The classic history of revolutionary politics, people and ideas.
This magisterial study, first published in 1940, reaches from the French Revolution through the Paris Commune to Russia in 1917, and features brilliant portraits of such figures as Jules Michelet, the great historian of the French people; the utopians Robert Owen and Charles Fourier; the anarchist Mikhail Bakunin; and of course Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky. Combining his polymathic talents as critic, journalist, historian, and novelist, Edmund Wilson offers an incisive and enduring tribute to the resilience, depth, and passion of the modern culture of protest.
Table of Contents
Introduction. Michelet discovers Vico — Michelet and the Middle Ages — Michelet and the revolution — Michelet tries to live his history — Michelet between nationalism and socialism — Decline of the revolutionary tradition : Renan — Decline of the revolutionary tradition : Taine — Decline of the revolutionary tradition : Anatole France — Origins of socialism : Babeuf's defense — Origins of socialism : Saint-Simon's hierarchy — Origins of socialism : the communities of Fourier and Owen — Origins of socialism : Enfantin and the American socialists — Karl Marx : Prometheus and Lucifer — Karl Marx decides to change the world — Friedrich Engels : the young man from Manchester — The partnership of Marx and Engels — Marx and Engels : grinding the lens — Marx and Engels take a hand at making history — The myth of the dialectic — Marx and Engels go back to writing history — Historical actors : Lassalle — Historical actors : Baknin — Karl Marx : poet of commodities and dictator of the proletariat — Karl Marx dies at his desk — Lenin : the brothers Ulynov — Lenin : the great headmaster — Trotsky : the young eagle — Trotsky identifies history with himself with Lenin — Lenin identifies himself with history — Lenin at the Finland station.
'One of the great radical monuments of our time... a marvel of industrous scholarship, subte planning and narrative power' Observer