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Natalia Sedova Trotsky

Natalia Trotsky’s Views on Malamuth’s Editing

(23 September 1941)

Written: 25 September 1941.
Source: The Militant, Vol. VI No. 13, 28 March 1942, p. 3.
Online Version: Natalia Sedova Internet Archive, May 2016.
Transcribed/HTML Markup: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

In his introduction to Trotsky’s biography of Stalin, Chas. Malamuth, designated as “editor” by Harper and Brothers, publisher of the book, thanks Natalia Sedov Trotsky for her co-operation. He thereby wants readers to infer that the widow of Trotsky has read his interpolations and found no reason to object.

The following letter gives the reader an accurate picture of what Natalia Trotsky thinks of Charles Malamuth and his “editing”:

A Letter to Albert Goldman

Dear Friend,

I request you to assume complete authority in conducting the case relating to the publication of Leon Trotsky’s biography of Stalin; and 1 also ask you to assume the obligation to take the most energetic measures not to permit the printing of the notes and interpolations of the translator, Mr. Malamuth.

The prerogatives of the latter are in the nature of things limited to the task of translation, and nothing more. A translator has no right to include a single word of his own, not even an exclamation mark, without the author’s permission. He had not been authorized to do so either by L.D. Trotsky nor by myself. Not a single line of Mr. Malamuth’s translation was allowed to pass without a painstaking examination on the part of the author of the book.

The unheard-of violence committed by the translator on the author’s fights is equivalent to violence against his life. Mr. Malamuth must be brought into court. The position taken by you in this case as a co-thinker and defender of the interests of Leon Trotsky is wholly shared by me.

So far as the publishers are concerned you are the sole person competent to pass judgment on the character of the publication. You are duty bound to insist that everything written by the pen of Mr. Malamuth must be expunged from the book.

Once again, I ask you, dear friend, to take all the necessary. steps and act as I have above indicated, unswervingly maintaining the position you have taken. Mr. Malamuth and the publishers must be brought to account for having exceeded their rights, for their gross violation of the rights of the deceased author, and for their disloyal attempt to profit by his death.

With friendliest greetings, September 23, 1941

Natalia Sedov Trotsky

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Last updated on: 2 September 2021