V. I. Lenin Criticism - Essay

M. W. Mikulak (essay date 1963)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Lenin on the 'Party' Nature of Science and Philosophy," in Essays in Russian and Soviet History in Honour of Geroid Tanquary Robinson, edited by John Shelton Curtiss, Columbia University Press, 1963, pp. 164-76.

[In the following essay, Mikulak discusses Lenin's theory of the "partyness" of science and philosophy as evidenced in his Materialism and Empirio-Criticism.]

The Soviet Communist Concise Philosophical Dictionary states: "Dialectical materialism teaches that philosophy, as all of science, appears to be class, party [in nature]." The idea that science and philosophy exhibit class or party characteristics is rather novel in the Western world,...

(The entire section is 4701 words.)

Stefan Morawski (essay date 1965)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Lenin as a Literary Theorist," in Science and Society, Vol. XXIX, No. 1, Winter, 1965, pp. 2-25.

[In the following essay, Morawski explicates Lenin's writings on art and literature.]

Lenin's statements on literature do not constitute a system. We know that Lenin was not an esthetician, and that he never concerned himself for any long period with literary theory and criticism. Like Marx, however, he was very much interested in literature and art. Lunacharsky's reminiscences contain the following typical story. One night in 1905, at a colleague's house, Lenin picked up some popular books on the history of art. The next morning he told Lunacharsky that he had...

(The entire section is 8497 words.)

Arnold Toynbee (essay date 1970)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "A Centenary View of Lenin," in International Affairs, Vol. XXXXVI, No. 3, July, 1970, pp. 490-500.

[In the following essay, Toynbee explains why Lenin remains one of the most important twentieth-century historical figures despite the failure of communism.]

Everyone has been speaking or writing of Lenin recently, and there is very little that I can add.

I will start with the obvious: Lenin is one of the few people in our lifetime who has been recognised within his own lifetime as being a figure of first-class importance in world history. By 'world history', of course, I mean the tail-end of world history, just the last 5, 000 years during...

(The entire section is 4988 words.)

Lewis S. Feuer (essay date 1971)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Between Fantasy and Reality: Lenin as a Philosopher and a Social Scientist," in Lenin and Leninism: State, Law, and Society, edited by Bernard W. Eissenstat, Lexington Books, 1971, pp. 59-79.

[In the following essay, Feuer argues that Lenin's philosophical beliefs vacillated between sober materialism and Utopian fantasy.]

"'We ought to dream!' I wrote these words and got scared," Lenin said in his famous factional pamphlet What Is to Be Done? published in 1902. He dreamed of a centralized revolutionary organization in which "Social-Democratic Zheliabovs" would emerge; then he would dare say, a socialist Archimedes moving the social universe with...

(The entire section is 9094 words.)

Rodney Bar field (essay date 1971)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Lenin's Utopianism: State and Revolution, " in Slavic Review, Vol. 30, No. 1, March, 1971, pp. 45-56.

[In the following essay, Barfield contends that State and Revolution is Lenin's credo on human nature, and as such should not be dismissed as mere utopianism, as many critics have done.]

General histories give little credence to the Utopian side of Lenin's revolutionary thought, especially in relation to his only formal Utopian work, State and Revolution. Most histories pass off that book as an "intellectual deviation" resulting from Lenin's "revolutionary fever" of 1917 or as a piece of political opportunism, while offering...

(The entire section is 5471 words.)

Rufus W. Mathewson, Jr. (essay date 1975)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Lenin and Gorky: The Turning Point," in The Positive Hero in Russian Literature, second edition, Stanford University Press, 1975, pp. 156-76.

[In the following essay, Mathewson argues that Lenin's article Party Organization and Party Literature and Maxim Gorky's novel Mother together ushered in a new era in Russian thinking that revolved around Soviet literary ideals.]

No fewer than six attitudes toward literature, some of them contradictory, have been discerned in Lenin's writings. Soviet critics have had to make the most of these disparate views, stressing one at the expense of the others, but never moving beyond them. Although, taken together,...

(The entire section is 8020 words.)

Nina Tumarkin (essay date 1981)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Religion, Bolshevism, and the Origins of the Lenin Cult," in The Russian Review, Vol. 40, No. 1, January, 1981, pp. 35-46.

[In the following essay, Tumarkin examines the cult of Lenin that sprang up in Russia after the leader's death.]

In 1925, one year after Lenin's death, a story, called "Clever Lenin," circulated among the peasants of the Viatka countryside. One day, it begins, Lenin was leafing through books and newspapers and in every one found writings about himself. "Why should we fear the Entente and America when we have Vladimir Il'ich, who goes by the name of Lenin?" Lenin worried about how his country would fare without him, so he sent for the...

(The entire section is 4357 words.)

Paul N. Siegel (essay date 1984)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Solzhenitsyn's Portrait of Lenin," in CLIO, Vol. 14, No. 1, 1984, pp. 1-13.

[In the following essay, Siegel concludes that Alexander Solzhenitsyn's portrayal of Lenin in Lenin in Zurich bears little resemblance to the personality of the historical Lenin.]

Alexander Solzhenitsyn's portrait of Lenin in Lenin in Zurich, which consists of chapters drawn from three volumes of his work in progress, is of interest in itself, in the light it casts on the historical accuracy of his project, whose avowed purpose is the correction of wide-spread misconceptions concerning the Russian revolution, and in its unwitting revelations about its author.


(The entire section is 4283 words.)

Alfred B. Evans (essay date 1987)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Rereading Lenin's State and Revolution," in Slavic Review, Vol. 46, No. 1, Spring, 1987, pp. 1-19.

[In the following essay, Evans argues that Lenin's State and Revolution is not antithetical to the rest of Lenin's work, as most critics contend, but rather that the "tension between the polarities of value in Lenin's thought" would later become an integral part of Soviet politics.]

State and Revolution has long seemed to be the most puzzling of Lenin's written works. The traditional view among western scholars has regarded State and Revolution as a Utopian fantasy that is completely out of character with the rest of...

(The entire section is 8832 words.)

Paul Le Blanc (essay date 1990)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Introduction: Authentic Leninism," in Lenin and the Revolutionary Party, Humanities Press International, Inc., 1990, pp. 1-13.

[In the following essay, Le Blanc contends the core of pure Leninism is the revolutionary Bolshevik movement.]

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was the foremost leader of the world's first working-class socialist revolution, which swept Russia in 1917 and continues to reverberate down to our own time. People throughout the world—longing for an end to injustice, war, and oppression—have looked hopefully to the example of the Russian Bolsheviks and to the ideas of Lenin as a guide for liberation struggles and social change in their own...

(The entire section is 4986 words.)