In the 19th-century, free thinkers and radicals of every persuasion held Tom Paine birthday dinners on January 29 to celebrate the freedom of thought and expression championed so articulately by the political pamphleteer. Today we would know him as a blogger . Since beginning to re-read Eric Foner’s 1976 social history, Tom Paine and Revolutionary America, I’ve been gathering material about Paine to publish here for his birthday. Conflicting time demands interrupted my plans, but along the way serendipity intervened.
Yesterday I received an unexpected gift from an Iranian blogger named Mannoushka, who translated an essay of mine into Persian and published it on the blog streetspirit. I am truly humbled and honored by that. It inspired me to finally complete the essay’s move to this site, where it certainly belongs.
A Word Is The Search For It is a study of “secret writing” by the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam and the Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky, who took great risk in the 1930s to preserve their freedom of thought in the shadow of Stalin’s Terror. I offer it here in celebration of Tom Paine’s day, and I’m proud to include links to its Persian translation. Thank you, Mannoushka!
A Word Is The Search For It on streetspirit.ir:
Part I: In the Shadow of Stalin’s Terror
Part II: The Work of Inner Speech
Part III: Subtext and Secret Writing
Part IV: The Living Word
Part V: The Renewal of Motive