1940s: Dialectics of the Artillery
The son of a famous Soviet writer, a friend of Zabolotsky’s, Ilyenkov went to Berlin as an artillery officer and at the first opportunity set off to pay his regards at the tomb of Hegel. He earned two orders and many medals at the front but more often than not would show to guests a file with the German eagle entitled “For the Fuhrer only” which he kept as a trophied souvenir.
Between battles the artilleryman read “The Phenomenology of the Spirit” in the original German. For him the Second World War was an armed conflict between Left and Right Hegelianism and at Hegel’s gravestone he thanked the philosopher for the fact that Soviet Hegelianism was the more reliable one raising its own flag over the German capital rather than vice versa.
Ilyenkov remained a teutophile all his life: he translated Kant and Lukacs, typed…
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