Who is to blame?: a novel in two parts

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Cornell University Press, 1984 - Fiction - 293 pages
2 Reviews
Herzen's novel played a significant part in the intellectual ferment of the 1840s. It is an important book in social and moral terms, and wonderfully expressive of Herzen's personality.-Isaiah Berlin Alexander Herzen was one of the major figures in Russian intellectual life in the nineteenth century. Who Is to Blame? was his first novel. A revealing document and a noteworthy contribution to Russian literature in its own right, it establishes the origins of Herzen's spiritual quest and the outlines of his emerging social and political beliefs, and it foreshadows his mature philosophical views.

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Review: Who Is to Blame?

User Review  - Catherine - Goodreads

This book's final is so depressing. I read What is to be Done, which is considered to be a reply for this novel, first and until the very end I hoped that there would be 2 happy couples, but it turned ... Read full review

Review: Who Is to Blame?

User Review  - Galya - Goodreads

herzen's more a thinker than a writer and he has huuuge problems with plot and characters but probably i like him so much i can extrapolate that liking onto his books:) Read full review


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About the author (1984)

Herzen's primary importance in literature is his role in Russia's political and intellectual history. During the 1830s, with his friend N. Ogaryov, he became the center of a university circle whose members were developing utopian socialist theory. During the 1840s he helped shape the ideas of Russian Westernism. However, he also wrote fiction. His novel Who Is to Blame? (1847) presents a woman caught between two men. All three are unable to find a place for themselves in Russian society and, in line with Herzen's ideas about individual dignity and freedom, are responsible for their own unhappiness. After leaving Russia in 1847, Herzen became active in European revolutionary movements. Their failure produced From the Other Shore (1855), a collection of essays and dialogues on historical subjects. But his masterpiece is his memoirs, My Past and Thoughts; a unique combination of reminiscences, analyses, and anecdotes on which he worked from 1852 until 1868. Yet another achievement was The Bell (Kolokol), a weekly publication that Herzen produced for a decade and that had an enormous influence on both government and society in Russia from 1857 to 1861. Like many radical thinkers of the time (Vissarion Belinsky, Nikolay Chernyshevsky, and others), Herzen combined political and literary interests. Unlike them, however, he never lost his sensitivity of feeling and style, directing his irony at his allies as well as his adversaries. In this he was exceptional in Russian nineteenth-century letters.

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