The Letters Of Rosa Luxemburg

The Letters Of Rosa Luxemburg

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by Rosa Luxemburg
     
 

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The most comprehensive collection of letters by Rosa Luxemburg ever published in English, this book includes 190 letters written to leading figures in the European and international labor and socialist movements––Leo Jogiches, Karl Kautsky, Clara Zetkin and Karl Liebknecht––who were among her closest friends, lovers and

Overview

The most comprehensive collection of letters by Rosa Luxemburg ever published in English, this book includes 190 letters written to leading figures in the European and international labor and socialist movements––Leo Jogiches, Karl Kautsky, Clara Zetkin and Karl Liebknecht––who were among her closest friends, lovers and colleagues. Much of this correspondence appears for the first time in English translation; all of it helps to illuminate the inner life of this iconic revolutionary, who was at once an economic and social theorist, a political activist and a lyrical stylist. Her political concerns are revealed alongside her personal struggles within a socialist movement that was often hostile to independently minded women. This collection will provide readers with a newer and deeper appreciation of Luxemburg as a writer and historical figure.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In spite of her identity as a Polish Jew, Communist activist Luxemburg (1871–1919) used her singular personality to immerse herself in party organization even as she shaped the movement's message through her editing, orating, and tireless campaigning. A cofounder of the German Communist Party, Luxemburg expressed unfailing passion in her letters (supplemented here by substantial footnotes), revealing her personal sacrifices even while chastising colleagues who failed her. Among these were lovers addressed in early naïve, love-torn letters. Later, lengthy missives expressed well-considered economic and political stances, referring to her published works, and her censored letters, sent while imprisoned for agitation against WWI and insulting the Prussian king, exhibit delicacy when discussing the safe subjects of botany, wild birds, and her beloved cat, Mimi. Using her extensive information network two decades before WWII, Luxemburg accurately predicted the "pogroms against Jews in Germany." This volume gives personal insight into a remarkable (and controversial) woman, who was assassinated at age 47, and adds meaningful context to any study of early Western socialism. (Mar.)
“Intrepid, incorruptible, passionate and gentle. Imagine as you read between the lines of what she wrote, the expression of her eyes. She loved workers and birds. She danced with a limp. Everything about her fascinates and rings true. One of the immortals.”—John Berger

"One cannot read the writings of Rosa Luxemburg, even at this distance, without an acute yet mournful awareness of what Perry Anderson once termed ‘the history of possibility.’"—Christopher Hitchens, Atlantic

"She emerges as one of the most emotionally intelligent socialists in modern history, a radical of luminous dimension whose intellect is informed by sensibility, and whose largeness of spirit places her in the company of the truly impressive."—Vivian Gornick, Nation

"Wonderful ... The self-portrait in these pages is that of a professional revolutionary whose vocation is, if you'll pardon the expression, spiritual. Reading ... this book, I could not help falling in love with you, dear Rosa."—Scott McLemee, Bookforum

"Transports us directly into the private world of a woman who has never lost her inspirational power as an original thinker and courageous activist."—Sheila Rowbotham, Guardian

"The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg come as near as anything to the way this extraordinary woman talked with loved ones and friend ... a wonderfully compelling record, both poignant and timely."—Observer

"Rosa Luxemburg’s letters, with all their exquisite details, read as well as any novel ... Personal or political, they are beautiful, powerful, and succinct."—Idiom

"The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg is a ... kind of memorial, a kind of sliver of one woman’s life bound together in one place ... Rosa Luxemburg comes alive in these pages ... if you love or admire or are just fascinated by her, then you’ve no excuse not to buy this excellent book."—PopMatters

Atlantic
One cannot read the writings of Rosa Luxemburg, even at this distance, without an acute yet mournful awareness of what Perry Anderson once termed ‘the history of possibility.’— Christopher Hitchens
Guardian
Transports us directly into the private world of a woman who has never lost her inspirational power as an original thinker and courageous activist … [and] reveals that the woman behind the mythic figure was also a compassionate, teasing, witty human being.— Sheila Rowbotham
Tablet
The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg includes everything from Luxemberg’s youthful mash notes to her theoretical arguments, as well as her uncanny prediction of 'pogroms against Jews in Germany.'
Nation
She emerges as one of the most emotionally intelligent socialists in modern history, a radical of luminous dimension whose intellect is informed by sensibility, and whose largeness of spirit places her in the company of the truly impressive.— Vivian Gornick
The Guardian
George Shriver's new translation of The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg is the most comprehensive collection of her correspondence yet to appear in English. It transports us directly into the private world of a woman who has never lost her inspirational power as an original thinker and courageous activist.… reveals that the woman behind the mythic figure was also a compassionate, teasing, witty human being.— Sheila Rowbotham
The Observer
The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg come as near as anything to the way this extraordinary woman talked with loved ones and friend ... a wonderfully compelling record, both poignant and timely.
Bookforum
[W]onderful ... The self-portrait in these pages is that of a professional revolutionary whose vocation is, if you'll pardon the expression, spiritual. Reading ... this book, I could not help falling in love with you, dear Rosa.— Scott McLemee
Times Literary Supplement
“This huge project is long overdue. Luxemburg’s correspondence reveals an extraordinary range and breadth of concerns and interests”
New York Observer
Useful and exciting.
Toronto Globe & Mail
Fascinating ... these passionate letters, which commemorate the 140th anniversary of Luxemburg’s birth, show the living, breathing and loving woman behind the legend of 'Red Rosa.'— Irene Gammel
John Berger
“Intrepid, incorruptible, passionate and gentle. Imagine as you read between the lines of what she wrote, the expression of her eyes. She loved workers and birds. She danced with a limp. Everything about her fascinates and rings true. One of the immortals.”
Eduardo Galeano
“Rosa goes on being our source of fresh water in thirsty times.”
Sheila Rowbotham
“Transports us directly into the private world of a woman who has never lost her inspirational power as an original thinker and courageous activist … [and] reveals that the woman behind the mythic figure was also a compassionate, teasing, witty human being.”
Vivian Gornick
“She emerges as one of the most emotionally intelligent socialists in modern history, a radical of luminous dimension whose intellect is informed by sensibility, and whose largeness of spirit places her in the company of the truly impressive.”
Christopher Hitchens
“One cannot read the writings of Rosa Luxemburg, even at this distance, without an acute yet mournful awareness of what Perry Anderson once termed ‘the history of possibility.’”
PopMatters
The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg is a ... kind of memorial, a kind of sliver of one woman’s life bound together in one place ... Rosa Luxemburg comes alive in these pages ... if you love or admire or are just fascinated by [her], then you’ve no excuse not to buy this excellent book.”
Socialist Review
A welcome contribution to a renewed interest in this key figure of the Marxist tradition.
Scott McLemee
“[W]onderful ... The self-portrait in these pages is that of a professional revolutionary whose vocation is, if you'll pardon the expression, spiritual. Reading ... this book, I could not help falling in love with you, dear Rosa.”
Jewish Daily Forward
Paced almost like a novel, the 28 years covered by this collection pass by almost too quickly.— Joel Schalit
Idiom
[Rosa Luxemburg's] letters, with all their exquisite details, read as well as any novel ... Personal or political [they] are beautiful, powerful, and succinct.
Scott McLemee - Bookforum
“[W]onderful ... The self-portrait in these pages is that of a professional revolutionary whose vocation is, if you'll pardon the expression, spiritual. Reading ... this book, I could not help falling in love with you, dear Rosa.”
Joel Schalit - Jewish Daily Forward
“Paced almost like a novel, the 28 years covered by this collection pass by almost too quickly.”
Christopher Hitchens - Atlantic
“One cannot read the writings of Rosa Luxemburg, even at this distance, without an acute yet mournful awareness of what Perry Anderson once termed ‘the history of possibility.’”
Joel Schalit
“Paced almost like a novel, the 28 years covered by this collection pass by almost too quickly.”
Sheila Rowbotham - Guardian
“Transports us directly into the private world of a woman who has never lost her inspirational power as an original thinker and courageous activist … [and] reveals that the woman behind the mythic figure was also a compassionate, teasing, witty human being.”
Vivian Gornick - Nation
“She emerges as one of the most emotionally intelligent socialists in modern history, a radical of luminous dimension whose intellect is informed by sensibility, and whose largeness of spirit places her in the company of the truly impressive.”
Time Magazines Literary Supplement
“This huge project is long overdue. Luxemburg’s correspondence reveals an extraordinary range and breadth of concerns and interests”
Library Journal
This English-language edition of selected letters of Polish-born Marxist thinker and founder of the German Communist Party, Luxemburg, who was assassinated in 1919, is the most comprehensive published in English, with over two-thirds of the letters translated here for the first time. Described as a companion to Verso's projected 14-volume "Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg," it is based on the German Herzlichst, Ihre Rosa (Most Warmly Yours, Rosa), with 40 letters added to the 190 in that volume. The letters (originally in German, Polish, and Russian)will give informed English-language readers new access to the intellectual, political, and personal life of a leading Marxist theorist and activist. The recipients include political associates Leo Jogiches (also her lover for a time), Karl Kautsky, Karl Liebknecht, and Clara Zetkin. VERDICT There is very little here to aid readers unfamiliar with Luxemburg and her time. The introduction, for example, is largely about the publication history of Luxemburg's writings, and there are limited annotations. There seems to be an assumption throughout that the reader has an extensive grounding in the topic. As such, it surely fills a gap for more advanced readers in the history of Marxism, revolutionary social and political change, women political thinkers, and activists.—Jessica Moran, California State Archives, Sacramento

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781781682333
Publisher:
Verso Books
Publication date:
08/06/2013
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
656
File size:
3 MB

What People are saying about this

Eduardo Galeano
Rosa goes on being our source of fresh water in thirsty times.
John Berger
Intrepid, incorruptible, passionate and gentle. Imagine as you read between the lines of what she wrote, the expression of her eyes. She loved workers and birds. She danced with a limp. Everything about her fascinates and rings true. One of the immortals.

Meet the Author

Rosa Luxemburg (1871–1919) was a Polish-born Jewish revolutionary and one of the greatest theoretical minds of the European socialist movement. She participated in the founding of the German Communist Party and the Spartacist insurrection in Berlin in 1919.

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