The Toledo Translation Fund: Call for Donations


The Toledo Translation Fund was established to support the translation into English of major works in the humanities and social sciences, from a wide range of world languages and cultures. Named after the twelfth- and thirteenth-century Toledo School of Translators—whose translations of philosophical and scientific treatises from Arabic, Greek and Hebrew paved the way for the Renaissance—Toledo Translation Fund projects will focus on texts that are sure to be of enduring value.

The Toledo Translation Fund is a part of the Center for Economic and Social Research (CERSC), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. One hundred percent of received funds will be paid directly to internationally recognized translators, whose work will be contracted according to the best-practice guidelines of the American Translators Association. Translations will only be contracted and paid for once the publication of the text, by a leading English-language press, is assured.

Projects that we are currently fundraising for include:

Mario Tronti's Workers and Capital

The wave of mobilizations that swept Italy in the late-sixties and seventies have been made famous in the Anglo world through Rachel Kushner’s The Flamethrowers. However, the 1966 work that influenced much of this movement, Mario Tronti’s magnum opus Operai e capitale (Workers and Capital), has never before been fully translated into English.

Mario Tronti (1931- ) was one of the progenitors of Italian operaismo (workerism), a hugely influential intellectual project that identified workers and worker revolts as the real driving force behind capitalist developments, rather than the reactive tendencies of capital. Workers and Capital is operaismo’s theoretical articulation. Born into a working-class Communist family in Rome, Tronti studied philosophy and co-founded two of the main operaist journals of the sixties, Quaderni Rossi and Classe Operaia. Their worker inquiries transformed Italian sociology, and eventually, the autonomist movement would grow out of operaismo as well.

We are now raising funds for the translation of Workers and Capital, which will cost $16,500. All donations over $100 will receive a free copy of the book. Donations over $250 will get you two copies of the book, plus a $50 voucher for the Verso website (where you can purchase other books); $500 will get you four copies of the book, plus $100 on the website. If you’re able to donate $500 or more we’ll also thank you on a donors page for the project, and donations of $1,000 or more will also be acknowledged in the book. You can donate to this project here.

The Essential Alexandra Kollontai

Activist, organizer, and the only female member of the first Bolshevik government, Alexandra Kollontai (1872—1952) has inspired generations of socialists with her writings on women’s liberation, sexual revolution and workers’ power. Ranging from accounts of female textile workers on strike; to examinations of the possibilities for collective family life under socialism and anti-war tracts; and genealogies of ideas of love, social bonding and marriage from classical times to the feudal era, her writings provide a lucid expression of the socialist feminism that guided her own life.

The Essential Kollontai will bring together her most significant work, with new translations of pamphlets, articles and diaries spanning her early life as a revolutionary in Russia’s political underground, to her last years in Moscow following the Second World War. Though nearly a century old, many of her writings will continue to resonate: the socialization of childcare and housework, she argued, would lead to freer, more joyful relations between the sexes—an argument echoed by many young feminists today.

All donations over $100 will receive a free copy of the book. You can donate to this project here

Alexandre Kojève's Lost Manuscript

Alexandre Kojève (1902-68) is best known for his seminal lectures on Hegel, which were attended by Georges Bataille, Jacques Lacan, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Raymond Queneau and Andre Breton. His original interpretations, which read Hegel through the lens of Heidegger’s temporalized ontology and Marx’s dialectical materialism, influenced an entire generation of continental philosophers, including Foucault, Derrida and Leo Strauss. He effectively introduced Hegel to 20th century French philosophy.

Kojève was also a philosopher in his own right, although many his works are only now appearing in English—in 2014, St. Augustine Press is publishing The Concept, Time and Discourse, and Verso recently published The Notion of AuthorityOutline of a Phenomenology of Right was only published in 2007. But these are hardly the extent of his work. Among the rest, an unfinished, nearly-thousand-page handwritten manuscript, dating to 1940-1, was discovered in an archive by a Bibliothèque nationale de France librarian and remains unpublished. The story goes that part of the manuscript was taken to the Soviet Embassy in 1940, where it would have been preserved. However most the papers in the Embassy were burned after the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, and it is highly unlikely that a philosophical work would have been spared.

The title of the manuscript is indeterminate (it is referred to in different places as “An Essay on the Introduction to Philosophy” and “An essay on the dialectical introduction to philosophy on the basis of Hegel’s Phenomenology, interpreted in light of Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism”). What is clear is that Kojève intended for this to be a major work, showing how genuine philosophy (ultimately found in Hegel) coincides with scientific socialism (ultimately developed in Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism). Many of its themes can be found in Kojève’s lectures on Hegel’s Phenomenology, but this manuscript expands on those ideas, and will elucidate how Kojève reformulated and refashioned them depending on the context. The lectures only provide one context; this work traverses many, and will be a great contribution to both Kojève scholarship and philosophy in general. (In any case, Anglo readers only have access to the truncated translation of the lectures edited by Allan Bloom.)

The manuscript will be transcribed and published in Russian by V-A-C Foundation. We seek your help to translate the finished product into English, and need to raise $34,200. All donations over $100 will receive a free copy of the book. Donations over $250 will also get you a copy of The Notion of Authority, plus a $50 voucher for the Verso website (where you can purchase other books); $500 will get you two copies of each book, plus $100 on the website. If you’re able to donate $500 or more we’ll also thank you on a donors page for the project, and donations of $1,000 or more will also be acknowledged in the book. You can donate to this project here.

As well as Fernando Morais' story of the Cuban Five, Henri Lefebvre's Philosophies on Time, Velery Podoroga's masterpiece on the Russian avant-garde, Ralph Dutli's biography of Osip Mandelstam, the Selected Works of Amadeo Bordiga and the Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg.

All of the projects the Toledo Translation Fund is currently raising money for can be found here.

The Toledo Translation Fund also welcomes general donations, which the fund will allocate to individual translation projects—but we expect that the majority of donations will be associated with a particular project, which can be specified on the donation form. All donors will be contacted once the translation has been paid for, with updated plans for publication—and in most cases, the fund will offer donors free copies of the books that they have helped to support.

If any translation ends up costing less than the projected amount, unused funds will either be returned to donors or transferred to a similar project. If for any reason beyond the control of the Toledo Translation Fund a particular text is not eventually published, we will notify all donors by email and all donations associated with that volume will be returned upon request. All donations are tax-deductible, and details of supported translations are available upon request. 

We hope that you will take this opportunity to support the international proliferation of important ideas, argument, and culture.