Russian Thinkers by Isaiah Berlin

By Isaiah Berlin

My experiment at three hundred dpi, OCR'd

The topic that hyperlinks those essays - written over thirty years - is the phenomenon of the Russian intelligentsia, which Isaiah Berlin describes as 'the greatest unmarried Russian contribution to social switch within the world'. As the most amazing liberal intellects of this century, the writer brings to his photos of Russian thinkers- and his topic diversity is as assorted as will be anticipated- a different conception of the social and political situations that produced males corresponding to Herzen, Bakunin, Turgenev, Belinsky and Tolstoy.

The conceal exhibits A. I. Herzen, V. G. Belinsky and lvan Turgenev

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By Isaiah Berlin

My experiment at three hundred dpi, OCR'd

The topic that hyperlinks those essays - written over thirty years - is the phenomenon of the Russian intelligentsia, which Isaiah Berlin describes as 'the greatest unmarried Russian contribution to social switch within the world'. As the most amazing liberal intellects of this century, the writer brings to his photos of Russian thinkers- and his topic diversity is as assorted as will be anticipated- a different conception of the social and political situations that produced males corresponding to Herzen, Bakunin, Turgenev, Belinsky and Tolstoy.

The conceal exhibits A. I. Herzen, V. G. Belinsky and lvan Turgenev

Show description

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Sample text

1 Letter to Tolstoy of 11 July r883. ' Gustave Flaubert, uttrts illltlitts J Tnrplt~tff(Monaco, 194-6), p. uS. '1 Contemporary historians and military specialists, at least one of whom had himself fought in 1812,1 indignantly complained of inaccuracies of fact; and since then damning evidence has been adduced of falsification of historical detail by the author of War and Peace, 3 done apparently with deliberate intent, in full knowledge of the available original sources and in the known absence of any counter-evidence-falsification perpetrated, it seems, in the interests not so much of an artistic as of an 'ideological' purpose.

For many years it had been a commonplace, and not in liberal circles alone, that agricultural slavery was an economic as well as a social evil. Count Kiselev, whom Nicholas trusted and had invited to be his 'Agrarian Chief of Staff', held this view strongly, and even the landowners and the reactionary bureaucrats who did their best to put difficulties in the path of positive reform had not, for some years, thought it profitable to question the evil of the system itself. Now, however, the lead given by Gogol in his unfortunate Selected Extracts fro,z a Correspondence with Friend1 was followed in one or two government-approved school textbooks which went further than the most extreme Slavophils, and began to represent serfdom as divinely sanctioned, and resting on the same unshakeable foundation as other patriarchal Russian institutions-as sacred in its own way as the divine right of the Tsar himself.

There was an even more painful process of polarisation in the radical camp itself. The quarrel between the moderates of Kolokol (The Bell) and the St Petersburg ladicals in the 6os grew bitter. Despite the continued existence of a common enemy-the Imperial police state-the old solidarity was fatally broken. Chernyshevsky's meeting with Herzen in London was a stiff, awkward and almost formal affair. The gulf between what became the left- and the right-wing oppositions grew steadily wider; and this despite the fact that the left wing regarded western ideals far more critically than before, and like the right looked for salvation to native institutions and a specifically Russian solution, losing faith in universal remedies, compounded out of liberal or socialist doctrines ' imponed from the west.

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