Partisan Review. Vol. 5 No. 3. August-September, 1938.

Includes ‘Marxism in Our Time’ by Victor Serge and ‘Art and Politics’, a letter by Leon Trotsky (both texts linked below).

Partisan Review. Vol. 5 No. 3. August-September, 1938.

Contents: Notes on Contributors, Art and Politics by Leon Trotsky, The English Literary Left by F.W. Dupee, Knoxville: Summer of 1915 by James Agee, Marxism in Our Time by Victor Serge, Art Chronicle by George L.K. Morris, The Soviet Cinema 1930-1938 (Part II) by Dwight Macdonald, Poems by Elizabeth Bisbop, William Troy’s Myths by James Burnham, Correspondence, Ripostes.

Partisan Review began in New York City in 1934 as a ‘Bi-Monthly of Revolutionary Literature’ by the CP-sponsored John Reed Club of New York. Published and edited by Philip Rahv and William Phillips, in some ways PR was seen as an auxiliary and refutation of The New Masses. Focused on fiction and Marxist artistic and literary discussion, at the beginning Partisan Review attracted writers outside of the Communist Party, and its seeming independence brought into conflict with Party stalwarts like Mike Gold and Granville Hicks. In 1936 as part of its Popular Front, the Communist Party wound down the John Reed Clubs and launched the League of American Writers. The editors of PR editors Phillips and Rahv were unconvinced by the change, and the Party suspended publication from October 1936 until it was relaunched in December 1937. Soon, a new cast of editors and writers, including Dwight Macdonald and F. W. Dupee, James Burnham and Sidney Hook brought PR out of the Communist Party orbit entirely, while still maintaining a radical orientation, leading the CP to complain bitterly that their paper had been ‘stolen’ by ‘Trotskyites.’ By the end of the 1930s, with the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939, the magazine, including old editors Rahv and Phillips, increasingly moved to an anti-Communist position. Anti-Communism becoming its main preoccupation after the war as it continued to move to the right until it became an asset of the CIA’s in the 1950s.

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