V. I.   Lenin

A Characterisation of Economic Romanticism


Written: Written in spring 1897
Published: First published in the magazine Novoye Slovo[2] issues 7–10, April–July 1897. Signed: K. T—n. Reprinted in the miscellany Economic Studies and Essays by Vladimir Ilyin, 1898. Published according to the text of the miscellany Economic Studies and Essays, checked with the text in Novoyo Slovo and that in the miscellany The Agrarian Question by Vladimir Ilyin, 1908.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, ..., Moscow, Volume 2, pages 129-266.
Translated: George Hanna
Transcription\Markup: D. Walters
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2001). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
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Chapter I. The Economic Theories of Romanticism  134
Chapter II. The Character of the Romanticists’ Criticism of Capitalism  208



[1] The essay “A Characterisation of Economic Romanticism” was written by Lenin while in exile in Siberia in the spring of 1897. It appeared in four issues (Nos. 7-10) of the “legal Marxist” magazine Novove Slovo (New Word ) for April-July 1897, over the signature K. T-n. It was included later in the miscellany entitled Economic Studies and Essays by Vladimir Ilyin which appeared in October 1898 (though the date given on the cover and the title-page is 1899). Early in 1908 it appeared, slightly amended and abridged, along with other items in The Agrarian Question by Vl. Ilyin. The parts of it omitted in this miscellany were section three, chapter II, “The Problem of the Growth of the Industrial Population at the Expense of the Agricultural Population,” and the end of section five, chapter II, “The Reactionary Character of Romanticism.” A postscript was added to chapter I.

When preparing the editions legally published in 1897 and 1898, Lenin was compelled for censorship reasons to substitute the term “modern theory” for “Marx’s theory” and “the well-known German economist” for “Marx,” “realist” for “Marxist” the word “paper” for Capital, and so on. In the 1908 edition Lenin either altered a considerable number of these expressions in the text or added the necessary footnotes. In the second and third Russian editions of the Collected Works, the corrections were given in footnotes. In the present edition the corrections have been introduced into the text.

[2] Novoye Slovo (New Word )—a monthly scientific, literary and political journal, published originally in St, Petersburg from 1894 by the liberal Narodniks. In the early part of 1897 it was taken over by the “legal Marxists” (P. B. Struve, M. I. Tugan-Baranovsky, and others). Novoye Slovo published two of Lenin’s articles when he was in exile in Siberia—“A Characterisation of Economic Romanticism” and “About a Certain Newspaper Article.” The journal also carried the writings of G. V. Plekhanov, V. I. Zasulich, L. Martov, A. M. Gorky, and others. In December 1897 it was closed down by the tsarist government.

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