Bile flowed through Lenin’s veins

Lenin’s prose oozes murder

If, writes Dalrymple, Lenin

was not yet a dictator when he started writing—it was 20 years before he became one—his style was from the first perfectly suited to that of a totalitarian panjandrum for whom debate was treason or worse. To the very slight extent that his prose is readable at all, it is because of the hatred, scorn, and contempt that it breathes from first to last. No one who has read Lenin’s prose will find it at all surprising that one of his favourite literary genres once he achieved power was the death warrant.

Yet

underneath his adamantine exterior there beat a heart of the purest utopian mush. Once the cleansing sea of blood that he spilt had receded, a fairytale world would emerge in which Man would become truly Man (as against what he had been before) and live thenceforth in perfect harmony. How anybody older than 14—let alone someone as intelligent as Lenin—could have believed such a thing is a mystery.

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