To the Finland Station

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

To the Finland Station: A Study in the Writing and Acting of History (1940) is a book by American critic and historian Edmund Wilson. The work presents the history of revolutionary thought and the birth of socialism, from the French Revolution through the collaboration of Marx and Engels to the arrival of Lenin at the Finlyandsky Rail Terminal in St. Petersburg in 1917.

Form and Content[edit]

Wilson "had the present book in mind for six years,"[1] which Robert Giroux edited.[2]

The book is divided into three sections.

The first spends five of eight chapters on Michelet and then discusses the "Decline of Revolutionary Tradition" vis-a-vis Ernest Renan, Hippolyte Taine, and Anatole France.

The second deals with Socialism and Communism in sixteen chapters. The first four chapters discuss the "Origins of Socialism" vis-a-vis Babeuf, Saint-Simon, Fourier and Robert Owen, and Enfantin and "American Socialists" (Margaret Sanger and Horace Greeley). The second group of twelve chapters deal mostly with the development of thought in Karl Marx in light of his influences, partnership with Friedrich Engels and opposition from Lassalle and Bakunin.

The third spends six chapters, dealing two each on Lenin, Trotsky, and again Lenin. Important writings addressed include Lenin's "What Is to Be Done?" and Trotsky's Literature and Revolution, My Life, biography of Lenin, and The History of the Russian Revolution.

The book also mentions Eleanor Marx, Nadezhda Krupskaya, Annie Besant, Charles Bradlaugh and Gapon.

Publication[edit]

Harcourt, Brace & Co. first published this book in September 1940.[3] Doubleday's Anchor Books imprint published a paperback edition in 1953.[4] Farrar, Straus and Giroux published a paperback edition in 1972.[5] The New York Review of Books published a new edition in 2003, with an introduction by Louis Menand.[6]

Upon publication, TIME said:

Because it makes Marxist theory, aims and tactics intelligible to any literate non-Marxist mind, To the Finland Station is an invaluable book. It is an advantage that, like Milton with the character of Satan, Author Wilson is half in love with the human side of the curious specimens he describes.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Revolutions's Evolution". TIME. 14 October 1940. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  2. ^ Lehman-Haupt, Christopher (5 September 2008). "Robert Giroux, Publisher, Dies at 94". New York Times. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  3. ^ "To the Finland Station". Library of Congress. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  4. ^ "To the Finland Station". Library of Congress. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  5. ^ "To the Finland Station". Library of Congress. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  6. ^ "To the Finland Station". Library of Congress. Retrieved 10 February 2011.