The Short History of the Antichrist: part 1

As I promised in my last post, here is a new translation of the full chapter of Vladimir Solovyov’s chapter “The Beginning of the Short History of the Antichrist”, from his book-length work Three Dialogues on War, Progress, the End of Universal History, and the Beginning of the Short History of the Antichrist. I’ve included the last section of the chapter on the End of Universal History, as it describes the origin of the final chapter in the manuscript of an Orthodox monk.

The following is essentially my tweaking of an English translation from 1915 of the book, done by Alexander Bakshy. The changes are more extensive than a word here and there, but they’re not so extensive as to call it fully a new translation. As usual, I seem to start off more cautiously, and have ended up making more changes further along. The second part will follow later in the day.

One thing you’ll notice is that most people are probably familiar with an edited version of this tale, one which excludes quite a bit of it, actually. Solovyov was surprisingly perceptive. In this history, Solovyov, who didn’t live to see the dawn of the twentieth century, rightly pegged it as a century of war and social disturbance. His description of the imperial designs of Japan are shockingly close to the reality of Japan’s plans in World War II. This first section, setting the stage for the history of the Anti-Christ proper, is also quite obviously built upon a biblical foundation, and is as much a part of The Short History of the Antichrist as the latter part of the chapter. It’s a fascinating tale, and I hope it will be even more well-appreciated and more well-known, as it is difficult to come across the full text in English.

The entire book is depicted as a dialog between several characters, and the text is laid out like that of a play, with each character’s lines and actions separate. It’s not a common format anymore for even novels with extensive dialogue, but he wrote it, of course, in 1899-1900, it being one of his last works. Enjoy!

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