V. I.   Lenin



Published: First published in 1929 in the journal Proletarskaya Revolyutsiya No. 5. Sent from Shushenskoye to Podolsk. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 37, pages 205-208.
Translated: The Late George H. Hanna
Transcription\Markup: D. Moros
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive.   You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work, as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

December 6, 1898

I got your note, Mother dearest, that you added to Anyuta’s letter. I am answering her in detail. I have nothing new to say about myself—life goes on as usual. The weather is still fine and today I am going out for the winter shooting. Anatoly writes that he is ill, poor chap, probably with typhus. Yuly is freezing in Turukhansk (2° below zero in his room in the mornings) and is anxiously awaiting a transfer. Yak. M. (Lyakhovsky) writes that 180 rubles are needed for a memorial-stone to Fedoseyev, and that so far only 70 rubles have been collected, and he asks all acquaintances to be informed of this.[1] He writes that on October 18, A. Yergin, Frelikh, Zmeyev, Alyushkevich, Talalayev, Tyutryumova-Abramovich and Goldman arrived at Alexandrovskaya Prison. All of them are on their way to Yakutsk.

V. U.

Anyuta and Mark,

I have received both your letters, thanks for them and here is a detailed answer.

It is surprising that the écrivain rejected the proposal   to employ a professional proof-reader (for the Studies)— there are numerous misprints, and I am particularly worried about those that distort the meaning, a list of which I sent to you and to him. I am expecting an answer in a day or two as to whether they can be stuck in somewhere; they are essential.

I think there is hardly any sense in undertaking an edition of our own; first, it is desirable to establish permanent relations with Vodovozova, who is suitable as a publisher; second, the sum (needed for the edition) is very big, and the matter is very tedious, complicated and difficult. In doing it ourselves for the first time we are certain to make all sorts of mistakes and I am very anxious that this publication should be outwardly irreproachable, even if it costs a few hundred rubles extra. Thirdly, there is no very great difference in time; my letter will arrive by Christmas and Vodovozova is arriving in February—it may perhaps be possible to communicate with her in writing. And how much time would be wasted (in the case of our own edition) on travelling, searching, etc. It is very hard to keep track of a publishing job from another town. Would it not be better, therefore, to write to Vodovozova? Ask her when she can start setting the book, how much time it will take, will it be possible to issue the book before the end of April, etc. As far as the terms are concerned, I think it is better to take the net profit rather than fees per signature. In the former case I would expect to receive about one-third of the gross sum or even more; in the latter, to make up such a sum it would be necessary to pay a minimum of 75 rubles for each printer’s signature, which would be burdensome and risky for the publisher.

I have finished four chapters and even the writing of the fair copy will be finished today, so I shall be sending you Chapters III and IV in a day or two. I hope you will receive the whole book in February. If you are going to read the manuscript, by the way, please send me your remarks. In my rough copy I have marked off the pages of the fair copy, so that I can send corrections. And, again, about the Studies—send me any press reviews that you or any acquaintances come across, because here I do not keep up with the current press.

If small type and tables cost more to set, the publisher will have to spend quite a lot on the “markets” because there are many tables, and some diagrams as well. The total volume of the book, as far as I can tell at present, comes to about 450 pages at the rate of 2,400 letters to a page, which is less than I anticipated. If the pages are like those in Vodovozova’s publications (they are very widely spaced with no more than 2,000 letters to a page) there will be no less than 550 so smaller type is desirable. It is very desirable to print all the tables in small type, otherwise they will take up a lot of space, be less graphic and not be taken in at a glance by the reader. The tables that are printed sideways on a whole page are particularly inconvenient (i.e., you have to turn the book round to read them). All this is very important to the reader. It would be a good thing to have the type used in the tables in the appendices to Vodovozova’s book Zemlevladeniye i selskoye khozyaistvo; all the tables in the second and other chapters should be set in this type (most of the tables are in Chapter II; there are fewer in the other chapters, but there are some). You must talk to the publisher about all this and also about sending me the proofs (as I have already written). To speed up publication it could be done at two printing works, Part 1 (the first four chapters) and Part 2 separately, with the pages numbered individually. With regard to Mark’s proposal to change the title and make it a two-volume edition—I do not think this would be convenient. The more modest and heavier-sounding title is better because of the censorship; to change the title would mean that I would have to make a large number of petty, and, therefore, onerous changes in the text. It is not a good thing to split it into two volumes. If you take the format and type of the Studies as the standard, each volume would be smaller than that book (and they could not be sold as separate volumes because the composition is a single whole with cross references to different chapters, etc.). As to price, I did not expect it to be more than 3 rubles and consider a higher price to be undesirable (and a lower price would mean losing money). As many copies as possible should be printed[2] ;   it is a pity that such a small number of the Studies was put out. With regard to censorship obstacles to the “markets”—I do not expect any, unless there is to be a period of toughness and special severity against our people. If the Studies sell well, the “markets” will probably sell better. This should be impressed on the publisher. There is also the question of the number of copies to be supplied to the author (I hope you sent Manyasha another three copies of the Studies). I think we should take fifty, because this time I shall have to send them to many people and sometimes to exchange them for Zemstvo statistical publications.

Well, I think I have chattered away long enough—and there must be many repetitions of what has been said before in other equally long business letters! You must be bored with reading all these repetitions. It is very much like my writing—the first rough copy of the “markets” I have scratched about and abridged most ruthlessly.

All the best,
V. U.

All our people send their regards.


[1] The address to which money can be sent is Y. M. Lyakhovsky, Verkholensk, Irkutsk Gubernia.—Lenin

[2] I agree completely with Mark that there “must be” at least 2,400. But what will the publisher say?—Lenin

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