Sunday, June 26, 2005


Leszek Kolakowski's three volume Main Currents of Marxism will soon be rereleased as a single volume. Roger Kimbal takes a look at Kolakowski, his work, and communism in an article at The New Criterion. It's well worth reading, not least for this little tidbit:
Finally, Kolakowski’s new preface contains an arresting aside about the book’s publication history. Written in Polish between 1968 and 1976 “when their publication in Poland could only be dreamed of,” the three volumes of Main Currents were first published in Paris by the Institut Littéraire from 1976–78 and were circulated underground in Poland. They were not published legally in Poland until 2000. In the intervening years the book has been translated into many languages, including Chinese. In French, however, only the first two volumes, which take the story of Marxism through the death of Lenin, have been published. The third volume, which deals with Stalinism and its allotropes—including New Left thinkers like Louis Althusser and Sartre—is still waiting for a French translation. Why? Perhaps, Kolakowski, speculates, because its publication “would provoke such an outrage among French leftists that the publishers were afraid to risk it.” I wish that some public-spirited soul would publish a French version so that we could make the experiment.

The philosopher David Stove once observed, “As an item on the intellectual agenda, Marxism is scarcely even a joke… . Marxism is a fearful social—and police—problem, but so is the drug trade. It is a fearsome political problem, but so is Islamic fundamentalism. But an intellectual problem Marxism is not, any more than the drug trade or Islamic fundamentalism.”
Outraged French leftists? Go figure.

Some just refuse to get it through their thick heads that communism is a cruel joke, except for those pulling the levers. If you'd like to help out the Poms (British), go here and vote for one of the truly great philosophers. (How Karl Marx got into a great philosophers contest in the first place is beyond me. Could it be a leftist MSM thing?)


Anonymous Jorgen said...

I thought it was the French leftists' job to be outraged? That they were not really happy unless they were outraged.

4:54 PM  

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