This new Seminar Study provides students with a rewarding introduction to nineteenth-century Russia. This period of Russian history is, of course, characterised by the flowering of an enormously rich intellectual and cultural life, the origins of which lie in the intelligentsiaÂ¿s opposition to autocratic rule. Here, Professor Offord introduces the reader to the period while focusing particularly on the rise of radicalism.
The book opens with two scene-setting chapters: one looking at the political and social structure peculiar to Russia, and the second looking at the cultural and intellectual background. Then, within a chronological framework, the author examines all the great 'events' in the history of Russian radicalism - from the Decembrist Revolt in 1825, to the 'going to the people' in 1874, and the assassination of Alexander II in 1881. However, throughout the text sustained attention is given to the intellectual dimension of nineteenth-century Russian history. Professor Offord examines all the major schools of thought and looks in detail at all the great thinkers of the day, including Chaadaev, Belinsky, Herzen, Chernyshevsky, Bakunin and Tolstoy.
This new book will provide essential reading for anyone studying nineteenth-century Russia. Lucid, accessible and immensely readable, it is a formidable achievement.
Derek Offord is Professor of History and Head of the Department of Russian Studies at the University of Bristol.