The Letters of Lenin

The Letters of Lenin

The Letters of Lenin

The Letters of Lenin

Excerpt

Owing to the political and conspiratorial nature of the letters, Lenin's correspondence is far from complete. It was conducted under great difficulties. The "chemical" letters which would now be invaluable to the historian are irretrievably lost. Such communications, bound inside book covers or written between the lines of non-committal letters, or often between the printed lines of books and periodicals, were destroyed immediately after the contents had been read. Dangerous letters, sent by ordinary methods, were also frequently destroyed by the recipient. Others, travelling by roundabout ways, never reached their destination. A number were intercepted by the Tsarist authorities.

In spite of these destructive agents, however, about a thousand letters have been preserved. No doubt a few more will eventually come to light. Of those that are known, 289 letters to Lenin's relations were published in Soviet Russia in a single volume by the Lenin Institute, Gosizdat, in 1931, and 515 political letters were published by the Marx Engels Lenin Institute, Moscow, in 1932 and 1933 as Volumes XVIII and XIX of his collected works. The rest were printed in other volumes of his collected works, in the "Lenin Miscellany" and in various Russian newspapers and periodicals.

With the exception of a very few letters, Lenin's correspondence has never before appeared in English. The present volume of 340 letters has been taken direct from the three Russian volumes of collected letters. Those translated from the volume to relations are marked (R) and their number in that publication retained, while those from the two volumes of political letters are marked (P1) and (P2) respectively.

The bulk of available material has naturally necessitated a selection for English readers. On what principle has this selection been made? On the principle of completeness as consonant . . .

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