Tropics of Meta

Following on from my previous posts, one of the most striking features of Victor Serge’s writings has to be the way he captures spatial arbiters that shape the practices of empowerment and containment within the territorial form of the city. Flowing across his documentary or witness novels, his political writings, his poetry, or his memoirs as a revolutionary is a sense of the political processes shaping urban society, the space of the city, and the possibilities of revolution rising up from the streets. Nowhere is this more evident that in his novel Conquered City [1932] set in the years of the Russian Civil War (1919-1921) in the frontline city of Red Petrograd. Written just prior to his years of captivity in Soviet Russia at the hands of Stalin’s purges­­­­­­­­­­­­ (from imprisonment in the Lubianka to exile in Orenburg on the Ural River) and completed in concise fragments that could…

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