The Development of the Monist View of History - PDF by Georgi Plekhanov

The Development of the Monist View of History

Georgi Plekhanov
Georgi Plekhanov

Georgi Valentinovich Plekhanov (1856-1918) belonged to the first generation of Russian Marxists, to those people who laid the foundation for the dissemination of the revolutionary teaching of Karl Marx in Russia. Plekhanov's literary activity as a revolutionary 

Enlightener was extremely versatile. He wrote on the theory and history of Marxism, philosophy, sociology and _ political economy, the history of Russian and world social ideas, literary criticism, aesthetics, and so on. 

The significance of his revolutionary work extended beyond the bounds of the Russian social movement. In the 1880s and 1890s, Plekhanov gained fame and authority among the socialists in Western Europe and America as an eminent theorist of Marxism and the working-class movement. In 1883 Plekhanov, together with other emigrants from Russia, formed in Geneva the first Russian Marxist group— the Emancipation of Labour Group—which successfully undertook the mission of refuting the fallacious ideological views predominant at that time among the Russian intellectuals who took part in or were influenced by Narodism. 

In the period of the struggle against Narodism (1883- 1903) Plekhanov produced his best philosophical and socio- logical works in which he brilliantly expounded the principles of Marxism. He criticised not only the philosophical and sociological concepts of the Russian Narodniks.

 His writings also played a great role in the struggle against anarchism and anarcho-syndicalism in Western Europe. In the late 1890s, Plekhanov was the first to attack the revision of Marxism started by Eduard Bernstein and Konrad Schmidt, their attempts to substitute reformism for the revo- lutionary theory of Marx and Engels. After 1903 Plekhanov went over to Menshevism—the opportunist trend in Russian Social-Democracy—and made a considerable number of mistakes in appraising contemporary developments, for which was sharply criticised by  Lenin: 

However, concerning Plekhanov’s philosophical writings Lenin wrote in 1921: “...I think it proper to observe for the benefit of young members of the Party that you cannot hope to become a real, intelligent Communist without making a study—and I mean study—of all of Plekhanov’s philosophical writings because nothing better has been written on Marxism anywhere in the world.” 

The Development of the Monist View of History was first published in St. Petersburg, in 1895, legally, under the pseudonym of N. Beltov. He was prompted to write the book by articles in Russkoye Bogatstvo attacking the Russian Marxists. 

They were written by one of the magazine’s editors, N. Mikhailovsky, a theorist of Liberal Narodism. Because of the censorship, Plekhanov gave the book, as he put it, an “intentionally clumsy” title. The word “monist” was used as if to counterbalance the “dualist” view of history and did not directly suggest the materialist approach to philosophical problems—propaganda of materialist philosophy was prohibited in tsarist Russia. 

The Development of the Monist View of History is one of Plekhanov’s best works—it is polemical and written in a lively, readable form. Although a small book, it gives a sufficiently full account of the main features of Marxist philosophy.


Publishers’ Foreword 5
Preface to the Second and Third Editions 7
Chapter I. French Materialism of the Eighteenth Century 11
Chapter II. French Historians of the Restoration 22
Chapter III. The Utopian Socialists 87
Chapter IV. Idealist German Philosophy 72
Chapter V. Modern Materialism 116
Conclusion 230
Appendix I. Once Again Mr Mikhailovsky, Once More the “Triad” 262
Appendix II. A Few Words to Our Opponents 270
Notes 809
Name Index 818 

the book details :
  • Author: Georgi Plekhanov
  • Publication date: 1974

  • Download 17 MB

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