All posts in category Russians in London

Kropotkin: an addendum

I’ve finally got round to reading Rudolf Rocker, The London Years, trans. Joseph Leftwich (Nottingham: Five Leaves; Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2005). It’s a powerful and readable book, even if the translation is a bit clunky. Among many points of interest, it contains a couple of marvellous descriptions of Kropotkin that really give a very strong […]

Russians in London: Pyotr Kropotkin

The geographer and anarchist Prince Pyotr Kropotkin first arrived in England in July 1876, fresh from his legendary escape from the Peter and Paul fortress in St Petersburg. He lived briefly in Edinburgh, and earned a living writing for The Times and the journal Nature, but it would be another ten years before he settled […]

Russians in London: Vladimir Solov’ev

On 11 July 1875, the philosopher and poet Vladimir Solov’ev arrived in London. Having finished his studies (in natural sciences, then history and philology) at Moscow University and at the seminary at Sergiev Posad, Solov’ev was already, at the tender age of 22, teaching philosophy at Moscow University. On the advice of various friends and […]

Russians in London: Turgenev

In the history of Russians in London, Ivan Turgenev (1818-1883) in many ways acts as a transitional figure, because although most of his visits were quite short (except during the Franco-Prussian war, when he decamped to England for a year), they were frequent, and span a much longer period than those of his contemporaries. He […]

Russians in London: Dostoevsky

Dostoevsky left St Petersburg for his first trip to Europe on 7th June 1862. He spent most of his time in France and Italy, but also visited London for 8 days – his only trip to Britain – arriving on 9th July (Dryzhakov, p. 328). Like many other writers, one of his chief aims was […]

Russians in London: Mikhail Bakunin

Mikhail Bakunin, anarchist and revolutionary, already had a reputation in England before his arrival in London in 1861. The story of his alleged links with the Russian state reached the press in the form of an article in the Morning Advertiser, ‘Was Bakunin a Russian Agent or Not?’ (23 August, 1853), written by the conservative […]

Russians in London: Lev Tolstoy

There are two sources devoted solely to Tolstoy’s two-week stay in London in March 1861, Victor Lucas’s book Tolstoy in London (1979), and A. V. Knowles’s snappily titled article, ‘Some Aspects of L. N. Tolstoy’s Visit to London in 1861: An Examination of the Evidence’ (1978). They’re very different, but share a similar and telling fault: […]

Russians in London: Alexander Herzen, with a note on Nikolai Ogarev

When researching the history of Russians in London, Alexander Herzen presents a considerable problem. He is without doubt the most significant of all the writers and activists who visited London in the nineteenth century, not only because he settled in the capital for some years (1852-64), but also because many of his compatriots — Turgenev, […]

Russians in London: Peter the Great

For such a famous visit, Peter the Great’s stay in London in 1698 seems to be surrounded by confusion and apocryphal tales (this article from the Torygraph retails its fair share of them), from the misplaced plaque that once adorned 15 Buckingham Street, several streets away from where he actually stayed on his arrival, to […]

Russians in London: Introduction

Over the next few weeks, I will be publishing a series of posts entitled ‘Russians in London’. The project came to mind when I was researching Dostoevsky and the Crystal Palace earlier this year. I started thinking about his description of Whitechapel and the Haymarket in Winter Notes on Summer Impressions, and imagined him haunting […]