Art as the Cognition of Life

Selected Writings of A.K. Voronsky, 1911–1936

Filed under Notes, USSR

Volume of essays by Soviet Art critic Aleksandr Konstantinovich Voronsky, the founder and chief editor of the literary journal Krasnaia nov’ (Red Virgin Soil), the leading literary journal in the USSR in the 1920s. An Old Bolshevik, Voronsky supported Leon Trotsky and the Left Opposition in the struggle against Stalinism. He was executed by Stalin in 1937.


Foreword……vii

1911

Polemical Remarks about Gorky (Iasnaia zaria no.66)……1
Polemical Remarks about Gorky (Iasnaia zaria no.67)……5

1918

Communism, Church, and State……11

1919

The Red Province……15

1920

G. V. Plekhanov……19
In Memory of G.V. Plekhanov……27

1921

H.G. Wells about Soviet Russia……33
The Decline of Ideology……45

1922

Literary Silhouettes: Boris Pilniak……51

1923

Sharp Phrases and the Classics……77
Art as the Cognition of Life, and the Contemporary World……95
On Proletarian Art and the Artistic Policy of Our Party……147

1925

Freudianism and Art……173
On Art……203
Mikhail Vasilievich Frunze……227

1926

In Memory of Esenin……233
Larisa Mikhailovna Reisner……247
Scoundrels and Toadies……251

1927

From the Past……259
Notes on Artistic Creativity……267
Ten Years of October and Soviet Literature……299
One Thunderous Applause……311

1928

On Artistic Truth……323
The Art of Seeing the World……361

1930

On Pereval……393

1936

Meetings and Conversations with Gorky……401

1925

Appendix 1: Resolution of the First All-Union Conference of Proletarian Writers……435
Appendix 2: On Party Policy in the Realm of Imaginative Literature……443

1927

Appendix 3: Five Years of Red Virgin Soil……451
Appendix 4: Letter from Voronsky to Ordzhonikidze, 3 March 1927……453
Appendix 5: To the Central Committee of the All-Russian Union of Metalworkers……455
Appendix 6: Leon Trotsky: Culture and Socialism……461

Glossary……485
Biographical Notes……489
Name Index……503
Subject Index……513
Index of Literary Works and Characters……523

Cover of the book. Bold white text overlays a moving red shape trailed by an orange afterimage, on a dark background like dawn lighting up the night. Lining the bottom of the book are a series of photographs of the literary and artistic figures covered by Voronsky in his essays.



“Our telephone was tapped and from time to time dubious figures would show up, claiming to be admirers of my grandfather [Voronsky] and wanting to know a lot about the Left Opposition and the death of Frunze. They started to wiretap my phone again in the 1990s, when I began publishing works by Voronsky. I don’t know whether I’m still under supervision. I don’t think so. But frankly, I don’t care. They should come and listen if they don’t have anything better to do.”

Tatiana Isaeva, Voronsky’s granddaughter