Victor Serge (1890-1947) was born Victor Lvovich Kibalchich to Russian anti-Tsarist exiles, impoverished intellectuals living "by chance" in Brussels. A precocious anarchist firebrand, young Victor was sentenced to five years in a French penitentiary in 1912. Expelled to Spain in 1917, he participated in an anarcho-syndicalist uprising before leaving to join the Revolution in Russia. Detained for more than a year in a French concentration camp, Serge arrived in St.
Petersburg early in 1919 and joined the Bolsheviks, serving in the press services of the Communist International. An outspoken critic of Stalin, Serge was expelled from the Party and arrested in 1929. Nonetheless, he managed to complete three novels (Men in Prison, Birth of Our Power, and Conquered City) and a history (Year One of the Russian Revolution), published in Paris. Arrested again in Russia and deported to Central Asia in 1933, he was allowed to leave the
USSR in 1936 after international protests by militants and prominent writers like Andre Gide and Romain Rolland. Using his insider's knowledge, Serge published a stream of impassioned, documented exposes of Stalin's Moscow show trials and of machinations in Spain, which went largely unheeded. Stateless, penniless, hounded by Stalinist agents, Serge lived in precarious exile in Brussels, Paris, Vichy France, and Mexico City, where he died in 1947. His classic Memoirs of a Revolutionary and his great last novels, Unforgiving Years and The Case of Comrade Tulayev (both available as NYRB Classics), were written "for the desk drawer" and published posthumously.
Peter Sedgwick (1934-1983) translated and wrote the introductions for Victor Serge's Memoirs and Year One of the Russian Revolution. A lifelong activist and a founding member of the New Left in Britain, he wrote seminal essays on Serge. In addition to his journalism and political writings, he is the author of a book, Psycho-Politics.
Adam Hochschild has written for The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, The New York Review of Books, and The Nation. His books include King Leopold's Ghost and, most recently, To End All Wars. He teaches at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.
George Paizis is the author of Marcel Martinet: Poet of the Revolution, Love and the Novel: The Poetics and Politics of Romantic Fiction, and, with Andrew N. Leak, The Holocaust and the Text: Speaking the Unspeakable. He is a longstanding member of the Socialist Workers Party and until recently was Senior Lecturer in the French Department at University College London.
Richard Greeman has translated and written the introductions for five of Serge's novels (including Unforgiving Years and Conquered City, both available as NYRB Classics). A veteran Socialist and co-founder of the Praxis Center and Victor Serge Library in Moscow, Russia (www.praxiscenter.ru), Greeman is author of Beware Of "Vegetarian" Sharks: Radical Rants And Internationalist Essays.show more