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Literature and Revolution af Leon Trotsky
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Literature and Revolution (udgave 2005)

af Leon Trotsky (Forfatter), William Keach (Redaktør)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
2044100,444 (4.21)1
"Roll over Derrida:Literature and Revolution is back in print. Nothing in the postmodern canon comes close to the intellectual grandeur of Trotsky's vision of art and literature in an age of revolution, or his extraordinary meditations on the popular ownership of culture."--Mike Davis "Re-reading Trotsky on literature 40 years later is a delight."--Tariq Ali Leon Trotsky penned this engaging book to elucidate the complex way in which art informs-- and can alter--our understanding of the world. Features new reader-friendly explanatory notes. Leon Trotsky was a leader of the Russian Revolution in 1917 and is the author ofMy Life. William Keach is a professor of English at Brown University. He is editor of Coleridge'sComplete Poems.… (mere)
Medlem:starlight17
Titel:Literature and Revolution
Forfattere:Leon Trotsky (Forfatter)
Andre forfattere:William Keach (Redaktør)
Info:Haymarket Books (2005), 350 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:to-read

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Literature and Revolution af Leon Trotsky

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Artist Aleksandr Rodchenko created this work at the time Literature and Revolution by Leon Trotsky was published in 1924.

Since my interest is art and aesthetics, I wanted to read a book by an early 20th century Communist that is considered a major work in the field. I chose Leon Trotsky’s Literature and Revolution. Not being a Marxist myself, I have a number of questions posed either directly or indirectly in my comments following a Trotsky quote from the last chapter in the book – Revolutionary and Socialist Art. Are there any Trotskyites or Marxists in the crowd who would care to offer some insight?

“In the measure in which political struggles will be eliminated – and in a society where there will be no classes, there will be no such struggles – the liberated passions will be channelized into technique, into construction which also includes art. Art then will become more general, will mature, will become tempered, and will become, the most perfect method of the progressive building of life in every field. It will not be merely “pretty” without relation to anything else.” --------- Curiously enough, much modern art since 1924 in Europe, the United States and other areas of the globe has been anything but “pretty,” that is, modern art not following more traditional concepts of beauty. But, of course, such unbeautiful art is not the result of a classless society or the elimination of social struggles. But then again, who would claim modern art is “the most perfect method of the progressive building of life in every field?”

“Man will occupy himself with re-registering mountains and rivers, and will earnestly and repeatedly make improvements in nature. In the end, he will have rebuilt the earth, if not in his own image, at least according to his own taste. We have not the slightest fear that this taste will be bad.” ---------- Unfortunately nearly 100 years after these words were written, there are still forces at work intent on “improving nature” even after much of the warning signs such as global warming, depleted resources and the mass extinction of other species.

“Even purely physiologic life will become subject to collective experiments. The human species, the coagulated Homo sapiens, will once more enter into a state of radical transformation, and, in his own hands, will become an object of the most complicated methods of artificial selection and psycho-physical training. This is entirely in accord with evolution.” ----------This sounds like Nazi genetic engineering. Is there anybody who maintains such ideas today?

“Tragedy is a high expression of literature because it implies the heroic tenacity of strivings, of limitless aims, of conflicts and sufferings. In this sense, Stepun was right when he characterized our “on the eve” art, as he called it, that is, the art which preceded the War and the Revolution, as insignificant.” ---------- Has there been great tragic art created during the last 100 years as a consequence of the developments of Trotsky’s philosophy? Can other forms of literature, such as absurdist literature, reach an equally high expression as tragedy? To my way of thinking, it certainly can - such absurdist literature as that produced during the Soviet-era by Daniil Kharms has its own dimension of striving, limitless aims, conflicts and sufferings. Just because Kharms rejected Communist ideals does not disqualify his absurdist tales from the highest expression of literature.

“It is difficult to predict the extent of self-government which the man of the future may reach or the heights to which he may carry his technique. Social construction and psycho-physical self-education will become two aspects of one and the same process. All the arts – literature, drama, painting, music and architecture will lend this process beautiful form. More correctly, the shell in which the cultural construction and self-education of Communist man will be enclosed, will develop all the vital elements of contemporary art to the highest point.” ---------- Who is the greatest Communist artist and who is the greatest Communist writer? How does their art and literature compare with non-Communists?

“Man will become immeasurably stronger, wiser and subtler; his body will become more harmonized, his movements more rhythmic, his voice more musical.” ---------- One need only look at current day Olympic athletes compared with those athletes competing back in the 1920s to see modern athletes are much bigger, stronger, faster and more agile. But this is only a small part of the bigger picture – a major portion of society does not follow this pattern: the levels of obesity and general bad health, even among children and young adults is appallingly high. The major issue is millions of modern people simply do not follow a healthy lifestyle. No matter how sound or true the theory, given the choice, people refuse to be mandated or bullied into following ideals pronounced by others.

“The forms of life will become dynamically dramatic. The average human type will rise to the heights of an Aristotle, a Goethe, or a Marx. And above this ridge new peaks will rise.” -------- Although the general literary and education level in most countries has improved in the last 100 years, making a trip to my local convenience store, I haven’t yet encountered all those men and women who have risen to the level of Aristotle or Goethe. Perhaps if the background music played Beethoven rather than Muzak?


“If one cannot get along without a mirror, even in shaving oneself, how can one reconstruct oneself or one's life, without seeing oneself in the "mirror" of literature?”
― Leon Trotsky
( )
  Glenn_Russell | Nov 13, 2018 |


Artist Aleksandr Rodchenko created this work at the time Literature and Revolution by Leon Trotsky was published in 1924.

Since my interest is art and aesthetics, I wanted to read a book by an early 20th century Communist that is considered a major work in the field. I chose Leon Trotsky’s Literature and Revolution. Not being a Marxist myself, I have a number of questions posed either directly or indirectly in my comments following a Trotsky quote from the last chapter in the book – Revolutionary and Socialist Art. Are there any Trotskyites or Marxists in the crowd who would care to offer some insight?

“In the measure in which political struggles will be eliminated – and in a society where there will be no classes, there will be no such struggles – the liberated passions will be channelized into technique, into construction which also includes art. Art then will become more general, will mature, will become tempered, and will become, the most perfect method of the progressive building of life in every field. It will not be merely “pretty” without relation to anything else.” --------- Curiously enough, much modern art since 1924 in Europe, the United States and other areas of the globe has been anything but “pretty,” that is, modern art not following more traditional concepts of beauty. But, of course, such unbeautiful art is not the result of a classless society or the elimination of social struggles. But then again, who would claim modern art is “the most perfect method of the progressive building of life in every field?”

“Man will occupy himself with re-registering mountains and rivers, and will earnestly and repeatedly make improvements in nature. In the end, he will have rebuilt the earth, if not in his own image, at least according to his own taste. We have not the slightest fear that this taste will be bad.” ---------- Unfortunately nearly 100 years after these words were written, there are still forces at work intent on “improving nature” even after much of the warning signs such as global warming, depleted resources and the mass extinction of other species.

“Even purely physiologic life will become subject to collective experiments. The human species, the coagulated Homo sapiens, will once more enter into a state of radical transformation, and, in his own hands, will become an object of the most complicated methods of artificial selection and psycho-physical training. This is entirely in accord with evolution.” ----------This sounds like Nazi genetic engineering. Is there anybody who maintains such ideas today?

“Tragedy is a high expression of literature because it implies the heroic tenacity of strivings, of limitless aims, of conflicts and sufferings. In this sense, Stepun was right when he characterized our “on the eve” art, as he called it, that is, the art which preceded the War and the Revolution, as insignificant.” ---------- Has there been great tragic art created during the last 100 years as a consequence of the developments of Trotsky’s philosophy? Can other forms of literature, such as absurdist literature, reach an equally high expression as tragedy? To my way of thinking, it certainly can - such absurdist literature as that produced during the Soviet-era by Daniil Kharms has its own dimension of striving, limitless aims, conflicts and sufferings. Just because Kharms rejected Communist ideals does not disqualify his absurdist tales from the highest expression of literature.

“It is difficult to predict the extent of self-government which the man of the future may reach or the heights to which he may carry his technique. Social construction and psycho-physical self-education will become two aspects of one and the same process. All the arts – literature, drama, painting, music and architecture will lend this process beautiful form. More correctly, the shell in which the cultural construction and self-education of Communist man will be enclosed, will develop all the vital elements of contemporary art to the highest point.” ---------- Who is the greatest Communist artist and who is the greatest Communist writer? How does their art and literature compare with non-Communists?

“Man will become immeasurably stronger, wiser and subtler; his body will become more harmonized, his movements more rhythmic, his voice more musical.” ---------- One need only look at current day Olympic athletes compared with those athletes competing back in the 1920s to see modern athletes are much bigger, stronger, faster and more agile. But this is only a small part of the bigger picture – a major portion of society does not follow this pattern: the levels of obesity and general bad health, even among children and young adults is appallingly high. The major issue is millions of modern people simply do not follow a healthy lifestyle. No matter how sound or true the theory, given the choice, people refuse to be mandated or bullied into following ideals pronounced by others.

“The forms of life will become dynamically dramatic. The average human type will rise to the heights of an Aristotle, a Goethe, or a Marx. And above this ridge new peaks will rise.” -------- Although the general literary and education level in most countries has improved in the last 100 years, making a trip to my local convenience store, I haven’t yet encountered all those men and women who have risen to the level of Aristotle or Goethe. Perhaps if the background music played Beethoven rather than Muzak?


“If one cannot get along without a mirror, even in shaving oneself, how can one reconstruct oneself or one's life, without seeing oneself in the "mirror" of literature?”
― Leon Trotsky
( )
  GlennRussell | Feb 16, 2017 |
Serious notions here. Motivated me to write. ( )
  Michael.Bradham | Sep 2, 2013 |
Not essential in the strict political sense, but it would be hard to read something more worthwhile on this topic or just in general.

"To reshape the world of feelings, which one has absorbed from ones childhood, by means of a scientific
program, is the most difficult inner labor. Not everyone is capable of it. That is why there are many people
in this world who think as revolutionists and who feel as Philistines."

Last two paras:
"Man will make it his purpose to master his own feelings, to raise his instincts to the heights of consciousness, to make them transparent, to extend the wires of his will into hidden recesses, and thereby to raise himself to a new plane, to create a higher social biologic type, or, if you please, a superman.
"It is difficult to predict the extent of self-government which the man of the future may reach or the heights to which he may carry his technique. Social construction and psycho-physical self-education will become two aspects of one and the same process. All the arts – literature, drama, painting, music and architecture will lend this process beautiful form. More correctly, the shell in which the cultural construction and self-education of Communist man will be enclosed, will develop all the vital elements of contemporary art to the highest point. Man will become immeasurably stronger, wiser and subtler; his body will become more harmonized, his movements more rhythmic, his voice more musical. The forms of life will become dynamically dramatic. The average human type will rise to the heights of an Aristotle, a Goethe, or a Marx. And above this ridge new peaks will rise." ( )
  Hanuman2 | Dec 19, 2007 |
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"Roll over Derrida:Literature and Revolution is back in print. Nothing in the postmodern canon comes close to the intellectual grandeur of Trotsky's vision of art and literature in an age of revolution, or his extraordinary meditations on the popular ownership of culture."--Mike Davis "Re-reading Trotsky on literature 40 years later is a delight."--Tariq Ali Leon Trotsky penned this engaging book to elucidate the complex way in which art informs-- and can alter--our understanding of the world. Features new reader-friendly explanatory notes. Leon Trotsky was a leader of the Russian Revolution in 1917 and is the author ofMy Life. William Keach is a professor of English at Brown University. He is editor of Coleridge'sComplete Poems.

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