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The Cynosure

  Michael Bakunin
  William Godwin
  Emma Goldman
  Peter Kropotkin
  Errico Malatesta
  Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
  Max Stirner
  Elisée Reclus
  Murray Bookchin
  Noam Chomsky
  Bright but Lesser Lights
  Cold Off The Presses
  Anarchist History
  Worldwide Movements
  First International
  Paris Commune
  Haymarket Massacre
  Spanish Civil War
  Art and Anarchy

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In the last days of my stay in the land of my birth I learned much from Dr. Francis, the chemist Scrimaglio and the Veterinarian Bo. Already I began to understand that the plague which besets humanity most cruelly is ignorance and the degeneracy of natural sentiments. My religion soon needed no temples, alters and formal prayers. God became for me a perfect spiritual Being, devoid of any human attributes. Although my father told me often that religion was necessary in order to hold in check human passions, and to console the human being in tribulation, I felt in my own heart the yea and nay of things. In this state of mind I crossed the ocean.

Arrived in America, I underwent all the sufferings, the delusions and the privations that come inevitably to one who lands at the age of twenty, ignorant of life, and something of a dreamer. Here I saw all the brutalities of life, all the injustice, the corruption in which humanity struggles tragically.

But despite everything I succeeded in fortifying myself physically and intellectually. Here I studied the works of Peter Kropotkin, Gorki, Merlino, Malatesta, Reclus. I read Marx's Testament of Carlo Pisacane, Mazzini's Duties of Man, and many other writing of social import. Here I read the journals of every socialist, patriotic and religious faction. Here I studied the Bible, The Life of Jesus (Renan), and Jesus Christ Has Never Existed by Miselbo. Here I read Greek and Roman history, the story of the United States, of the French Revolution and of the Italian Revolution. I studied Darwin and Spencer, Laplace and Flammarion. I returned to the Divine Comedy and to Jerusalem Liberated. I re-read Leopardi and wept with him. I read the works of Hugo, of Leo Tolstoi, of Zola, of Cantu, the poetry of Giusti, Guerrini, Rapisardi and Carducci.

Do not believe me, my dear reader, a prodigy of science; that would be a mistake. My fundamental instruction was too incomplete, my mental powers insufficient, to assimilate all this vast material. Then it must be remembered that I studied while doing hard work all day, and without any congenial accommodations. Ah, how many nights I sat over some volume by a flickering gas jet, far into the morning hours!


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