Wednesday, October 11, 2017

BOLSHEVIKS AND THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION 1917

Well, it's anniversary time and learning a little more about the centenary of the Russian revolution in October 1917 via BBC Radio 4 morning programme. Learning more about the ghastly murder of the Tsar Nicholas and his family on 17 July 1918.


 This time was not just about political revolution - the overthrowing of the Tsarist regime by Lenin's Bolshevik party - it was an unprecedented thought experiment, a revolution in ideas.  From women's emancipation to early thinking about the biosphere and the role of art and music joined with work. Have just finished Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (courtesy of Essex Libraries). Quite a lot of  rethinking about the Russians and their history.

British writers, thinkers and radicals including HG Wells, Bertrand Russell and Arthur Ransom either visited the Soviet Union or wrote passionately in support of the young regime. Sylvia Pankhurst corresponded with Lenin directly from London, while Bertrand Russell, on returning from Moscow, compared what he saw to the vision of Plato's republic. The Russian Revolution also gave a huge boost to the new and radical social sciences as they were beginning to grow - the idea that social institutions could be subject to critical scrutiny in a clear, scientific manner was thrilling to those Western intellectuals.  Intellectual opposition to 1917 was just as fierce. While energising the field of left-leaning thought, the Russian Revolution also politicised the purpose of more traditional philosophy and it came out fighting.  The historian Justin Champion explores the early years of the Russian Revolution of 1917 as an intellectually explosive and genuinely creative moment - bringing in new ideas, vocabularies and concepts, challenging and transforming Western thinking in the process.

Listen again on BBC Radio 4
 

 

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