A New York Review Books Original. Victor Serge is one of the great men of the twentieth century, anarchist, revolutionary, agitator, theoretician, historian of his times, and a fearless truthteller. He was also a great writer, the author of dazzling works of fiction, including the novel The Case of Comrade Tulayev, perhaps the finest book to emerge from the crucible of Stalinist terror, and of these no less extraordinary memoirs. Here Serge describes his upbringing in Belgium, the child of a family of exiled Russian revolutionary intellectuals, his early life as an activist, his time in a French prison, the active role he played in the Russian Revolution, as well his growing dismay at the Revolutionary regime's ever more repressive and murderous character. Expelled from the Soviet Union, Serge went to Paris, and barely escaped the Nazis to find a final refuge in Mexico. Memoirs of a Revolutionary describes a thrilling life on the frontlines of history and includes brilliant portraits of politicians from Trotsky and Lenin and Stalin and of major writers like Alexander Blok and Andrey Bely. Above all, it captures the sensibility of Serge himself, that of a courageous and singularly appealing advocate of human liberation who remained undaunted in the most trying of times. Peter Sedgwick's fine translation of Serge's Memoirs of a Revolutionary was cut by a fifth when it was first published in 1963. This new edition is the first in English to present the entirety of Serge's book.
Full Product DetailsAuthor: Victor Serge , Peter Sedgwick , Adam Hochschild , George Paizis
Publisher: The New York Review of Books, Inc
Imprint: New York Review of Books Classics
Dimensions: Width: 12.20cm , Height: 3.10cm , Length: 19.80cm
ISBN 10: 1590174518
Publication Date: 28 June 2012
Audience: General/trade , General
Publisher's Status: Active
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Table of Contents
Memoirs is a document that is essential, above all, as a denouncement of oppression, an eye-witness account, written in heat and at speed, but with the talent of the true writer, of what it was like to be at the heart of the machine - and to stand up to it. This is the most complete edition yet published in English (Sedgwick's first, abridged translation appeared nearly 50 years ago). How it has taken so long to appear is one of those unfathomable mysteries.... Anyway, here it is at last, and anyone who cares about justice and freedom of speech should have a copy. -- Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian <br><br> This book is a fiery testament to political conscience and revolutionary hope. --Mike Davis, author of City of Quartz <br><br> I can't think of anyone who has written about the revolutionary movement in [the 20th century] with Serge's combination of moral insight and intellectual richness. -- Dwight Macdonald<br><br> Serge is one of the most compelling of twentieth- century ethical and literary heroes. -- Susan Sontag<br><br> The tight links among Serge's traits--his intellectual seriousness, the drive to literary expression, an intransigent radicalism not quite separable from restiveness in the face of routine corruption and dishonesty--are especially evident in Memoirs of a Revolutionary , now available for the first time in a complete English translation...Serge can recognize the range of experience and responses that make up the texture of life in even the most nightmarishly repressive system. --Scott McLemee, Bookforum
A witness to revolution and reaction in Europe between the wars, Serge searingly evoked the epochal hopes and shattering setbacks of a generation . . . -- Bookforum
Victor Serge (1890-1947) was born Victor Lvovich Kibalchich to Russian anti-Czarist exiles, impoverished intellectuals living by chance in Brussels. A precocious anarchist firebrand, young Victor was sentenced to five years in a French penitentiary in 1912. Expelled to Spain in 1917, he participated in an anarcho-syndicalist uprising before leaving for Russia to join the Revolution. Arriving in 1919, after a year in a French concentration camp, Serge joined the Bolsheviks and worked in the press services of the Communist International in Petrograd, Moscow, Berlin, and Vienna. An outspoken critic of Stalin, Serge was expelled from the Party and jailed in 1928. Released and living in Leningrad, he managed to publish three novels (Men in Prison, Birth of Our Power, and Conquered City) and a history of Year One of the Russian Revolution. Arrested again in Russia and deported to Central Asia in 1933, he was allowed to leave the USSR in 1936 after international protests by militants and prominent writers like Andre Gide and Romain Rolland. Using his insider's knowledge, Serge published a stream of impassioned, documented exposes of Stalin's Moscow show trials and machinations in Spain which went largely unheeded. Stateless, penniless, hounded by Stalinist agents, Serge lived in precarious exile in Brussels, Paris, Vichy France, and Mexico City, where he died in 1947. His classic Memoirs of a Revolutionary and his great last novels, Unforgiving Years and The Case of Comrade Tulayev (the latter also published by NYRB Classics), were written for the desk drawer and published posthumously. Adam Hochschild has written for The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine and The Nation. His books include King Leopold's Ghost, a National Books Critics Circle Award finalist and and winner of Mark Lynton History Prize, and Bury the Chains, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for history and the PEN USA Literary Award for Research Nonfiction. His most recent book is To End All Wars. He teaches at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California Berkeley. Peter Sedgwick (1934-1983) was a translator of Victor Serge, and author of a number of books including PsychoPolitics.
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