ТРУДНО НАМ СЕЙЧАС

 

On March 9, 1922, Pitirim Sorokin, living in Petrograd, wrote to the Ukrainian sociologist Nikita Shapoval in Prague:

 

«Получил сегодня Ваше письмо и немедленно отвечаю. Прежде всего, оно меня искренне и глубоко обрадовало. Зарубежные письма нечасто приходится получать нам, и тем более письма, свидетельствующие о том, что кто-то там интересуется нами и нашими работами. …

Мы по-прежнему оторваны от западной научной литературы по социологии. А тоска по ней огромная … Я до сих пор не имею даже книги Шпенглера, и, конечно, не слышал ничего о социологии Халупного и Фаустки. …

Еще раз спасибо за письмо: оно повлияло на меня, как глоток чистого воздуха в душной комнате.

Трудно нам сейчас живется и дышится. Трудно работать, но раз жизнь требует напряжения, оно должно быть сделано…»

“I have received your letter today and will reply immediately. First of all, it sincerely and deeply pleased me. We rarely get to receive foreign letters to us, and even more so letters indicating that someone there is interested in us and our work. …

We are still divorced from Western scientific literature on sociology. And the longing for it is enormous … I still don’t even have Spengler’s book, and, of course, I have not heard anything about the sociology of Khalupni and Faustka. …

Thanks again for the letter: it affected me like a breath of clean air in a stuffy room.

It is difficult for us now to live and breathe. It’s hard to work, but since life requires energy [literally, voltage], it must be done … ”

 

translation by Roger W. Smith

 

— posted by Roger W.  Smith, March 2020;  courtesy Юри Дойков (Yuri Doykov)

a rare Sorokin photograph

 

Prezentatsiya1

Students and teachers of the Jurisprudence Faculty of the Imperial Saint-Petersburg University, around 1913-1914. Standing in second row: sixth from right: P. A. Sorokin.

personal archive of Prof. A.V. Gordon, Moscow

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith; courtesy Юрий Дойков (Yuri Doykov)

Sorokin letter to President Kennedy

 

Sorokin letter to JFK 5-23-1961

 

Sorokin, ‘Mutual Convergence of the US and USSR to the Mixed Sociological Type’

 

This letter of May 23, 1961 from Pitirim A. Sorokin to President John F. Kennedy is self-explanatory. The “enclosed reprint of my paper” which Sorokin refers to in the letter is probably his article “Mutual Convergence of the United States and the U.S.S.R. to the Mixed Sociocultural type,” International Journal of Comparative Sociology; January 1, 1960. A copy of this article is posted here (PDF file above).

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

     March 2020

Sorokin, Nabokov

 

According to a Wikipedia entry, in 1936, Vladimir Nabokov, then living in Berlin, began seeking a job in the English-speaking world. In 1937, Nabokov left Germany for France. His family followed him to France; they eventually settled in Paris. In May 1940, the Nabokovs fled the advancing German troops to the United States on board the SS Champlain.

In Vladimir Nabokov: The Russian Years by Brian Boyd (Princeton University Press, 2016), pg. 514, it is stated:

By late October 1939 Nabokov had settled arrangements at Stanford [University, to teach a summer course there] with [Stamford faculty member Henry] Lanz. Now ready to apply for a visa, he sought affidavits from eminent Russians in America: the artist Mstislav Dobuzhinsky, the sociologist Pitirim Sorokin, and his friend the historian Mikhail Karpovich, who appears to have put him in touch with Alexandra Tolstoy, the novelist’s daughter. Head of the newly established Tolstoy Foundation, which looked after the interests of Russian émigrés in America, Alexandra Tolstoy secured an affidavit for Nabokov from Sergey Koussevitzky, the longtime conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Nabokov became an American citizen in 1945.

All of this is of interest, since Pitirim A. Sorokin had close, extensive contacts with the Russian émigré community. Sergey Koussevitzky was a lifelong friend of Sorokin and his wife Elena.

It would be interesting to know if there exists correspondence between Sorokin and Nabokov.

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

     February 2020

Roger W. Smith, “Sorokin as Bilingual Stylist: His English Language Writings Examined from a Stylistic Perspective”

 

Roger W. Smith, ‘Sorokin as Bilingual Stylist’

Сборник

See attached PDF and Word documents, above.

 

My paper “Sorokin as Bilingual Stylist: His English Language Writings Examined from a Stylistic Perspective” has been published in the following conference proceedings:

Pitirim Sorokin i paradigmy global’nogo razvitiya XXI veka (k 130-letiyu so dnya rozhdeniya)

Mezhdunarodnaya nauchnaya konferentsiya

Syktyvkarskiy gosudarstvennyy universitet imeni Pitirima Sorokina

Syktyvkar, oktyabraya 2019 g.

Sbornik nauchnykh trudov

S. 25-30

 

Pitirim Sorokin and paradigms of global development of the 21st century (on the 130th anniversary of his birth)

International Scientific Conference

Syktyvkar State University named after Pitirim Sorokin

Syktyvkar, October 2019

Collection of scientific papers

pp. 25-30

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

     October 2019

“Professor Sorokine To Remain in U.S.”

 

Professor Sorokine To Remain in U.S.

The present Russian government has extended a formal invitation to Professor Pitirim Sorokine, who is a guest of President [Henry Noble] MacCracken at Vassar College at present, to return to that country and take up once more the editorship of the Russian Peasant Magazine, which he carried on before his condemnation.

Professor Sorokine says that he is not planning to accept this invitation because he believes that a faction would have him arrested if he refused to subscribe to their opinions. In addition he would be obliged to aid in the public instruction under the communist government, which would not be pleasant. He said Wednesday:

“If the imprisonment of Trotsky by the communists, announced today, is true, I believe that the present Russian government is doomed and that its fall will take place in a short time.”

Poughkeepsie Eagle-News (Poughkeepsie, New York), January 17, 1924, pg. 6

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

     September 2019

“Sorokin Would Welcome Fuehrer, Duce at Harvard”

 

“Sorokin Would Welcome Fuehrer, Duce at Harvard”

The Minneapolis Tribune

February 25, 1939

pg. 15

 

ALSO published as:

Harvard Savant Would Teach 3 Dictators “Common Sense”

The Sun (Baltimore, Maryland)

February 25, 1939

pg. 3

 

[By the Associated Press]

Cambridge, Mass., Feb. 24 — While one Harvard scientist [Percy W. Bridgman] today gained support in his “manifesto” to bar scholars of totalitarian states from his laboratories, another said he would “welcome Mr. Hitler, Mr. Stalin and Mr. Mussolini to my classes, so that they might learn the ABC’s of common sense.”

Commenting in an interview on Physicist Percy W. Bridgman’s announcement in Science magazine that he wanted to make it more difficult for totalitarian states to get scientific information they might misuse, Prof. Pitirim Sorokin, of the sociology department said:

“Any scientific discovery or invention which could be applied in war should be kept secret except from the Government concerned — because today’s friends may be tomorrow’s enemies.

“However, in the case of the social sciences, since our theories are different from the totalitarian ideologies, and critical of them, it would be useful if the Nazis, the Communists and the Fascists–yes, even Mr. Hitler, Mr. Stalin and Mr. Mussolini–would come to our classes to learn some common sense.”

 

*****************************************************

 

See also (pdf file below):

“Physicist Shuts Laboratory To Subjects of Dictators”

The New York Times

February 24, 1939

pg. 1

‘Physicist Shuts Laboratory to Subjects of Dictators’ – NT Times 2-24-1939

 

– posted by Roger W. Smith

my favorite Sorokin photo

 

Pitirim Sorokin in St. Petersburg, 1917; from cover of The Unknown Sorokin: His Life in Russia and the Essay on Suicide,  edited by Denny Vǻgerö 

 

Such a handsome young man. Sorokin was age twenty-eight at the time. In his face and expression, one can see the earnestness and idealism that would manifest itself in his life and writings.

— Roger W. Smith

     September 2019

“Contemporary Social and Cultural Crisis” by P. A. Sorokin (1938)

 

Sorokin, ‘Contemporary Social and Cultural Crisis’ – Harvard Alumni Bulletin

 

Posted here (above) is the following downloadable PDF file:

“Contemporary Social and Cultural Crisis”

By Dr. P. A. Sorokin, Professor of Sociology

Harvard Alumni Bulletin

Vol. XL, No. 16

February 4, 1938

1. 512-514

Sorokin gave this address in December 1937 as part of a series of radio talks

 

*****************************************************

We have here Sorokin writing in the characteristic style of the years following the publication of his Social and Cultural Dynamics, the fist three volumes of which were published in 1937 —  a style that foreshadows that of The Crisis of Our Age, which was published in 1941.

Scholars currently studying Sorokin’s early works in Russian are learning more about his career as a writer. Overlooked (mostly) in the past was the early journalistic experience he had. Sorokin qua writer is a topic that deserves study. One will find, I believe, both strengths and weaknesses.

The fact that Sorokin wrote the majority of his major works in a second language is not something to be ignored. Even in this rather straightforward article, there can be seen occasional infelicities in grammar and wording.

— Roger W. Smith

      August 2019

 

*****************************************************

addendum:

An article of interest — in Russian — has recently been published:

Американский этап лингвистической биографии Питирима Сорокина (“The American Stage of Pitirim Sorokin’s Linguistic Biography”)

by Сергиева Н.С. (Natalia S. Sergieva)

Полилингвиальность и транскультурные практики (Polylinguality and Transcultural Practices)

Vol. 16, No..1 (2019), pp. 35-44

Abstract:

The article discusses the features of the bilingualism of an eminent sociologist of the twentieth century Pitirim Sorokin in the American period of his life. The purpose of the study is to identify and explain the linguistic features of his scientific thinking in connection with the development of his scientific worldview. The study is based on the materials in the Pitirim A. Sorokin Collection at the University of Saskatchewan (Canada). Archival manuscripts and research notes allow us to trace the process of changing the language and switching codes in the professional activities of Sorokin after moving to the United States of America. It has been established that the use of a mixed metalanguage by Sorokin can be considered as additional evidence of the continued connection with the Russian period of his life and scientific activity. Russian remained for him a tool of scientific thinking, planning and management.

Sergieva, ‘American Stage of Pitirim Sorokin’s Linguistic Biography’

“In Memoriam: P. A. Sorokin” (Supplement, Indian Journal of Social Research, 1968)

 

tributes to Sorokin – Indian Journal of Social Research, April 1968

 

Posted here (PDF file above) is a series of post mortem tributes to Pitirim A. Sorokin that were published in in 1968 as a special supplement to the Indian Journal of Social Research, Volume IX, Number 1 (April 1968), pp. i-xvi

“In Memoriam: Pitirm Alexanderovich Sorokin: January 21, 1889-Feburary 10, 1968,” pp. i-iii

“Reminiscences of Sorokin,” by Charles P. Loomis, pp. iv-viii (written by Professor Loomis in 1959 and published posthumously)

TRIBUTES:

by Carle C. Zimmerman, pp. ix-xii

by Kenneth V. Lottich, pp. xii-xiii

The New York Times (reprinted from an anonymous obituary, condensed and slightly edited), pp. xiii-xiv

by Kewal Motwani, pp. xiv-xv

by Arnold J. Toynbee, pg. xvi

by Michael V. Belok, pg. xvi

by Santosh K. Nandy, pg. xvi

The editor of the journal, responsible for assembling the supplement, was G. C. Hallen, Professor of Sociology at J. V. College, Baraut (Meerut), India

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

     August 2019