To the Finland Station: A Study in the Acting and Writing of History

Overview

One of the great works of modern historical writing, the classic account of the ideas, people, and politics that led to the Bolshevik Revolution

Edmund Wilson’s To the Finland Station is intellectual history on a grand scale, full of romance, idealism, intrigue, and conspiracy, that traces the revolutionary ideas that shaped the modern world from the French Revolution up through Lenin’s arrival at Finland Station in St. Petersburg in 1917. Fueled by Wilson’s own passionate ...

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Overview

One of the great works of modern historical writing, the classic account of the ideas, people, and politics that led to the Bolshevik Revolution

Edmund Wilson’s To the Finland Station is intellectual history on a grand scale, full of romance, idealism, intrigue, and conspiracy, that traces the revolutionary ideas that shaped the modern world from the French Revolution up through Lenin’s arrival at Finland Station in St. Petersburg in 1917. Fueled by Wilson’s own passionate engagement with the ideas and politics at play, it is a lively and vivid, sweeping account of a singular idea—that it is possible to construct a society based on justice, equality, and freedom—gaining the power to change history.

Vico, Michelet, Bakunin, and especially Marx—along with scores of other anarchists, socialists, nihilists, utopians, and more—all come to life in these pages. And in Wilson’s telling, their stories and their ideas remain as alive, as provocative, as relevant now as they were in their own time.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“In an age of historical amnesia, To the Finland Station can remind us that our history is alive and open and rich with excitement and promise.” Marshall Berman, The New York Times Book Review

“Every so often, you come across a book of nonfiction that is more gripping in its plot and richer in its understanding of human beings than a thousand novels put together. One such book is Edmund Wilson’s To the Finland Station.” Aravind Adiga, NPR

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374533458
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 4/24/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 608
  • Sales rank: 486,014
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Edmund Wilson (1895–1972) was among the foremost American men of letters of the twentieth century. A literary critic, novelist, memoirist, playwright, journalist, poet, and editor, he was the author of more than twenty books.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Introduction, 1971
Michelet Discovers Vico 5
Michelet and the Middle Ages 9
Michelet and the Revolution 15
Michelet Tries to Live His History 26
Michelet Between Nationalism and Socialism 29
Decline of the Revolutionary Tradition: Renan 37
Decline of the Revolutionary Tradition: Taine 46
Decline of the Revolutionary Tradition: Anatole France 56
Origins of Socialism: Babeuf's Defense 71
Origins of Socialism: Saint-Simon's Hierarchy 80
Origins of Socialism: The Communities of Fourier and Owen 87
Origins of Socialism: Enfantin and the American Socialists 98
Karl Marx: Prometheus and Lucifer 111
Karl Marx Decides to Change the World 120
Friedrich Engels: The Young Man from Manchester 128
The Partnership of Marx and Engels 139
Marx and Engels: Grinding the Lens 150
Marx and Engels Take a Hand at Making History 161
The Myth of the Dialectic 177
Marx and Engels Go Back to Writing History 197
Historical Actors: Lassalle 225
Historical Actors: Bakunin 256
Karl Marx: Poet of Commodities and Dictator of the Proletariat 284
Karl Marx Dies at His Desk 324
Lenin: The Brothers Ulyanov 343
Lenin: The Great Headmaster 367
Trotsky: The Young Eagle 397
Trotsky Identifies History with Himself 422
Lenin Identifies Himself with History 438
Lenin at the Finland Station 449
Appendices 467
Index 493
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