Sorokin and Defoe (and Winston Churchill)

 

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Daniel Defoe’s customary skill as a writer was to speak in the voices of others. His novels are only the most famous examples of the first-person accounts, memoirs, and polemics that he fabricated throughout his career. Memoirs of a Cavalier is a special example because it took the pursuit of authenticity–which is the standard of all Defoe’s novels–to its limits. So successfully did it mimic the voice of the seventeenth-century soldier of fortune who is its narrator, that for over half a century the memoirs were considered to be genuine. The struggle of this narrator to turn his observations into facts, to make a certain history of his uncertain experiences, was so well caught that, as one of its eighteenth-century editors declared, “tis a Romance the likest to Truth that I ever read’. It is this struggle, as much as the battles and adventures which comprise the Cavalier’s story, that gives this narrative its dramatic qualities.

— back cover copy; Daniel Defoe, Memoirs of a Cavalier, or a Military Journal of the Wars in Germany, and The Wars in England; From the Year 1632, to the Year 1648 (World’s Classics Edition; Oxford University Press 1991)

 

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In my post

“Sorokin” (“Сорокин”)

Roger W. Smith, “Sorokin (Сорокин)”

I wrote:

“Leaves from A Russian Diary,” which details Sorokin’s experiences as a revolutionary opponent of the Czarist government, an official in the short lived Kerensky government, and an anti-Bolshevik, was a work that I could not put down. It has a cogency and dramatic interest, being written at white heat, so to speak, that make it compelling. It reads live a novel, a sort of “Les Misérables” minus about a thousand pages. l feel that it is an underrated book and could never understand why it never achieved a wide readership. For me, it is the best book on the Russian Revolution, the only one I practically ever read about it, in fact. It made me feel what the revolution must have been like. I regard it as a classic, and I felt it was very well written, much more so than when Sorokin was writing as a scholar.

The analogy to Defoe, applied to Sorokin’s reminiscences of the February Revolution and it’s immediate aftermath, is very apt. I am happy to say that I have just recently interested a literarily minded friend in reading Leaves from a Russian Diary, a book I couldn’t put down.

 

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In his preface to The Second World War: The Gathering Storm (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1948), Winston S. Churchill wrote:

I have followed, as in previous volumes, as far as I am able, the method of Defoe’s Memoirs of a Cavalier, in which the author hangs the chronicle and discussion of great military and political events upon the thread of the personal experiences of an individual. I am perhaps the only man who has passed through both the two supreme cataclysms of recorded history in high Cabinet office. Whereas, however, in the First World War I filled responsible but subordinate posts, I was for more than five years in this second struggle with Germany the Head of His Majesty’s Government. I write, therefore, from a different standpoint and with more authority than was possible in my earlier books.

Precisely the same as Leaves from a Russian Diary. Both Sorokin and Churchill were participant-observers.

 

— Roger W. Smith

     February 2019

another rare Sorokin photo

 

 

Pitirim A. Sorokin 2-11-1959
Pitirim A. Sorokin speaking at Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, February 11, 1959

 

This grainy photograph of Pitirim A. Sorokin was published in The Daily Collegian (Wayne State University) on February 12, 1959.

The day before, Sorokin had delivered a lecture to “an overcrowded lecture hall” on the Wayne State University campus on a topic he had addressed numerous times: mutual convergence of the Russian and American systems and values.

 

— Roger W. Smith

      October 2018

caricature of Sorokin lecturing

 

This caricature of Pitirim A. Sorokin lecturing at Harvard appeared in the Harvard Guardian, vol. II, no. 2 (November 1937), pg. 11.

 

caricature of Sorokin - Havard Guardian, Nov 1937.jpg

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

a rare photo of Sorokin

 

Pitirim A. Sorokin 1926.jpg

 

One of my favorite Sorokin books, Leaves from a Russian Diary, was reviewed in the Minneapolis Sunday Tribune in 1926.

Sorokin was teaching at the University of Minnesota then.

The following photo of Sorokin appeared in the newspaper. It is one of the best photos of Sorokin I have seen, and to me it was entirely new.

— posted by Roger W. Smith

Sorokin sites

 

Visitors to this site will be interested to know of the following sites devoted to Pitirim A. Sorokin:

 

Pitirim A. Sorokin Foundation (USA)

 

http://cliffstreet.org/

 

The Pitirim A. Sorokin Foundation (in Russian)

 

http://pitirim.org/

 

This Russian site is maintained by Александр Долгов (Aleksandr Dolgov). Aleksandr and his site are on Facebook.

 

Фонд Питирима Сорокина / Pitirim A. Sorokin Foundation

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/pitirim.sorokin.foundation/

 

— Roger W. Smith

 

     July 2018; updated December 2020

Carle C. Zimmerman, “Sorokin, The World’s Greatest Sociologist”

 

Carle C. Zimmerman, ‘Sorokin; The World’s Greatest Sociologist’

 

Posted above as a downloadable PDF file is the inaugural Annual Sorokin Lecture, which was presented in October 1968 by Pitirim A. Sorokin’s friend and former colleague, the sociologist Carle C. Zimmerman, at the University of Saskatchewan in 1968.

The University of Saskatchewan is a main repository of materials from the personal library of Sorokin, including letters, notebooks, photographs, books, original and revised manuscripts, Sorokin’s works in translation, and book reviews. The university holds an annual lecture in Sorokin’s honor, with the most recent lecture, in the 49th in the series, having been given in January 2018.

 

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The PDF file posted above contains the complete text of:

“Sorokin, The World’s Greatest Sociologist: His Life and Ideas on Social Time and Change”

Sorokin Lectures No. 1

delivered by Carle C. Zimmerman

University of Saskatchewan

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

October, 1968

 

posted by Roger W. Smith

      June 2018

 

review of “The Crisis of Our Age”; The Thomist 1942

 

review of ‘The Crisis of Our Age’ – The Thomist, July 1942

 

Posted here (above) as a downloadable PDF file is a review of The Crisis of Our Age by Pitirim A. Sorokin:

The Crisis of Our Age by Pitirim A. Sorokin (review)

By Louis A. Ryan

The Thomist: A Speculative Quarterly Review

Volume 4, Number 3 (July 1942), pp. 523-533

It is a very thorough and thoughtful as well as discerning review, and I thought it worth posting.

 

— Roger W. Smith

     June 2018

photographs of Turya, Russia; Pitirim A. Sorokin’s birthplace … фотографии Туря, Россия; Место рождения Питирима А. Сорокина

 

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с. Туръя, Церковь Воскресения Христова (1860 г)
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ӧшкамӧшка / радуга над д. Жигановка за р. Вымь
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вид на д.Жигановка на р.Вымь

4

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неутомимый Женя Худин спускает “судно” на воду
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…в поисках “фарватера” через заросшие протоки к большой Выми

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These photos were posted on Facebook by Valery E. Sharapov on May 29, 2018. They are posted here courtesy Mr. Sharapov.

Pitirim Alexandrovich Sorokin was born on 2 February (O.S. 21 January) 1889, in Turya, a small village in Yarensk uyezd, Vologda Governorate, Russian Empire (now Knyazhpogostsky District, Komi Republic, Russia).

 

Эти фотографии были размещены на Facebook Валерием Шараповым 29 мая 2018 года. Они размещены здесь любезно г-ном Шараповым.

Сорокин Питирим Александрович родился 2 февраля [O.S. 21 января] 1889 года, в Турии, маленькой деревне в Яренском уезде, Вологодской губернии, Российской империи (ныне Княжпогостский район, Республика Коми, Россия).

 

— Roger W. Smith

      May 2018

seeking translator for Sorokin biography / ищет переводчика для биографии Сорокина

 

Yuri Doykov, an independent journalist and historian based in Arkhangelsk, Russia has written several important books on Sorokin, including his two-volume biography Питирим Сорокин: Человек вне сезона (Pitirim Sorokin: A Timeless Man, 2008-2009).

Doykov’s work is the first real biography of Sorokin.

In 1996, the University Press of Kansas published Barry V. Johnston’s Pitirim A. Sorokin: An Intellectual Biography. The work is a valuable contribution to Sorokin studies, but it is not strictly a biography.

Given that most of Sorokin’s career was spent in the United States (and not minimizing the importance of his Russian years), it would be a great service to sociologists and social scientists in related fields to be have an English translation of Doykov’s biography available.

We are seeking responses from Russian scholars who would be willing to undertake a translation into English. Roger W. Smith is prepared to assist in preparation of the translation. While he is not qualified to undertake it himself, he has a working knowledge of Russian and professional editorial experience which would enable him to assist a translator and make the translation letter perfect in English.

We invite responses to either

 

Yuri Doykov

ydoikov@yahoo.com

or

Roger W. Smith

brandeis106@gmail.com

 

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Юрий Дойков, независимый журналист и историк из Архангельска, написал несколько важных книг о Сорокине, в том числе его двухтомную биографию: Питирим Сорокин. Человек вне сезона (2008-2009).

Работа Дойкова – первая настоящая биография Сорокина.

В 1996 году университетская пресса Канзаса опубликовала «Питирим А. Сорокин» Барри В. Джонстона: «Интеллектуальная биография». Работа является ценным вкладом в исследования Сорокина, но это не совсем биография.

Учитывая, что большая часть карьеры Соркина проводилась в Соединенных Штатах (и не сводя к минимуму важность его российских лет), это было бы отличным сервисом для социологов и социологов в смежных областях, чтобы иметь английский перевод биографии Дойкова.

Мы ищем ответы от российских ученых, которые хотели бы взять перевод на английский язык. Роджер У. Смит готов помочь в подготовке перевода. Несмотря на то, что он не имеет возможности самостоятельно заниматься этим, он имеет опыт работы с русским и профессиональным редакционным опытом, который позволил бы ему помочь переводчику и сделать переводное письмо совершенным на английском языке.

Мы приглашаем

Юрий Дойков

ydoikov@yahoo.com

или

Roger W. Smith

brandeis106@gmail.com

 

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Pitirim Sorokin: A Timeless Man

 

Contents

Volume 1

Chapter 1 Life of Sorokin before the First World War. 1889-1916

Chapter 2. Participation of Sorokin in the Russian Revolution and the Struggle against the Bolsheviks 1917-1918

Chapter 3 Sorokin’s work at Petrograd University and expulsion from Soviet Russia
on the orders of Lenin and Trotsky. 1919-1922

 

Volume 2

Chapter 1 Life of Sorokin in Prague.Czechoslovakia 1922-1923

Chapter 2 Sorokin’s work at the University of Minnesota 1923-1930

Chapter 3. Sorokin at Harvard 1930-1968

 

Питирим Сорокин. Человек вне сезона

Содержание

 

Том 1

Глава 1 Жизнь Сорокина до Первой мировой войны.1889-1916

Глава 2.Участие Сорокина в Русской революции и борьбе с большевиками 1917-1918

Глава 3 Работа Сорокина в Петроградском университете и высылка  из Советской России

по указанию Ленина и Троцкого. 1919-1922

 

Том 2

Глава1  Жизнь Сорокина в Праге.Чехословакия 1922-1923

Глава2 Работа Сорокина в университете Миннесоты 1923-1930

Глава 3. Сорокин в Гарварде 1930-1968

Sidney Hook review of Sorokin, “Society, Culture and Personality”

 

Sidney Hook review of ‘Society, Culture & Personality’ – NY Times 8-17-1947

 

Posted here as a PDF file (above) is review of Society, Culture and Personality by Pitirim A. Sorokin:

“Man’s Destiny: A Scientific View”

(review of Society, Culture, and Personality)

By Sidney Hook

The New York Times

August 17, 1947

The review is a harsh,  biting attack on Sorokin’s scholarship and views.

 

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Sidney Hook (1902-1989) was an American philosopher known for his contributions to the philosophy of history, the philosophy of education, political theory, and ethics. After embracing Communism in his youth, Hook was later known for his criticisms of totalitarianism, both fascism, and Marxism-Leninism.

 

— Roger W. Smith

     March 2018