V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written between November 7 and 11, 1898
Published: First published in 1929 in the journal Proletarskaya Revolyutsiya No. 5. Sent from Shushenskoye to Podolsk. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 37, pages 193-195.
Translated: The Late George H. Hanna
Transcription\Markup: D. Moros
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive.   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.


Today I am sending to Mother’s address two notebooks of the “markets”. These are the first two chapters, about a quarter or a fifth of the entire work. Altogether there are eight chapters and I am now finishing work on the third, so that by January it will most probably be finished because Nadya copies it quite quickly, as I write it. Although I am abridging the first rough copy very considerably it is still an enormous size. In the first two chapters I reckon there are about 270,000 letters, and if you count 33,000 letters as a printer’s signature, there will be about eight and a half signatures. The whole book, therefore, will be about 35 or 40 signatures; I still hope to keep it down to 35, but even that will be a thick book (560 pages). It is desirable to have it printed in a big format with average-sized type, so that there will be about 2,400 letters to a page and more than 33,000 letters to the signature—that will be more convenient since there will be fewer pages.

As far as concerns the actual publication, apparently we shall have to place our hopes on finding a publisher. If you happen to be in St. Petersburg, perhaps you will discuss it with the écrivain. Would Mrs. M. Vodovozova undertake to publish the book?[2] [I do not count on an independent edition because I consider the collection of articles to be a flop—although up to now I have not heard a single word about it or about the translation! If it should so happen that this is not the case, our own edition will also be possible; then it will be necessary to find a good, intelligent proof-   reader, pay him properly and make it a condition for him to send off every signature immediately it is read. ]

Printing can (and should) begin now (I say “should” because otherwise it will not be out by spring); it can then be sent by chapters and I promise that I shall not be late. If a publisher is found, a detailed contract must be concluded with him, and one absolutely definite condition must be the despatch of proofs [it is very difficult for anyone but the author to find misprints, for instance, in tables; and then there may be corrections and addenda, etc.). In spring the écrivain wrote to me that it could be printed in serial form in Nauchnoye Obozreniye or some other journal. Of course I am not against that, but it is hardly feasible for any journal to take such a big thing—that would be very unusual. It is far more likely that they would take a chapter or two for publication. The second chapter, and the first as well, are independent and complete. Having this in mind, we hurried to send off those parts that were ready immediately. The only thing is, that if they are given to a journal an agreement must be reached on the deadline for printing them and also on the author’s right to publish the whole book without waiting for the journal to complete publication.[3]

I am sending the Preface to the book, not for it to be printed (it will probably have to be revised or added to after a time)[4] but in order to give an impression of the plan of the book as a whole. I will send the summaries for the table of contents with each chapter. If such detailed summaries are not required (although in my opinion detailed contents are more convenient for the reader), they may be abridged and only the titles of the sections left.[1] By the way, these section titles should not be set in bold-face type or italics (that is too imposing) but should, on the contrary, be set in the smallest available type. That would take up less space and be more in accordance with the purpose of the headings. As far as the tables are concerned, I also think they would best be set in small type, so as to take as little space as possible.

I feel that all these details may prove to be of no value—   but for my part, at least, I want to do all I can. It is quite possible that the écrivain will want, or will agree, to take the matter into his own hands—the one pity is, however, that he is unbelievably and incomprehensibly unpunctual in maintaining communications and is, apparently, absolutely incorrigible in this respect. In general, he is rather too lavish with his kindness; his wife, for instance, herself read the proofs of the beginning of the collection of articles— a tedious job that takes up a lot of time. Why should she have undertaken it when she already has so much to do? Under the circumstances it would have been much more convenient to hire (even if it has to be one they recommend) a special proof-reader[5] and demand that he is punctual in his work and informs you of the despatch of every signature of the proofs.

Here I have to stop. Please answer quickly, if only to acknowledge receipt of the manuscript.

V. U.


[1] The detailed table of contents to The Development of Capitalism in Russia was not abridged.—Ed.

[2] This refers to The Development of Capitalism in Russia by Vladimir Ilyin, which M. I. Vodovozova published at the end of March 1899.

[3] The first six sections of Chapter III of The Development of Capitalism in Russia were published as a separate article in the journal Nachalo (The Beginning) No. 3, March 1899, under the title “The Ousting of Corvée by Capitalist Economy in Contemporary Russian Agriculture”. An editorial note accompanying the article said, “This is an extract from the author’s extensive investigation of the development of capitalism in Russia.”

[4] Lenin later made an addition to the Preface of The Development of Capitalism in Russia which wad published as a postscript.

[5] Lenin’s sister Anna undertook to correct the author’s proofs of The Development of Capitalism in Russia; her brother Dmitry helped her; the proofs of the statistical tables were read by V. A.   Yonov whom Lenin had known long before in his Samara days.

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