My Life: An Attempt at an Autobiography

My Life: An Attempt at an Autobiography

My Life: An Attempt at an Autobiography

My Life: An Attempt at an Autobiography

Excerpt

Our times again are rich in memoirs, perhaps richer than ever before. It is because there is much to tell. The more dramatic and rich in change the epoch, the more intense the interest in current history. The art of landscape-painting could never have been born in the Sahara. The "crossing" of two epochs, as at present, gives rise to a desire to look back at yesterday, already far away, through the eyes of its active participants. That is the reason for the enormous growth in the literature of reminiscence since the days of the last war. Perhaps it will justify the present volume as well.

The very fact of its coming into the world is due to the pause in the author's active political life. One of the unforeseen, though not accidental, stops in my life has proved to be Constantinople. Here I am camping--but not for the first time--and patiently waiting for what is to follow. The life of a revolutionary would be quite impossible without a certain amount of "fatalism." In one way or another, the Constantinople interval has proved the most appropriate moment for me to look back before circumstances allow me to move forward.

At first I wrote cursory autobiographical sketches for the newspapers, and thought I would let it go at that. And here I would like to say that, from my refuge, I was unable to watch the form in which those sketches reached the public. But every work has its own logic. I did not get into my stride until I had nearly finished those articles. Then I decided to write a book. I applied a different and infinitely broader scale, and carried out the whole work anew. The only point in common between the original newspaper articles and this book is that both discuss the same subject. In everything else they are two different products.

I have dealt in especial detail with the second period of the Soviet revolution, the beginning of which coincided with Lenin's illness and the opening of the campaign against "Trotskyism." The struggle of the epigones for power, as I shall try to prove, was not merely a struggle of personalities; it represented a new political chapter--the reaction against October, and the preparation of the Thermidor. From this the answer to the question . . .

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