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Cover for The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg

The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg

Rosa Luxemburg, Ammelies Laschitza (Editor), Georg Adler (Editor)


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Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (8/6/2013)


This is the most comprehensive collection of letters by Rosa Luxemburg ever published in English, including 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 her closest friends, lovers and colleagues. Many of these letters appear for the first time in English translation; all help 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.

Praise For The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg

“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

“[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, Bookforum

“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 ... [and] reveals that the woman behind the mythic figure was also a compassionate, teasing, witty human being.”—Sheila Rowbotham, Guardian

“Paced almost like a novel, the 28 years covered by this collection pass by almost too quickly.”—Joel Schalit, Jewish Daily Forward

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 expressed unfailing passion in her letters ... This volume gives personal insight into a remarkable (and controversial) woman and adds meaningful context to any study of early Western socialism.”—Publishers Weekly

“Useful and exciting.”—Emily Witt, New York Observer

“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, Toronto Globe & Mail

“[Rosa Luxemburg’s] letters, with all their exquisite details, read as well as any novel ... Personal or political [they] are beautiful, powerful, and succinct.”—Kaye Cain-Nielsen, 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

“This English-language edition of selected letters of Polish-born Marxist thinker and founder of the German Communist Party, Rosa 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.”—Library Journal

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.’”—Tablet

“A welcome contribution to a renewed interest in this key figure of the Marxist tradition.”—Socialist Review

“Verso is once again to be congratulated for this publishing inititiative, in an excellent translation by George Shriver ... [The letters] give a unique insight into her character, her deep humanity as well as her passionate commitment to the struggle for socialism.”—Morning Star

“Rosa goes on being our source of fresh water in thirsty times.”—Eduardo Galeano

“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

“This huge project is long overdue. Luxemburg’s correspondence reveals an extraordinary range and breadth of concerns and interests”—Times Literary Supplement

“[Luxemburg’s letters] are extremely well written, elegant in their use of language as well as exciting in their expression of ideas. The letters within this thick volume show indeed how much we have lost our ability to communicate with the decline of letter-writing ... taking the time to actually correspond (as Luxemburg did throughout her life), to actually compose a letter, produces art as well as communication. And that is at the heart of The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg, that is precisely what makes this book so absorbing and so pleasurable to read.”—George Fish, New Politics

“Provides valuable insights into the personal development of this great revolutionary.”—Helen Scott, International Socialist Review

Verso, 9781844674534, 512pp.

Publication Date: February 28, 2011

About the Author

Rosa Luxemburg (1871 1919) was a Polish-born Jewish revolutionary and one of the greatest theoretical minds of the European socialist movement. An activist in Germany and Poland, the author of numerous classic works, she participated in the founding of the German Communist Party and the Spartacist insurrection in Berlin in 1919. She was assassinated in January of that year and has become a hero of socialist, communist and feminist movements around the world.

Annelies Laschitza, based in Germany, has produced a number of works focusing on the history of the labor movement in Germany at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th Century century. She has achieved worldwide recognition for editing of the Collected Letters of Luxemburg [in 6 volumes] as well as serving as co-editor of Luxemburg s Collected Writings [in German]. She worked as a consultant for Margarethe von Trotta s film Rosa Luxemburg [1986] and has produced an important [600-page] biography of Luxemburg, "Full of Life, Despite Everything." Her work on Karl Liebknecht includes the book, "The Liebknechts, Karl and Sophie: Politics and Family" the most comprehensive study of the life and work of Karl Liebknecht.

Peter Hudis is a Lecturer at Oakton Community College. He coedited "The Letters of Rosa luxemburg"; "The Rosa Luxemburg Reader"; and Raya Dunayevskaya s "Selected Writings on the Dialectic in Hegel and Marx.""