Blog post

The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg on the Guardian Books podcast 'Heroines and feminists'

Sarah Shin11 March 2011

In International Women's Week, the Guardian asks 'who are the heroines of literature?' The Books podcast 'Heroines and feminists' profiles Rosa Luxemburg. 

Claire Armitstead, literary editor of the Guardian, spoke to self-confessed Rosa Luxemburg "fanette" Susie Orbach, David Edgar and Dr Lea Haro at the launch at the Swedenborg Society about why Luxemburg's work is so personally inspirational for them and its value for society today.

Harriet Walter read a selection of Rosa Luxemburg's letters, ranging from her arrival in Berlin in 1898, to one of her very last to Clara Zetkin before her death in 1918. Included in the selection is a letter that shows Luxemburg to be a critic of the use of political language, revealing her own passionate approach.

Do you know what gives me no peace nowadays? I'm dissatisfied with the form and manner in which people in the Party, for the most part, write their articles. It's all so conventional, so wooden, so stereotyped ... I believe that the source of this lies in the fact that people, when they're writing, forget for the most part to go deeper inside themselves and experience the full import and truth of what they're writing. I believe that people need to live in the subject matter fully and really experience it every time, every day, with every article they write, and then words will be found that are fresh, that come from the heart and go to the heart, instead of [just repeating] the old familiar phrases.  

Visit the Guardian to listen to the Books podcast. The Rosa Luxemburg section is about ten minutes in. 

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