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The Non-Geometric Lenin

Essays on the Development of the Bolshevik Party 1910-1914

Carter Elwood
 

The Non-Geometric Lenin

An exploration of Lenin’s attempt to build the Bolshevik Party, providing a new picture of him as a bourgeois, fallible individual.

Imprint: Anthem Press
Hardback
ISBN 9780857287786
April 2011 | 248 Pages | 229 x 152mm / 9 x 6 | 8+ images
 
PRICE:  £70.00  /  $115.00  Buy from Amazon.co.uk  Buy from Amazon.com
 
 
9780857287786

About This Book

‘Carter Elwood portrays a more human side of V. I. Lenin than Soviet hagiographies allowed and elaborates upon important moments in the Bolshevik leader’s life that are sometimes overlooked or sensationalized in Western biographies… All chapters reflect the author’s careful approach and close, cautious reading of sources.’ —Barbara C. Allen, ‘The NEP Era, Soviet Russia 1921-1928’

‘A somewhat quirky book [that] combines a study of pre-revolutionary Bolshevik party history with an often amusing and light-hearted look at the personal life of Lenin […The] writing style is breezy, often witty, and sometimes insightful, and the book makes for an enjoyable read.’ —James Ryan, ‘Revolutionary Russia’

‘Carter Elwood portrays a more human side of V. I. Lenin than Soviet hagiographies allowed and elaborates upon important moments in the Bolshevik leader’s life that are sometimes overlooked or sensationalized in Western biographies… All chapters reflect the author’s careful approach and close, cautious reading of sources.’ —Barbara C. Allen, ‘The NEP Era, Soviet Russia 1921-1928’

This collection of eleven essays deals with Lenin’s life in western European emigration in the years before the First World War. The first five essays explore Lenin’s efforts to build a purely Bolshevik Party through the creation of a unique school for underground workers outside of Paris, his schismatic machinations in calling the 1912 Prague Conference, his problematic relations with the new Bolshevik daily ‘Pravda’, his unsuccessful attempt to call a party congress in 1914, and his defeat at the Brussels ‘Unity’ Conference summoned by the International Socialist Bureau on the eve of the war. These essays are based on a detailed reading of Western and Soviet sources, and they question the common assumption that Lenin was unquestioned inside his own faction and that pre-war Bolshevism was a monolithic entity well-prepared to seize power.

The latter essays discuss Lenin’s curious friendship during the pre-war period with Roman Malinovsky, who turned out to be a police spy, and Inessa Armand, a Bolshevik feminist with whom he had a romantic relationship. They also investigate such mundane but little-studied topics as what he liked to eat in emigration, his annual habit of taking bourgeois vacations and his obsession with athletic pursuits. The picture which emerges from these studies is not of a single-minded, perfect leader solely devoted to carrying out revolution, but rather of a ‘non-geometric’ Lenin with very human foibles and weaknesses.

Readership: This book will appeal to those interested in Vladimir Lenin, the Bolshevik Party and the Russian Revolution.

Author Information

Carter Elwood is a Distinguished Research Professor of History at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations; Introduction; Part One. Lenin’s Attempt to Build a Bolshevik Party, 1910–1914; 1. Lenin and the Social Democratic Schools for Underground Party Workers, 1909–1911; 2. The Art of Calling a Party Conference (Prague, 1912); 3. Lenin and ‘Pravda’, 1912–1914; 4. The Congress that Never Was: Lenin’s Attempt to Call a ‘Sixth’ Party Congress in 1914; 5. Lenin and the Brussels ‘Unity’ Conference of July 1914; Part Two. The ‘Other’ Lenin; 6. The Malinovskii Affair: ‘A Very Fishy Business’; 7. Lenin’s Testimony to the Extraordinary Investigatory Commission; 8. Lenin and Armand: New Evidence on an Old Affair; 9. What Lenin Ate; 10. Lenin on Vacation; 11. The Sporting Life of V. I. Lenin; Notes; Bibliography of Works Cited; Index