A Russian [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 22 (1):149-149 (1968)
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This is a fine book on a heroic and noble figure of Russian political and intellectual history. Alexander Radishchev, descendant of Tartar princes, was a page at the court of Catherine the Great who sent him to Leipzig to complete his education. Imbued by the ideas of the 18th century in Germany and of the French enlightenment, Radishchev went back to his native Russia but could not reconcile himself to the horrible state of the Russian serfs. Thus he wrote a vitriolic denunciation of the feudal regime in A Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow after which the Empress Catherine exiled him to Siberia. Eventually he managed to get back to the capital but he was unable to win back his former position. In despair of ever realizing his ideas he committed suicide. His tormented life and his rich, eclectic philosophic and political views are treated in this well-written, interesting study.--M. J. V.



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