Apart from a liking for parables of his own – of the forest, the door, the lottery – a few more snippets from a marathon reading session.

First, Lenin on religion:

We have no knowledge of any ‘Christian’ working-class organisation. Organisations belonging to the R.S.D.L.P. have never distinguished their members according to religion, never asked them about their religion and never will. Lenin, Collected Works, vol. p. 331.

On the romanticising of peasant industriousness by bourgeois writers (much akin to Philip Blond and Alasdair Maclagan):

Actually, all these honeyed words are nothing but deceit and mockery of the peasant. What these smooth-tongued people call cheap and profitable farming is the want, the dire need, which forces the middle and small peasant to work from morning to night, to begrudge himself a crust of bread, to grudge every penny he spends. Of course, what can be ‘cheaper’ and ‘more profitable’ than to wear the same pair of trousers for three years, go about barefoot in summer, repair one’s wooden plough with a piece of rope, and feed one’s cow on the rotten straw from the roof! Lenin, Collected Works, vol. 6, pp. 292-3.

And one of the best ways to start a letter:

Dear …,

I am writing under the fresh impression of your letter, which I have just read. Its senseless twaddle is so exasperating that I am unable to suppress the desire to state my opinion frankly.