Russian Thinkers - A Remarkable Decade: Alexander Herzen Summary & Analysis

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A Remarkable Decade: Alexander Herzen Summary and Analysis

No good biography exists of Alexander Herzen, the most remarkable Russian political writer of the nineteenth century, perhaps because his autobiography is so remarkable. Born in Moscow in 1812, Herzen was the illegitimate son of a moody, difficult and wealthy Russian gentleman and his mistress, a German lady from Stuttgart. ("Herzen," German for "heart," indicates Herzen's illegitimacy.) Herzen received the regular education of a young nobleman at the University of Moscow, becoming one of Turgenev's "superfluous men." These were young men of aristocratic or upper-class birth dissatisfied with stultifying Russian life and feeling called to some radical response. Usually they reconciled themselves to reality and sank back into the life of a provincial landowner or became neurotic, self-destructive personalities endlessly talking about change. Since Herzen wanted neither of these options, he emigrated to western...

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This section contains 565 words
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Buy the Russian Thinkers Study Guide
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