V. I.   Lenin


To:   M. N. POKROVSKY[2]

Published: First published in full in 1932 in the second edition of Lenin’s Collected Works, Vol. XXIX. Sent from Zurich to Sceaux (Seine), France. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1976], Moscow, Volume 35, pages 226-227.
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.README

July 2, 1916

Dear M. N.,

I am sending you the manuscript[1] today by registered post. All the material, the plan and the greater part of the work were already completed on the plan as ordered, 5  signatures (200 manuscript pages), so that to cut it down once more to 3 signatures was absolutely impossible. It will be terribly disappointing if they don’t publish it! Wouldn’t it be possible at least to get it printed in the journal of the same publisher?[3] Unfortunately, for some reason my correspondence with him has lapsed.... As regards the name of the author, I would, of course, prefer my usual pseudonym. If that is inconvenient, I suggest another: N. Lenivtsyn. Or if you want to, take any other. As regards the notes, I would earnestly ask you to retain them; you will see from No. 101 that they are exceptionally important for me. And then in Russia the students, etc., are also readers: they need to have the literature indicated to them. I deliberately selected a most economical system (in the sense of space and paper). Using small type, 7 manuscript pages mean something like two pages of print. I particularly ask you to leave in the notes, or to appeal to the publisher to leave them. As regards the title: if the one given is inconvenient, if it is desirable to avoid the word imperialism, then put in: “The Basic Peculiarities of Contemporary Capitalism.” (The subheading, “A Popular Outline”, is unquestionably   necessary, because a number of important matters are set forth in that style.) The first sheet with a list of chapters, some of which have headings that are perhaps not quite convenient from the point of view of the restrictions, I am sending for you. If you find it more convenient and safer, retain it and don’t send it further. Altogether it would be very pleasant if both could be printed in the journal of the same publisher. If you see nothing inconvenient in this, drop them a line about it. I shall be very grateful to you. I shake your hand and send my best greetings.

P.S. I strove with all my might to adapt myself to the “restrictions”. It’s terribly difficult for me and I feel there is a great deal of unevenness on account of this. But it can’t be helped!


[1] This was the MS. of Lenin’s book Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (see present edition, Vol. 22, pp. 185–304).—Ed.

[2] Pokrovsky, M. N. (1868–1932)—member of the Bolshevik Party from 1905, prominent Soviet statesman and historian.

From 1908 to 1917 he lived abroad. During the years of reaction he became associated with the otzovists and ultimatumists, and then with the anti-Party Vperyod group, with which he broke in 1911. During the imperialist world war he worked for the Centrist newspapers Golos and Nashe Slovo, returning to Russia in 1917. From November 1917 to March 1918, he was Chairman of the Moscow Soviet, from 1919, Deputy Commissar for Education of the R.S.F.S.R., and from 1929 onwards, a member of the Academy of Sciences.

[3] Reference is to Letopis (Chronicle), published by Maxim Gorky.

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