with alcohol.[53] Their bodies were discovered on the morning of 3 March, by which time they had been dead for thirty-six hours.[54][55]

Koestler had stated more than once that he was afraid, not of being dead, but of the process of dying.[56] His suicide was not unexpected among his close friends. Shortly before his suicide his doctor had discovered a swelling in the groin which indicated a metastasis of the cancer.[57][58][59]

Koestler's suicide note:[60]

To whom it may concern.

The purpose of this note is to make it unmistakably clear that I intend to commit suicide by taking an overdose of drugs without the knowledge or aid of any other person. The drugs have been legally obtained and hoarded over a considerable period.

Trying to commit suicide is a gamble the outcome of which will be known to the gambler only if the attempt fails, but not if it succeeds. Should this attempt fail and I survive it in a physically or mentally impaired state, in which I can no longer control what is done to me, or communicate my wishes, I hereby request that I be allowed to die in my own home and not be resuscitated or kept alive by artificial means. I further request that my wife, or a physician, or any friend present, should invoke habeas corpus against any attempt to remove me forcibly from my house to hospital.

My reasons for deciding to put an end to my life are simple and compelling: Parkinson's Disease and the slow-killing variety of leukaemia (CCI). I kept the latter a secret even from intimate friends to save them distress. After a more or less steady physical decline over the last years, the process has now reached an acute state with added complications which make it advisable to seek self-deliverance now, before I become incapable of making the necessary arrangements.

I wish my friends to know that I am leaving their company in a peaceful frame of mind, with some timid hopes for a de-personalised after-life beyond due confines of space, time and matter and beyond the limits of our comprehension. This "oceanic feeling" has often sustained me at difficult moments, and does so now, while I am writing this.

What makes it nevertheless hard to take this final step is the reflection of the pain it is bound to inflict on my surviving friends, above all my wife Cynthia. It is to her that I owe the relative peace and happiness that I enjoyed in the last period of my life – and never before.

The note was dated June 1982. Below it appeared the following:

Since the above was written in June 1982, my wife decided that after thirty-four years of working together she could not face life after my death.

Further down the page appeared Cynthia's own farewell note:

I fear both death and the act of dying that lies ahead of us. I should have liked to finish my account of working for Arthur – a story which began when our paths happened to cross in 1949. However, I cannot live without Arthur, despite certain inner resources.

Double suicide has never appealed to me, but now Arthur's incurable diseases have reached a stage where there is nothing else to do.

The funeral was held at the Mortlake Crematorium in South London on 11 March.[54]

Controversy arose over why Koestler allowed, consented to, or (according to some critics) compelled his wife's simultaneous suicide. She was only fifty-five years old and was believed to be in good health. In a typewritten addition to her husband's suicide note Cynthia Koestler wrote that she could not live without her husband. Reportedly, few of their friends were surprised by this admission, apparently perceiving that Cynthia lived her life through her husband and that she had no "life of her own".[61] Her absolute devotion to Koestler can be seen clearly in her partially completed memoirs.[62] Yet according to a profile of Koestler by Peter Kurth:[63]

All their friends were troubled by what Julian Barnes calls "the unmentionable, half-spoken question" of Koestler's responsibility for Cynthia's actions. "Did he bully her into it?" asks Barnes. And "if he didn't bully her into it, why didn't he bully her out of it?" Because, with hindsight, the evidence that Cynthia's life had been ebbing with her husband's was all too apparent.

Another controversy was occasioned by the terms of Koestler's will. With the exception of some minor bequests, Koestler left the residue of his estate, about one million pounds, to the promotion of research into the paranormal through the founding of a chair in parapsychology at a university in Britain. The trustees of the estate had great difficulty finding a university willing to establish such a chair. Oxford, Cambridge, King's College London and University College London were approached, and all refused. Eventually the trustees reached agreement with Edinburgh University to set up a chair in accordance with Koestler's request.[64]

Personal life and allegations

Koestler's relations with women have been a source of controversy. David Cesarani alleged in his biography of Koestler, published in 1998, that Koestler had been a serial rapist, citing the case of the British feminist writer Jill Craigie, who said that she had been one of his victims in 1951. Feminist protesters forced the removal of his bust from Edinburgh University.[65] In his biography, Koestler: The Indispensable Intellectual (2009), Michael Scammell countered that Craigie was the only woman to go on record that she had been raped by Koestler, and had done so at a dinner party more than fifty years after the event. Claims that Koestler had been violent were added by Craigie later, although Scammell concedes that Koestler could be rough and sexually aggressive.

Others, including Cesarani, claim that Koestler had misogynistic tendencies. He engaged in numerous sexual affairs and generally treated the women in his life badly.[66][67][68] In his autobiography, The Invisible Writing, Koestler admits to having denounced Nadezhda Smirnova, with whom he was having a relationship, to the Soviet secret police.

Influence and legacy

It is difficult to think of a single important twentieth-century intellectual who did not cross paths with Arthur Koestler, or a single important twentieth-century intellectual movement that Koestler did not either join or oppose. From progressive education and Freudian psychoanalysis through Zionism, communism, and existentialism to psychedelic drugs, parapsychology, and euthanasia, Koestler was fascinated by every philosophical fad, serious and unserious, political and apolitical, of his era.
– Anne Applebaum, The New York Review Of Books[3]
Koestler wrote several major novels, two volumes of autobiographical works, two volumes of reportage, a major work on the history of science, several volumes of essays, and a considerable body of other writing and articles on subjects as varied as genetics, euthanasia, Eastern mysticism, neurology, chess, evolution, psychology, the paranormal and more.[69]

Darkness at Noon was one of the most influential anti-Soviet books ever written.[70] Its influence in Europe on Communists and sympathisers and, indirectly, on the outcomes of elections in Europe, was substantial.[71] Geoffrey Wheatcroft believes that Koestler's most important books were the five completed before he was 40: his first memoirs and the trilogy of anti-totalitarian novels that included Darkness at Noon.[66]

Politics and causes

Koestler embraced a multitude of political as well as non-political issues. Zionism, communism, anti-communism, voluntary euthanasia, abolition of capital punishment, particularly hanging, and the abolition of quarantine for dogs being reimported into the United Kingdom are examples.


In his book The Case of the Midwife Toad (1971) Koestler defended the biologist Paul Kammerer, who claimed to have found experimental support for Lamarckian inheritance. According to Koestler, Kammerer's experiments on the midwife toad may have been tampered with by a Nazi sympathizer at the University of Vienna. Koestler came to the conclusion that a kind of modified "Mini-Lamarckism" may explain some rare evolutionary phenomena.

Koestler criticised neo-Darwinism in a number of his books, but he was not opposed to the theory of evolution in general terms.[72] Biology professor Harry Gershenowitz described Koestler as a "popularizer" of science despite his views not being accepted by the "orthodox academic community".[73] According to an article in the Skeptical Inquirer, Koestler was an "advocate of Lamarckian evolution – and a critic of Darwinian natural selection as well as a believer in psychic phenomena".[74]

In addition to his specific critiques of neo-Darwinism, Koestler was opposed to what he saw as dangerous scientific reductionism more generally, including the behaviourism school of psychology, promoted in particular by B. F. Skinner during the 1930s.[75] Koestler assembled a group of high-profile antireductionist scientists, including C. H. Waddington, W. H. Thorpe and Ludwig von Bertalanffy, for a meeting at his retreat in Alpbach in 1968. This was one of many attempts which Koestler made to gain acceptance within the mainstream of science, a strategy which brought him into conflict with individuals such as Peter Medawar who saw themselves as defending the integrity of science from outsiders.[75] Although he never gained significant credibility as a scientist, Koestler published a number of works at the border between science and philosophy, such as Insight and Outlook, The Act of Creation and The Ghost in the Machine.

The paranormal

Mysticism and a fascination with the paranormal imbued much of Koestler's later work and he became known for endorsing a number of paranormal phenomena, such as extrasensory perception, psychokinesis and telepathy. In his book The Roots of Coincidence (1972)[76] he claims that such phenomena can never be explained by theoretical physics.[77] According to Koestler, distinct types of coincidence could be classified, such as "the library angel", in which information (typically in libraries) becomes accessible through serendipity, chance or coincidence, rather than through the use of a catalogue search.[78][79][80] The book mentions yet another line of unconventional research by Paul Kammerer, the theory of coincidence or seriality. He also presents critically the related concepts of Carl Jung. More controversial were Koestler's studies and experiments on levitation and telepathy.[81]


Koestler was Jewish by birth, but he did not practise the religion. In an interview published in the (London) Jewish Chronicle in 1950 he argued that Jews should either emigrate to Israel or assimilate completely into the majority cultures they lived in.[82][83][84]

In The Thirteenth Tribe (1976) Koestler advanced a theory that Ashkenazi Jews are descended, not from the Israelites of antiquity, but from the Khazars, a Turkic people in the Caucasus that converted to Judaism in the 8th century and was later forced westwards. Koestler argued that a proof that Ashkenazi Jews have no biological connection to biblical Jews would remove the racial basis of European anti-Semitism.

Koestler coined the phrase, "one nation solemnly promised to a second nation the country of a third."[85]


Koestler first learned Hungarian, but later his family spoke mostly German at home. From his early years he became fluent in both languages. It is likely that he picked up some Yiddish too, through contact with his grandfather.[86] By his teens he was fluent in Hungarian, German, French and English.[87]

During his years in Palestine Koestler became sufficiently fluent in Hebrew to write stories in that language, as well as to create what is believed to have been the world's first Hebrew crossword puzzle.[88] During his years in the Soviet Union (1932–33), although he arrived with a vocabulary of only 1,000 words of Russian, and no grammar, he picked up enough colloquial Russian to speak the language.[89]

Koestler wrote his books in German up to 1940, but then wrote only in English. (L'Espagne ensanglantée was translated into French from German.[90])

Koestler is said to have coined the word mimophant to describe Bobby Fischer.[91][92]

Published works

Fiction (novels)

• 1934 (2013). Die Erlebnisse des Genossen Piepvogel in der Emigration
• 1939. The Gladiators (about the revolt of Spartacus)
• 1940. Darkness at Noon
• 1943. Arrival and Departure
• 1946. Thieves in the Night
• 1951. The Age of Longing, ISBN 0-09-104520-7.
• 1972. The Call-Girls: A Tragicomedy with a Prologue and Epilogue. A novel about scholars making a living on the international seminar-conference circuit. ISBN 978-0-09-112550-9


• 1945. Twilight Bar.

Autobiographical writings

• 1937. Spanish Testament.
• 1941. Scum of the Earth.
• 1942. Dialogue with Death.
• 1952. Arrow In The Blue: The First Volume Of An Autobiography, 1905–31, 2005 reprint, ISBN 0-09-949067-6
• 1954. The Invisible Writing: The Second Volume Of An Autobiography, 1932–40, 1984 reprint, ISBN 0-8128-6218-X
• 1984. Stranger on the Square co-written with Cynthia Koestler, published posthumously, edited and with an Introduction and Epilogue by Harold Harris, London: Hutchinson, 1984, ISBN 0-09-154330-4.
NB The books The Lotus and the Robot, The God that Failed, and Von weissen Nächten und roten Tagen, as well as his numerous essays, all may contain further autobiographical information.

Other non-fiction

• 1934. Von weissen Nächten und roten Tagen. About Koestler's travels in the USSR. In his The Invisible Writing, Koestler calls the book Red Days and White Nights, or, more usually, Red Days. Of the five foreign language editions − Russian, German, Ukrainian, Georgian, Armenian − planned, only the German version was eventually published in Kharkov, Ukrainian S.S.R.. The edition is very rare.
• 1937. L'Espagne ensanglantée.
• 1942 (summer) Le yogi et le commissaire.
• 1945. The Yogi and the Commissar and other essays.
• 1949. The Challenge of our Time.
• 1949. Promise and Fulfilment: Palestine 1917–1949.
• 1949. Insight and Outlook.
• 1955. The Trail of the Dinosaur and other essays.
• 1955. The Anatomy of Snobbery in The Anchor review No.1
• 1956. Reflections on Hanging.
• 1959. The Sleepwalkers: A History of Man's Changing Vision of the Universe. ISBN 0-14-019246-8 An account of changing scientific paradigms.
• 1960. The Watershed: A Biography of Johannes Kepler. (excerpted from The Sleepwalkers.) ISBN 0-385-09576-7
• 1960. The Lotus and the Robot, ISBN 0-09-059891-1. Koestler's journey to India and Japan, and his assessment of East and West.
• 1961. Control of the Mind.
• 1961. Hanged by the Neck. Reuses some material from Reflections on Hanging.
• 1963. Suicide of a Nation.
• 1964. The Act of Creation.
• 1967. The Ghost in the Machine. Penguin reprint 1990: ISBN 0-14-019192-5.
• 1968. Drinkers of Infinity: Essays 1955–1967.
• 1971. The Case of the Midwife Toad, ISBN 0-394-71823-2. An account of Paul Kammerer's research on Lamarckian evolution and what he called "serial coincidences".
• 1972. The Roots of Coincidence, ISBN 0-394-71934-4. Sequel to The Case of the Midwife Toad.
• 1973. The Lion and the Ostrich.
• 1974. The Heel of Achilles: Essays 1968-1973, ISBN 0-09-119400-8.
• 1976. The Thirteenth Tribe: The Khazar Empire and Its Heritage, ISBN 0-394-40284-7.
• 1976. Astride the Two Cultures: Arthur Koestler at 70, ISBN 0-394-40063-1.
• 1977. Twentieth Century Views: A Collection of Critical Essays, ISBN 0-13-049213-2.
• 1978. Janus: A Summing Up, ISBN 0-394-50052-0. Sequel to The Ghost in the Machine
• 1980. Bricks to Babel. Random House, ISBN 0-394-51897-7. This 1980 anthology of passages from many of his books, described as "A selection from 50 years of his writings, chosen and with new commentary by the author", is a comprehensive introduction to Koestler's writing and thought.
• 1981. Kaleidoscope. Essays from Drinkers of Infinity and The Heel of Achilles, plus later pieces and stories.

Writings as a contributor

• The Encyclopœdia of Sexual Knowledge (1934) (In his autobiography The Invisible Writing, Koestler uses the ligature œ in the spelling of the word "Encyclopaedia".)
• Foreign Correspondent (1940) uncredited contributor to Alfred Hitchcock film produced by Walter Wanger
• The God That Failed (1950) (collection of testimonies by ex-Communists)
• Attila, the Poet (1954) (Encounter; 1954.2 (5)). On loan at the UCL library of the School of Slavonic & Eastern European Studies.
• UCL library online
• Beyond Reductionism: The Alpbach Symposium. New Perspectives in the Life Sciences (co-editor with J. R. Smythies, 1969), ISBN 0-8070-1535-0
• The Challenge of Chance: A Mass Experiment in Telepathy and Its Unexpected Outcome (1973)
• The Concept of Creativity in Science and Art (1976)
• Life After Death, (co-editor, 1976)
• Humour and Wit. I: Encyclopædia Britannica. 15th ed. vol. 9.(1983)
• humour – Encyclopædia Britannica (by Arthur Koestler)

See also

• Herbert A. Simon
• Holism
• Holon (philosophy)
• Janus
• Politics in fiction
• German Writers in French Exile, 1933–1940, by Martin Mauthner (London, 2007), ISBN 9780853035404.


1. There is a discrepancy between the various biographers in the spelling of the surname. David Cesarani uses the spelling Jeffries, Iain Hamilton, Harold Harris; in his Introduction to Living with Koestler: Mamaine Koestler's Letters 1945–51, Celia Goodman in the same book and Mark Levene in Arthur Koestler spell it Jefferies.
2. A. & C. Koestler (ACK) Stranger on the Square, London: Hutchinson 1984, ISBN 978-0-09-154330-3, p. 10.
3. Did the Death of Communism Take Koestler and Other Literary Figures With It? by Anne Applebaum, The Huffington Post, 26 January 2010
4. Scammell, Michael (2009). Koestler: The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth-Century Skeptic. New York: Random House. pp. 6–7 (Leopold Koestler), 7 (Zeiteles), 8–9 (parents' marriage), 10 (Koestler's birth). ISBN 978-0-394-57630-5.
5. Arthur Koestler, Arrow in the Blue (AIB), Collins with Hamish Hamilton, 1952, p. 21.
6. Judith Szapor, The Hungarian Pocahontas – The Life and Times of Laura Polányi Stricker, 1882-1959. Boulder, CO: East European Monographs, Columbia University Press, 2005.
7. AIB p. 86.
8. AIB pp. 115–21.
9. AIB pp. 125–32.
10. AIB pp. 137, 165.
11. Cesarani p57
12. AIB pp. 183–86.
13. AIB p. 212.
14. Cesarani pp. 69–70.
15. Hamilton, David. (Hamilton) Koestler, Secker & Warburg, London 1982, ISBN 0-436-19101-6, p. 14.
16. AIB pp. 303–04.
17. ACK p. 24.
18. Koestler, Dialogue with Death, London: Arrow Books, 1961, p. 7 (no ISBN).
19. IW p. 260.
20. IW p. 495.
21. IW p. 509.
22. British Writers and MI5 Surveillance, 1930–1960, James Smith, Cambridge University Press, December 2012.
23. ACK pp. 20–22.
24. Scammell, Michael, 2009. Koestler: The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth-Century Skeptic ISBN 978-0-394-57630-5. also published in UK as Koestler. The Indispensable Intellectual, London: Faber, 2010. ISBN 978-0-571-13853-1
25. ACK p. 28.
26. January 1944.
27. Celia Goodman, ed. (CG), Living with Koestler: Mamaine Koestler's Letters 1945–51, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1985, ISBN 0-297-78531-1, p. 7.
28. ACK p. 37.
29. ACK pp. 29–38.
30. CG p .21.
31. "The Untouched Legacy of Arthur Koestler and George Orwell". 24 February 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
32. Hamilton, p. 146.
33. CG pp. 84 & 94.
34. Cesarani p. 325.
35. CG p. 120.
36. CG pp. 120 & 131.
37. CG p. 131.
38. Cesarani pp. 375–76.
39. ACK pp. 103–07.
40., p.191
41. Scammell, Michael, Koestler The Indispensable Intellectual, Faber and Faber, London, 2011, p.383
42. ... gA84-4.pdf
43. ACK pp. 139–40.
44. CG p. 193.
45. Cesarani p. 425.
46. Cesarani, p. 443.
47. Cesarani p. 453.
48. Cesarani pp. 467–68.
49. Cesarani p. 484.
50. Cesarani p. 535.
51. Cesarani p. 542.
52. Cesarani pp. 542–43.
53. GM pp. 75–78.
54. Cesarani p. 547.
55. George Mikes, Arthur Koestler: The Story of a Friendship, London: Andre Deutsch, 1983, p. 76. ISBN 0-233-97612-4
56. GM p. 75.
57. GM p. 76.
58. Cesarani p. 546.
59. ACK p. 11.
60. GM pp. 78–79. (This information is in the public domain.)
61. ACK pp. 10–11.
62. ACK Part Two
63. "Koestler'S Legacy". 3 March 1983. Archived from the original on 1 March 2003. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
64. Cesarani p. 551.
65. "Women Force Removal of Koestler Bust". BBC. 29 December 1998. Retrieved 19 July 2009.
66. Geoffrey Wheatcroft (20 November 1998). "The Darkness at Noon for Arthur Koestler Was in His Heart ..." New Statesman. UK. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
67. Lister, David (23 February 1999). "Storm as Raphael Defends Rapist Koestler – News". The Independent. UK. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
68. "UK | Women Force Removal of Koestler Bust". BBC News. 29 December 1998. Retrieved 8 January2010.
69. Cesarani p. 557.
70. See, for example, John V. Fleming, The Anti-Communist Manifestos: Four Books that Shaped the Cold War. Norton, 2009.
71. Theodore Dalrymple: Drinkers of Infinity
72. Can Genes Learn? Arthur Koestler Thinks So
73. Arthur Koestler's Osculation with Lamarckism and Neo-Lamarckism by Harry GershenowitzArchived 27 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
74. The Skeptical Inquirer. (1985). Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. p. 274
75. Stark, James. "Anti-reductionism at the Confluence of Philosophy and Science: Arthur Koestler and the Biological Periphery". Notes and Records of the Royal Society. 70 (3): 269–286. doi:10.1098/rsnr.2016.0021.
76. The Roots of Coincidence First American Edition, Random House ISBN 0-394-48038-4 LCCN 76-37058
77. Ch 2 The Perversity of Physics § 9 p 81 "... It only means that though we must accept the evidence, we have to renounce any reasonable hope of a physical explanation, even in terms of the most advanced and permissive quantum mechanics"
78. David Cesarani. Arthur Koestler: The Homeless Mind. Free Press; 1998. ISBN 978-0-684-86720-5.
79. Synchronicity: Through the Eyes of Science, Myth, and the Trickster. Da Capo Press; 28 February 2001. ISBN 978-1-56924-599-6. p. 21–.
80. Allan H. Pasco. Sick Heroes: French Society and Literature in the Romantic Age, 1750-1850. University of Exeter Press; 1997. ISBN 978-0-85989-550-7. p. 181–.
81. Kendrick Frazier. Science Confronts the Paranormal. Prometheus Books, Publishers; ISBN 978-1-61592-619-0. p. 49–.
82. Michael Ignatieff, Isaiah Berlin, London: Chatto and Windus, 1998, p. 183.
83. Jewish Chronicle, 5 May 1950.
84. Arthur Koestler, "Judah at the Crossroads," in The Trail of the Dinosaur and Other Essays, London, 1955, pp. 106–142.
85. Koestler, Arthur (1949). Promise and Fulfillment. Ramage Press. ISBN 1443727083.
86. Cesarani pp. 20–21.
87. Hamilton p. 4.
88. AIB p. 153.
89. Cesarani p. 84.
90. IW, pp. 408–09.
91. David Edmonds and John Eidinow, Bobby Fischer Goes To War, p.24
92. ""A mimophant is a hybrid species: a cross between a mimosa and an elephant. A member of this species is sensitive like a mimosa where his own feelings are concerned and thick-skinned like an elephant trampling over the feelings of others.".

Key to abbreviations used for frequently quoted sources

• ACK Stranger on the Square (A & C Koestler)
• AIB Arrow in the Blue (A Koestler)
• CG Living with Koestler: Mamaine Koestler's Letters 1945-51 (Celia Goodman, Ed.)
• GM Arthur Koestler: The Story of a Friendship (George Mikes)
• IW The Invisible Writing (A Koestler)

Further reading

Biographies of Koestler

• Atkins, J., 1956. Arthur Koestler.
• Buckard, Christian G., 2004. Arthur Koestler: Ein extremes Leben 1905–1983. ISBN 3-406-52177-0.
• Cesarani, David, 1998. Arthur Koestler: The Homeless Mind. ISBN 0-684-86720-6.
• Hamilton, Iain, 1982. Koestler: A Biography. ISBN 0-02-547660-2.
• Koestler, Mamaine, 1985. Living with Koestler: Mamaine Koestler's Letters 1945-51. ISBN 0-297-78531-1 or ISBN 0-312-49029-1.
• Levene, M., 1984. Arthur Koestler. ISBN 0-8044-6412-X
• Mikes, George, 1983. Arthur Koestler: The Story of a Friendship. ISBN 0-233-97612-4.
• Pearson, S. A., 1978. Arthur Koestler. ISBN 0-8057-6699-5.
• Scammell, Michael, 2009. Koestler: The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth-Century Skeptic ISBN 978-0-394-57630-5. also published in UK as Koestler. The Indispensable Intellectual, London: Faber, 2010. ISBN 978-0-571-13853-1

External links

• Media from Wikimedia Commons
• Quotations from Wikiquote
• Data from Wikidata
• Koestler CBC Radio December 14, 2011: Interview with biographer Michael Scammell on the Ideas podcast.
• Road Warrior Article in December 2009 issue of the New Yorker. Differs with the Wikipedia entry on many features of Koestler's biography.
• E., Holuber: Dostoevsky's Grandson
• Remembering Arthur Koestler
• Autobiographical Video-Interview with Arthur Koestler in French with German sub-titles and comments
• 2007 City Journal article on Koestler
• Arthur Koestler Project
• Duncan Fallowell (Summer 1984). "Arthur Koestler, The Art of Fiction No. 80". The Paris Review.
• General Properties of Koestler's Open hierarchical Systems
• Hungarian site on Koestler
• Koestler's Legacy – Fortean Times article on the centenary of Koestler's birth
• Koestler Parapsychology Unit – Koestler and his third spouse left a large sum of money for research into parapsychology: this funded, among other things, the Koestler Parapsychology Unit at Edinburgh University
• Mystical Experiences of Arthur Koestler
• Petri Liukkonen. "Arthur Koestler". Books and Writers
• The Koestler Trust
• Arthur Koestler at Wikiquote
• C-SPAN Q&A interview with Scammell about Koestler: The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth-Century Skeptic, 10 January 2010
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Heinrich Brandler
by Wikipedia



Heinrich Brandler

Heinrich Brandler (3 July 1881 – 26 September 1967) was a German communist trade unionist, politician, revolutionary activist, and writer. Brandler is best remembered as the head of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) during the party's ill-fated "March Action" of 1921 and aborted uprising of 1923, for which he was held responsible by the Communist International. Expelled from the Communist Party in December 1928, Brandler went on to become co-founder of the Communist Party of Germany Opposition, the first national section of the so-called International Right Opposition.


Early years

Heinrich Brandler was born July 3, 1881 to an ethnic Austrian working-class family in Varnsdorf, Bohemia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian empire.[1] Heinrich's father, Joseph Brandler, was a bricklayer by trade, and he taught his son the craft from an early age.[2] After completing his elementary education, Heinrich traveled Europe for several years as a journeyman tiler and bricklayer.

Brandler was active in the German trade union movement from 1897.[3] Early in his working career, Brandler was injured in a job-related accident which caused him to walk with a limp for the rest of his life.[3]

Rise to political power

Brandler joined the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) in 1901, while living in the city of Hamburg and taking an active part in the leadership of the construction workers' union there.[3] In 1904 he moved to Bremen, where he remained through 1908 as an activist both in union and political affairs. Brandler associated with the left wing of the SPD and was sympathetic to the views of Karl Liebknecht, which often brought him into conflict with more cautious and temperate members of the party and union organizations.[4]

From there, Brandler moved to Zurich, Switzerland, remaining there from 1908 to 1914.[3] While in Switzerland, Brandler worked during the summer building season as a stonemason and further supplemented his income as a socialist lecturer and teacher.[2]

Brandler returned to Germany in 1914, just prior to the outbreak of World War I, settling in Chemnitz as secretary of the building workers' union. Brandler was militant in his opposition to the war, joining the International Group of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht — factional activity which ran him afoul of the SPD leadership and ultimately led to his expulsion from the SPD in 1915, along with Fritz Heckert.[3] Brandler was named the delegate of the International Group to the first Zimmerwald Conference but was stopped by the police at the Swiss border and was unable to attend.[4]

On January 1, 1916, Brandler was a founding member of the Spartacist League, the formal organization springing from the already-existing International Group.

In October 1918, Brandler was arrested for illegal political activities and was temporarily deported from Germany, owing to his Austrian citizenship.[3] He subsequently obtained German nationality status through Gerhard Eisner's government in Bavaria, which allowed his return.[3] Brandler was a founding member of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) in December of that same year. He was elected to the party's National Committee at the organization's 2nd Congress, held in 1919.[4] Brandler thus became one of the few members of the working class itself in the active leadership of the German Communist Party.[5]

Home in Chemnitz, Brandler established a communist newspaper called Der Kämpfer (The Fighter) and helped build a powerful local unit of the KPD.[3] He organized workers' councils in Chemnitz immediately after the failure of the ultra-nationalist Kapp Putsch of 1920.[3] On March 15, 1920, Brandler and other Chemnitz communists joined the local social democrats in proclaiming a Soviet government for common defense against the nationalists. This proved to be an ephemeral institution which faded away after a few days when the generals and their government were ousted from Berlin.[6]

He was elected to the governing executive body of the KPD in 1920 and reported to the party's Unification Congress on organizational matters later that year.[3]

Aided by Comintern pressure, Brandler's faction took over leadership of the KPD in 1921, with Brandler replacing Paul Levi as KPD Chairman in February.[3] Brandler was leader of the party during the KPD's ill-fated "March Action" of 1921, a role which placed him on a collision course with civil authorities following the failure of the uprising. In June 1921, Brandler was convicted in a treason trial and sentenced to five years' imprisonment in a fortress. The term was ended abruptly in November of that same year, after which Brandler left for Moscow, where he sat on the Executive Committee of the Communist International (ECCI) on behalf of the German party.[3] Brandler was elected to the ECCI Presidium at its First Enlarged Plenum in February 1922.[4] Brandler was also active in the affairs of the Red International of Labor Unions (Profintern) during this interval.[2]

Role in the failed 1923 revolution

Brandler returned to Germany in the August 1922, assuming once again the role of top leader of the German Communist Party,[4] a position temporarily held by factional ally Ernst Meyer. Brandler, August Thalheimer, and the KPD "Right" were soon at odds with the party's left wing, chiefly over the issues of the united front and the role of the communists in coalition governments. With respect to the united front, Brandler sought common cause not only with the rank and file but also with the leadership of other workers' parties, while the Left sought to implement a so-called "united front from below" by seeking to work with rank and file members in an attempt to turn them against their leaders. With respect to coalition government, Brandler and the Right deemed it permissible for the Communist Party to enter regional coalition governments with the Social Democrats, while the Left declared that any government not dominated by the Communist Party was unworthy of KPD participation.[7]

At the 8th Congress of the KPD, held in Leipzig on January 28, 1923, Brandler and Thalheimer's faction prevailed over the KPD Left, a group led by Ernst Thaelmann, Arkadi Maslow, and Ruth Fischer. Brandler's faction was the beneficiary of key support from Karl Radek, a top leader of the Communist International.[8] Brandler's position as head of the KPD was solidified and his tactical interpretation of the united front and coalition "workers' government" was affirmed.

The left wing of the KPD believed that a revolutionary situation existed in Germany in 1923 and anxiously pushed for the setting of a date for a general uprising on the Russian Bolshevik model. While giving support to this general idea in the party's councils, in private Brandler seems to have felt that Germany was no yet ripe for a revolution and he sought additional time to win a greater percentage of the German working class to the idea. In September 1923, Brandler returned to Moscow for consultations.[4] At a secret meeting of the Politburo of the Russian Communist Party it was decided, at the insistence of Leon Trotsky, to set November 7, 1923 — the sixth anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution — as the date for the German uprising.[9] Brandler refused to accept the setting of this artificial future date, however, winning agreement that the final date of the uprising should be left to the German Communists themselves.[10]

Brandler returned to Germany with plans for revolution in the offing. In Saxony the Social Democrats governed thanks to supporting votes by Communist delegates in the Landtag. It was understood that the Communists could claim a share of the ministerial portfolios if they so desired. Following Brandler's return, the Communist Party decided to exercise this option, doing the same in Thuringia, where a similar situation existed. It was hoped that the Communists' place in the government would prove useful in course the forthcoming armed uprising.[10] Negotiations began for entry of the Communists into the government. Brandler remained reluctant to set the final date for the revolution, however, arguing that the time was still not ripe and that the masses remained to be mobilized.[11]

On October 1, 1923, a telegram signed by Comintern President Grigory Zinoviev on behalf of the Executive Committee of the Comintern was dispatched to the national committee of the German Communist Party declaring that by its estimate "the decisive moment will come in four, five, six weeks." The Communists were directed to "carry out at once the arming of 50,000 to 60,000 men."[12] This proved to be a fanciful estimate, however, as the party possessed no more than 11,000 rifles and the bulk of its armed forces were far away from Saxony, where the proposed uprising was to be centered.[13]

Exacerbating their weak numbers in terms of men and material, the Communists faced a substantial contingent of Reichswehr, with superior training and armaments, as well as illegal right wing militias.[14] The number of purported sympathizers among the regular officers corps was greatly exaggerated, as was the degree of support for the Communist project among the working class itself.[15]

In 1923, Brandler was responsible for calling off a planned revolutionary uprising following the defection of left-wing Social Democrats from the revolutionary group. An ill-fated uprising continued in Hamburg, conducted when workers were not properly informed of the cancellation of the revolt. Brandler and his close associate August Thalheimer were largely blamed for this debacle by the Comintern and his career as leader of the German Communist movement was effectively ended. He was recalled to the Soviet Union by the Comintern in January 1924, and he remained that country for the best part of the next four years.[4]

The disgraced Brandler was sent on a party task to Kazakhstan in Soviet Central Asia, where he remained until being partially restored to the Comintern's good graces sometime in 1926.[2] This respite proved to be short-lived. Brandler and his associates were harsh critics of new German Communist Party leader Ernst Thaelmann, an individual stoutly supported by the ever more powerful Russian Communist Party leadership.[16] Brandler again became the object of harsh criticism for factional activity at the 7th Enlarged Plenum of ECCI in the winter of 1926, ending with a specific prohibition of his continuing further work in the German Communist Party.[4]

Cover of Gegen den Strom, official publication of the "Brandlerite" Communist Party of Germany (Opposition).

Expulsion and communist oppositional activities

In the fall of 1928 an event took place in the Communist Party of Germany which ultimately led to the final break of Brandler and Thalheimer and their supporters. The secretary of the Hamburg organization of the KPD was found to have embezzled 2,000 marks from the party treasury for his own use. When accountants from national party headquarters discovered the crime, they had been threatened with expulsion from the party by party leader Thaelmann if they exposed the theft. The Comintern got wind of the scandal which led to a crisis in the German party with the Central Committee acting to remove Thaelmann, with Thaelmann joining in the unanimous vote.[17]

This presented a threat to the faction of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union headed by Joseph Stalin, who saw in Thaelmann a reliable ally during a time of bitter factional warfare. As a result, the Presidium of the Comintern countermanded the German Central Committee's action, restoring Thaelmann as secretary.[17]

In October 1928 Brandler returned to Germany against the KPD's wishes. The corruption of Thaelmann's Hamburg organization and its protection by the Stalin faction in Moscow was used as a pretext for Brandler and Thalheimer to issue a call for a meeting of their followers on November 11, 1928.[18]

The Comintern, predictably, reacted with fury. Brandler, Thalheimer, and their associates were bitterly criticized in an open letter from the Comintern on December 19, 1928. Expulsion soon followed, with both Brandler and Thalheimer removed from the Communist Parties of Germany in December 1928 and from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Communist International in January 1929.[2]

Brandler and Thalheimer gathered their supporters into a new organization called the Communist Party of Germany (Opposition) (KPO), a group which was founded at the December 30, 1928 meeting which had originally prompted the wave of expulsions. The group also launched a new communist opposition journal, Gegen den Strom (Against the Current).[4]

Throughout 1929 the KPD expelled followers of Brandler and Thalheimer, as well as so-called "conciliators" who sought a factional truce between the party's feuding Left and Right. Perhaps 1,000 members of the Communist Party of Germany were affected.[19] These expulsions paralleled similar efforts to purge the Russian Communist Party of followers of Nikolai Bukharin, Alexei Rykov, and Mikhail Tomsky.

The KPO initially conceived of itself as a factional influence group, attempting to change the political line of the Communist Party of Germany rather than a new party in competition with it. The organization held a second conference in November 1929 at which it, in the words of M.N. Roy, "declared unequivocally that between Social Democracy and Communism there is no half-way house."[20] Roy claimed that the KPO had 6,000 dues-paying members and was publishing eight weekly and bi-monthly publications by the fall of 1929, with a combined circulation of 25,000.[20] Brandler was named Secretary of the organization at this time.[2] While the group never met with broad influence or electoral success, it nevertheless became the first as well as one of the most prominent parties to be identified with the so-called "International Right Opposition."

On January 1, 1930, the KPO attempted to expand its influence even further with the launch of a daily newspaper, Arbeiterpolitek. Financial problems led it a reduction of frequency, however, and by 1932 the paper was being issued only once a week.[21]

Despite Roy's protestations that the KPO did not constitute an independent political party, it was not long before it had entered the field with its own candidates for office. It ran its own candidates in the December 7, 1929 provincial election in Thuringia, one of the organization's strongholds, although these garnered only 12,000 votes.[21] In other elections, it supported the slate of candidates of the official Communist Party of Germany, including the candidacy of Ernst Thaelmann for President in the election of March 1932.[21]

Brandler and the KPO were strongly in favor of the establishment of a united front against the menace of Nazism and were particularly critical of the Communist Party's conception that "once the Nazis get into power, then will the united front of the proletariat rise and brush them aside."[22] Instead, the KPO called for the immediate formation of a broad anti-fascist alliance including the Social Democratic-controlled trade union federation, the Social Democrats, Communists, and the Socialist Workers' Party of Germany.[23]

Following the rise to power of Adolf Hitler and his ultra-nationalist National Socialist German Workers Party on January 30, 1933 and the wave of anti-radical repression which ensued, Brandler and most of the KPO leadership fled to France. Brandler lived in Paris until the beginning of World War II, where he continued to be involved in communist politics. In 1939 and 1940, Brandler was temporarily interned by the Vichy government and was sent to prison in the south of France. Brandler and Thalheimer fled to Cuba to avoid greater repercussions in 1941.[2]

After Thalheimer's death in 1948, Brandler left Cuba for the United Kingdom, where he attempted to work on writing his memoirs, struggling at the project without success.[24] In 1949 he was able to return to West Germany. Brandler became involved in a new radical opposition organization called the Labor Politics Group and served as its president and editor of its journal, Gruppe Arbeiterpolitik (Labor Policy Group), until 1956.[2]

Brandler also corresponded extensively with Isaac Deutscher and aided Deutscher's research on German communism and the Right Opposition.

Death and legacy

Heinrich Brandler died on September 26, 1967. He was 86 years old at the time of his death. His organisation Gruppe Arbeiterpolitik exists today as one of the few surviving descendants of the Right Opposition current.


1. This region was known in Germany as Sudetenland.
2. Klaus Schöenhoven, "Heinrich Brandler," in A. Thomas Lane (ed.), Biographical Dictionary of European Labor Leaders: A-L. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1995; pp. 130-131.
3. Pierre Broué, The German Revolution, 1917-1923. (1971) John Archer, trans. Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2006; pp. 960-961.
4. Branko Lazitch and Milorad M. Drachkovitch, Biographical Dictionary of the Comintern: New, Revised, and Expanded Edition. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1986; pp. 42-43.
5. E.H. Carr, A History of Soviet Russia: The Bolshevik Revolution, 1917-1923, Volume 3. London: Macmillan, 1953; pg. 170.
6. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, vol. 3, pg. 173.
7. E.H. Carr, A History of Soviet Russia: The Interregnum, 1923-1924. London: Macmillan, 1954; pp. 157-158.
8. Carr, The Interregnum, pg. 157.
9. Carr, The Interregnum, pp. 204-205.
10. Carr, The Interregnum, pg. 206.
11. Carr, The Interregnum, pg. 207.
12. Cited in Carr, The Intrregnum, pp. 207-208.
13. Carr, The Interregnum, pg. 211.
14. Carr, The Interregnum, pg. 212.
15. Carr, The Interregnum, pp. 212-213.
16. Robert J. Alexander, The Right Opposition: The Lovestoneites and the International Communist Opposition of the 1930s. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1981; pg. 135.
17. Alexander, The Right Opposition, pg. 136.
18. The gathering was to be held on December 30, 1928.
19. Alexander, The Right Opposition, pg. 140.
20. M.N. Roy in The Revolutionary Age [New York], December 1, 1929, pg. 16; cited in Alexander, The Right Opposition," pg. 140.
21. Alexander, The Right Opposition, pg. 141.
22. Statement in Rote Fahne (Red Flag), official organ of the KPD, October 16, 1931, cited in Alexander, The Right Opposition," pg. 142.
23. Alexander, The Right Opposition," pg. 143.
24. Isaac Deutscher, "Record of a Conversation with Heinrich Brandler, February 15, 1948," New Left Reviewno. 105 (September–October 1977).


• Justiz und Rechtswesen: 2 Berichte aus Rußland. (Justice and Law: Two Reports from Russia.) Chemnitz: Der Kämpfer, n.d. [1919].
• Durch die Räte zur Einheit der Arbeiterklasse und zum Kommunismus. (Through the Councils to the Unity of the Working Class and to Communism.) Chemnitz: Der Kämpfer, n.d. [1919].
• Zur Geschichte und Tätigkeit der Sowjets in Rußland : aus dem Volkskalender der Petrograder Sowjets 1919. (On the History and Activities of the Soviets in Russia: From the People's Calendar of the Petrograd Soviets, 1919.) Berlin: Rote Fahne, 1919.
• Revolutionierung oder Verfall des Deutschen Bauarbeiterverbandes. (Revolutionization or Decline for the German Construction Workers' Union) Chemnitz: Deutscher Bauarbeiterverb., 1920.
• Rede : gehalten auf dem 1. Kongress der Betriebsräte der Gewerkschaften Deutschlands. (Speech: On the First Congress of Factory Councils of the Trade Unions of Germany.) Leipzig : Franke, 1920.
• Wer soll die Kriegsrechnung bezahlen? (Who Should Pay the War Bill?) Leipzig: Franke, 1920.
• Die Lehren des Kapp-Putsches. (The Lessons of the Kapp Putsch.) Leipzig: Franke, 1920.
• Die aktion gegen Kapp-putsch in Westsachsen. (The Action against the Kapp Putsch in West Saxony.) Berlin: Berliner buch- und kunstdruckerei, 1920.
• Betriebsräte und politische Arbeiterräte: nebst Anhang Leitsätze über die Aufgaben der Betriebsräte, Organisation der Betriebsräte und Leitsätze für die politischen Arbeiterräte: Rede des Genossen Brandler auf dem 5. Parteitag der KPD (Spartakusbund) in Berlin, am 2. November 1920.(Factory Council and Political Workers' Council: Together with Supplemental Guidelines on the Tasks of the Factory Council and Guidelines for the Political Workers Council: Speech of Comrade Brandler to the 5th Party Congress of the KPD (Spartacusbund) in Berlin, November 2, 1920.) Berlin: Spartakusbund, 1920.
• Gewerkschaften und Betriebsräte: Referat des Genossen Brandler auf dem Vereinigungsparteitag im Dezember 1920 in Berlin. (Unions and Factory Councils: Report of Comrade Brandler at the Unification Congress of December 1920 in Berlin.) Berlin: Vereinigte Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands, 1920.
• Der Hochverrats-Prozeß gegen Heinrich Brandler vor dem außerordentlichen Gericht am 6. Juni 1921 in Berlin. (The Treason Trial of Heinrich Brandler before the Extraordinary Court), June 6, 1921 in Berlin.) Leipzig: Franke, 1921.
• War die Märzaktion ein Bakunisten-Putsch? (Was the March Action a Bakunist Putsch?) Leipzig: Franke, 1921.
• Gewerkschaften und Genossenschaften. (Unions and Cooperatives.) With Otto Schröder. Friedrichshagen: Allgemeiner Genossenschaftsverlag, 1924.
• Der Hessen-Streik und seine Lehren: die Aufgaben der klassenbewussten Gewerkschafter. (The Hesse Strike and Its Lessons: The Role of the Class-Conscious Trade Unionist.) Stuttgart : Bergmann, 1951.
• Zur weltpolitischen Lage : Artikel aus der Arbeiterpolitik, Jahrgänge von 1965 bis 1967. (On the International Situation: Articles from Arbeiterpolitik, from the Years 1965 to 1967.) Bremen: Gruppe Arbeiterpolitik, n.d. [c. 1967?].
• Unabhängige Kommunisten: der Briefwechsel zwischen Heinrich Brandler und Isaac Deutscher, 1949 bis 1967. (Independent Communists: The Correspondence between Heinrich Brandler and Isaac Deutscher, 1949–1967). With Isaac Deutscher. Berlin: Colloquium-Verlag, 1981.
• Die Sowjetunion und die sozialistische Revolution: 1950. (The Soviet Union and the Socialist Revolution: 1950.) Bremen: Gruppe Arbeiterpolitik, 1982.

See also

• Right Opposition
• Communist Party Opposition
• August Thalheimer
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