Recommencing my series of posts on the novels of Victor Serge, I focus now on what Richard Greeman has recognised as the ‘cycle of resistance’ in the second informal trilogy comprising Midnight in the Century [1939], The Case of Comrade Tulayev [1942], and The Long Dusk [1946]. If earlier novels in the ‘cycle of revolution’ capture the conquest of space, notably Conquered City, then the later novels in the ‘cycle of resistance’ convey the statification of space. This refers to the production of political space through meaningful architectural forms; symbolic representations of state power; the organisation of territory and geography; and state strategies to shape, reproduce, and control production through industrial development, land use, transportation, and communication. The novel Midnight in the Century reflects the defeat of revolution and how the Soviet state bound itself to space: how state control is extended, shaped and reshaped by the production of space. The spatial dimension is therefore intrinsic to understanding the contradictions of state action and struggles for survival within this rendering of life at the hands of the Soviet machine.

Read more →