Tag Archives: literature

Dante Alighieri, Bad Propagandist (2)

I’ve been reading the French-language series of historical novels Le Rois Maudits, which is excellent (and promoted in English version by George RR Martin: “This is the original Game of Thrones!”). In the third volume, “The Poisoned Crown,” Dante Alighieri, … Continue reading

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Who will be Shot in the Middle Stages of the Zizekian Revolution?

In the first half of his remarks about Henry James’ The Wings of the Dove in The Parallax View, Zizek looks at the way James uses his long, winding, unexpected style to set a scene in a particular way. In … Continue reading

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A New Face in the Snakepit (15)

XV. Victory was an ambiguous concept, that Stalin always had trouble dealing with. He had been successful before: he had managed to escape deportation to Siberia for a second time, by becoming an informer and betraying his comrades; he had … Continue reading

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A New Face in the Snakepit (14)

XIV. Everything had worked as Stalin expected, but Stalin was surprised by the fierceness of the German attack: in a matter of weeks, the Soviet forward armies, caught in their offensive stance and unprepared for defense, were surrounded and destroyed … Continue reading

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A New Face in the Snakepit (13)

XIII. Trotsky’s grisly murder wasn’t the only commotion of the time for Communist fellow travelers. A few weeks before, the French had got what they had been expecting, and a lightning German offensive had tore through their much-hyped defenses, taking … Continue reading

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A New Face in the Snakepit (12)

XII. The Spanish Civil War had been a curious sideshow since 1936. That year, a large and unruly left coalition in the “anti-fascist” mold had managed to squeeze a small victory in the polls. Then, it had proceeded to announce … Continue reading

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A New Face in the Snakepit (11)

XI. Stalin wasn’t surprised by the international reaction to the “show trials,” which he gauged perfectly with the help of the press his diplomats bought for him. As the executions continued unabated, and the Trial of the Sixteen gave way … Continue reading

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