What is the best translation of Lenin's Materialism and Empirio-criticism (Материализм и эмпириокритицизм) into English (or perhaps other wide-spread languages)? I would like to have the closest there is to a critical edition or at least to a translation that is considered faithful to the source.

Alternatively, I would like to know if the official Soviet and Chinese translations are trustworthy.

1 Answer 1


From Russia I am not aware of any English translation of Materialism and Empirio-criticism later than the Moscow: Progress Publishing, 1964; 4th revised edition, 1967. As to the accuracy of the translation I can make only two points. The first is that the general level of Progress Publishers translations is respectably scholarly; secondly, on a spot check the critical academic literature in English on the book, while involving hot disputes about it place in Lenin's theory and practice and his motives for writing it, does not critique the Moscow translation. If there is a devastating critique, I have missed it.

The Chinese edition, V. I. Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-Criticism, Peking (sic) : Foreign Languages Press, 1976, is less seldom cited. The Russian translation may be regarded as standard.


John Eric Marot, 'Marxism, Science, Materialism: Toward a Deeper Appreciation of the 1908-1909 Philosophical Debate in Russian Social Democracy', Studies in East European Thought, Vol. 45, No. 3 (Sep., 1993), pp. 147-167: 163.

  • Thanks @GeoffreyThomas. Do you know anything about David Kvitko's edition?
    – lfba
    Commented May 20, 2020 at 8:06
  • @ifba. This is an old translation. My guess would be that while it appeared in the pre-1939 Collected Works, the 1964; 4th revised translation is more accurate. Best - GLT
    – Geoffrey Thomas
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 14:02

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .