Midpassage: Alexander Herzen and European Revolution, 1847-1852

Judith E. Zimmerman, Author University of Pittsburgh Press $0 (305p) ISBN 978-0-8229-3827-9
With the collapse of the ``Westernizer'' circle in 1847, wealthy Russian socialist Alexander Herzen fled Moscow with his frail wife Natalie, their three children and his mother. In the five years covered by this vibrant biographical study of the emigre revolutionary, his wife had a sexual affair that shattered their communal living arrangements; she then died of pneumonia; Herzen also lost a son in a shipwreck and his mother died. Half-mad with grief and rage, he roamed from Nice to Lausanne, finally settling in London where he lived in close proximity to Karl Marx, who spurned him as a ``Russian nationalist.'' Besides losing his family during these years, Herzen lost his optimism; in Paris while the 1848 revolution gave way to reaction, the journalist-publisher discovered his role as gadfly of the radical movement and interpreter of Russia to the West. This is a remarkable, fresh portrait of an exile who lost his youthful idealism only to become a tougher, more effective political figure. Zimmerman is professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
Genre: Nonfiction
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