“The great Heinrich Mann (126), as far as I can see, is invoking his ‘imagination’ to justify his grovelling servility. Which ‘imagination’, precisely, are we dealing with? That which opens up the possibility of actively foreseeing great events? Or that which allows one to adapt comfortably to facts that are established and already fossilised? This second sense of the term is very much the style of French academicians who, thanks to their senile ‘imagination’, discover extraordinary virtues even in the Prince of Monaco. Marx, Engels and Lenin showed magnificent contempt for adulators and sycophants, even if they were very much ‘on the left’, if they invoked their aristocratic privileges as poets or whatever else to hide under the table when times were difficult. You can even find in Marx’s correspondence some sarcastic phrases about a man like Freiligrath with his ‘poet on a higher tower’ (127)” [dalla lettera di Leon Trotsky: ‘Leon Trotsky, 9 Ottobre 1936 to Franz Pfemfert’, tradotta dalla versione francese dell’originale tedesco] [(in) Leon Trotsky e altri, ‘Culture and Revolution in the Thought of Leon Trotsky’, London, 1999] [(126) Heinrich Mann (1871-1950), a German dramatist and novelist, had left Germany as an anti-Fascist, but was giving support to the first Moscow Trial; (127) Ferdinand Freiligrath (1810-1876), a republican and Socialist poet, had been a passionate supporter of Marx. However, the latter in a letter to Engels of 7 june 1859 directed a stream of insults at him (K. Marx and F. Engels, Collected Works, Volume 40, p: 458), In 1841, in a poem entitled ‘Aus Spanien’ (‘From Spain’), Freiligrath had written: ‘Der Dichter steht auf einer höheren Warte / Als auf den Zinnen der Partei. (The Poet stands on a higher watch-tower / Than on the battlements of the party). A polemic ensued which was provoked by the reply to Freiligrath from poet Georg Herwegh (1817-1875) in his ‘Poems of a Living Man’ (1842). In a letter to Weydemeyer of 16 January 1852, Marx was brimming over with praise for Freiligrath (Collected Works, Volume 29, p 8)]

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