All posts tagged Chaadaev

Russian thought lecture 8: Vladimir Solov’ev: Godmanhood, Sophia, and erotic utopianism

Readings: Solov’ev, “The Meaning of Love” Vladimir Solov’ev (1853-1900) is a very significant figure in the history of Russian thought as well as being a very prominent poet, but in terms of his ideas, he is also a very challenging figure, whose work many people find difficult to understand.The text on which we are going […]

Russian thought lecture 4: Nihilism and the birth of Russian radicalism: from science to art

Readings: Nikolai Chernyshevsky, extracts from “The Anthropological Principle in Philosophy” (1860); Dmitry Pisarev, “The Realists” (1864) and “The Thinking Proletariat” (1865) We’re now moving away from the debate that arose initially out of Chaadaev’s “First Philosophical Letter” and dominated Russian intellectual life in the 1830s and 1840s. In the next generation a different set of […]

Russian thought lecture 3: The Westernizers and concepts of the self: from reconciliation to action

Readings: Vissarion Belinsky, “Society and the Individual” (1839) extracts from “Letters to Botkin” (1840-1841) and “Letter to Gogol” (1847); Alexander Herzen, extracts from “Dilettantism in Science” (1843) “From the Other Shore” (1848-9) and “Robert Owen” (1861). Having examined the Slavophiles and the development of the idea of communality as a specifically Russian phenomenon, we now […]

Russian thought lecture 2: the Slavophiles and Russian communality

Readings: Aleksei Khomiakov, “On Humboldt” (1849) and “On the Church” (1855); Ivan Kireevskii, “A Reply to A. S. Khomiakov” (1839) and “On the Nature of European Culture and its Relation to the Culture of Russia” (1852); Konstantin Aksakov, “Memorandum to Alexander II on the Internal State of Russia” (1855) The Slavophiles were a group of […]

Russian Thought Lecture 1: Petr Chaadaev and the Russian Question

Readings: Petr Chaadaev, “First Philosophical Letter” and “Apologia of a Madman” Before we get on to Chaadaev, the first question we must address is why he acts as the starting point for our exploration of Russian intellectual history. Chaadaev did not invent Russian philosophy; there was already a significant tradition of philosophical and polemical writing […]

Lectures on Russian Thought: Introduction

Over the next two terms I will be publishing fortnightly lectures from my undergraduate course on Russian thought. I’ve been teaching the course for a few years solely as seminars, but am changing it this year to lectures and seminars. I’ve decided to do so because for many of the students this is an entirely […]

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, […]

One year old today: where do I go from here?

Today is the first anniversary of my blog, and I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve done so far and what I’m planning to do in the coming months. I’ve made a couple of discoveries over the last year. I’ve realized that cats, the Crystal Palace, and Merthyr Tydfil all attract a more readers than Russian […]