Soviets were fighting for democraticnsocialist internationalism during thenSpanish Civil War, when Stalin usednthat conflict as a smokescreen to negotiatenwith the Nazis while finishing offndissident socialists in Spain and’Russia.nLevine’s treatment of Marxism-nLeninism also serves as a bridge towardnunderstanding Stalinism. Levine takesnseriously Stalin’s argument about thenneed to “establish socialism in onencountry” in preparation for its armednspread. He reviews this line of thinkingnin Problems of Leninism, which wasnintended as Stalin’s gloss on Marxist-nLeninist doctrine. Though Stalin’snviews were “not original,” Levinenpoints out, they were in keeping withnLenin’s interpretation of Marxism.nLenin had already defended Russia asnthe “nation of workers and peasants”nand accorded a special role to intellectualsnand administrators as the vanguardnof the working-class movement.nAnd though Stalin further emphasizednthese features of Leninism, he nevernabandoned the vision of world revolution.nContrary to the charges made bynLeon Trotsky and other dissidentnMarxists-Leninists, the Stalinistnscheme justified “socialism in onencountry” only as a precondition fornsocialism on a global scale. Throughnthis explanation of Stalinist doctrine,nLevine anticipates the theme of hisnsecond volume, the Soviet “liberation”nof Eastern Europe after the SecondnWorld War. There he will continue hisnstudy of the interplay of power andnideology.nPaul Gottfried is a professor ofnhumanities at Elizabethtown Collegenin Pennsylvania.nBOOKS ON CASSETTESn^ Unabridged Recordingsn§*= Purchase & 30 Day Rentalsn5** Columnist George Will has stated, “I gonthrough a book a week using time otherwisenwasted in taxis, shaving ornwalking!’ (NY Times)n= *’Try listening to fulllengthnrecordings of booksnby the world’s greatestnminds. We specialize innBiography, History, Politics,nEconomics, Philosphy,nReligion, Social Issues, andnTimeless Literature.n^ For Free Catalog, Calln40/CHRONICLESn1 (800) 729-2665nBattling thenGorgonnby William H. NoltenDarkness Visible: A Memoirnof Madnessnby William StyronnNew York: Random House;n96 pp., $15.95nIn this little “Memoir of Madness,”nfirst delivered in abbreviated form atna symposium on affective disordersnsponsored by the Department of Psychiatrynof The Johns Hopkins UniversitynSchool of Medicine, and then greatlynexpanded for publication in VanitynFair, William Styron recounts, andnattempts to account for, his descentninto a mental depression that led himnto the brink of suicide. What finallynenabled him to escape his life-threateningndespair is never, almost needless tonsay, made clear; he just somehow livednthrough the depression, aided to bensure by the solicitude of family andnfriends, and by a seven-week stay in thenhospital. Although he confesses thatnthe Croup Therapy in the hospital didnnothing more than make him seethe,n”possibly because it was supervised bynan odiously smug young shrink, with anspade-shaped beard,” it probably didnhim no harm. And although the “organizedninfantilism” of the Art Therapynsessions seemed to him little better,nthey probably helped him regain hisnsense of comedy. It is, more thannanything else, that sense of comedy ornhumor, as H.L. Mencken once noted,nthat keeps a reflective and skepticalnman alive. In any case, Styron outlivednhis depression (or Melancholia, as henprefers to call it), and near the end ofnhis hospitalization had his “first dreamnin many months, confused but to thisnday imperishable, with a flute in itnsomewhere, and a wild goose, and andancing girl.”nStyron dates the onset of his illnessnfrom the time when he discovered thatnthe least amount of alcohol, even anmouthful of wine, caused him “nausea,na desperate and unpleasant wooziness,na sinking sensation and ultimatelyna distinct revulsion.” But that is not tonsay that his deprivation from alcoholnwas the cause of the depression; it maynjust as well have been an effect, sincennnby that time he had begun to suffernfrom insomnia and, concurrently, fromnthe tranquilizers that had been prescribednto relieve him from that malady.nHe notes, incidentally, that hisndrug-induced sleep was invariablyndreamless — hence, the great sense ofnrelief when he began to dream again.nIn his effort to explain what is apparenflyninexplicable he posits other possiblencauses. Perhaps he had beennfloored by his turning 60, “that hulkingnmilestone of mortality,” a temporalnmarker that coincided with his malaise.nOr was it the vague dissatisfaction withnthe way his work was going, strongernduring that period than ever before?nHe finally concludes that his morbidncondition had its origin much earlier,nthat it was in fact genetic in nature; hisnfather, he recalls, had “battled thengorgon for much of his lifetime.” But,nnot quite content with that either, henbelieves an even more significant factornwas the death of his mother when henwas 13, too young to achieve then”catharsis of grief,” and thus doomednto carry with him the burden of ragenand guilt, “potential seeds of self-destruction.”nBut then all such suppositions arenmere guesses, and riot very convincingnguesses at that. I can of course understandnand sympathize with Styron’sneffort to comprehend his “madness,”nnor do I dispute his contention, statednearlier on in the essay, that in itsnextreme form depression is madnessnand that it “results from an aberrantnbiochemical process.” But I seriouslyndoubt that we know, or can know, anynmore than we have ever known beforenabout what actually triggers the aberration.nIn one of several poems she wrotenon the affliction, Emily Dickinson hypostatizedndespair as “that White Sustenance,”nand in “There’s a certainnSlant of light” she most memorablyncalls it “An imperial affliction / Sent usnof the Air” — in effect admitting that itncomes from we know not where, andnthen departs in equally mysteriousnfashion:nWhen it comes, the Landscapenlistens —nShadows — hold their breath —nWhen it goes, ’tis likenthe DistancenOn the look of Death —nThe despair described by Dickinson isn