What is to be done? ( edition) | Open Library What is to be done? ( edition) | Open Library

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What Is to Be Done? - Wikipedia

They are like the bouquet in fine wine, its strength and its aroma. Years later, in conversation with a fellow-revolutionary, Lenin described the profound impression made upon him by What Is to Be Done?: Another key idea is that of complete equality between the sexes, on every level, domestic, economic and political.

His portrait includes Christ-like elements, and his backstory draws on ancient Russian hagiographies in its elements of renunciation of worldly goods and passions, the embracing of asceticism in the service of a higher ideal, and the rigorous training of mind and body according to the dictates of revolutionary necessity.

Through these, and other strategies, The discourse is always disrupting the normal experience of reading a novel by preventing the reader from settling into an alternative novelistic reality, in favour of awakening a fully conscious awareness of the didactic purpose of the book.

Hundreds of people became revolutionaries under its influence. Rakhmetov is both a symbol of the necessity for commitment to revolution, and a symbol of the utilitarian aesthetic: Despite its rather unprepossessing plot and premise, this novel, now all but forgotten except by die-hard Russophiles, was probably the single most important literary work in Russian of the second half of the 19th century.


Lenin's hard-eyed realism about the incapacity of the workers, combined with his own fanatical will to revolution, gave birth to the idea of a party based on "professional revolutionaries" from the intelligentsia. The participation in the plot of the revolutionary Rakhmetov is bordered around with complex alienating strategies: Great is the number of good and honest people, but such men are rare.

Who dares possess another person? The first is that the essence of Lenin's outlook is his loss of confidence in the workers and his fear of their "spontaneity" "stikhiinost".

Chernyshevsky what is to be done

It was promptly published in a magazine of which Chernyshevsky had been editor before his arrest. The key figure in this ferment was Nikolai Chernyshevsky, philosopher, Westernizer, teacher, polemicist, underground revolutionary, literary and social critic of the leading journal of the time, The Contemporary, political prisoner and exile.

The newlyweds set up house together in a thoroughly planned out manner: An ukraine dating sites in america by Katz and Wagner places the novel in the context of nineteenth-century Russian social, political, and intellectual history and literature, and explores its importance for several generations of Russian radicals.

The country was being united by the rapid development of railroads and print media, and literacy was on the rise.

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On the one hand, the novel's condemnation of moderate reform helped to bring about the irrevocable break between radical intellectuals and liberal reformers; on the other, Chernyshevsky's socialist vision polarized conservatives' opposition to institutional reform.

The sons were determined to wrest the future of Russia away from the fathers.

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Then, after a thick black line in the text, follows the incident in which Rakhmetov is involved in the plot, followed by a new numbered section entitled: Rakhmetov has been introduced to fulfil the principal, most fundamental requirement of art, and exclusively to satisfy it says the narrator.

He goes on to argue that to understand politics you must understand all of society, not just workers and their economic struggles with their employers. Katz's readable and compelling translation is now the definitive unabridged English-language version, brilliantly capturing the extraordinary qualities of the original.

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His portraits of the three protagonists of the book were intended, therefore, to show how men and women could live together in equality, respecting their equal rights. Vera runs her business as a cooperative, with all the women living together and sharing the profits.

The idealized image it offered of dedicated and self-sacrificing intellectuals transforming society by means of scientific knowledge served as a model of inspiration for Russia's revolutionary intelligentsia.

Only then did I understand its depth. The s was a period of growing radicalism.

Open Library

Art should have a social purpose, to show how things should be, and thus help to bring those things into being. An introduction by Katz and Wagner places the novel in the context of nineteenth-century Russian social, political, and intellectual history and literature, and explores its importance for several generations of Russian radicals.

In the words of Tibor Szamuely: At the end, the novel disintegrates in a series of small snippets of prose alternating with poetry, both Russian and foreign, contemporary and traditional, but all with heavily disguised revolutionary themes, signifying not an ending, but a possible new beginning.

As Vera and her men stand in relationship to the reader, as models for what should be, so Rakhmetov stands in relation to the other three.

What is to be done

The book created an instantaneous sensation. Why has he been introduced then? Through lengthy talks with Lopukhov, Vera decides to set up a small business as a seamstress in order to gain financial independence, reinforcing their desire for equality among the sexes.

For Chernyshevsky, and the characters in his novel, this rational egoism is constantly balanced against altruism, as immediate personal ends have to be sacrificed for social ends which will only have personal benefit in the long term.

The Revolution A Plot Summary The story begins with Vera Pavlovna living under the rule of her oppressive mother who wants to marry her off to the son of their tenement block owner. Published by Cornell University Press. Through subterfuge, and in order to save her from a loveless marriage and lifelong servitude to her family — the usual lot of women of her class- he marries her, snatching her out from under the nose of the other suitor and her mother.

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Katz's translation is faithful to the original, yet cast in words that bring Chernyshevsky's meaning alive to modern readers Vera Pavlovna lives under the thumb of her gorgon-like mother, who wants to marry her off to the owner of the tenement block where they reside.

In this his first novel, written in prison, Chernyshevsky described the raznochintsy, not as they were, but, more importantly, as how they should be according to our conceptions.

Chernyshevsky What Is To Be Done

What Is to Be Done? The narrator specifically tells us that Rakhmetov has no purpose in the story other than to provide a contrast to the other characters, to show the reader how ordinary the other characters are: He explained that Bernstein's positions were opportunista point expressed by the French socialist Alexandre Millerandas in taking a post in a bourgeois government.

However, socialist theory in Russia, as elsewhere in Europe, was the product of the "educated representatives of the propertied classes", the intellectuals or "revolutionary socialist intellectuals".