Voronsky was an outstanding figure of post-revolutionary Soviet intellectual life, editor of the most important literary journal of the 1920s in the USSR and a supporter of Trotsky and the Left Opposition in the struggle against Stalinism. He was executed by Stalin in 1937. A defender of the “fellow traveler” writers and an opponent of the Proletarian Culture movement, Voronsky was one of the authentic representatives of classical Marxism in the field of literary criticism in the twentieth century.
It has long been a weakness in the West that Marxist literary criticism is usually discussed with little direct knowledge of Voronsky’s work. The publication of this volume of essays intends to correct that weakness by making available to an English-speaking audience many translated texts for the first time. Following his “rehabilitation” in 1957, several of his writings were published in the USSR in heavily censored form. All cuts have been restored for this edition. Translated by Frederick S. Choate.
Aleksandr Voronsky (1884-1937) was the editor of the most important literary journal in the Soviet Union during the 1920s – Red Virgin Soil – and a major figure in Soviet intellectual life during that period.
He joined the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Party in 1904 and played an active role in revolutionary politics in Tsarist Russia. Arrested on two occasions for his activity, he spent time in both solitary confinement and in exile. Around the time of the October 1917 Revolution, he played a central role in leading the Bolsheviks to power in Odessa.
Voronsky was a Left Oppositionist and a supporter of Leon Trotsky in the struggle against Stalin and the rising Soviet bureaucracy. He was a defender of “fellow-traveler”writers and an opponent of the Proletarian Culture movement.
In the late 1920s, Voronsky was expelled from the Communist Party, arrested, and sent into exile. He was re-arrested and executed in 1937 during Stalin’s terror. The Stalinist bureaucracy removed his books from Soviet libraries and virtually erased him from Soviet history.
Voronsky was rehabilitated in 1957, after which heavily censored collections of his writings were published in the Soviet Union.