Item description for The Prison Manuscripts: Socialism and Its Culture (The Prison Manuscripts) by Nikolai Bukharin...
Bukharin's Prison Manuscripts were written in Moscow's Lubyanka prison during 1937-1938 while awaiting his inevitable liquidation. Like Antonio Gramsci's Prison Notebooks, Bukharin's Manuscripts too have their central emphasis on issues such as culture, ideology and philosophy in the context of building up an alternative vision of socialism, as against capitalism, fascism and the kind of socialism practiced in the Soviet Union under Stalin.
Written between February and April 1937, this thought-provoking volume deals with themes such as: the realization of the concept of total man , the problem of freedom, the problem of equality and hierarchy, the style of socialist culture, the problem of progress, diversities in capitalism and socialism, the role of the Party and the dictatorship of the proletariat in the cultural revolution. It is an important work for anyone interested in cultural studies, history of socialism, philosophy and ethics.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1" Width: 6" Height: 9.25" Weight: 1.2 lbs.
Release Date Jun 26, 2007
Publisher Seagull Books
ISBN 1905422229 ISBN13 9781905422227
Availability 0 units.
More About Nikolai Bukharin
Nikolai Bukharin (1888-1938) was a Bolshevik leader and intellectual, and later a Soviet politician until his execution at the hands of Stalin's government.
Nikolai Bukharin was born in 1888 and died in 1938.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Prison Manuscripts: Socialism and Its Culture (The Prison Manuscripts)?
A tragic work Sep 9, 2007
It is odd to give a rating to a work like this, for who am I to rate it? This book is the first publication in English of Old Bolshevik leader N.I. Bukharin's manuscripts. These manuscripts were written over the year 1937, when Bukharin was imprisoned in the Lubyanka, awaiting a forced confession, show trial, and eventual execution on Stalin's orders. Despite these depressing circumstances and the certainty of impending doom, Bukharin managed to write a sizable amount: part of it autobiographical, recently published as well, and part of it political, which can be found in this volume.
The book itself deals with a description of what meaning socialism has for Bukharin, and in particular with the problematic relating to the issue of culture in a socialist society. His tone is generally dogmatic and jargon-laden in the typical USSR style, and what makes it even more grating at first is that Bukharin under the circumstances has to blithely pretend that the USSR was in his time the socialist society as he had envisioned how it should be. The contrast between the lofty and idealistic descriptions of how the ideal USSR would have been and the real USSR he was awaiting execution in makes this work an important historical document and an intriguing read, even if Bukharin's actual discussion is often vague and doctrinaire. He was clearly a very intelligent man, well-read and with knowledge of German and English, and there are certainly parts of this work that are insightful even today, especially if one takes into account that Bukharin did not have the opportunity to do any kind of editing or revision (the editors of this volume have decided to keep it that way to honor its tragic nature).
Bukharin's discussion often takes the form of a kind of question-answer format, where he takes a popular criticism of the idea of socialism and then goes on to refute it. In so doing, he tackles a lot of issues that are not often or at all mentioned in most tracts defending socialism, including the status of the individual in socialist society, the possibility of (artistic) genius, the nature of science, the 'nationalities question', as well as the for his time burning question of fascism. (This volume was probably originally a second volume, preceded by a discussion of fascism in particular, but the latter seems not to have been preserved by Stalin.) Still, Bukharin is no more able to give concrete and useful answers to many of these questions than anyone else, and his jargon gets tiresome after a while. It doesn't help much either that the translator, George Shriver, occasionally interrupts to give commentary on things Bukharin wrote, which I would have left out.
Probably mostly interesting to those interested in Soviet history. For more on Bukharin, see Stephen Cohen's biography, Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Political Biography, 1888-1938.