This is a review of the latest book by the Italian historian Enzo Traverso, Malinconia di sinistra. Una tradizione nascosta, Feltrinelli, Milano 2016 (in English translated as Left-Wing Melancholia. Marxism, History and Memory, Columbia U.P., New York 2017). The theme of the book is the sense of loss of the idea that the building of a new better world, a dreamed project called socialism, is possible. The perspective of this interesting book is that the sunset of the utopias produces a feeling of melancholia that can be found also in the past, traced around the many hard defeats of the workers’ movement in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Nowadays, this feeling can be perhaps used, under certain conditions, to reactivate the left-wing strength. The review shows the many ambiguities of such a nostalgic approach, particularly where it tends to reduce the leftist tradition to its Bolshevik component and to crush the differences between the past and the present.
Keywords: Left Politics; Marxism; History.