V. I.   Lenin



Published: First published in 1923 in Proletarskaya Revolutsia No. 6–7. Sent to Moscow. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1976], Moscow, Volume 35, pages 173-174.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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.
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Berne, November 17, 1914

Dear Colleague,

I have sent you today by registered post the article on Marx and Marxism[1] for the dictionary. It is not for me to judge how far I have succeeded in solving the difficult problem of squeezing the exposition into a framework of about 75,000 letters and spaces. I will observe that I had to compress the literature very intensively (15,000 was the ultimatum), and I had to select the essence of various tendencies (of course, with the majority for Marx). It was difficult to make up my mind to renounce many quotations from Marx. In my view, quotations are very important for a dictionary (especially on the most controversial questions of Marxism, which include philosophy and the agrarian problem first and foremost). Headers of the dictionary should have available all the most important statements by Marx, otherwise the purpose of the dictionary would not be achieved. That is how it seemed to me. I don’t know either whether you will be satisfied from the point of view of censorship: if not, perhaps we could manage to agree on the rewording of some passages, having in mind passing the censor. For my part, without ultimative demands from the editorial board, I could not make up my mind to “correct” a number of quotations and propositions of Marxism for reasons of censorship.

I hope you will be kind enough to let me know immediately (a postcard will do) that you have received the article. I would ask you particularly to send the fee due to me as soon as possible to Gospodin Mark Timofeyevich Yeliza-   rov, 17 Grechesky Prosp., Flat 18, Petrograd (sending it to me here in wartime would involve the expense of an exchange operation and would be most inconvenient for me).

With assurances that I am at your service,
V. Ilyin

P.S. On account of the war, my library has been held up in Galicia,[2] and I could not find some quotations from Marx’s works in the Russian translations. If you think it necessary, perhaps you could request someone in Moscow to do it? (In my view, it is not.) Incidentally, I should be very glad if you found it possible to send me a proof of the article, and to let me know whether partial corrections of the proof are possible or not. If you cannot send the proof, I hope you will be kind enough to send me an off-print.

My address: Wl. Uljanow. 11. Distelweg. 11. Bern.


[1] Reference is to Lenin’s article “Karl Marx (A Brief Biographical Sketch with an Exposition of Marxism)”, which he wrote for the Granat Bros. publishing House. It appeared in abridged form in Vol. 28 of the Encyclopaedic Dictionary, over the signature of V. Ilyin. The full text of the article was printed in 1925 (see present edition, Vol. 21, pp. 43–91).

[2] This was Lenin’s personal library, which he left in Cracow during the imperialist world war (1914–18). Much of it was lost.

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