Victor Serge (1889-1947) is best known as a novelist – with two of his works recently republished by the New York Review of Books – and for his Memoirs of a Revolutionary. Originally a participant in the anarchist movement, Serge became a committed bolshevik upon arrival in Russia during 1919 and lent his considerable talents to the cause of spreading the revolution across Europe. An eloquent critic of tyranny no matter its form, Serge was a leading member of the Left Opposition in its struggle against Stalin, a cause which ultimately resulted in his exile from Russia.
William Giraldi for The Baffler
Some writers are destined to have two deaths—the first in life, and the second in memory. The lucky ones can be resurrected from that second death by cultural circumstance and the aid of overseeing angels, irked by injustice, believing these Lazaruses should be helped from their tombs. In 2004, Susan Sontag opened her essay “Unextinguished” with this query, much to the present case: “How to explain the obscurity of one of the most compelling of twentieth-century ethical and literary heroes, Victor Serge?”