Lenin Collected Works: Volume 37: Preface by Progress Publishers

Lenin Collected Works:
Volume 37

Preface by Progress Publishers

This volume contains 274 personal letters, telegrams and notes from Vladimir Ilyich Lenin to his relatives. They were written between 1893 and 1922, to his mother, Maria Alexandrovna Ulyanova, his sisters, Anna and Maria, his brother, Dmitry, his brother-in-law, Mark Timofeyevich Yelizarov (husband of Anna Ulyanova), and his wife, Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya.

Many of these letters were published in the journal Proletarskaya Revolyatsiya for the years 1924, 1929 and 1930 and in Lenin Miscellanies Nos. III, XXIV, XXV, XXXV; separate editions of the Letters to Relatives, edited by Lenin’s sisters, were published in 1930, 1931 and 1934.

The Preface to the 1930 edition by Maria Ulyanova and the article by Anna Ulyanova-Yelizarova, “Apropos of Lenin’s Letters to Relatives”, which formed the preface to the 1931 and 1934 editions, discuss the content and significance of the letters; these two articles precede the letters in the present volume.

Lenin wrote to his mother and to other relatives at least once in every week or ten days. The longer intervals between letters in this volume show that a considerable number of letters have been lost. Most of Lenin’s letters were written before the revolution, a time when his relatives were subjected to frequent house searches and arrests. Many of his letters fell into the hands of the secret police and bear traces of their examination—passages of interest to the police are underlined in red pencil, etc. Some of the letters seized during searches were not returned, some were found after the revolution in police dossiers; only odd pages of some letters have survived. Many letters were lost during the First World War (1914-1917), when letters from abroad were subjected to a particularly strict scrutiny by the censors.

The periods best represented are the late nineties, when Lenin was writing his Economic Studies and Essays and The Development of Capitalism in Russia, and the years 1908-09 when he was preparing his Materialism and Empirio criticism; in these years Lenin’s letters concerned the despatch to him of the literature he needed, and contained instructions on how the books should be published and on correction of the proofs.

Almost all the letters are printed from the originals; in a few cases, however, they have been printed from copies in the files of the Police Department in the form (in full or as extracts) in which they were found there.

Eleven of the letters were published for the first time in the Fourth Russian Edition of the Collected Works, from which the translation of this volume has been made (these letters are marked with an asterisk in the table of contents).

In the letter to his mother dated July 1, 1912, Lenin mentions that he is moving from Paris to Krakow. This change of address was necessary to bring him closer to St. Petersburg, the centre of the working-class movement, so that he could improve contacts with Pravda and with the Bolshevik group in the Fourth Duma, and carry out the day-to-day work involved in his guidance of the Party organisations. In his letter of July 15, 1919, addressed to the propaganda boat Krasnaya Zvezda, Lenin informed his wife of the situation obtaining on the Eastern Front—the capture of Yekaterinburg (now Sverdlovsk)—and also of the great change then taking place in the South.

Among the items first published in the Fourth Edition are some brief notes addressed to his wife and to his sister Maria between 1919 and 1922.

Fifty-four letters addressed by Lenin’s wife to his mother and sisters are given as an Appendix to this volume; these letters describe Lenin’s way of life when he was in exile in Siberia and when he was living abroad and help to elucidate certain facts mentioned in Lenin’s letters; eight of Krupskaya’s letters were published for the first time in the Fourth Russian Edition of the Collected Works. These are also marked with an asterisk in the table of contents. Letters written jointly by Lenin and his wife are contained in the body of the volume.

The items are arranged chronologically; letters posted in Russia are dated according to the Old Style, those from abroad according to the New Style; the editors have added dates at the end of undated letters. The source and destination of the letter and, where necessary, the date are indicated by the editors at the end of each letter; below this, information is given on where the letter was first published in Russian. It should be borne in mind that the note on printing given on the right of the page refers always to the Russian original, not to the translation.

The volume is furnished with a name index, a list of literature mentioned in the letters, and explanatory notes.

The illustrations include photographs of Lenin’s relatives and some of the places where he lived. Facsimiles of two of Lenin’s letters are also given.



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