According to the prevailing scholarly view, made popular by Neil Harding, Lenin is said to have derived his well-known theory of working-class consciousness in What Is To Be Done? from G. V. Plekhanov, the father of Russian Marxism. Is this article I demonstrate, however, that Plekhanov and Lenin disagreed quite sharply on this question. Plekhanov did not believe that workers would fail to develop a socialist consciousness in the absence of external intervention. Indeed, Plekhanov was a thorough-going optimist about proletarian capacities, and while he did assign an important role to the intelligentsia in the process of consciousness-raising, that role was carefully circumscribed. An exhaustive review of Plekhanov's writings before November 1903, when he broke with Lenin, reveals just how unorthodox Lenin's most famous argument was in the context of Russian Social-Democratic theory.