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Lenin's Encounter with Hegel after Eighty Years: A Critical Assessment

Kevin Anderson
Science & Society
Vol. 59, No. 3, Lenin: Evaluation, Critique, Renewal (Fall, 1995), pp. 298-319
Published by: Guilford Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40403505
Page Count: 22
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Lenin's Encounter with Hegel after Eighty Years: A Critical Assessment
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Abstract

Lenin's "Abstract of Hegel's Science of Logic" and his other writings on Hegel during the 1914-15 period remain shrouded in obscurity, in part because this aspect of Lenin's thought is at variance with official Marxist-Leninist doctrine. Lenin's Hegel Notebooks show a break with his earlier more crudely materialist work, anticipating that of later Hegelian Marxists such as Lukács, Korsch, Lefebvre, and Dunayevskaya. Lenin appropriates for himself many key Hegelian categories such as subjectivity, self-movement, contradiction, and even some aspects of idealism, while rejecting much previous Marxism as "vulgar materialist." However, his failure after the 1917 Revolution to make his encounter with Hegel public and his tendency in the Hegel Notebooks to privilege practice over theory have left an ambivalent legacy. Nonetheless, Lenin's effort to reconceptualize Marxism by returning to Hegel was a serious one, offering us some important insights for today.

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