Materialism and Empirio-criticism

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Author(s) Lenin
Written February 1908


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Written: February 1908—October 1908; Supplement to Chapter IV, Section I—in March 1909
Published: May 1909 in Moscow as a separate book by Zveno Publishers. Published according to the text of the 1909 edition checked with the 1920 edition.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1972, Moscow, Volume 14, pages 17-362

The book Materialism and Empirio-criticism. Critical Comments on a Reactionary Philosophy was written by Lenin during February to October 1908 in Geneva and London. It was published in Moscow in May 1909 by the Zveno Publishers. The manuscript of the book and Lenin’s preparatory material for it have so far not been found.

The book is the outcome of a prodigious amount of creative scientific research carried out by Lenin during nine months. His main work on the book was carried out in Geneva libraries, but in order to obtain a detailed knowledge of the modern literature of philosophy and natural science be went in May 1908 to London, where he worked for about a month in the library of the British Museum. The list of sources quoted or mentioned by Lenin in his book exceeds 200 titles.

In December 1908 Lenin went from Geneva to Paris where he worked until April 1909 on correcting the proofs of his book. He had to agree to tone down some passages of the work so as not to give he tsarist censorship an excuse for prohibiting its publication. It was published in Russia under great difficulties. Lenin insisted on the speedy issue of the book, stressing that “not only literary but also serious political obligations” were involved in its publication.

Lenin’s work Materialism and Empirio-criticism played a decisive part in combating the Machist revision of Marxism. It enabled the philosophical ideas of Marxism to spread widely among the mass of party members and helped the party activists and progressive workers to master dialectical and historical materialism.

This classical work of Lenin’s has achieved a wide circulation in many countries, and has been published in over 20 languages.