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INSTITUTE OF PHILOSOPHY
OF THE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
OF THE USSR

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[3] __AUTHOR__ Georgi Plekhanov __TITLE__ Georgi Plekhanov
Selected Philosophical Works (Volume~IV) __TEXTFILE_BORN__ 2006-10-11T17:59:45-0700 __TRANSMARKUP__ "Y. Sverdlov" __SUBTITLE__ IN FIVE VOLUMES

Volume IV

__PUBL__ PROGRESS PUBLISHERS __CITY__ MOSCOW

r

[4] __TRANSL__ Translated from the Russian by K. M. COOK and S. N. SYROVATKIN __EDITOR__ Edited by K. M. COOK __DESIGNER__ Designed by V. YERYOMIN

© Translation into English. Progress Publishers 1980 First printing 1980

Printed in Ihe Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

0101040000

jL0104--282_26_80 014(01)80

[5]

CONTENTS

M. IOVCHUK. G.V. PLEKHANOVAND HIS WRITINGS ON THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHICAL THOUGHT IN RUSSIA

(Introduction).......................

7

SELECTED PHILOSOPHICAL WORKS Volume IV

I. [WORKS ON N. G. CHERNYSHEVSKY]

N. G. CHERNYSHEVSKY. Introduction [To the 1894 German Edition of the Book] ...................

45

N. G. CHERNYSHEVSKY [1890]................

65

[ADDENDA FOR THE GERMAN EDITION OF THE BOOK

N. G. CHERNYSHEVSKY (1894)}.............

157

N. G. CHERNYSHEVSKY [1909] ...............

169

Introduction .......................

169

PART ONE. N. G. Chernyshevsky's Philosophical, Historical and Literary Views......................

215

SECTION ONE. N. G. Chernyshevsky's Philosophical Views . .

215

Chapter One. Chernyshevsky and Feuerbach.........

215

Chapter Two. "The Anthropological Principle in Philosophy"

219

Chapter Three. The Polemic with Yurkevich and Others . .

229

Chapter Four. The Doctrine of Morality.........

238

Chapter Five. Chernyshevsky and Dialectics . ....

247

Chapter Six. The Theory of Knowledge.........

253

Chapter Seven. The Beneficial Nature of the Struggle for Life

260

SECTION TWO. N. G. Chernyshevsky's Historical Views ....

270

Chapter One. History and Natural Science..........

270

Chapter Two. Materialism in Chernyshevsky's Historical Views

273

Chapter Three. Idealism in Chernyshevsky's Historical Views

278

Chapter Four. The Course of Social Development . ...

288

Chapter Five. Chernyshevsky and Marx...........

295

Chapter Six. The Last Historical Works of Chernyshevsky . .

305

SECTION THREE N. G. Chernyshevsky's Literary Views ...

315

Chapter One. The Significance of Literature and Art ....

315

Chapter Two. Belinsky, Chernyshevsky and Pisarev.....

335

CHERNYSHEVSKY IN SIBERIA [1913]............

368

II. [WORKS ON V. G. BELINSKY]

BELINSKY AND RATIONAL REALITY [1897] ........

387

V. G. BELINSKY (An Address Given in the Spring of 1898 to Commemorate the Fiftieth Anniversary of Belinsky's Death before Russian

Gatherings in Geneva, Zurich and Berne) ...........

435

VISSARION GRIGORYEVICH BELINSKY (1811--48) [1909] ...

464

ON BELINSKY [1910]......................

505

III. [WORKS ON A. I. HERZENJ

A. I. HERZEN AND SERFDOM [1911].............

557

A. I. HERZEN'S PHILOSOPHICAL VIEWS (On the Occasion of His

Centenary) [1912] .......................

634

6 __RUNNING_HEADER_LEFT__ CONTENTS

SPEECH BY A. I. HERZEN'S GRAVESIDE IN NICE. April 7, 1912 689

IV. [REVIEWS] P. Y. CHAADAYEV. M. Herschensohn, P. Y. Chaadagev. Life and

Thoughts, St. Petersburg, 1908............... 697

ON M. HERSCHENSOHN'S BOOK THE HISTORY OF YOUNG ^RUSSIA. The History of Young Russia, Moscow, 1908..... 716

ON M. HERSCHENSOHN'S BOOK HISTORICAL NOTES. Historical Notes (on Russian Society), Moscow, 1910......... 722

ON V. Y. BOGUCHARSKY'S BOOK A. I. HERZEN. Alexander Ivanovich Herzen. Published by the Alexander Ivanovich Herzen Circle, St. Petersburg, 1912................. 728

Notes ............................ 735

Name Index ......................... 755

Subject Index......................... 774

[7] __ALPHA_LVL1__ G. V. PLEKHANOV AND HIS WRITINGS
ON THE HISTORY
OF PHILOSOPHICAL THOUGHT IN RUSSIA

Georgi Valentinovich Plekhanov was an outstanding Marxist historian of philosophy, an eminent authority on the philosophical thought of mankind and a connoisseur of its finest traditions.

The range of Plekhanov's scientific interests in the sphere of the history of philosophy is extraordinarily wide. His attention was attracted by the pre-history of philosophical thought, consisting of people's pre-scientific ideas at the time of the disintegration of primitive society, and the early stages of its history, namely, the teachings of the ancient Greeks. Plekhanov's works contain an analysis of the philosophical systems of the modern age, the English materialists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Descartes and Spinoza, the eighteenth-century French materialists, the idealists Berkeley and Hume, and classical German philosophy, in particular, Hegel and Feuerbach. His works analyse from the Marxist viewpoint the history of the sociological doctrines of the age of capitalism, above all, the sociological views of the writers of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Enlightenment, the Utopian socialists and French historians of the time of the Restoration.

To Plekhanov's pen belong numerous articles on the philosophical and sociological doctrines of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including works which provide a penetrating scientific criticism of the world outlook of the Narodniks and anarchists, the neo-Kantians and Machists, the god-seekers and god-builders, the ``Vekhists'' and Tolstoyans, the revisionists of philosophy and vulgarisers of Marxism.

As an historian of philosophy Plekhanov never confined himself to the past in his scientific studies. In turning to the history of the philosophical thought of past ages, he not only defended the materialist and dialectical traditions of the past, but, first and foremost, asserted and championed the progressive philosophical ideas of his day, the ideas of Marxism.

A pioneer of Marxism in Russia and an active member of the international working-class movement, Plekhanov devoted many 8 __RUNNING_HEADER_LEFT__ M. IOVGHUK of his works to an analysis of the history of both Russian and world philosophy. He had a profound understanding of the pressing theoretical and political need for a Marxist interpretation of the history of philosophy and of the whole of social thought in Russia. This was all the more necessary because in Russia questions of the history of social thought were the focal point of a bitter ideological and political struggle waged by revolutionary Marxism against reactionary monarchist, liberal Cadet, NarodnikSocialist-Revolutionary and other trends hostile to Marxism. In connection with this ideological and political struggle Plekhanov turned constantly to the history of Russian philosophical, sociopolitical and aesthetic thought, bringing to the forefront the teachings of nineteenth-century revolutionary thinkers, Belinsky, Herzen and Chernyshevsky, in particular, and contrasting these teachings with reactionary ideology, liberalism, idealism and mysticism.

Plekhanov's works on the history of philosophy, Russian philosophy included, are by no means all of the same nature and value in terms of their ideological content.

In the first twenty years of his Marxist activity (1883--1903) Plekhanov produced some outstanding scientific works in which he provided a profound theoretical analysis of the history of materialism, dialectics and progressive sociological ideas from the standpoint of Marxist philosophy.

In 1904--13 Plekhanov wrote a number of works dealing with problems of the history of world philosophy. Some of these works contain errors and shortcomings of a fundamental nature and they bear the mark of the political sin which Plekhanov committed after the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. (1903), when he went over to the Menshevik position. But for all their errors and shortcomings these works of Plekhanov's also helped to assert progressive, materialist traditions and fight the ideological enemies of Marxism.

For all the substantial errors which he made, particularly in his works of the Menshevik period, Plekhanov's legacy in the sphere of the history of philosophy is a valuable contribution to Marxist theoretical thought, which rightly belongs to the international working-class movement and to this day is still serving the cause of the ideological struggle of Marxism against reactionary bourgeois philosophy and sociology.

__*_*_*__

A large and important place in Plekhanov's writings is devoted to questions of the history of Russian philosophy and Russian social thought in general. To Plekhanov's pen belongs the major work on N. G. Chernyshevsky which was published originally 9 __RUNNING_HEADER_RIGHT__ INTRODUCTION in the journal Sotsial-Demokrat (printed abroad) in 1890--92, and then came out in two editions that differed greatly from each other, in 1894 (in German) and in 1909, as well as several articles on this famous Russian revolutionary. Plekhanov produced a number of vivid and profound works on the great Russian thinker and critic V. G. Belinsky (in 1897--98 and 1909--11). In 1911--12 Plekhanov wrote articles, speeches and reviews in connection with the centenary of the birth of the founder of the free Russian press abroad, A. 1. Herzen, the article "Dobrolyubov and Ostrovsky'', and other works about Russian revolutionary thinkers. He also wrote a series of articles and reviews of books about the ``Westerners''---P. Y. Chaadayev, V. S. Pecherin, V. N. Maikov, the ideologist of "official nationality" M. P. Pogodin, the Slavophils I. V. Kireyevsky and A. S. Khomyakov, the Russian historian A. P. Shchapov, N. A. Nekrasov, the Narodniks, L. N. Tolstoy and other Russian thinkers. During Plekhanov's lifetime three parts of his general work on the history of Russian social thought from the time of Kievan Russia to the early nineteenth century were published.

Disproving liberal ``theories'' that nineteenth-century Russian revolutionary thought was ``groundless'' and suffered from " doctrinairism'', Plekhanov established that the Russian revolutionary thinkers, Belinsky, Herzen and Chernyshevsky, in particular, were the forerunners of Marxism in Russia and that Marxism is their lawful heir. "Our present views and aspirations are the organic product of the history of the Russian revolutionary movement,'' he wrote.

In applying the principles of historical materialism to Russian reality, Plekhanov attacked religious-mystical, Slavophil and such-like falsifiers of the history of Russian social thought who presented it primarily as idealist and religious and denied the influence on it of the revolutionary movements and progressive trends in social thought of the West. Plekhanov showed that in Russia in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries progressive philosophical and socio-political thought developed on the basis of Russian socio-historical conditions not in isolation, but in close contact with West-European culture and the revolutionary movement, experiencing the beneficial influence of progressive trends in Western theoretical thought.

In his book The Development of the Monist View of History and in other works Plekhanov sought to reveal this law as a kind of dependence in the development of ideology, philosophy included, in any given country on the social, socio-historical environment of other countries, particularly neighbouring ones. "As almost every society is subjected to the influence of its neighbours,'' he wrote, "it may be said that for every society there exists, in its turn, a certain social, historical environment which influences 10 its development." "The influence of the historical environment of a given society tells, of course, on the development of its ideologies as well. Do foreign influences weaken,'' Plekhanov asked, "and if so to what extent do they weaken, the dependence of this development on the economic structure of society?"^^*^^ In the final analysis, as we can see from Plekhanov's works, the extent of "foreign influences" depends on the economic structure of the interacting societies and is directly proportionate to the similarity of the social relations of the countries in question.

Plekhanov treated the problem of the mutual influence of political, philosophical, aesthetic and other ideas which develop in this or that country and the position of the classes in society, the class struggle. He rejected the schematic approach to the social thought of the different peoples, which ignores the historical features of this thought, and believed that each literary trend, each philosophical idea acquires a shade of its own, sometimes almost a new meaning, in each individual country.

Rightly emphasising, unlike the religious-mystical and Narodnik theoreticians, the ideological community of Russian and West-European social thought and the role of the influence of West-European thought on Russian thought, Plekhanov overdid this somewhat; to use his own expression he "went too far" in the other direction: he did not always analyse the internal process of the development of philosophical thought in Russia, underestimating the continuity of its different trends and occasionally exaggerating the influence of West-European philosophy on Russian philosophy.

Plekhanov's views on the history of Russian philosophy are the reverse of Slavophil and liberal views which regarded the development of Russian philosophical and socio-political thought as a "single stream" void of contradictions and independent of the class struggle. Plekhanov argued that the development of Russian social thought is the history of the struggle of progressive and revolutionary ideas against conservative and reactionary ideas, and that the history of Russian philosophy is the history of the struggle between materialism and idealism. He traces the growth of two tendencies in Russian social thought, the revolutionary and liberal tendencies, and shows that revolutionary social thought developed in the struggle against liberalism. Describing Chernyshevsky's attitude to the liberals, Plekhanov wrote in 1890: "Cowardice, lack of foresight, narrow-mindedness, inertia and loud-mouthed boastfulness---these are the distinguishing features which he saw in the liberals of that time."^^**^^

_-_-_

^^*^^ Georgi Plekhanov, Selected Philosophical Works, Vol. I, Moscow, 1974, pp. 626 and 627.

^^**^^ See this volume, p. 122.

11

Not confining himself to the history of epistemology, logic and methodology, Plekhanov showed that the history of sociological, aesthetic and ethical ideas is an integral part of the history of philosophy. By virtue of the requirements of social life, the attention of progressive Russian philosophical thought was focused on problems of sociology, aesthetics and ethics. In solving these problems of such urgent importance for society, progressive Russian thinkers were thereby advancing the theory of knowledge and logic, developing the dialectical method, etc. In extending the sphere of enquiry of Russian philosophical thought to the study of the development of sociological, aesthetic and ethical ideas, Plekhanov was the first in Russia to provide a scientific explanation of the process of development of the materialist doctrines of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries which "the official science" both then and later regarded as being "beyond the confines of philosophy''. Unlike certain superficial scholars who doubted that Belinsky, Herzen and Chernyshevsky could be regarded as philosophers and sociologists because they had written none or few special treatises on problems of the theory of knowledge or sociology, Plekhanov succeeded in finding some gems of philosophical and sociological thought in the critical and journalistic works of these great Russian thinkers.

In his works Plekhanov showed that the theoretical basis of the views of the Russian revolutionary thinkers of the nineteenth century, Belinsky, Herzen, Ogarev, Chernyshevsky, Dobrolyubov, Pisarev and others, was their ``resolute'', i.e., militant, materialism which, in his opinion, proceeded from Feuerbach's materialism and was its application on Russian soil. Plekhanov was right in emphasising in his works the great and ben eficial influence of Feuerbach's philosophy on the Russian materialist thi nkers in their struggle against idealism and mysticism. He was also right, although not entirely, when he noted that there were some vestiges of anthropologism in the views of Russian materialist thinkers who followed Feuerbach.

But he was wrong in believing that in philosophy Chernyshevsky and the other Russian materialists were merely followers of Feuerbach. He did not show that they had advanced beyond the confines of anthropological materialism and failed to realise that the materialist world outlook of Herzen and Belinsky was an important ideological source for the formation of the philosophy of the "people of the sixties".

Plekhanov's works show that Belinsky, Chernyshevsky and Dobrolyubov provided a theoretical foundation for realism in art, applied philosophical materialism to aesthetics, examined art from the historical point of view and waged an effective and uncompromising struggle against idealist theories of "art for art's sake'', etc. Plekhanov was one of the first to reveal the enormous 12 ideological-educational and revolutionising influence of the literary and critical writings of the Russian revolutionary thinkers. He wrote, for example, of Chernyshevsky's novel What Is To Be Done?: "Who has not read and re-read this famous work? Who has not been enthralled by it, who has not become purer, better, brighter and bolder under its beneficial influence? Who has not been impressed by the moral purity of the main characters? Who, after reading this novel, has not reflected on his own life, not put his own aspirations and inclinations to the test? All of us have drawn from it both moral strength and faith in a better future...."^^*^^

Plekhanov's works on Russian philosophy, including those written during the period of the struggle against liquidationism and counter-revolutionary liberalism, give a basically Marxist, scientific conception of views on the history of Russian philosophical and socio-political thought, which proceeds from Marx's materialist interpretation of history. However, the value of this Marxist, scientific conception was reduced by some serious methodological and theoretical mistakes made by Plekhanov, which manifested themselves mainly in his Menshevik period under the influence of political opportunism. These errors in Plekhanov's views on the history of Russian philosophy made themselves felt most fully in the new edition of his book on Chernyshevsky (1909), in his articles on Relinsky and Herzen written at the beginning of the second decade of the twentieth century, and particularly in the unfinished book A History of Russian Social Thought.

In individual works Plekhanov maintains wrongly that the philosophical thought of economically backward countries cannot exert a strong influence on the philosophical thought of other countries. The facts of history refute this view. Thus, for example, in the eighteenth century Germany, which was relatively backward in the economic and political respects, was the birthplace of the classical systems of philosophical thought, the most valuable acquisition of which was dialectics, which was immeasurably superior to the philosophy of the advanced countries of that time--- England and France---where metaphysics predominated. Plekhanov was also wrong in denying the influence of eighteenth-century Russian culture (because Russia was an economically backward country) on the culture of France and other advanced countries. While experiencing the ideological influence of French, German and other cultures, Russian culture in the eighteenth century also, as the most recent scientific research has shown, exerted a positive influence on West-European science and social thought.

Plekhanov's works on the history of Russian philosophy do not trace fully enough the continuity of materialist traditions in Russia.

_-_-_

^^*^^ See this volume, p 149.

13

He somewhat underestimates the Russian philosophical tradition. "...There can be a serious attitude to questions of method only in a society which has had a serious philosophical education,'' he wrote in Our Differences, "a thing which Russian society could never boast of. The inadequate philosophical education made itself felt with particular force in our country in the sixties, when our 'thinking realists', having established the cult of natural sciences, began cruelly to persecute philosophical 'metaphysics'. Influenced by this anti-philosophical propaganda, Chernyshevsky's followers were unable to master the methods of his dialectical thinking and concentrated their attention merely on the results of his studies."^^*^^ If what Plekhanov says here is right to a certain extent with respect to the Narodniks, who did master precisely the weak, erroneous aspects of Chernyshevsky's social views, it is wrong with respect to the revolutionary democrats, the "people of the sixties'', who followed Chernyshevsky. Fighting against idealist metaphysics, they never engaged in persecuting either the materialist or the dialectical (Hegelian included) tradition of philosophical thought, but followed and developed it.

Another error in Plekhanov's views on the history of Russian thought is that he does not see that the main role in the sociopolitical and sociological views of the nineteenth-century revolutionary Russian thinkers was played not by Utopian socialism, as Plekhanov thought, but by revolutionary democratism which expressed the interests of the peasant masses. While continuing to regard the socio-political views of Belinsky, Chernyshevsky and the other revolutionary Russian thinkers as purely educational, Plekhanov did not attain the only correct viewpoint, that of Lenin, who showed that the revolutionary democratism of Belinsky and Chernyshevsky was of a militant peasant character and expressed the moods and hopes of the peasant serfs.

Plekhanov is also guilty of a number of inaccuracies in his assessment of the philosophical views of the nineteenth-century Russian thinkers, their dialectics in particular. While considering Belinsky and Chernyshevsky, for example, to be dialecticians, he nevertheless made some incorrect statements to the effect that their enlightened viewpoint hindered the development of their theoretical judgments, particularly their dialectics.

If the philosophers of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment in their demands for the reorganisation of society in conformity with "human nature" were metaphysicians in their approach to the phenomena of social life, to man, and the German dialectical idealist philosophers approached social life historically, but renounced the enlightened and revolutionary ideas of the eighteenth-century thinkers, the Russian revolutionary thinkers, for example, _-_-_

^^*^^ Georgi Plekhanov, Selected Philosophical Works, Vol. I, p. 164.

14 Belinsky and Chernyshevsky, by adopting the position of the Enlightenment, were allegedly compelled to abandon dialectics according to the logical device of the ``antithesis'' widely applied by Plekhanov. From Plekhanov's point of view the more consistently they behaved as enlighteners, the less they adhered to the dialectical method, and vice versa. In fact, however, Belinsky's works of 1845--48, when he was a consistent supporter of ``Enlightenment'', were imbued with the revolutionary method; and Chernyshevsky's works of 1859--62, when he placed his hopes on a peasant revolution in Russia and prepared it ideologically, were imbued to a much greater extent than his earlier works with the ideas of dialectics. Their works of this period develop the ideas of revolutionary negation of all old, obsolete customs and institutions, ideas which were aimed against the reactionary views of the ``protectors'', the Slavophils, the conservative theories of the liberals, etc.

Plekhanov himself rightly maintained that the Russian revolutionary thinkers bequeathed us "several ... attempts at applying the dialectical method to the solution of important problems in Russian social life".^^*^^

Plekhanov did not explain, however, that the world outlook of the Russian revolutionary democrats who followed the most important principles of Feuerbach's materialism differed greatly from the latter's metaphysical, anti-dialectical philosophy. The revolutionary democrats regarded dialectics as the "algebra of revolution'', they adopted the historical approach to man, defending not an abstract "man in general'', but the common, working man; they were free from the religious-ethical accretions characteristic of Feuerbach's materialism, recognised the great role of practice in the process of cognition, and so on. Plekhanov failed to understand that the Russian revolutionary democrats, by basing themselves on dialectics and the new discoveries of the natural sciences, went further than Feuerbach in philosophy and developed what was essentially a new type of materialist world outlook, the philosophical expression of the interests, moods and hopes of the peasantry rising to revolutionary struggle.

Reading the 1909 edition of Plekhanov's book on Chernyshevsky and comparing it with Plekhanov's articles on Chernyshevsky in the Sotsial-Demokrat (1890--92), Lenin commented: "Because of the theoretical] difference between the idtealistl and mat[erialistj view of history Plekh[anolv overlooked the practic[all-polit[icalj and class difference between the liberal and the democrat."^^**^^

In the final period of his life, in 1912--16, working on his History of Russian Social Thought, Plekhanov, who was an opportunist _-_-_

^^*^^ Georgi Plekhanov, Selected Philosophical Works, Vol. I, p. 165.

^^**^^ Lenin Miscellany XXV, Russ. ed., 1933, p. 231.

15 Menshevik at this time and later became also a social-chauvinist, was influenced in his views on the history of social thought in Russia by liberal conceptions of the Russian historical process. His unfinished book reflects the liberal theory of "state principles" which asserted that in Russia all initiative came from above, from the government. A History of Russian Social Thought ignores and underestimates the revolutionary movement of the peasantry, which is described as ``anarchy'', ``sedition'', etc. It advances the mistaken view that all the estates and classes in Russia were enslaved by tsarism, that the class struggle in Russia did not shake, but rather strengthened the landowning, autocratic structure, etc. Finally, this book asserts wrongly that in Russia social thought repeated the same ideas and the same questions as in the West, that the development of Russian social thought was explained in the final analysis by the logic of West-European social development.

There are many such mistaken tenets in Plekhanov's History of Russian Social Thought and they testify that in the final years of his life he abandoned Marxist views of history and the views he held when he was a revolutionary Marxist. Therefore Plekhanov's legacy on the history of social thought in Russia must be studied and assessed not in terms of A History of Russian Social Thought (although this contains valuable factual material pertaining to Russian history of the eighteenth century and earlier periods), but mainly in terms of his works on this subject written in the eighties and nineties of the nineteenth century, at the beginning of the twentieth century and during the years of reaction (1907--10).

The essence and significance of Plekhanov's views on the history of Russian philosophy and social thought are not determined by the errors and shortcomings listed above. For many years Plekhanov defended Russian progressive social thought from the viewpoint of Marxist materialism and presented the revolutionary teachings of the nineteenth century, in particular, the ideas of Belinsky and Chernyshevsky, in the light of Marxism.

__*_*_*__

For more than a quarter of a century, beginning with his first Marxist works, Plekhanov wrote with unflagging interest on the world outlook and activity of N. G. Chernyshevsky, whom he considered the pride, glory and adornment of Russian literature. Among Plekhanov's works on N. G. Chernyshevsky pride of place belongs to the four articles under the common title of "N. G. Chernyshevsky" in the Sotsial-Demokrat published abroad, which were printed shortly after the famous Russian revolutionary's death, in 1890--92; and also his Introduction and Addenda for the German translation (and, in part, exposition) of the afore-mentioned 16 articles entitled N. G. Chernyshevsky which were published in a separate volume by Dietz in 1894. In 1897 Plekhanov wrote the valuable work "The Aesthetic Theory of N. G. Chernyshevsky''. In 1908 he prepared a new edition of the book N. G. Chernyshevsky which was put out in 1909 in Russian by the legal Shipovnik Publishers; for this edition Plekhanov wrote a new Introduction and Part One. In 1909 he wrote the article "N. G. Chernyshevsky" for A History of Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature. In 1910 Plekhanov's review of Y. Steklov's book on Chernyshevsky was printed in the Sovremenny Mir under the title "More About Chernyshevsky".

Plekhanov's works on Chernyshevsky are completed by his article "Chernyshevsky in Siberia'', published in the legal Russian journal Sovremennik in 1913^^*^^; this article, which deals with letters and other works written by Chernyshevsky while in exile in Siberia and published then for the first time, introduces some fundamentally new elements into Plekhanov's assessment of the Russian materialist's philosophical views.

In his works on Chernyshevsky Plekhanov speaks of the great forerunner of Russian Social-Democracy with filial respect and gratitude. He says of himself: "My own intellectual development was greatly influenced by Chernyshevsky, the analysis of his views was a most important event in my literary life."^^**^^

Plekhanov's works on Chernyshevsky reconstruct the figure of the great Russian revolutionary and thinker, show him as "a man of uncompromising political struggle" and "a defender of the peasants' interests in journalism" and explain how his views relate to Marx's theory.

In seeking to show the applicability of Marxist principles in Russia and defending them from the attacks of Narodnik ideologists, Plekhanov was naturally bound to adopt a critical approach to Chernyshevsky's teaching, particularly to his weak and mistaken views which were taken up by the Narodniks, exaggerated by them and opposed to Marxism (namely, peasant Utopian socialism, economic theory, etc.). And although Plekhanov _-_-_

^^*^^ The present volume contains the first article, printed in No. 1 of the Sotsial-Demokrat for 1890, of Plekhanov's work N. G. Chernyshevsky, which gives a general description of Chernyshevsky's activity and world outlook, his philosophical and sociological views (the second, third and fourth articles from the Sotsial-Demokrat, which expound Chernyshevsky's political and economic views and his Utopian socialism, are not included in the fivevolume edition of Plekhanov's Selected Philosophical Works). The present volume also contains the Introduction and Addenda written by Plekhanov in 1894 for the German edition of the book N. G. Chernyshevsky. It also includes Part One and the Introduction to the book N. G. Chernyshevsky published in 1909, and the article "Chernyshevsky in Siberia''. "The Aesthetic Theory of N. G. Chernyshevsky" is included in Vol. V of the present edition.

^^**^^ See this volume, p. 377.

17 rightly considered that these views "belong to an age in the history of socialism that should now be regarded as past'', he nevertheless sought to approach them historically, as views which were progressive for their time, but which in the modern age had ceased to meet the requirements of the day.

Referring to the first edition of Plekhanov's book N. G. Chernyshevsky in his article "A Retrograde Trend in Russian SocialDemocracy'', V. I. Lenin commented: "In his book on Chernyshevsky (articles in the collection Sotsial-Demokrat, issued as a separate volume in German) Plekhanov fully appreciated the significance of Chernyshevsky and explained his attitude to the theory of Marx and Engels."^^*^^

Reading the second edition of the book on Chernyshevsky, published by Plekhanov in 1909, Lenin noted a number of passages (particularly in the new introduction to the book), in which Plekhanov takes a step backward by comparison with the article in No, 1 of the Sotsial-Demokrat. Many of Chernyshevsky's theses which gave a biting and apt description of Russian liberalism were omitted by Plekhanov in the 1909 edition, as were his statements that Chernyshevsky warned the public against the corrupting influence of the apologists of the bourgeois order, i.e., the liberals; the forceful, vivid description of Chernyshevsky's struggle against liberalism given by Plekhanov in the 1890 edition was also omitted: "Who does not know that these people [the liberals are the same exploiters in politics as they are in the sphere of the economy, where they belong to the class of businessmen and entrepreneurs? It was for these exploitatory inclinations that Chernyshevsky hated them. And this hatred of exploiters shows through on every page of his political reviews."^^**^^ Also omitted was the passage in which Plekhanov showed the significance of Chernyshevsky's criticism of liberalism for the struggle against liberal trends in the Russian social movement of the late nineteenth century: "What would N. G. Chernyshevsky have said,'' Plekhanov asks, "to the by no means few people here now who, while calling themselves revolutionaries, pin all their hopes on a liberal 'society' and seek by hook or by crook to turn our revolutionary party into a party of respectable and moderate liberals?"^^***^^

All these changes made by Plekhanov in the work N. G. Chernyshevsky for the 1909 edition are explained not so much by the fact that this time it was being published legally in tsarist Russia, but by the influence of the political opportunism and conciliatory tendencies of Menshevism.

In his comments on the 1909 edition of Plekhanov's book on Chernyshevsky Lenin could not ignore the fact that Plekhanov _-_-_

^^*^^ V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 4, p. 271.

^^**^^ See this volume, p. 124,

^^***^^ Ibid., p. 123.

2-02(17

18 had directed his attention mainly to the weakness of Chernyshevsky's theoretical views, to the idealism of his historical views, and had not attached sufficient importance to Chernyshevsky's practical revolutionary activity. With reference to Plekhanov's statement: "Like his teacher, Chernyshevsky concentrates his attention almost exclusively on the 'theoretical' activity of mankind..."^^*^^ Lenin commented rightly: "Pl[e]kh[ano]v's book on Chernyshevsky suffers from the same shortcoming."^^**^^

Plekhanov maintained: "There is nothing improbable in the assumption that Chernyshevsky belonged to a revolutionary society."^^***^^ But he did not give a comprehensive analysis of Chernyshevsky's activity in his works. Plekhanov's writings do not show Chernyshevsky's influence on revolutionary young people, progressive officers and active members of the national liberation movements in Poland and other countries. Plekhanov was of course wrong when, on the basis of Chernyshevsky's critical remarks about the backwardness and oppression of the masses, he wrote that Chernyshevsky "really did not count upon the initiative of the people either in Russia, or in the West" and that "the initiative for progress and all changes in the structure of society of benefit to the people belonged, in his opinion, to the 'best people', i.e., the intelligentsia".^^****^^ True, Plekhanov frequently spoke of Chernyshevsky's faith in a popular revolution and his conviction that "the people is awakening from its slumber and making energetic, although frequently almost unconscious, efforts to improve its lot".

In expounding Chernyshevsky's teaching from the consistent Marxist point of view, Lenin evidently did not consider it necessary to criticise publicly the erroneous elements in Plekhanov's writings on Chernyshevsky, especially as Plekhanov was close to the Bolsheviks at that time in the defence of nineteenth-century revolutionary and materialist traditions.

In spite of the serious errors in Plekhanov's writings on Chernyshevsky, these works played a most positive role on the whole: in them Chernyshevsky was shown as a revolutionary, an outstanding materialist thinker, an ardent fighter for the interests of the masses and as a supporter of Utopian socialism, a champion of the socialist path of development through the peasant commune, etc.

In his early works on Chernyshevsky Plekhanov emphasises the Russian revolutionary's hatred of all forms of oppression, including bourgeois oppression, and liberal glorification of capitalism. At the same time he shows Chernyshevsky as a defender of the _-_-_

^^*^^ See this volume, p. 310.

^^**^^ Lenin Miscellany XXV, Russ. ed., 1933, p. 221.

^^***^^ See this volume, p. 148.

^^****^^ Ibid., p. 187.

19 interests of international democracy, full of ardent sympathy for liberation movements wherever they arose---in France or America, Italy or Hungary. Chernyshevsky hated the liberals who, in relation to these movements, acted as exploiters, using the people's hands to pull "chestnuts out of the fire''. Although, as Plekhanov rightly remarked in the first article for the Sotsial-Demokrat, Chernyshevsky did not idealise the people of that time and did not overestimate the consciousness and revolutionary mood of the serf peasantry, which was extremely downtrodden and undeveloped, he nevertheless placed his hopes, particularly after 1859r on peasant uprisings and also on a very rapid growth of an " extreme party" which was entirely on the side of the peasantry, and believed in the possibility of a peasant revolution.^^*^^

Plekhanov's works on Chernyshevsky give a detailed analysis of the Russian revolutionary's socialist views. Criticising Y. Steklov, who in his book exaggerated the similarity between Chernyshevsky's views on future society and scientific socialism, Plekhanov regards these views as a type of Utopian socialism.

Plekhanov was right in regarding Chernyshevsky as a Utopian socialist, because Chernyshevsky did not connect the socialist, transformation of society with the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat, nor could he have done so given the backwardness of serf-owning Russia at that time.

At the same time Plekhanov noted that Chernyshevsky was aware of the importance of the class struggle in human societies, realised the dependence of people's concepts on their social environment, had a profound understanding of the social conditions under the influence of which the development of philosophical and political thought takes place, etc.,^^**^^ and was beginning to understand the decisive influence of the material aspect of the life of nations on other aspects of this life.^^***^^

``Chernyshevsky,'' Plekhanov wrote, "was able to explain thedevelopment of philosophical thought by the course of the political struggle, i.e., again by the development of the social environment. We also know from his article 'The Anthropological Principle in Philosophy' that any given society and any given organic part of that society considers useful and just that which is useful to the society or its part. Chernyshevsky had only to apply this veiw consistently to the history of the ideological development of mankind to see clearly how this development is conditioned by the clash of human interests in society, i.e., by the 'economies' of the given society. And Chernyshevsky did in fact see this clearly,, at least in some cases."^^****^^

_-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., pp. 118--19.

^^**^^ Ibid., pp. 83--86.

^^***^^ Ibid., p. 274.

^^****^^ Ibid., p. 275.

20

Examining the socialist ideas which Chernyshevsky expounds in What Is To Be Done?, Plekhanov notes the step forward which Chernyshevsky took by comparison with the Utopians of the past: "In these dreams [a reference to the dreams of Vera Pavlovna, the heroine of Chernyshevsky's novel What Is To Be Done?---M.I.}" he writes, "we are attracted by Chernyshevsky's full realisation of the fact that the socialist system must be based on the widespread application to production of the technical forces developed by the bourgeois period__ The emancipation of the proletariat can come about only through the emancipation of man from the 'power of the land' and nature in general. And this emancipation has made absolutely indispensable those armies of labour and that extensive application of modern productive forces to production of which Chernyshevsky spoke in Vera Pavlovna's dreams__"^^*^^ This realistic and profound view of Chernyshevsky's on the future socialist society elevates him above the Narodnik Utopias which portrayed this society in the form of a federation of peasant communes tilling their fields with the plough.

Plekhanov ranked the Russian revolutionary Chernyshevsky among the adherents of modern materialism and believed that Chernyshevsky, "... gifted with a fine, exceptional and very active mind, could have discovered the deficiencies and remedied the shortcomings of his teacher's [Feuerbach.---M.I.} views, i.e., in other words, do what Marx and Engels did."^^**^^ This, however, as Plekhanov points out, was prevented by the unfavourable external circumstances of the life around him.

Plekhanov sought to trace the development of Chernyshevsky's ideas in connection with the requirements of Russia's social development. He was quite right when he said of Chernyshevsky: "Philosophy interested him mainly as the theoretical basis of certain practical requirements"^^***^^ and explained the historically conditioned narrowness of the world outlook of Chernyshevsky, who did not attain the level of Marxism, by the backwardness of serf-owning Russia and the unfavourable turn his own life took. Plekhanov showed that Chernyshevsky began his path at the same point as Marx and Engels---with the transition from Hegel to Feuerbach, but unlike them he was unable to subject the German materialist's ``anthropological'' philosophy to a radical revision and remained a supporter of this philosophy all his life. "The very name of the only philosophical article written by Chernyshevsky points to Feuerbach,'' Plekhanov writes. "Feuerbach was the first to speak of the anthropological viewpoint in philosophy.... For him Feuerbach was not inferior to Hegel, and this says a great deal, because Chernyshevsky considered Hegel one of the most _-_-_

^^*^^ See this volume, pp. 212--13.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 80.

^^***^^ Ibid., p. 226.

21 brilliant thinkers. Thus, the philosophical viewpoint of our author has been found. As a follower of Feuerbach, Chernyshevsky was a materialist."^^*^^ According to Plekhanov, Chernyshevsky, like Feuerbach, directed his attention in philosophy mainly to the question of the relationship of the subject and the object, and he solved this question in a materialist way. He never descended to the level of the vulgar materialism then widespread among naturalists.

In showing Feuerbach's role as Chernyshevsky's teacher in philosophy, Plekhanov is, however, guilty of a certain one-sidedness in regarding Chernyshevsky as an anthropological materialist; he does not see that Chernyshevsky not only followed Feuerbach's materialist philosophy, but also continued and developed the teachings of the first Russian revolutionary democrats, Belinsky and Herzen, including their attitude to dialectics as the "algebra of revolution'', their historical approach to the social life and theoretical thought of mankind, which, as we know, was alien ta Feuerbach's metaphysical system. Plekhanov does not describe in his works the first stages in the formation of the philosophical world outlook of the author of "The Aesthetic Relation of Art to Reality" and does not show that he received his first real philosophical baptism from Herzen and Belinsky, whose articles in Otechestvenniye Zapiski and the Sovremennik had become a symbol of faith for the young Chernyshevsky in his years at the seminary and later at university.

Plekhanov is right in explaining the important role played by Hegel's dialectics in the formation of Chernyshevsky's world outlook; but he is not quite accurate in assuming that the author of the Essays on the Gogol Period of Russian Literature learnt dialectics first of all from Hegel; we know from Chernyshevsky himself that Hegel's dialectics, critically assimilated and interpreted in a revolutionary spirit by Belinsky and Herzen, was first studied by Chernyshevsky in the works of these Russian thinkers and that Hegel in the original was less to his liking than Hegel in the interpretation of the latter's Russian pupils.

Rightly regarding Chernyshevsky as a "resolute materialist" and "an outstanding materialist of the modern age" Plekhanov showed that the level of Chernyshevsky's philosophical views in the serf-owning Russia of that day was such that "you are surprised not that Chernyshevsky was behind Marx and Engels, but that he was so little behind them".

Plekhanov shows that Chernyshevsky was not "Feuerbach's slave" and that he applied "the basic theorems" of philosophy to aesthetics, the ``moral'' sciences, and so on. In "The Anthropological Principle in Philosophy" and in his works of the sixties and _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 72.

22 seventies Chernyshevsky, unlike Feuerbach, begins to see the connection between philosophical idealism and the interests of the exploiting classes. Plekhanov wrote about this in 1909 as well: "... we have the right to assume that he associated the present state of philosophy with the class position of the people who make a special study of it. In other words, it is most likely that Chernyshevsky established a causal connection between the extensive dissemination of philosophical 'illusionism' at the present time and the decline of the social class whose ideologists are, for the most part, the philosophers of our day."^^*^^

Plekhanov does not reveal in his works the connection which existed between Ghernyshevsky's world outlook and the natural sciences and enabled Chernyshevsky to give a basically correct assessment of spontaneous-dialectical discoveries in these sciences and substantiate in his works, although not always consistently, the principle of development as applied to the phenomena of nature. Plekhanov also does not pay enough attention to the fact that the Russian materialist, in expressing the interests of the peasantry which was rising to the revolutionary struggle against serfdom, was freeing himself from the contemplativeness of the old materialism and beginning to introduce the criterion of practice into the theory of knowledge, not reducing practice, as Feuerbach did, to a sensory-contemplative and theoretical activity, but including "people's material activity" in practice as its most important element.

True, Plekhanov makes a certain exception for Chernyshevsky's aesthetics. Here the latter, to quote Plekhanov, "rehabilitates reality" not only in philosophy, which Feuerbach also did, but in its ^application to a special branch of science, developing the principles at which Belinsky arrived in the final years of his literary activity.

In his articles in the Sotsial-Demokrat Plekhanov showed that Chernyshevsky fought against idealism in all its "aesthetic nooks and crannies'', particularly in the solving of general theoretical questions on the origin of art and its significance in life, in the understanding of the aesthetic categories of the beautiful, the sublime, the tragic, etc.

In Plekhanov's works we find splendid proof of the fact that the great Russian critic dealt severe blows to idealism and metaphysics in aesthetics and to the reactionary theory of "art for art's sake'', upheld materialist principles in literature and the arts and showed that art, by pronouncing judgment on the phenomena of life, teaches us how to live, and thereby blazed new trails in art.

Plekhanov frequently showed that Chernyshevsky (for example, in the article "A Criticism of the Philosophical Prejudices Against _-_-_

^^*^^ See this volume, pp. 256--57.

23 Communal Land Tenure'') was a brilliant dialectician. Reproducing in his work of 1909 Chernyshevsky Vdescription of Hegel's dialectical method, Plekhanov rightly considered that "in his [Chernyshevsky's] philosophical views one finds ... the embryo---a perfectly viable one, it is true---of materialist dialectics".^^*^^ Evidence of this, according to Plekhanov, is Chernyshevsky's recognition of the eternal, universal nature of the law of the change of forms, the rejection of old forms and the emergence of new ones, etc. This is also proved by the fact that "Chernyshevsky sees that social being contains mutually conflicting elements; he also sees how the struggle of these mutually conflicting social elements produces and determines the mutual struggle of theoretical ideas. But this is not all. He sees not only that the development of any science is determined by the development of the corresponding category of social phenomena. He understands that the mutual class struggle is bound to leave a profound mark on the whole internal history of society."^^**^^

Plekhanov's works show that, insofar as Chernyshevsky remained basically an idealist in his understanding of the history of society, he could not, of course, reveal and substantiate scientifically the inner logic and laws of development of social reality which lead the latter of necessity to turn into its opposite, i.e., into a new reality. For the same reason he occasionally deviated from dialectics; advancing, for example, the propositions on "man's normal requirements" and ``abnormal'', ``irrational'' social relations, in the spirit of the "anthropological principle'', he deduced from this the ``principle'' of the struggle between "the desire for improvements" and "the force of habit'', etc. The historical limitations of Chernyshevsky's dialectics are also felt in his occasionally unsuccessful application of the so-called "hypothetical method" to the study of certain economic phenomena in their, so to say, "pure form''. In principle Chernyshevsky's " hypothetical method" cannot be regarded as belonging to metaphysics. With the help of this method the eminent Russian economist sought to reveal the essence of economic phenomena, abstracting himself from all chance, in order that the most essential "element in these phenomena of interest to us should reveal its nature in the most indisputable way''. However, in abstracting himself from the concrete historical conditions in which this or that social phenomenon took place, Chernyshevsky occasionally deviated from the dialectical principle of the concreteness of truth, as a result of which these phenomena were examined from the viewpoint of "man's requirements'', as ``good'' or ``bad'', etc. One must not think, however, as Plekhanov sometimes did, that by _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 252.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 277.

24 following the hypothetical method in his economic studies, Chernyshevsky rejected the historical (i.e., dialectical) method. Plekhanov himself in fact refuted this one-sided view of his by showing the brilliant application of dialectics by the author of "A Criticism of the Philosophical Prejudices Against Communal Land Tenure'', an undoubtedly economic work.

The contradictions in Plekhanov's assessments of Chernyshevsky's dialectics are explained by the fact that he often sees the Russian revolutionary mainly as a follower of Feuerbach and does not show the fundamental differences between the materialist philosophy of the revolutionary-democratic trend, whose greatest representative was Chernyshevsky, and the metaphysical materialism of Feuerbach, whereas the philosophy of the revolutionary democrats included dialectics as the basic method of approach to the cognition of the world and regarded it as the theoretical substantiation for revolutionary transformations (the "algebra of revolution''). True, it was an incomplete method, not yet fully elaborated and not always consistently applied, particularly to sociology. Yet it was not one of the possible methods of thinking, including the metaphysical, applied by Chernyshevsky, but the basic method of the revolutionary democrats, which imbued the whole of their world outlook. The viewpoint of the class struggle, the defence of the interests of the common people, and the revolutionary rejection of all old, obsolete orders, was organically inherent in Chernyshevsky, as a revolutionary democrat, and therefore he advanced beyond the confines of anthropologism and metaphysics. It was only the "unfavourable external conditions" about which Plekhanov speaks so often, Russia's economic backwardness and the absence there until the 1860s of a revolutionary workingclass movement, and later the enforced isolation of Chernyshevsky, who was a prisoner of tsarism for more than twenty years, from the revolutionary movement, that prevented him from extending dialectics consistently to the cognition of social life.

Plekhanov's works on Chernyshevsky, as we can see, contain a number of contradictory statements and debatable judgments. But on the whole, in spite of a certain lack of consistency and individual errors in his assessments of Chernyshevsky, particularly in the works of the Menshevik period, Plekhanov gave in his works the first Marxist, scientific analysis of the activity and world outlook of the great Russian scholar and writer.

Plekhanov was perfectly right in believing that before the spread of Marxism in Russia Chernyshevsky's views "were the most important acquisition of Russian philosophical and social thought. And insofar as this thought renounced its acquisition [the Narodniks, for example.---M.I.] ... it regressed in its development".

25 __*_*_*__

Of all the Russian revolutionary thinkers it was Vissarion Grigoryevich Belinsky, who, together with Chernyshevsky, enjoyed Plekhanov's deepest affection and esteem. Plekhanov is the author of a number of works on Belinsky: "Belinsky and Rational Reality" (1897), the speech "V. G. Belinsky" (1898), a long article for A History of Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature entitled "Vissarion Grigoryevich Belinsky" (1909), the articles "On Belinsky" in the journal Sovremenny Mir (1910)^^*^^ and "Vissarion Belinsky and Valerian Maikov" (1911), and an article for the centenary of Belinsky's birth (1911) in the journal Nash Put. He dealt with Belinsky's aesthetic and critical views in the article "V. G. Belinsky's Literary Views" (1897), a review written in the same year of A. Volynsky's book Russian Critics,^^**^^ and also a review written in 1911 of S. Ashevsky's book Belinsky in the Eyes of His Contemporaries.

Plekhanov regarded Belinsky as the central figure in the history of Russian social thought. "...It is high time,'' he wrote in 1897, "that we examined the history of his intellectual development and his literary activity from the standpoint of the concrete views of our day. The more attentively we study this history, the more profoundly we become convinced that Belinsky was the finest philosophical organisation that ever appeared in our literature."^^***^^

Tracing Belinsky's ideological and political development in the 1830s and 1840s, Plekhanov rightly noted that however strongly our critic condemned the people's ``silence'' before base "Russian reality" of that time, he can by no means be regarded as a representative of any anti-democratic trend in Russian social thought;, he "felt a more profound sympathy for the oppressed people than the other members of the Westerners'circle'',^^****^^ i.e., Herzen, Granovsky and others. While rightly regarding Belinsky as a defender of the people, Plekhanov, unlike Lenin, did not see him as a spokesman for the moods and hopes of the peasant serfs, but as a representative of the raznochintsi and a spokesman for their aspirations. However, in contrast to the liberals and ideologists of the "petty-bourgeoisie of the modern age'', such as IvanovRazumnik, Plekhanov certainly did not regard Belinsky's writing as groundless and dictated merely by his "generous heart''. He wrote: "...Belinsky was not only a noble man in the highest degree, a great critic of artistic works and a highly sensitive publicist, but ... he also showed an amazing insight in the formulation, if not in the solution, of the most profound and the most _-_-_

^^*^^ All these works are included in this volume.

^^**^^ These two works are included in Vol. V of the present edition.

^^***^^ See this volume, p. 433.

^^****^^ Ibid., p. 482.

26 important problems of our social development.... Even nowadays every new step forward made by our social thought is a new contribution to the solution of those basic questions of social development whose presence Belinsky discovered by his brilliant sociological intuition, but which could not be solved by him owing to the extreme backwardness of contemporary Russian 'reality' ."^^*^^

Plekhanov shows that even in the period of his temporary "reconciliation with reality'', i.e., 1837--39, Belinsky moved forward and not backward in the theoretical respect; renouncing the romantic "abstract ideal" which had no real foundation in reality, he followed Hegel in proclaiming the need to proceed from reality, to study its contradictions and trends of development. Consequently Belinsky sought for a more real foundation for his idea of negation than negation in the name of the "abstract ideal'', in order to substantiate the "idea of negation" of the old reality by the new reality which grows up logically in the process of struggle on the basis of the old reality.

The backwardness of serf-owning Russia at that time prevented Belinsky from solving this extremely important theoretical task. In the forties Belinsky was not merely an enlightener, but also a revolutionary democrat, a critic of capitalism and a champion of Utopian socialism. And his defence of the rights of the "human individual" in these years by no means limited or restricted the -dialectics in his writings, as Plekhanov wrongly assumed. On the contrary, the principle of dialectical development was brilliantly applied by Belinsky (for example, in the article "The Mysteries of Paris'', and in his letters from France and Germany) not only to the understanding of the feudal world, but also to the assessment of the capitalist world, and led our critic to the conclusion that the capitalist system, in spite of its progressiveness by comparison with feudalism, was transient and could not be regarded as the ideal social order.

Plekhanov was wrong in ascribing to Belinsky views similar to those of the Slavophils; thus, in his article of 1909 Plekhanov wrote that from Belinsky's point of view "the people, that is, properly speaking, the proletariat, is forever destined to remain a passive instrument of the bourgeoisie".^^**^^ Although he realised the progressive nature of capitalist development for Russia, compared with feudalism, Belinsky never placed his hopes on the bourgeoisie, just as he never idealised, as the Slavophils did, the patriarchal backwardness of serfdom.

Analysing Belinsky's philosophical views, Plekhanov shows that the Russian critic went through the school of classical German philosophy which opened up to him, as it did to other thinking _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., pp. 503--04.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 485.

27 people, broad and bright prospects, showing that the power of chance would have to be replaced by the triumph of reason and that necessity would have to become the firm basis of freedom. It was precisely this that attracted progressive Russian people, Belinsky included, to classical German philosophy, to the philosophy of Hegel, in particular.

Whereas in the early years of his enthusiasm for Hegel (1837-- 39) Belinsky interpreted ``reality'' too broadly, equating it with existence, and this was one of the reasons why---albeit for a short time only---he arrived at conservative conclusions, he rebelled against these conclusions already in 1840. Plekhanov explains this as follo\vs: "By declaring himself to be the possessor of absolute truth and reconciling himself with what exists, Hegel turned his back on all development and recognised as reason that necessity from which mankind was suffering in his day. This was tantamount to declaring himself to be philosophically bankrupt. And it was this bankruptcy that angered Belinsky."^^*^^

According to Plekhanov, Belinsky's revolt against Hegel was theoretically well founded only insofar as it was based on Hegel's dialectics.

Having gone through a short period of enthusiasm for Left Hegelianism, Plekhanov writes, Belinsky advanced, like the West-European thinkers, from Hegel to Feuerbach. In this respect also Plekhanov has understood the essence of the matter correctly. But on the whole his idea of Belinsky's philosophical and political evolution is schematic and in many respects incorrect. In the article "Vissarion Grigoryevich Belinsky" (1909) we read: "The first three acts of Belinsky's intellectual drama may be given these titles: 1) the abstract ideal and Fichtean philosophy; 2) reconciliation with 'reality' under the influence of the 'absolute' conclusions of Hegel's philosophy; 3) rebellion against 'reality, and transition, in part, to the abstract point of view of the ' individual' and, in part, to the concrete viewpoint of Hegel's dialectics.

``The fourth act of this drama began with a complete breakaway from idealism and a transition to the materialist standpoint of Feuerbach. But the hand of death lowered the curtain after the opening scenes of this act."^^**^^

Belinsky's real ideological and theoretical development is fundamentally different from Plekhanov's ideas about the great critic's philosophical evolution. Soviet research shows that Belinsky adhered to the philosophy of the French Enlighteners and Radishchev at the beginning of the thirties, during his university period, long before he became a supporter and follower of German _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 420.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 501.

28 idealist philosophy. The influence of Fichte's philosophical teaching with its "abstract ideal" was very short-lived on Belinsky, and this influence did not manifest itself in anything of importance in the young critic. Plekhanov was right in thinking that during this period Belinsky "adopted an altitude of complete and unconcealed sympathy for the French Revolution".^^*^^

During the next stage of his ideological and political development also the Russian critic did not cease to serve progressive ideas directed against serfdom and monarchy. Plekhanov himself writes that "Belinsky reconciled himself not to reality, but to the sad fate of his abstract ideal".^^**^^ But Belinsky's philosophical views proceeded from objective idealism which recognised reality as the creation of the absolute spirit; this view conflicted with Belinsky's enlightened aspirations.

Having become a revolutionary democrat and Utopian socialist at the "third stage" of his development, after 1840, Belinsky sought to overcome, and succeeded in doing so by about 1845, the contradiction between advanced socio-political views and the strong vestiges of philosophical idealism in his world outlook; Belinsky's revolutionary (``enlightened'') position in the sphere of political ideology helped to strengthen the dialectical elements in his philosophical views, and did not, as Plekhanov maintains, cause him to retreat from them.

Plekhanov shows that the "fourth stage" in Belinsky's ideological and theoretical development (1844--48) is characterised by his break with idealism and transition to Feuerbach's materialism. Belinsky's major critical articles, including his last articles on Pushkin, his annual reviews of Russian literature for 1846 and 1847, his famous letter to Gogol, his brilliant reviews of books on history, and his caustic and devastating articles against the idealism of the Slavophils, etc., are written in the spirit of the materialist world outlook.

``Belinsky's articles written in the final years of his activity,'' Plekhanov writes, "contain a whole programme which has not yet been carried out by our literary criticism and which will be carried out only when it is able to adopt the sociological standpoint. This again demonstrates the brilliant power of his intellect."^^***^^

Plekhanov was also right when he spoke of Belinsky's great sociological insight and pointed out that in the latter years of his life, after he had parted company with idealism and turned to Feuerbach's materialism, he "regarded the development of social classes and class relations, not the development of the absohite idea, as the last instance of criticism".^^****^^

_-_-_

^^*^^ See this volume, p. 473

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 407.

^^***^^ Ibid., p. 500.

^^****^^ Ibid., p. 501.

29

Plekhanov frequently said quite rightly that "at the time of his bitter skirmishes with the Slavophils Belinsky was a dialectician to his iinger-tips, whereas in their world outlook the dialectical element was totally absent. Hegel would have called them metaphysicians of the first water."^^*^^

However, deviating from his correct conclusion, Plekhanov considers wrongly that Belinsky adhered to the dialectical view only when he was examining the social development of Western Europe, and adopted the viewpoint of the enlighteners when he was discussing the development of Russia. Whereas in fact in his polemic with the Slavophils on questions of Russia's historical development Belinsky held the viewpoint of the class struggle, which he applied not only to the social life of the West, but also to the history of Russia. Belinsky linked her whole future with Jiopes for a revolt of the oppressed peasantry.

Individual mistakes made by Plekhanov in his assessment of Belinsky's philosophical views and the nature of his materialism and dialectics, however, cannot obscure the main thing: Plekhanov rated Belinsky very highly as a thinker, particularly in the sphere of sociology and aesthetics. Belinsky, Plekhanov said, "was born a philosopher and a sociologist who possessed all the qualities necessary to become an excellent critic and a brilliant publicist".^^**^^ In his review of S. Ashevsky's book Belinsky in the Eyes of His Contemporaries (1911) Plekhanov showed that Belinsky was not only a brilliant man and a brilliant critic, but also a brilliant sociologist. "Belinsky did not make a single sociological study" he wrote. "But I am firmly convinced that---when the dialectician in him was not silenced by the enlightener---he was clearly aware of and even formulated what could then be called the prolegomena of all future sociology that wishes to become a science. In his day only a brilliant thinker could possess such an awareness, and this is why I called him a brilliant sociologist."

Plekhanov's works reveal the important features of Belinsky's sociological views which give us grounds for regarding him as a brilliant sociologist: the dialectical approach to reality, including social reality, as an internally contradictory and law-- governed process, the point of view of the struggle of the ``estates'', i.e., in fact, classes; the idea of capitalism as a progressive social system by comparison with feudalism and of capitalism becoming a system alien to the interests of the people; the idea of the ``negation'' of all old and obsolete social relations, institutions and ideas, etc.

Plekhanov drew a vivid and on the whole true picture of the development of Belinsky's aesthetic views. Thus, in his article _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 523.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 501.

30 for the centenary of Belinsky's birth, published in the journal; Nash Put, Plekhanov calls Belinsky the greatest Russian critic in whose articles we find "the most correct assessment of theoutstanding works of Russian literature''. There too Plekhanov shows that in the final years of his life Relinsky sought, as a result of his study of the development of philosophy, to elaborate a scientific method for the study of literary phenomena. "When Belinsky adhered to Hegel's idealism,'' Plekhanov writes, "he explained the alternation of literary phenomena, as also the whole of mankind's historical movement, by the dialectical movement of the absolute idea. But when he went over to the viewpoint of Feuerbach's materialism, he began to link the development of literature with the development of social relations, the historical alternation of different estates and classes."

After discarding Hegel's "philosophical cap'', i.e., after parting company with absolute idealism, Belinsky, as Plekhanov rightly remarks, "...began to apply the latter's dialectical method [more consistently]. This is particularly apparent in the development of his literary views: they changed mainly in the sense that they became permeated with the element of dialectics."^^*^^

Belinsky now firmly challenges the so-called theory of "pure art'', showing that art is "a reproduction of reality, a replica of the world, its re-creation, as it were''. Now, as Plekhanov rightly remarks, he regards the artist's duty "from the point of view of dialectics, comprehending therefore that the artist reproducing reality is himself affected by it".^^**^^ On the other hand, Plekhanov believed that after Belinsky rebelled against "base Russian reality" his literary judgments were based on abstract concepts that were always noble from the moral aspect and often unsatisfactory from the theoretical aspect. In the article "On Belinsky" Plekhanov describes as a retreat from dialectics the fact that, as an enlightener, the great critic demanded that apart from being an accurate portrayal of reality "art must orient the reader's view of certain aspects of reality".^^***^^

But Belinsky did not attempt to impose on reality or art any preconceived, a priori principles of ``obligation''; art pronounces its judgment on the phenomena of life not in the name of the abstract concepts of ``reason'' and not in the name of categories of "what should be''; Belinsky believed that aesthetic judgments express the point of view of those historically determined forces in society which by virtue of the historical conditions are fighting for the radical transformation of life in order that the old shall give way to the new.

_-_-_

^^*^^ See this volume, p. 492.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 497.

^^***^^ Ibid., p. 549.

31

In the final analysis Plekhanov rated the scientific level of Belinsky's aesthetic views most highly. He maintains that from Belinsky's point of view aesthetics does not prescribe for art ideals which should be realised in art, but aesthetics "must consider art as an object which existed long before it and to whose existence it owes its own existence''. Plekhanov remarks that this "great scientific task which he set aesthetics has by no means been solved yet in its entirety and may only be solved in the more or less remote future".^^*^^

In general Plekhanov understood correctly the essence of Belinsky's aesthetic views, which found expression in his materialist treatment of the question of the object of art, the realism and ideological nature of art, and the unity of content and form in art.

Beginning with his review written in 1897 on A. Volynsky's essays and the book Russian Critics, all Plekhanov's works on Belinsky are directed towards defending the revolutionary and theoretical traditions of the great Russian thinker and critic.

In spite of certain errors in Plekhanov's works on Belinsky, it is thanks to these works that Belinsky first appeared in the history of Russian science and social thought as a great thinker, an eminent representative of the revolutionary raznochintsi, and a splendid precursor of Marxism in Russia.

__*_*_*__

Plekhanov frequently wrote on the world outlook and activity of Alexander Ivanovich Herzen both in the 1890s and 1900s. But he dealt specifically with his views in several works written in 1909--12: "Herzen in Emigration'', an article written in 1909 and published in volume three of A History of Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature; "The Birth Centenary of Alexander Herzen"" (published in the journal Budushcheye in March 1911); "A. I. Herzen and Serfdom" (published in the Sovremenny Mir in November and December 1911); "A. I. Herzen's Philosophical Views" (an article published in the Sovremenny Mir in March and April 1912); a speech by A. I. Herzen's graveside in Nice (April 1912); a review of V. Y. Bogucharsky's book A. I. Herzen (published in the Sovremenny Mir in June 1912); Plekhanov's lecture "Tolstoy and Herzen" (given in June 1912) which remained unpublished during his lifetime, and some unfinished synopses of lectures on Herzen which were evidently also given in 1912.^^**^^

_-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 550.

^^**^^ The present volume contains the folio wing articles: "A. I. Herzen and-' Serfdom'', "A. I. Herzen's Philosophical Views'', "Speech by A. I. Herzen' sGraveside in Nice" and the review of V. Y. Bogucharsky's book A.I. Herzen.

32

Pleklianov wrote on Herzen's socio-political and philosopliical views mainly in the later, Menshevik period of his activity. And this left a strong imprint on the content of these works: the erroneous elements in Plekhanov's views on nineteenth-century Russian revolutionary thought affected them to a far greater extent than they did his writings on Belinsky and Chernyshevsky.

Plekhanov's works on Herzen contain much that is valuable and instructive. In these works, particularly in the article "A. I. Herzen and Serfdom'', Pleklianov showed Herzen's role as a selfless fighter against serfdom and tsarism and as one of the pioneers of the emancipation movement in Russia. He noted rightly that as Herzen and Ogarev lost faith in the nobility, so their belief in the revolutionary potential and strength of the raznochintsi grew.

Herzen defended the interests of the peasant serfs. "When a man belonging to the ruling class,'' Plekhanov wrote of Herzen, "goes over to the oppressed class, he does not thereby prove that he has freed himself from all class influence in general, but only that he has freed himself from the influence of one class and become subjected to the influence of another."^^*^^

In his writings Plekhanov showed that after becoming an Utopian socialist as early as the thirties, at university, under the influence of the ideas of Saint-Simon, Herzen remained a socialist for the rest of his life. Plekhanov was fully aware of the limited nature of Utopian socialism when he wrote: "To the end of his life Herzen persisted in an error that was characteristic not only of Saint-Simon's teaching but Utopian socialism in general. I mean the inability of this type of socialism to make head or tail of the relation between being and consciousness, economics and politics"^^**^^

Plekhanov reveals the basic difference between the revolutionary, albeit inconsistent, views of Herzen already in the fifties and the views of the Russian and West-European liberals on the fundamental questions of social life. Criticising the liberal historians Cheshikhin-Vetrinsky and Bogucharsky who represented Herzen as a liberal, Plekhanov stresses the socialist nature of Herzen's views on society. "...Herzen the incorrigible socialist,'' lie wrote, "could not resolve these questions in the way in which the majority of his temporary admirers would have them solved. And then these temporary admirers turned their backs on the Kolokol."^^***^^

Plekhanov notes rightly that Ogarev and Herzen in their articles from about 1862, in the Kolokol and in other publications, although they addressed themselves to the young nobility, urged it to join forces with and rely upon the peasantry. However, _-_-_

^^*^^ See this volume, p. 560.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 571.

^^***^^ Jbid., p. 600.

33 following his mistaken point of view about the weak revolutionary potential of the peasantry, Plekhanov wrongly ascribed it to both Herzen and Ogarev who, in his opinion, saw the peasantry as "the passive object of the enlightened influence of the educated minority".^^*^^

Plekhanov is wrong when he says in the article "Herzen in Emigration" that Herzen, supposedly because of a lack of knowledge on the part of the people, "does not believe in the historical independent activity of the people. He expects such independent activity from certain strata of the upper classes, from the intelligentsia, as it is now called in Russia.'' And the conclusion at which Plekhanov arrived in his article "A. I. Herzen's Philosophical Views'', namely, that the Russian socialist who took a pessimistic view of the psychology of the class struggle of the peasantry could not help but strive for the reconciliation of the classes, and that this was why Herzen followed the French Utopian socialists in renouncing the class struggle and betrayed the dialectical method of his teacher, Hegel, is totally incorrect.^^**^^

In fact it was precisely towards the end of his life that Herzen became a more consistent revolutionary democrat, an ardent supporter of the class struggle, and a champion of peasant revolution in Russia (which he wrongly regarded as socialist in nature); he warmly sympathised with the West-European liberation movements and, as the letters "To an Old Friend" show, with the growing working-class movement also.

Plekhanov does not attach sufficient importance to the fact to which Lenin paid serious attention, namely, that not long before his death, in the letters "To an Old Friend'', Herzen began to place his hopes on the industrial proletariat of Western Europe and its revolutionary struggle led by the First International.

With regard to Herzen Plekhanov repeats the same mistake that he makes with regard to Belinsky: whereas, in Plekhanov's opinion, Herzen the journalist supported the resolute class struggle against the landowners and tsarism, in his philosophy of history, Plekhanov says, he held the incorrect view that the class struggle played no role at all in the internal development of Russia.

Plekhanov wrongly contrasts the view held by Herzen and Ogarev with the views of the like-minded revolutionary democrat Belinsky, maintaining that Herzen and Ogarev placed their hopes on "the educated class in the state'', i.e., the nobility, and Belinsky on the nobility turning into a bourgeoisie. In fact Herzen and Ogarev, in spite of their liberal vacillations in the fifties, linked their hopes for Russia's future with the peasant movement, regarding the "educated minority'', the progressive nobles and raznochintsi, _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 622.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 669.

3---0267

34 as "a fermenting agent" called upon to rouse the peasantry to fight against serfdom. Plekhanov's statement that Herzen, as a supporter of "peasant socialism'', differed strongly in his views from Chernyshevsky, whom Plekhanov regarded as a supporter of "purely Western socialism'', is also unfounded. In fact the differences between these two Russian revolutionary democrats were primarily tactical, and not theoretical or political ones.

For all the mistakes in his analysis of the socio-political views held by Herzen and other Russian revolutionary democrats, which are connected with Plekhanov's underestimation of the role of the peasantry and its ideologists in the history of the class struggle, Plekhanov rated Herzen's role in the Russian emancipation movement highly. In his writings Plekhanov showed that Herzen was a highly gifted person who devoted his great intellect, knowledge and literary talent to the cause of the emancipation of the Russian people, that "in his person our social thought, forced by the censorship to don the garb of literary criticism, at last strode openly and boldly into the sphere of journalism''. Plekhanov demonstrated vividly and convincingly the role played by Herzen in showing the international democratic movement, which knew Russia as the gendarme of Europe, another Russia, a thinking, suffering and fighting Russia.

Herzen's socio-political views and the whole of his social, revolutionary activity were organically linked with his philosophical world outlook. "His philosophy,'' Plekhanov wrote of Herzen, "was, par excellence, the philosophy of an active man. It is interesting to follow in his diary the impression produced on him by reading the great philosophers. His assessment of their theoretical merits is not always free from error and, one may think, too cursory, but he never errs in assessing (and makes extensive commentaries on) what might be called the active aspects of their theories."^^*^^

In his works Plekhanov advances the idea that Herzen's philosophical views are imbued with dialectics assimilated from Hegel and interpreted as the "algebra of revolution".

Speaking of Herzen's Letters Concerning the Study of Nature, in which the dialectical character of natural phenomena is revealed, Plekhanov writes: "All these extracts may easily produce the impression that they were written not at the beginning of the forties, but in the latter half of the seventies, and not by Herzen, but by Engels. Such is the extent to which the ideas of the former resemble the ideas of the latter. This striking resemblance shows that Herzen's mind was working in the same direction as Engels' and, consequently, Marx's."^^**^^

Plekhanov gives a correct assessment of certain indisputable _-_-_

^^*^^ See this volume, p. 683.

^^**^^ Ibid., pp. 655--56.

35 merits of the philosophical views of the author of the JittersConcerning the Study of Nature, who rebelled against the theological doctrine on the creation of nature by God and against Hegel's translation of this doctrine into the language of philosophy; Herzen entered into an argument with his friend Granovsky who refused to abandon his religious views, etc. Plekhanov noted that in the sixties Herzen "was no longer content with Hegel's and Schelling's idealist answer to the problem of the relation of thinking to being. By that time he must have known well and shared completely the view which the materialist Feuerbach held on this problem."^^*^^

But Plekhanov is greatly mistaken in his interpretation of Herzen's philosophy when he considers that Herzen's philosophical works written in 1842--46---"Dilettantism in Science" and Letters Concerning the Study of Nature---express the viewpoint of absolute idealism. Plekhanov failed to understand that Herzen's idealist Hegelian terminology, his occasionally inconsistent application of materialist principles, and his criticism of the metaphysical limitations of the old materialism, particularly on the question of the unity of being and thinking, by no means characterise Herzen as a supporter of idealism and opponent of philosophical materialism. Plekhanov considers wrongly that the LettersConcerning the Study of Nature are aimed merely against subjective idealism. He concludes mistakenly that the Letters Concerning the Study of Nature abound in idealist deductions and that "each time their author attempts a critique of materialism, he reasons as a staunch idealist".^^**^^

Herzen, however, was right in criticising the old, metaphysical materialism for its empiricism and contempt for theoretical thinking, for the fact that the materialists of the past frequently regarded thought merely as the product of matter, of the motion of matter, and did not take into account the active aspect of thinking, its active influence on being. In criticising, not without some exaggeration, the metaphysical materialists who resolved the antinomy of being and thinking by reducing thinking to being and ignored the active aspect of thinking, Herzen did not lapsp into the idealist extreme and did not attempt to solve this anti nomy by dissolving being in the absolute spirit as Hegel did. Proceeding mainly from materialist positions, Herzen showed the unity of thinking and being and believed that "spirit, thought, are the results of matter and history''. At the same time he stressed the difference between matter and thinking and saw that being and the consciousness of being are in contradiction and that this contradiction is overcome by the reverse influence of thinking on _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 679.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 641.

36 being. Herzen's views in the Letters... were essentially materialist, although a number of his propositions and particularly his terminology were not free from "undigested Hegelianism'', i.e., from the influence of idealism.

Plekhanov did not understand this and arrived at the mistaken conclusion that the monism to which Herzen adhered in the Letters Concerning the Study of Nature was essentially idealist.

Plekhanov was also wrong in alleging that Herzen was criticising not the limited nature of this or that materialist system, but materialism as a philosophical trend in general. He did not see that Herzen, who called his philosophy ``realism'' (which reveals a certain lack of consistency in his materialist views), was criticising not materialism, but the metaphysical and contemplative nature of the old materialism and particularly the vulgarised reduction of thought to matter which was to be found in the works of certain naturalists. Plekhanov was also wrong in believing that insofar as Herzen was an Utopian socialist he deviated from dialectics.

Herzen's works, particularly his letters "To an Old Friend'', his open letters criticising the Slavophil views of Y. Samarin, and others, testify to the fact that Herzen's revolutionary democratism, in freeing itself from the liberal vacillations of the fifties, became increasingly based on the dialectical principles of development, negation and struggle. And this encouraged him to abandon idealism in his understanding of the questions of social development and to approach the viewpoint of historical materialism, to stress the great role of the class struggle, of revolutions, in history.

Plekhanov too realised this when he pointed out that " painfully aware of the inadequacy of historical idealism in elucidating the problem of the relation between thinking and being in the history of mankind, Herzen turned naturally if, perhaps, not quite consciously, to historical materialism".^^*^^

The serious errors made by Plekhanov in his analysis of the philosophical and in particular the sociological views held by Herzen, did not prevent him from reaching the correct conclusion that Herzen exerted an enormous intellectual effort in order to find a scientific basis for socialism, although he was not able to solve this task given the economic backwardness of Russia at that time.

In the article "Herzen in Emigration" Plekhanov wrote: "Herzen was one of the finest people produced by the fine period of the forties. He was inferior to Belinsky in logical power of intellect, but superior to him in breadth of knowledge and vividness of literary exposition. As a political journalist he is unequalled in Russia _-_-_

^^*^^ See this volume, p. 678.

37 to this day.'' In his speech by Herzen's graveside in Nice on April 7, 1912, Plekhanov stressed Herzen's important role in the Russian and international liberation movement and the close ideological link between the new revolutionary generations in Russia and the faith in Russia's brighter future which A. I. Herzen preached. Although only V. I. Lenin succeeded in giving in his work "In Memory of Herzen" a comprehensive and profoundly correct assessment of the activity and world outlook of the great Russian thinker and revolutionary, Plekhanov's works on Herzen. for all their mistakes and contradictory judgments, undoubtedly helped to explain Herzen's role in the history of the Russian revolution, in the struggle for revolutionary traditions.

__*_*_*__

Alongside his studies on the world outlook and activity of nineteenth-century revolutionary Russian thinkers, Plekhanov also wrote on works dealing with the history of Russian social thought that appeared in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.^^*^^

He was the author of two articles on the Russian idealist enlightener P. Y. Chaadayev: "Pessimism as the Reflection of Economic Reality" (1895) and "P. Y. Chaadayev" (a review written in 1908 of M. Herschensohn'sbook). Plekhanov criticises the idealist and mystical ideas in Chaadayev's world outlook and at the same time shows the invalidity of attempts by Herschensohn and other ideologists of the bourgeois-Vekhist counter-revolution to use Chaadayev's teaching as their banner. Plekhanov rightly regards Chaadayev's first "Philosophical Letter" as a forceful and trenchant pamphlet against the backwardness of serf-owning Russia and a highly literary work written from the heart. Without ignoring Chaadayev's theological point of view, which makes itself felt in this letter, Plekhanov rightly remarks that Chaadayev rendered some important services to our emancipation movement. "For instance, to his dying day Herzen had a great sympathy for Chaadayev, and the reason for that was not, of course, because Chaadayev was a mystic."^^**^^ The predominant feature in Chaadayev's world outlook, according to Plekhanov, is not mysticism, but a negative attitude to the reality of serfdom which is as characteristic of Chaadayev as it is of Herzen; he therefore rightly considers Chaadayev, in spite of the letter's mysticism, as a participant in the emancipation movement.

_-_-_

^^*^^ This volume contains the most important reviews of M. Herschensohn's books, P. Y. Chaadayev. Life and Thoughts, The History of Young Russia and Historical Notes, and of V. Y. Bogucharsky's book A. I. Herzen.

^^**^^ See this volume, p. 698.

38

Plekhanov gives a convincing critique of the mystical ideas in €haadayev's world outlook, noting that this mysticism was of a social nature and was engendered by the unsatisfied desire to introduce sense into the life around him and that, in the final analysis, mysticism could not give Chaadayev the satisfaction which he could find only in social activity. In contemporary historical conditions, however, Plekhanov noted, in the age of the revolutionary struggle of the working class armed with the theory of scientific socialism, the revolutionary movement and conscious preaching of mysticism were incompatible.

Plekhanov was also right in objecting strongly to Herschensohn's statement that shortly after the first "Philosophical Letter" Chaadayev changed his views on Russia and drew closer to the Slavophils, speaking of the "advantages of our isolated position''. The series of Chaadayev's "Philosophical Letters" unpublished during his lifetime, and printed after the October Revolution, as well as other works by him have shown that the author of the first "Philosophical Letter" did not cease to be a resolute opponent of Slavophilism and to support the spread of education in Russia and achievements of Western civilisation, etc. Summing up his scientific analysis of Chaadayev's activity and world outlook in his review of M. Herschensohn's book on Chaadayev, Plekhanov demonstrates convincingly the superiority of materialism to mysticism. Mysticism, he says, "did not throw a ray of light, not a single one, on the road that might lead to the elimination of evil. And it could not do so! By its very nature, it could only hinder the discovery of this road, diverting the attention of the highly talented man carried away by it towards a path running in opposite direction to the one which should be taken."^^*^^

G. V. Plekhanov criticised the liberal publicist V. Bogucharsky for his attempt, after joining forces with the mystics and Vekhists, to portray the outstanding Russian revolutionary and philosopher A. I. Herzen as a supporter of the religious-mystical world outlook and the liberal-reformist programme. Liberal "wise men" like V. Bogucharsky, as Plekhanov rightly remarked, did not understand the nature of Herzen's disillusionment with West-European ``philistinism''. Believing that the victory of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie would entail the downfall of the "petty bourgeoisie'', Herzen sensed the unsatisfactory nature of the socialist Utopias and sought a scientific basis for socialism. Refuting Bogucharsky's statements that, after parting company with the essence of his former religious faith, Herzen took something of it away to "the other shore" and retained this something all his life, Plekhanov shows that under the influence of Feuerbach's Essence of Christianity Herzen arrived at a critical attitude to Christianity. "Having _-_-_

^^*^^ See this volume, p. 714.

39 assimilated this attitude to the 'essence of Christianity','' Plekhanov writes, "Herzen certainly could not have been under the influence of this essence 'later', that is, when his reason awoke. Quite the reverse, his attitude towards it was negative."^^*^^

Plekhanov's reviews of works on the history of Russian social thought show that, in spite of individual errors and deviations from the propositions of Marxist philosophy, he championed the materialist world outlook.

One cannot study the history of the Russian emancipation movement and of progressive Russian social thought and understand their indissoluble links with the revolutionary movement and theoretical thought of the West, their role in the ideological preparation of the ground for Marxism in Russia, without turning again and again to Plekhanov's brilliant and profound Marxist works, which record the splendid pages of the history of the Russian people's spiritual life.

M. Iovchuk

_-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 731.

[40] ~ [41]

SELECTED
PHILOSOPHICAL
WORKS

VOLUME
IV

[42] ~ [43] __NOTE__ Decided *NOT* to call these LVL1.

I

[WORKS
ON
N. G. CHERNYSHEVSKY]

[44] ~ [45] __ALPHA_LVL1__ N. G. CHERNYSHEVSKY^^1^^
INTRODUCTION
[TO THE 1894 GERMAN EDITION OF THE BOOK]

Seine Zeit^^*^^

The literary activity of Chernyshevsky belongs for the most part to the time of the notorious reforms of Alexander II.

The Russian liberals still remember the good "Emancipator Tsar" with emotion, they still recite him panegyrics which displease the censors of the present Emperor who, as is well known, regards his father almost as a Jacobin. The writer of these lines does not have the honour of belonging to the Russian liberals. Nor, on the other hand, does he have the slightest predilection for Alexander III. He can, therefore, take an objective look at the reforms of the past reign.

For thirty years the policy of Nicholas the ``Unforgettable'' weighed heavily upon Russia. Stagnation was elevated almost to an ecclesiastical dogma. All life, all thought, all protest was immediately stifled or had to disguise itself beyond recognition. But the Crimean = War^^2^^ changed the state of affairs fundamentally. The bankruptcy of Nicholas' regime was revealed, and the creator of this regime could find no way out of his difficult position other than suicide. Discontented elements, who had hitherto been hiding timidly, were boldly raising their heads. Reforms, or a new suicide, and this time not of an individual autocrat, but of the very principle of autocracy---this was the alternative which history placed before Nicholas' successor. He prudently chose reforms, the most important of which was the abolition of serfdom in Russia.

Slavery existed in this country (under the name of kholopstvo) from time immemorial. The earliest Russian legal codes speak of it. Any poor man who decided to sell himself to his rich fellowcountryman could become a kholop. In the same way prisonersof-war were turned into kholops. But for the time being the slavery was not widespread. Only the domestic servants of the princes, boyars and rich landowners were slaves. When Russian sovereign princes bestowed populated estates upon their servants, this did _-_-_

^^*^^ [His time.]

46 __RUNNING_HEADER_LEFT__ G. PLEKHANOV

not mean that they turned the peasants inhabiting these estates into serfs. It meant only that the state surrendered to the "service people" its right to the income which was due from the estates. The obligations which the peasants had discharged before for the prince were now performed by them for the landowner. But the peasants themselves remained ``freemen'' as before, with the right of moving freely from one landowner to another or from a landowner's estate to a free commune (i.e., one required to discharge obligations only with respect to the state). This system had two important disadvantages.

Firstly, the big landowners, who were strong by virtue of their property and their position in the state, could ensure their peasants more reliable protection and put them in a more advantageous material position than the poor landowners, who were sometimes only slightly better off than their peasants. Therefore the peasants flocked from the poor landowners to the rich. But there were very many poor landowners. They constituted the main ``service'' force of the Muscovite state. Up to the end of the seventeenth century it was primarily from them that the Muscovite armies were recruited. If the state did not want to undermine this force, it would have to forbid the peasants to leave the estates of poor landowners. And this it did, by limiting the right of peasants to freedom of movement at the end of the sixteenth century.

Secondly, the freedom of the peasant inflicted a direct loss on the state exchequer. After the strength of the Tartars, who had surrounded the Muscovite state from the south and east, had been broken, vast expanses of totally unoccupied and extremely fertile soil were opened up for agricultural colonisation. Taking advantage of their right to freedom of movement, peasants flocked to this Eldorado. It goes without saying that they were followed by tsarist officials who imposed taxes and obligations upon them. But this took time, and occasionally, in the circumstances of that day, no little time at that. Decades would pass before the state contrived to lay its heavy hand on the settlers. In the meantime the settlers paid nothing at all to the state, which, of course, displeased it greatly. True, the krugovaya poruka [collective responsibility] gave the state the legal right to exact in full measure the former taxes and obligations from peasants who had remained on the spot and were included in the lists of payers ``(tyagliye lyudi" [tax-paying people]), those present paid for those absent. But bitter experience had long since shown the state of Muscovy that the concept of the legal possibility to exact taxes was by no means the same as the concept of its economic possibility: ou il n'y a rien, le roi perd ses droits.^^*^^ However diligently tsarist officials might _-_-_

^^*^^ [Where there is nothing, the king loses his rights.]

47 extort taxes from the peasants, it was nevertheless impossible to exact from the, say, ten remaining members of the commune the same amount of money, produce and labour (at that time payment in kind still predominated) that it had paid when it consisted in fact (and not only according to a list) of, for example, forty householders. The "state coffers" were suffering indubitable losses at a time when developing relations with the West urgently demanded an increasingly diligent replenishment cf the exchequer. Binding the peasant to the land was the only possible way out of thesituation at that time. The Muscovite state did not overlook it. In the course of the seventeenth century the peasant's freedom of movement was abolished completely. Peasants became serfs totally dependent on the landowners and the state,

But the peasant serfs were legally still not equated with slaves. The peasant "bound to the land" was still not the vocal instrument which the kholop had been from time immemorial. The honour of the total enslavement of the Russian peasant belongs to the great reformer of Russia, Peter I, and the celebrated Messalina of the North, Catherine II.

Peter had to provide Russia with a standing army trained according to the European model, to reorganise the administration, and to initiate the development of trade, a merchant fleet and a navy, industry and education. All this required money, money and more money. And Peter did not stop at anything to acquire money. The ones who paid most for his reform were, of course, the so-called podatniye sosloviya [tax-paying estates]: the peasantry and the poor urban petty bourgeoisie. The immediate economic consequence of this reform was the appalling impoverishment of the people. It goes without saying that Peter could not stop at such a trifle as the final debasement of the peasant serf to the level of the kholop. The consolidation and extension of serfdom was in no way contrary to his plans for reform. Quite the reverse, it was serf workmen who laboured in the factories and manufactories built by him. Serfdom was an inevitable condition of the Europeanisation of Russia. Peter's successors diligently continued his work. For the ``enlightened'' Catherine II it remained only to dot the "i's''. In a decree of October 7,1792 she announced that "landowners' serfs and peasant serfs shall and must be included in the possessions on which, in the event of a sale from one person to another, deeds of purchase are written and conveyed in the chamber of serf dealings with the levying of duties for the exchequer, as on all other immovable property''. The peasant had become a mere instrumentum vocale,^^*^^ which by its very nature belonged to movable, and not immovable property. Peasant serfs were sometimes sold in herds, like cattle, at fairs.

_-_-_

^^*^^ [vocal instrument]

48

Alongside this serfdom became more widespread. Tsars and tsarinas willingly bestowed populated estates upon their favourites. Catherine II introduced serfdom in Little = Russia.^^3^^ The nobility rejoiced, but its jubilation was sometimes clouded by an unexpected resistance from the peasants.

For all his patience, for all his conservativeness, the Russian peasant did not surrender without a struggle. Almost each step of the government along the path to his enslavement was marked by more or less extensive peasant uprisings. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries we experienced real peasant wars (the ``revolts'' of Stepan Razin and Pugachev). True, the more the Russian state became Europeanised, the weaker the relative strength of the people's resistance grew. In the nineteenth century there was not a single peasant movement that could be compared to the ``revolts'' of the preceding centuries. But, in spite of this, peasant uprisings became more and more frequent. There was a particularly large number of peasant revolts in the reign of Nicholas, who put them down with truly bestial cruelty. Official statistics exist of peasant revolts, from the mid-thirties up to the Crimean War. They show that in these two decades the number of peasant revolts increased annually with almost mathematical precision. Sometimes nearly whole gubernias were in a state of ferment, and real battles of peasants and soldiers took place. During the Crimean War it was rumoured that the government would give all peasants who volunteered for action their freedom. This rumour gave rise to much ``unrest'', especially in Little Russia. The conclusion of peace gave rise to another rumour: people started saying that Napoleon III had agreed to stop the war only on condition that serfdom was abolished. The government knew the mood of the peasants well and feared a general explosion among them. "It is better to abolish serfdom from above than to wait for the time when it will begin to abolish itself from below,'' said the Emperor Alexander II.

In such a situation it was natural that the government should fear the discontent which revealed itself in "educated society" immediately after the death of Nicholas. It was better to give voluntarily that which might be taken possibly by force. Thus reasoned the crowned reformer, and thus reasoned most of his favourites.

Only the old "soldiers of Nicholas'', who recognised and knew nothing but the stick, could reason otherwise. The stick had often got the Russian government out of difficulties. But it was also the stick that had got it into the desperate position in which it found itself at the end of Nicholas' reign. The much-vaunted military system of Nicholas' had turned out to be rotten: the officers, and the generals, in particular, were ignoramuses or [49] 099-3.jpg 099-4.jpg bon Stuttgart . 1j. TS>. 1894

Title-page of the German edition of the book N. G. Chernyshevsky

__PRINTERS_P_49_COMMENT__ 4---0267 50 cowards, the equipment was very poor,^^*^^ the embezzlement of public funds in the quartermaster's, artillery and engineering departments had reached the most incredible proportions and was regarded as almost legitimate. Moreover, due to the absence of communications Russia could not make good use at the required moment even of the military forces which she did possess. During the Crimean War the delivery of one bomb from Izmail (on the Danube) to Sevastopol cost no less than 5 rubles. Finally, financially Russia was on the verge of bankruptcy. In 1855 the deficit reached 261,850,000 rubles (income: 264,119,000; expenditure: 525,969,000). In the following year it rose even higher. The government hastily concluded peace. But that was not enough. New sources of income had to be found, new productive forces brought to life. But this was impossible so long as serfdom existed. The rumour circulating among the people had a kind of profound meaning: the emancipation of the peasants really was dictated to us "by Napoleon'', i.e., by the course and outcome of the Crimean War.

Whereas at the time of its birth under Peter I Russian industry could not manage without serf labour, by the middle of the nineteenth century, it was quite a different matter. Now the free workman was essential for its further development. And not only for its development. By the mid-forties voices were beginning to be heard in our literature, asserting (albeit timidly and cautiously, owing to the strictness of the censorship) that the success of agriculture was incompatible with the continued existence of serfdom. This was argued most convincingly by the official = Zablotsky-Desyatovsky^^6^^ in his memorandum which caused a great stir.

During the reign of Nicholas only two railways were built in Russia: from St. Petersburg to Tsarskoye Selo (a small town situated 22 kilometres to the south of the capital) and from St. Petersburg to Moscow. This is not the place to discuss the Homeric thefts which took place during the construction of these railways. We would remark only that the St. Petersburg-Moscow line alone was of economic importance; the Tsarskoye Selo line served merely for the pleasure jaunts of St. Petersburg ``society''. It is hard now to even imagine the difficulties entailed in the transportation of _-_-_

^^*^^ "The extent to which Nicholas' 'changing-of-the-guard' generals were badly versed in the art of warfare may be seen, for example, from the operations at Yevpatoria of General Korf, who, with the enemy in sight, did not set up advance posts and therefore lost batteries and many men. There were also cowards, like General Kiryakov who hid in a gully at Alma.'' (Historical Essays on Russia from the Time of the Crimean War to the Conclusion of the Treaty of Berlin, author not named, Leipzig, 1879, Vol. II, p. 33.) A few years ago the historical journal Russkaya Starina* printed the reminiscences of a participant in the Crimean War who wrote that when the French picked up Russian guns on the battlefields they exclaimed with amazement: "Look what these savages are fighting with."

51 goods along dirt roads from the Moscow manufacturing area to, for example, the fairs of Little Russia. The more production developed, the more pressingly the need was felt for the construction of a network of railways which would cover, at the very least, Russia's most important towns.

The telegraph service was no better. Up to 1853 there was only one optical telegraph in Russia, between St. Petersburg and Warsaw, and that was reserved for the personal use of the emperor. Electric telegraphs were constructed in the following years, but in an insignificant number: in 1857 the telegraph network did not exceed 3,725 versts. Thus, the development of commerce and industry required the most serious ``reforms'' from this viewpoint also.

Nicholas did not permit the founding of almost any private joint-stock companies, particularly banking ones. Landowners and merchants applied to state credit institutions for money. "A Russian-American company, two fire insurance societies, and two or three shipping and industrial companies represented the whole of Russia's joint-stock world,'' says the author of the Historical Essays on Russia quoted by us above. The beginning of the new reign was marked by a real stock-and-share fever. One after the other there arose companies which promised gullible people vast incomes and were designed to cover the most varying aspects of socio-economic life (there was, for example, the Gidrostat company for the "lifting of sunken vessels out of the water'', the Ulei company for the "improvement of the everyday life of the worker'', and so on). Many of these companies went bankrupt, of course, after filling the pockets of their founders. But the very existence of this fever shows to what extent the Russia of that day had outgrown the old forms of her economic life, inherited from Nicholas. For the development of new forms, however, what was needed above all was to remove the heavy weight of serfdom from her.

Finally---and for many tsarist officials this was, probably, the most important factor---serfdom was preventing the government from dipping its hand freely into the peasant's pocket. Taxes were exacted from the serf population through the landowners. It goes without saying that any new increase in taxes, any new burden on the peasant serfs aroused the dissatisfaction of the landowners, undermining the economic stability of the ``souls'' belonging to them. Freeing the peasant from the landowner's power meant increasing the power of the state over him. Direct relations of the peasants to the state gave far more scope to the imagination of the Ministry of Finances, and for this reason alone the government had to proceed with ``emancipation''. Expressed in prosaic terms, the question of ``emancipation'' amounted to the question of who should have the main share of the surplus product (respective---surplus value) created by the serf population: the state or the landowners.

4*

52

The state sought to decide this question in its favour. But for this it was essential to free the peasant with land, and not without land as the landowners wanted. The historical right of the Russian peasants to the land cultivated by them was beyond all question. But the government was not guided by this right in its plans for emancipation. It was thinking only of placing the peasant in conditions which would make it possible to squeeze the largest possible amount of labour (in the case of payment in kind) and money out of him. Landless farm-labourers were not suitable for this purpose, and this is why the government could not under any circumstances agree to the demands of the landowners' party. But it did its utmost to gild as much as possible the pill which it presented to this party. In freeing the peasants with land, it made them pay redemption fees for it which were far in excess of its value. In so doing it, firstly, mollified the landowners, and, secondly, by acting as an intermediary in this operation, it acquired the possibility of pocketing a considerable pile of cash, which represented the difference between what was given to the landowners and what the peasants undertook to pay.

So these were the circumstances which determined the beginning, course] and outcome of the peasant reform in Russia. Let us now point to certain other circumstances which produced certain other reforms of Alexander II and determined their direction.

Firstly, we have already mentioned that the Crimean War showed clearly how bad the Russian military system was. One of the distinctive features of the Russian army was its lack of officers with even a semblance of education. Nicholas himself was aware of this deficiency, but could not remedy it for the simple reason that his whole reign was a constant war with education. In keeping with the spirit of this reign, no importance was attached to the sciences at military educational establishments, everything being concentrated on the pupil's success in the "matter of drilling". But even these poor educational establishments were too few in number for the requirements of the army. As a matter of necessity officers were recruited from the so-called cadets, who had received a "domestic education" (i.e., no education whatsoever) and had served for a while in regiments in the lower ranks. In the so-called civilian, i.e., non-military, educational establishments the situation was but slightly better. Here too the prime concern was to instil a spirit of obedience and humility in the pupils. Access to the universities was extremely limited by the end of Nicholas' reign. The teaching of philosophy^^*^^ was banned in the universities, but the students _-_-_

^^*^^ The fate of philosophy in Russia was always most precarious and perverse; sometimes its teaching was even encouraged by the government, in order to prevent "dreams of equality and wild freedom''. Sometimes, on the other hand, it was banned from the universities entirely, as the main source of dreams of ``equality'' and ``wild freedom''. Nicholas banned its teaching in __NOTE__ Footnote cont. on page 53. 53 were taught ... marchingl It goes without saying that when, after the Crimean defeat, the Russian government found it necessary to "se recueillir"^^*^^ it was compelled to give somewhat greater scope to education. New gymnasia and pro-gymnasia for men were founded, and alongside the "noblewomen's institutes'', where the daughters of the nobility had formerly received instruction, gymnasia and pro-gymnasia were set up for girls of all estates. The rules which restricted the number of university students were abolished, higher technical educational establishments (which had been cadet corps under Nicholas) were finally reorganised as military educational establishments, particularly after Milyutin was made Minister of War; a new era began: square-bashing was almost entirely eliminated (no more than one hour a week was devoted to it), the teaching was intelligent, and the syllabus was extended considerably; corporal punishment was almost entirely abandoned (the "Emancipator Tsar" could not bring himself to abolish it entirely either here, or in the army in general). Nevertheless the main ill was not remedied by all these measures: the reorganised military educational establishments produced a relatively insignificant number of officers, and it was found necessary as before to recruit officers from the cadets who had received a very poor general and military education. But be that as it may these reforms of Alexander II resulted in an enormous influx of young people into the educational establishments, and the young students played a role of considerable importance in the social movement of that time.

For all the importance of the reforms of Russian educational establishments, however, the government of an autocratic tsar would not and could not take the final step of this reform: we did not have what is called academic freedom, the authority of university councils was completely effaced by the authority of the guardians of the educational areas, who frequently had nothing whatsoever to do with "public education''. Thus, for example, in the honeymoon of Alexander's liberalism, in 1861, the Caucasian General Filippson was appointed guardian of the St. Petersburg educational area (Admiral Putyatin being made Minister of Public Education at the same time). Such a state of affairs was bound to give rise to student ``unrest'' which has been recurring to the present day with the precision of astronomical phenomena.

Russian courts of law had long been renowned for their corruption and the judges for their total lack of knowledge of the laws on _-_-_ __NOTE__ Footnote cont. from page 52. 1850. "An end has been put to the seductive clever-clever talk of philosophy,'' the Minister of Public Education, Shirinsky-Shikhmatov, exclaimed in delight in this connection. Some professors of philosophy were appointed censors. This in itself indicates that they had very moderate dreams of "wild freedom''.

^^*^^ [reflect]

54 the basis of which they were called upon to pronounce their verdict. The reorganisation of the court system was one of the most harmless of the reforms undertaken by the government of Alexander II. This reform had the support of everyone except the old bribe-taking judges. But it could be carried out consistently on one condition alone: if the power of the police and of the administration in general, which took the liberty of changing court sentences as it thought fit, were limited. Yet this too the government of the autocratic reformer could not and would not desire. That is why the reorganised court system has remained an exotic plant in our country; it is as suited to the general pattern of state establishments in Russia, as a satin top hat to an Eskimo dressed in bear-skins.

Let us now turn to the last reform dictated by the needs of the age and carried out by the "Emancipator Tsar''. The government saw that it did 'not have enough money to satisfy even the most pressing needs of the state. It resolved to place some of the state expenses on the shoulders of local institutions. Government officials could not have coped with the onerous burden of raising funds to cover local "compulsory expenditure'', besides these officials pilfered too much. Willy-nilly it became necessary to turn to the local population and present it with ``self-government'', which, incidentally, has always remained under the strict control of the administration. In the Zemstvo institutions the predominant role belonged to the big landowners. In order that the predominance of this element did not harm the interests of the bourgeoisie, which was being cultivated then, as if in a hothouse, the Zemstvos were deprived of the right to tax industrial establishments according to their own discretion: for the imposition of these taxes the government laid down a special rate which was extremely advantageous for the big entrepreneurs. In the end, here, as everywhere, it was the peasant who paid for everything: the Zemstvos usually taxed peasant land far more highly than the land of the rich proprietors.

We do not call a reform the slight weakening of the censorship regulations which, in the final years of Nicholas' reign, reached the height of absurdity, including the banning of the expression "free air current" in cookery books. But nevertheless this weakening made it possible for our press to discuss questions at which it did not dare to even hint in the lifetime of the ``Unforgettable''. Under Nicholas the literary activity of Chernyshevsky would have been restricted to the first large article which he presented to the censor.

Such were the most important reforms of Alexander II. How did the different estates of the Russian Empire respond to them?

We had and still have four main estates: the clergy, the nobility, the merchantry (the big and middle bourgeoisie) and the 55 peasantry. The petty urban bourgeoisie constitutes under the name of the meshchanstvo a special, fifth estate, but under Nicholas its rights differed but little from those of peasants who did not belong to landowners. The meshchane, like the ``state'' peasants, were in a state of real serf dependence in relation to the state.

The clergy was and still is divided in Russia into the black (monks) and white (parish) clergy. The highest church dignitaries are appointed only from the monks; persons belonging to the white clergy proceed no further than the office of priest. Vast wealth is concentrated in the hands of the black clergy; the white clergy is very poor. Neither the one nor the other was directly interested in the peasant reform: at that time the clergy no longer had the right to possess "serf souls''. But the white clergy, generally speaking, gladly welcomed the collapse of a system under which the bishops themselves were imbued with a militant spirit and instilled a truly military discipline in the ecclesiastical sphere. Moreover, the enlivening of social life caused by the reforms opened up entirely new paths to the children of persons belonging to the white clergy.^^*^^ In university student circles and even in the literature of that time the ``seminarists'' (the children of the clergy) played a most outstanding and most radical role.

The interests of the nobility were fundamentally affected by the ``emancipation'' of the peasants. Only the most ignorant and backward landowners were actually opposed to the abolition of the archaic institution of serfdom. But for all of them the question of under what conditions this abolition was to take place was of cardinal importance. The landowners' party supported, as already mentioned, the emancipation of the peasants without land, to which the government could not agree. Hence the oppositional mood of the nobility. "The tsar's big crown is made up of our small crowns; by breaking our crowns the tsar breaks his own,'' said the landowners. The majority repeated these words like a malicious prophecy. But among the nobility was a liberal minority which did not object to the emancipation of the peasants in accordance with the government's plan but wanted to bring "all the rest of the Russian State into harmony with the revolution which has been effected, and for this, after revealing with a merciless hand all the disgraces of our administration, courts, finances, etc., to demand the convocation of the Zemsky Sobor [Assembly of the Land], as the sole salvation of Russia, in a word, to show the government that it must continue the work which it has begun".^^**^^ In February 1862 the Noblemen's Assembly of the Tver Gubernia pronounced itself in favour of the convocation of the _-_-_

^^*^^ As we know, in Russia celibacy is not only not required of the white clergy, butjquite the reverse, persons belonging to it are required to marry.

^^**^^ From I. S. Turgenev's letter of October 8, 1862 to Herzen.

56 Zemsky Sobor in an address to the emperor. Drafts of similar addresses circulated among the nobility in other gubernias as well. There was even the idea of a joint address signed by persons from different estates. The government had little difficulty in crushing the constitutional desires of the nobility. The slaves emancipated by it would have reduced to nothing all the efforts of their former slave-owners at a word from it.

The merchantry---the middle and big bourgeoisie---greeted all the "Emancipator's" reforms joyfully. It sensed that now its time was coming, and was not disposed in the slightest towards opposition.

About the mood of the peasantry at the time of the Crimean War we have already spoken above. Until the government proceeded with the abolition of serfdom, a constant growth and strengthening of peasant unrest could be expected. But when the work of ``emancipation'' had already commenced, the peasants patiently awaited its conclusion. The whole question was how they would react to the ``freedom'' which the government granted them. What if they were to demand a different, fuller freedom? It was this that the tsar, officials and nobles feared, and it was upon this that the revolutionaries of that time reckoned.

The revolutionary party of that time was recruited primarily from the so-called raznochintsi [non-gentry]. What is a raznochinets? In order to understand the derivation of this word, one must remember that in Russia the rights of the estates are hereditary only among the nobility, meshchanstvo and peasantry. As we know, the ``rights'' of the latter are to this day very similar to a total lack of rights. But this does not change matters. The son of a peasant, no matter what he engages in, remains a peasant, unless he receives a ``rank'' in state service or is ``registered'' as a merchant---which anyone can be who possesses enough money to pay for a guild certificate---or unless he is ``registered'' with the meshchanstvo of this or that town. Likewise the son of a nobleman^^*^^ remains a nobleman, even if he ploughs the land or becomes a footman. This is not the case with persons belonging to the estates of the clergy and the merchantry. The son of a merchant remains a merchant only if he pays for a guild certificate. Otherwise he joins the ranks of the raznochintsi. Children of the clergy who do not elect to follow in their fathers' footsteps also join the raznochintsi. The meshchanstvo's lack of rights is just as hereditary as the nobility's rights. But the diversity of occupations of the meshchanstvo brings the people of this ``estate'' close to the raznochintsi. The raznochintsi are de facto all people whose activity does not come within the framework of the estates.

_-_-_

^^*^^ True, there are still ``personal'' noble officials in Russia. But the very term shows that their rights are not hereditary.

57

The raznochintsi stratum has always been large in number. Without it many functions of the state machine and the so-called public works would be impossible. But in the pre-reform period the raznochinets was very humble and extremely uneducated. Everywhere and always he had to give way to persons who possessed the rights of the higher estates. The reforms which followed the defeat of Sevastopol and engendered new social relations, created a position for the raznochinets. Now, as an engineer, barrister or doctor, he could ensure himself a position at least far more enviable than that of a rural junior deacon, for example. The raznochintsi flocked to the educational establishments, where the children of the impoverished small landowning nobility were also speeding.

The educated raznochinets did not possess the social gloss of the nobleman. He did not know foreign languages, and his literary education left a great deal to be desired. But he had at least one indisputable advantage over the idle nobility: compelled from early youth to wage a fierce battle for existence, he was incomparably more energetic. This quality of the raznochinets has occasionally given the Russian people a great deal of trouble and still does. The raznochinets official fights the "spirit of freedom" far more determinedly than an official from the nobility. The raznochinets landowner is more skilled at exploiting the poor peasant than a ``lord'' of the old type. But the same raznochinets fights the government far more determinedly and effectively when he adopts a negative attitude towards it. And he adopts such an attitude very often. Beaumarchais' Figaro says that rien que pour exister^^*^^ he had to use more wit than it took to govern all the Spains (pour gouverner toutes les Espagnes). The same might be said of himself by the Russian raznochinets, who moreover is dealing with a government far more despotic and unceremonious than a French government of the good old days. A man of "free profession'', he needs freedom above all else, yet everywhere he encounters the unrestricted arbitrariness of the police. It is not surprising that the "negative trend" finds the most rewarding soil among the raznochintsi, and their ``negation'' is not limited to the witty, superficial backbiting characteristic of the nobleman. The elegant, well-educated and liberal nobleman Turgenev was right in calling him a ``nihilist'': he really does not stop at anything in his negation, which proceeds swiftly from words to deeds. The educated raznochinets is the herald of the new Russia, who has declared war on the old system and assumed the role of the first tirailleur in this merciless battle to the death.

Up to the end of the seventies the history of the Russian revolutionary movement was primarily the history of the struggle with _-_-_

^^*^^ [just in order to exist]

58 tsarism by this stratum of the population of Russia. Now new forces are coming to the aid of the raznochinets; now the battle is gradually being joined by the working class, the proletarians of physical labour, who are becoming increasingly numerous and already beginning to be aware of their political task.^^*^^ But at the time in question the fighters of this kind were still in statu nascendi^^**^^ in the full meaning of the word. They were not yet to be reckoned with, not yet to be counted upon. The raznochinets had to begin and conduct the struggle, as best he could, with his own forces.

Let us see under the banner of which ideas the liberation movement in Russia began. In the reign of Nicholas our literature dared not touch upon political and social questions. It confined itself of necessity to "belles lettres" and its criticism. In both belles lettres and criticism it went a very long way. At that time our Lessing---Belinsky---was in action, Gogol was writing his immortal works, our finest novelists had emerged and matured. To this day everything of distinction that is produced in our elegant literature and criticism stems from the literary heritage of the forties. But whereas our literary maturity was already beyond all question by that time, our political maturity was still a thing of the future. Socio-political questions were touched upon almost exclusively in the bitter dispute of the Slavophils and the Western- = ers^^6^^ about whether or not Russia should follow the path of European development. The Westerners said that she should, the Slavophils argued that she should not and that Russia should create her own special civilisation under the aegis of a GraecoRussian God and a purely Russian tsar. The subject of the dispute was most important; it produced many brilliant articles rich in content; but its final solution was impossible, firstly, because the censor did not allow the disputers to go further than the vaguest hints, and secondly---and this is most important---because neither side possessed the factual material necessary for proper elucidation of the question under dispute.

Progressive Russian people of Nicholas' day proceeded in their literary and political judgments from the philosophy of Hegel. For a certain time the famous German thinker was as much of an autocrat in Russia as the St. Petersburg Emperor. The difference was merely that Hegel's autocratic power was recognised only in philosophical circles which were small and few in number, whereas the power of Nicholas spread "from the cold Finnish cliffs to fiery = Colchis".^^7^^ It must be admitted that sometimes the Russians suffered more from Hegel than from Nicholas. The poorly understood, or, rather, completely misunderstood _-_-_

^^*^^ See P. Axelrod's excellent article ``Das politische Erwachen'', etc.

^^**^^ [in a state of being born]

59 teaching about the rational nature of all reality was something in the nature of the gendarmes corps instituted by Nicholas. But Nicholas' gendarmes could be hated, it was permissible to deceive them. How could a Russian Hegelian bring himself to deceive the spiritual gendarme appointed to keep watch over him, as he thought, by his voluntarily elected teacher? This was a real tragedy which ended in a revolt against ``metaphysics'' in general and Hegel in particular.

Russian ``reality''---serfdom, despotism, the all-powerful police, the censorship, and so on, and so forth---seemed foul, unjust, intolerable to progressive people of Nicholas' day. They remembered with involuntary sympathy the then recent attempt of = the Decembrists^^8^^ to change this reality for the better. Yet they themselves---at least the most talented of them---were no longer content with either the abstract negation of the 18th century or the arrogant, egoistical, limited negation of the Romantics. Thanks to Hegel they had become far more exacting. They knew that history was a law-governed process, that the individual was quite helpless in situations when he came into conflict with the laws of social development. They said to themselves: prove the rational nature of your negation, find justification for it in the unconscious course of social development, or abandon it as a personal whim, a childish caprice. But to justify theoretically the negation of Russian = reality^^9^^ (by the inner laws of its own development meant to solve a problem which was beyond even Hegel's ability. Take, for example, Russian serfdom. To justify its negation meant to prove that it negated itself, i.e., that it no longer satisfied the social needs by virtue of which it had at one time come into being. But to what social needs did Russian serfdom owe its appearance? To the economic needs of a state which would have died of exhaustion without the serf peasant. Consequently, it was a matter of proving that in the nineteenth century serfdom had already become too poor a means for satisfying the economic needs of the state; that, far from satisfying them any longer, it was a direct obstacle to their satisfaction. All this was proved later in the most convincing way by the Crimean War. But, we repeat, Hegel himself would not have been capable of proving that theoretically. According to the direct meaning of his philosophy the conclusion was that the causes of any given society's historical development have their roots in its internal development. This correctly indicated the most important task of social science. But Hegel himself contradicted, and could not but contradict, this profoundly correct view. An ``absolute'' idealist, he regarded the logical qualities of the ``idea'' as the principal cause of any development. Thus the qualities of the idea turned out to be the radical cause of historical movement. And every time a great historical question towered before him, Hegel referred first of all to these qualities. 60 But to refer to them meant to leave the ground of history and voluntarily to deprive himself of any possibility of finding the actual causes of historical movement. As a man of tremendous and truly brilliant intelligence, Hegel himself felt that there was something wrong and that, properly speaking, his explanations explained nothing. Therefore, paying due tribute to the ``idea'', he hastened down to the concrete ground of history to seek the real causes of social phenomena no longer in the qualities of ideas, but in the ideas themselves, in the very phenomena that he was investigating at the time. In so doing he often made surmises that were truly brilliant (noting the economic causes of historical movement). But these surmises of genius were all the same no more than surmises. Having no firm systematic basis, they played no serious role in the historical views of Hegel and the Hegelians. That is why, at the time they were pronounced, hardly any attention was paid to them.

The great task pointed out by Hegel to the social science of the nineteenth century remained unfulfilled; the real, internal causes of the historical movement of humanity remained undiscovered. And it goes without saying that it was not in Russia that the man capable of finding them could appear. Social relationships in Russia were too underdeveloped, social stagnation held too tight a hold on the country for these unknown causes to emerge on the surface of social phenomena in Russia. They were found by Marx and Engels in the West, under completely different social conditions. But this did not happen till some time later, and during the period of which we are speaking the Hegelian negators there, too, became involved in the contradictions of idealism. After all that we have said, it is easy to understand why the young Russian followers of Hegel began by completely reconciling themselves with Russian ``reality'', which, to tell the truth, was so infamous that Hegel himself would never have recognised it as ``reality''; unjustified theoretically, their negative attitude to it was deprived in their eyes of any reasonable right to existence. Renouncing it, they selflessly and disinterestedly sacrificed their social strivings to philosophical honesty. But on the other hand, reality itself saw to it that they were forced to retract their sacrifice. An hourly and daily eyesore to them by its infamy, it forced them to aspire to negation at any cost, i.e., even to negation not founded on any satisfactory theoretical basis. And, as we know, they yielded to the insistence of reality), they adopted a hostile attitude to it, no longer enquiring whether or not this was consistent with the spirit of Hegelian philosophy. The Russian Hegelians revolted against their teacher and proceeded to pour ridicule on his " philosophical = cap"^^10^^ until recently so venerable in their eyes. This revolt, in the circumstances of the time, was undoubtedly a most praiseworthy affair. But it must not be forgotten that, in 61 revolting against Hegel, our progressive people were lowering the level of their theoretical requirements, that they had renounced the idea of justifying their negation by the objective course of social development and were contenting themselves with the fact that this

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Page one of the Russian original of the Introduction to the German edition of the book TV. G. Chernyshevsky

negation coincided with their own mood. Thus, the opponents of Russian ``reality'' adopted the Utopian point of view, to which very many Russian revolutionaries adhered firmly after them. Only now, under the influence of an acquaintance with the 62 writings of Marx and Engels, is a certain movement towards scientific socialism to be detected in Russia. At the time in question, i.e., the beginning of the reign of Alexander II, even the most talented representatives of revolutionary thought in Russia did not go and could not have gone further than Utopian socialism.

As we know, Utopian socialism was quite incapable of setting any definite political tasks whatsoever for the proletariat, which it saw only as an oppressed and suffering mass, unable to take its affairs into its own hands. Politically this was the weakest aspect of Utopian socialism, which stands out most clearly in the history of the whole socialist movement in its pre-Marxian period. In Russia this weak aspect of Utopian socialism showed itself in the fact that its supporters were constantly vacillating in their attitude to tsarism and still are. Sometimes they thought they should "let the dead bury their dead" and concern themselves only with the realisation of their more or less socialist ``ideals'', ignoring everything that bore even the slightest resemblance to " politics''. Sometimes, on the contrary, they dreamed of "purely political" conspiracies, calming their socialist conscience with the idea that the Russian ``people'' always was and always would be a "born communist" even without socialist propaganda. This pleasant conviction was supported by the existence in Russia of the village commune with its periodic re-allotment of land, which was discovered---after being pointed out by the Slavophils, incidentally---by the German Haxthausen.

``The materialist doctrine that men are products of circumstances and upbringing, and that, therefore, changed men are products of other circumstances and changed upbringing,'' wrote Marx in the spring of 1845, "forgets that it is men who change circumstances and that the educator must himself be educated. Hence, this doctrine is bound to divide society into two parts, one of which is superior to society (in Robert Owen, for = example)."^^11^^ The Russian supporters of Utopian socialism were constantly putting themselves above society in their programmes, as a result of which they suffered many failures and disappointments.

The reader will understand that the words of Marx's quoted by us relate not to modern dialectical materialism, which is closely connected with the name of Marx himself, but to old, metaphysical materialism, which was unable to take an historical view of both nature and social relations. This materialism began to spread very widely in Russia at the end of the fifties. The names of Karl Vogt, Biicnner, and Moleschott acquired a most revered renown, whereas the names of the German idealist philosophers became synonymous with all manner of reaction. Hegel in particular now aroused the animosity of the "thinking proletariat" of Russia. However, this was the extreme, to which the most educated representatives of the above-mentioned ``proletariat'' did not go. People 63 who were familiar with the history of German philosophy continued to respect the great thinker in Hegel, although they were now very far from admiring his philosophy. For such people the main authority in philosophy was Feuerbach at that time. Feuerbach is incomparably higher than Vogt or Moleschott. He instinctively sensed the defects of the materialism advocated by them. But he could not overcome these defects critically. He did not reach the dialectical view of nature and society. "He takes his start from man; but there is absolutely no mention of the world in which this man lives; hence this man remains always the same abstract man who occupied the field,in the philosophy of religion. For this man is not born of woman; he issues, as from a chrysalis, from the god of the monotheistic religions. He therefore does not live in a real world historically come into being and historically determined. True, he has intercourse with other men, however, each one of them is just as much an abstraction as he himself."^^*^^ Clearly it was not the philosophy of Feuerbach which could reveal to the educated Russian raznochinets of the late fifties the weak aspect of Utopian socialism. At that time no one in Russia had advanced beyond Feuerbach. The historical views of Marx and Engels were still entirely unknown there. Darwin's work on the origin of the species was translated into Russian shortly after the English original = appeared.^^13^^ But "thinking proletarians" used it [Darwin's theory] exclusively as a weapon in the struggle with religious superstition. It did not eliminate the one-sidedness of the metaphysical materialism which has taken root deeply and for many years to come in the heads of "thinking proletarians''. We would note, finally, that the economic knowledge not only of the reading Russian public, but also of the most educated Russian writers of the forties was extremely limited. Belinsky never touched upon economic questions in his articles, and Herzen died believing that Proudhon was a great economist. In the early sixties political economy became a positively fashionable science in Russia. But enthusiasm was no substitute for positive information, and the first steps of this science were necessarily directed towards utopianism.

Engels says somewhere that German socialists of the Utopian period were helped by ``love'' to overcome all manner of theoretical difficulties. Love rendered many services of this nature to Russian "thinking proletarians" as well. Where ``love'' was of no avail, a helping hand was provided by that abstract ``reason'' which is a distinctive feature of all periods of enlightenment ( Aufklarungsperioden). From the viewpoint of this reason the most confused social questions were solved very easily and quickly. Pushkin writes that he knew a highly-placed elderly Russian noblewoman _-_-_

^^*^^ F. Engels, Ludwig Feuerbach, p. 29 of the Russian = translation.^^12^^

64 who in her youth had seen the famous French revolutionary Romme. "C'etait une forte tete,'' she said, "un grand raisonneur; il vous aurait rendu claire 1'apocalypse."^^*^^ Our enlighteners of the beginning of the reign of Alexander II were also such "fortes tetes" and "grands raisonneurs''. They would have explained the apocalypse just as well as Romme and, like him, would never have thought of regarding it from an historical point of view.

__*_*_*__

Such was the historical environment in which N. G. Chernyshevsky lived and acted. Let us now see how he lived, and, most important, how he acted.

_-_-_

^^*^^ [``He was a clever man, a great philosopher; he could have explained the apocalypse to you."]

[65] __ALPHA_LVL1__ N. G. CHERNYSHEVSKY
[1890] __ALPHA_LVL2__ [introduction.] __NOTE__ Following quote goes inbetween two LVL headers.

``My life and yours belong to history', hundreds of years will pass and our names will still be dear to people, who will recall them with gratitude when those who lived with us are no more.

(From Chernyshevsky's letter to his wife written on October 5, 1862 in the Fortress of SS Peter and Paul.)

Nikolai Gavrilovich Ghernyshevsky died on October 17, 1889. Our ``legal'' publications accompanied him to the grave with a few brief and chilly obituaries. These obituaries marked the end of the literary wake for a writer whose activity constituted a whole epoch in the history of our literature. Having said two or three words about him in a timid, stammering voice, our ``independent'' press---we shall not speak here of the ``protective'' press---appears to have forgotten all about him, as if it were in a hurry to move on to more interesting subjects. From the point of view, for example, of the foreigner who knows Russian and is familiar with Russian literature this would probably have seemed very strange. True, praise the Lord, we no longer have a single journal which could bo called fully sympathetic with the aspirations and views of the late Chernyshevsky. Russian thought has advanced so far by comparison with the late fifties and early sixties, and we have now become so sober, moderate and prudent, that the celebrated author of the novel What Is To Be Done? may seem to us no more than a gifted, but too impractical and even somewhat dangerous dreamer. Now we know that what needs to be done is by no means what Chernyshevsky wished to do. He discussed socialist themes, but we think it enough to defend the self-ruination of the Zemstvo and save the tail-end of the village commune from the kulak's teeth. Thus, made wise by experience, we have become appeased. But this is not all. The main thing is that now we do things (when we do anything) quite differently from the way in which Chernyshevsky did. We hasten slowly, and he does not appear to have heard of this wise rule. He occasionally took such incautious steps, permitted himself such thoughtlessly bold expressions, that the mere recollection of them now, after almost thirty years have elapsed, is enough to give a sober, prudent, liberal or moderately radical ``so-and-so'' a touch of the fever. All this is so, all this is beyond question. But one does not need to share a writer's views and aspirations totally in order to devote a few quires in a journal to an

5---0267

66 appreciation of his activity. For this it is sufficient to know that in his time, for this or that reason, he played an important rolein literature. What liberal ``so-and-so'' could approve of Katkov's views? Yet was not a great fuss made of him after his death? Or,, perhaps, the activity of Mikhail Nikiforovich Katkov deserves more attention than the activity of Nikolai GavrilovichChernyshevsky? Have we really become so prudent as to think such things?

The explanation is far more simple. Nikolai Gavrilovich Chernyshevsky was the victim of the most malicious, most relentless persecution by the government. Speaking of victims, our " independent" press, for all its well-tried prudence, cannot help but utter a few bitter truths to the butchers. Yet since the censor's ferula is in the hands of these very butchers, it is not surprising that our periodical publications have thought it better to avoid the ticklish subject altogether. "Don't fight the strong,'' says thewisdom of our people, and in this case the wisdom of the Russian press agrees with it entirely.

But one cannot help regretting the coincidence of these two wisdoms. It would be instructive to compare the present age and the age gone past and show the reader plainly, by an analysis of Chernyshevsky's works, how far we are now from the false doctrines of this socialist and revolutionary. Having convinced himself of this, the reader would once more thank heaven for the rapid development of Russian social thought.

We who write abroad are touched only indirectly by the censor's ferula, through the intermediacy of various diplomatic ``pressures''. Moreover the very reason why we write abroad is that we have not yet managed to acquire a sufficient degree of prudence and we persist in thinking there is nothing wrong with occasionally giving battle to the strong and reminding the butchers of their victims. This is why we have considered it our duty in the very first issue of our journal to give as far as possible a full and impartial assessment of the literary activity of N. G. = Chernyshevsky.^^14^^" Pleasant as the performance of this duty was for us, it was also by no means easy. We make no mention of the inadequacy of our powers for such an important matter. This goes without saying. But, furthermore, we would ask the reader to remember that there is still no full collection of Chernyshevsky's works. The articles by him which have been published abroad (by Mr. Elpidin and in part by Mr. Zhemanov) do not constitute even half of what he has written. Consequently we were compelled to turn to the original source, i.e., to the journal = Sovremennik^^15^^ to which Nikolai Gavrilovich contributed for the main part. Everyone knows that it is no easy matter to obtain old Russian journals abroad. We have been able to overcome this difficulty only partially. We could not obtain the Sovremennik for some of the years in which Chernyshevsky wrote for it. On reading those issues of 67 it which we did manage to obtain, we encountered a new difficulty. Very many of Chernyshevsky's articles---all those in the sections "new books'', ``politics'' and ``literature'' (Russian and foreign)--- were printed without a signature. We were therefore obliged to combine the work of a critic with that of a bibliographer and to read unsigned articles with the aim of determining from the language and methods of exposition the likelihood of their belonging to N. G. Chernyshevsky. Obviously doubts and even errors were possible here. However distinctive Chernyshevsky's literary manner is and however easy it is for anyone who has read carefully even a few of his works to recognise his style, with respect to certain articles we could not decide whether they belonged to him or to someone else. In general we have avoided references to doubtful articles of this kind. Only in one case, which is indicated in the appropriate place, did we decide to deviate from this rule, referring to an article which may not, in fact probably does not, belong to our author, but which is extremely important for an assessment of the views of the Sovremennik circle on the social question. All the other articles quoted by us are undoubtedly written by Chernyshevsky, as anyone who takes the trouble to read them will see without difficulty.

After this essential, but not very interesting reservation we could, it would seem, get on with the business. But, as ill-luck would have it, another reservation presents itself to us. We should like to apologise to the reader for the fact that our critical essay will begin with a rather long quotation. Who does not know that such introductions are both ugly and pedantic? But we have reconciled ourselves to this fact, because our quotation provides a good explanation of our attitude to the matter. When business and pleasure conflict, one often sacrifices pleasure to business whether one likes it or not. Incidentally, we have taken this quotation from a good source, from the very author whom we are about to discuss, namely, from his Essays on the Gogol Period of Russian Literature.

``If for each one of us,'' he says in these Essays, turning to the criticism of the Gogol period, "if for each one of us there are subjects so close and dear to the heart that, in speaking of them, a person tries to impose coldness and calm upon himself, tries to avoid expressions in which his excessively strong love would be heard, knowing in advance that, while observing as much coldness as is possible for him, his speech will be very impassioned---if, we say, for each one of us there are such subjects dear to the heart, then the criticism of the Gogol period holds one of the first places among them, on a level with Gogol himself.... For this reason we shall speak of the criticism of the Gogol period as coldly as possible; in this case loud-sounding phrases are useless and offensive to us: there is a degree of respect and sympathy, 68 at which all praise is rejected as something which does not express the whole fullness of one's feelings.'' We regard the brilliant critic of the Gogol period, V. G. Belinsky, with the same profound esteem and the same ardent affection as the author of the Essays in question felt for him. In this respect we cannot detract from the quotation, or add to it. But we would note that at the present time N. G. Chernyshevsky himself is an object of equally ardent affection and equally profound esteem for every Russian socialist. For this reason we shall follow his own example and, in speaking of him, try to remain as cold and calm as possible, for, indeed, "there is a degree of respect and sympathy, at which all praise is rejected as something which does not express the whole fullness of one's feelings".

__ALPHA_LVL2__ I

We do not propose to write a biography of N. G. Chernyshevsky. There is not yet sufficient material to do so. We still have very scant information about his life. The little that we do know about him from this point of view is contained in a biographical sketch appended to the foreign edition of his works (see the pamphlet Lessing^^16^^ and the second edition of the novel What Is To Be Done?). This sketch is very brief. But it does contain some chronological data, and, what is more important, documents relating to the trial of Chernyshevsky. Naturally we shall make use of this information, supplementing it with certain facts borrowed from our author's own writings. But all this is far, far too little, and it is therefore to be hoped that persons who know more than we do about Chernyshevsky will print their reminiscences of him as soon as possible, and also letters and papers of his in their possession. By so doing they would perform a great service to both the public and literature.

In the meantime, however, we must content ourselves with the information at our disposal. And this is basically as follows. Nikolai Gavrilovich was the son of a priest at the Saratov Cathedral and was born in = 1829.^^17^^ He was educated first at the Saratov Seminary and later at St. Petersburg University, where he graduated from the philological faculty in 1850. For some time after this he was a teacher at the Second St. Petersburg Cadet Corps, and then at the gymnasium in Saratov. There, in his native town, he soon married, if we are not mistaken, the sister of the now very well-known scholarly writer = Pypin.^^18^^ But the young Chernyshevsky evidently found the stagnant air of the provinces oppressive, and by 1853 we find him back in St. Petersburg, where he again taught in the Second Cadet Corps, and also translated and reviewed new books for Otechestvenniye = Zapiski,^^19^^ then published by Krayevsky and Dudyshkin. We would hardly be wrong in 69 assuming that our author had to endure much privation and hardship in this transitional period of his life. At that time he was a simple literary unskilled labourer, and as we know unskilled labour is by no means richly remunerated in our literature. Chernyshevsky never possessed any other sources of income. But he was young, healthy and not afraid of any work, any effort. Apart from the literary work essential for earning a living, he was also working on his master's dissertation, on "the aesthetic relation of art to reality''. The very choice of subject for the dissertation shows sufficiently clearly what tasks he was setting himself in his future activity. With his education, abilities, unparalleled diligence and remarkable gift for expounding the most duH and difficult subjects in a way that was comprehensible to all, he could have been sure of a brilliant academic career. Had he but wanted it, he would probably have obtained a professorial chair. But he wanted something different. He was attracted by the activity of the critic and publicist. For all the strictness of the Russian censorship, everyone remembered the example of Belinsky who, in spite of the censorship barriers, not only succeeded in putting into literary circulation a multitude of the most important truths, but also placed our criticism on an entirely new theoretical basis. We already know what ardent affection and profound esteem Chernyshevsky had for this writer. It is not surprising that he wanted to follow in Belinsky's footsteps, in order to continue the latter's cause to the best of his ability. Moreover, the career of Emperor Nicholas was obviously drawing to a close, the bankruptcy of his system was becoming clear to all, so that in the new reign one could expect a certain political thaw and somewhat less strictness from that

Sanctimonious female drip,
Our most prudish censorship

as Pushkin called it. Budding writers thus had reason to hope for a somewhat better future. Finally, Nikolai Gavrilovich had very original views on the tasks of people who wished to devote their labours to the good of Russia. By virtue of these views he could not attach great importance to the purely academic activity of his fellow-countrymen. In the Essays on the Gogol Period of Russian Literature already quoted by us, he expresses himself most definitely on this subject. "Many of the greatest scholars, poets and artists,'' he says, "had in mind the service of pure science or pure art, and not any exceptional requirements of their homeland. Bacon, Descartes, Galileo, Leibnitz, Newton, and today Humboldt and Liebig, Cuvier and Faraday worked and work, thinking of the benefit to science in general and not of what is necessary at a given time for the welfare of the particular country which is their homeland.... As members of the intellectual world, 70 they are cosmopolitans.'' But the members of the intellectual world in Russia, to his mind, are not in such a position. They cannot yet be cosmopolitans, i.e., cannot think of the interests of pure science or pure art. In this respect, in keeping with the conditions of their country, they have to be ``patriots'', i.e., to think first and foremost about the special needs of their homeland. In this respect the ideal ``patriot'' for Chernyshevsky is Peter the Great, the man who set himself the aim of bringing Russia all the blessings of European civilisation. Chernyshevsky thought that even in his own time this aim was still far from being fully achieved. "Up till now for a Russian the only possible service to the noble ideas of truth, art, and science is to promote their dissemination in his homeland. With time we too, like other peoples, will have thinkers and artists who act purely in the interests of science or art; but until our education is on a level with that of the most progressive nations, each of us has another cause dearer to his heart---the promotion, as far as possible, of the further development of that which was begun by Peter the Great. This cause demands today and will probably demand for a long time to come all the intellectual and moral forces which the most gifted sons of our homeland possess."^^*^^ It was to the dissemination in his homeland of the noble ideas of truth, art, and science that Chernyshevsky wished to devote his powers.^^**^^ How he understood them could, in fact, be shown from an analysis of his writings. But before proceeding to such an analysis, we should like to describe his general point of view and show his attitude to his literary predecessors. Having done so, we shall be able to evaluate this or that of his individual views without great difficulty. It is all the more convenient for us to do this now because we are still dealing with the period of his life when he was not yet taking a particularly active part in literature, but was engaged in working out his views, in mastering and analysing "the noble ideas of truth, art, and science".

Of all his literary predecessors Chernyshevsky had the greatest respect for V. G. Belinsky and his circle. One might think, therefore, that he was brought up on the writings of Belinsky and his circle, that he derived his understanding of the ideas of truth, science and art from this source. This, however, is not quite the case. Although in his writings Chernyshevsky does not touch upon the history of his intellectual development, he makes one slight reference to Dobrolyubov which can throw some light upon it. We are referring to a letter written by him after Dobrolyubov's death in response to an article by a certain Mr. Z...n and printed in the February issue of the Sovremennik for 1862. In his article _-_-_

^^*^^ See Sovremennik, 1856, Book 4, Criticism section, pp. 29--31.

^^**^^ [See below the addendum to this passage for the German edition, p. 157 et seq. of this volume.1

71 Mr. Z...n said, inter alia, that the late Dobrolyubov had been a disciple of Chernyshevsky's and was very strongly influenced by him. Chernyshevsky denied this passionately, even very angrily, saying that Dobrolyubov had arrived at his views quite independently and was far superior to him both in intellectual powers and in literary talent. We do not need to determine now to what «xtent this modest statement corresponded to the real state of affairs. All that interests us now in Chernyshevsky's letter is the following passage. After recalling that Dobrolyubov knew French and German and could therefore acquaint himself with the finest literary works of France and Germany in the original, Chernyshevsky says: "If, however, a gifted Russian in the decisive years of his development reads the books of our common great Western teachers, then books and articles written in Russian may please him, may delight him ... but under no circumstances can they serve as the most important source of the knowledge and concepts which he derives from reading."^^*^^ This is perfectly true. But Chernyshevsky also knew foreign languages, and also read the books of our common great Western teachers in the decisive years of his development. One may therefore assume that he too could only be delighted by certain articles and books written in Russian, but that for him too they were not the original source of his concepts and knowledge. The question now is what was that original source? In what literatures and in what branches of these literatures must it be sought?

In the thirties and forties one of the most important aids for our young people in the decisive years of their development was German philosophy. In the following decades this was no longer the case. In the fifties the attitude towards German philosophy in Russia was, it would seem, simply one of indifference. In the sixties people began to regard it with hostility and contempt. German philosophy was declared to be ``metaphysics'' on which "thinking = realists"^^20^^ should not waste their time. Of the WestEuropean philosophers only the Positivists were recognised as worthy of indulgence. The war against German philosophy has been waged so successfully in Russia that our "thinking realists" can pride themselves on their victory over ``metaphysics''; with justifiable pride they can say that they do not have the slightest idea about German philosophy. But neither Chernyshevsky, nor his closest friends, belonged to these victorious realists. They were interested in German philosophy and studied its history carefully. Its development and condition at that time undoubtedly influenced them most strongly, as it had influenced Belinsky's friends also. But which of the German philosophers was likely to interest Chernyshevsky?

_-_-_

^^*^^ "By Way of an Expression of Gratitude, a Letter to Mr. Z...n'', Sovremennik, February 1862.

72

Not Fichte, Schelling or Hegel, of course. Belinsky may have been interested in them at one time, but for him too the systems of these philosophers, in the second half of his critical activity, were already, as the Germans say, ein iiberwundener Standpunkt.^^*^^ This can be said even more of Chernyshevsky. During the decisive years of his development, philosophy had already parted company forever with all forms of idealism. But if this was the case, which of the German philosophers could have had the greatest influence on him? Let us look for a hint of a reply again in his own writings. In his "Polemical Gems'', written in response to the Russky = Vestnik^^21^^ and Otechestvenniye Zapiski, which had strongly attacked his whole trend in general and his article "The Anthropological Principle in Philosophy'', Chernyshevsky says categorically that the system which he regards as right "is the latest link in a series of philosophical systems" and that it "emerged from Hegel's system, just as the latter emerged from Schelling's''. From that people familiar with the history of philosophy will already see about which system he is talking. For those for whom the matter is still unclear, however, we shall quote a few more lines. "...Probably you would like to know who this teacher is that I am talking about?" Chernyshevsky asks Dudyshkin in the same article. "To help you in your inquiries I will tell you that he is not a Russian, not a Frenchman or an Englishman, not Biichner, not Max Stirner, not Bruno Bauer, not Moleschott, not Vogt. Who is it then? You begin to guess....'' And indeed, one cannot fail to guess. Chernyshevsky is talking about Feuerbach. The very name of the only philosophical article written by Chernyshevsky points to Feuerbach: Feuerbach was the first to speak of the anthropological viewpoint in philosophy. We could quote from Chernyshevsky's articles a great deal of evidence of the profound respect with which he regarded Feuerbach. For him Feuerbach was not inferior to Hegel, and this says a great deal, because Chernyshevsky considered Hegel one of the most brilliant thinkers. Thus, the philosophical viewpoint of our author has been found. As a follower of Feuerbach, Chernyshevsky was a materialist. "The principle underlying the philosophical view of human life and all its phenomena,'' he wrote in the abovementioned article "The Anthropological Principle in Philosophy'', "is the idea, worked out by the natural sciences, of the unity of the human organism; the observations of physiologists, zoologists and medical men have driven away all thought of dualism in man. Philosophy sees him as medicine, physiology and chemistry see him. These sciences prove that no dualism is evident in man, and philosophy adds that if man possessed another nature, in addition to his real nature, this other nature would inevitably reveal itself _-_-_

^^*^^ [an old-fashioned viewpoint]

73 in some way, but since it does not reveal itself in any way, since everything that takes place and manifests itself in man originates solely from his real nature, he cannot have another nature." This requires no explanation.

__ALPHA_LVL2__ II

But it will do no harm to indicate the place which belongs to our author's teacher in the history of philosophy. Feuerbach's theory'emerged from Hegel's theory. But Hegel was an idealist^ Feuerbach a determined materialist. Feuerbach's main service is that in his person philosophy parted company with idealism once and for all. Here one must make a reservation, however. There were materialists before Feuerbach as well. In order not to go too far for examples, let us point to the French materialists of the end of the last century. The Systeme de la nature is a perfectly materialist book. But can one say that Feuerbach simply restored philosophy to the views of Baron Holbach and his friends? This would be wrong. The new materialism differs most considerably from the materialism of the end of the last century; this difference lies mainly in the actual method of thinking. Modern materialismits best, most developed exponents, of course---employs a special method of thinking, which is called the dialectical method and which was far less characteristic of the French materialists of the last century than, for example, of the deist Rousseau. There is no need for us to explain to the^ reader what constitutes the special features of the modern dialectical method of thinking, for this has already been done by a person far more competent than ourselves. This is what Frederick Engels, a man who by his writings has done a great deal to promote the further systematic development of the views of Feuerbach, has to say on the subject.

``To the metaphysician, things and their mental reflexes, ideas,, are isolated, are to be considered one after the other and apart from each other, are objects of investigation fixed, rigid, given once for- all. He thinks in absolutely irreconcilable antitheses. 'His communication is "yea, yea; nay, nay''; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.' For him a thing either exists or does not exist; a thing cannot at the same time be itself and something else. Positive and negative absolutely exclude one another; cause and effect stand in a rigid antithesis one to the other.'' The dialectician does not reason thus. He "comprehends things and their representations, ideas, in their essential connection, concatenation, motion, origin, and ending''. Therefore in his eyes all phenomena and all ideas assume an entirely different character than in the eyes of the metaphysician. He will not say, as the metaphysician does, invariably with a firmness which 74 does not allow of objection, that an object exists or does not exist at any given time. For everyday purposes the metaphysician is right, of course, but upon more careful, scientific inquiry he becomes totally confused, and then the triumph of the dialectician begins. "For everyday purposes we know and can say, e.g., whether an animal is alive or not. But, upon closer inquiry, we find that this is, in many cases, a very complex question, as the jurists know very well. They have cudgelled their brains in vain to discover a rational limit beyond which the killing of the child in its mother's womb is murder. It is just as impossible to determine absolutely the moment of death, for physiology proves that death is not an instantaneous, momentary phenomenon, but a very protracted process.'' Further, it is obvious to the dialectician that an object can perfectly well be itself and something else at the same time, for objects are constantly changing, and change is the very process through which an object ceases to be itself and becomes something else. "Every organic being is every moment the same and not the same; every moment it assimilates matter supplied from without, and gets rid of other matter; every moment some cells of its body die and others build themselves anew; in a longer or shorter time the matter of its body is completely renewed, and is replaced by other molecules of matter, so that every organic being is always itself, and yet something other than itself.'' In precisely the same way, the concepts of the positive and the negative, of cause and effect, have an entirely different meaning for the dialectician than for the metaphysician. "Further, we find upon closer investigation that the two poles of an antithesis, positive and negative, e.g., are as inseparable as they are opposed, and that despite all their opposition, they mutually interpenetrate. And we find, in like manner, that cause and effect are conceptions which only hold good in their application to individual cases; but as soon as we consider the individual cases in their general connection with the universe as a whole, they run into each other, and they become confounded when we contemplate that universal action and reaction in which causes and effects are eternally changing places, so that what is effect here and now will be cause there and then, and vice = versa."^^22^^

If, after all that has been said, we take a look at the method to which the French materialists of the end of the last century adhered (and it must be remembered that method is the heart of any philosophical system), we see immediately how little they had in common with the modern materialists. In contrast to the latter, they must be called metaphysicians. To see this for himself, let the reader take a look, for example, at the above-mentioned book Systeme de la nature and note how Holbach and his friends deal with questions which they themselves have raised in the struggle with their opponents but which have not been solved 75 either by them or by contemporary science. These questions concern the main objects of human knowledge: the development of the universe, the origin of man and his various concepts, and, finally, the human relations in society. At the present time science---the natural sciences and history---is solving all these questions by means of the doctrine of evolution, i.e., essentially by means of the same dialectical method of which modern materialists speak, but about which even the most eminent scholars, indebted to it for their most brilliant discoveries, often do not have a clear idea. Holbach and his friends would seem to have set themselves the task of excluding the idea of evolution entirely from all their discussions. They regard objects outside their mutual relation, one after the other, and one independently of the other. Their communication really is "yea, yea; nay, nay'', and for whatsoever is more than these they regard as coming from evil. For this reason they have not only failed to solve many of the questions raised by themselves, but have not always remained true even to their own materialist point of view, often abandoning it for totally idealist arguments. In everything that concerns human relations and the history of human thought they are pure idealists devoid of scientific concepts. In their eyes the history of mankind is nothing more than the history of the errors of honest simpletons and the intrigues of mercenary-minded villains. Mankind suffered and lived in poverty because it was stupid and uneducated; but in the eighteenth century the sun of reason rose at last,, and mankind will now become enlightened and, consequently, also happy--- this is what their philosophy of history amounts to. But such a philosophy lacks the most elementary condition of science: the concept of conformity to laws. Mankind suffered from its lack of education and will cease to suffer thanks to the enlightenment brought by the eighteenth century.... This is all very well, but the question arises as to what caused mankind's lack of development in the preceding centuries and what produced the enlightenment of the eighteenth century? For it did not emerge from thin air. As materialists we do not recognise congenital ideas, but say that man's concepts are merely the mental reflections of the objects which surround him and the phenomena which take place before him. But if we adhere to this view, we should do so firmly and not forget about it as soon as we turn to the history of human thought. In this history we cannot speak of chance any more than we can of Divine Providence. These are totally unscientific concepts, totally unworthy of materialists. For the materialist the history of human thought is just as law-governed and necessary a process as the development of the solar system. So take the trouble to explain the course and conditions of this process, because if you explain the history of thought by the lack of development of thought, you are like the doctor who said: "Your 76 daughter is unwell because sbe Las fallen ill.'' But if you regard the history of human thought as a law-governed and necessary process, its successes will not appear to you as the prime and[ main cause of social development. You will perforce be compelled to recall the dialectical teaching on cause and effect, and you will say to yourself: Yes, cause and effect really do change place constantly; what is effect here, appears as cause there, and vice versa. The achievements of human thought undoubtedly influence human social relations decisively, but at the same time they themselves are dependent on these relations, making gigantic strides in one type of society and often stopping for a long time, if not for everr in another. Moreover, this or that form of social relations does not arise because it seems to the members of the given society to be the most rational and just. Quite the reverse, people's belief in the justness and rationality of their social relations is very often a simple result of the fact that they have become accustomed to these relations, that they have been educated and grown up under their influence. How then do these social relations arise and develop? Their origin, development and disappearance in history is for the most part an unconscious process during which people group together in their struggle for existence. When the conditions of people's struggle for existence change, their social grouping changes too, and their social relations assume a new form, although very often people do not notice such a change at all or notice it only partially, or, finally, invent the most illogical explanations for it---for example, they cite the Divine commandments, the natural order of things, and so on. Hegel rightly remarked that in the history of social relations "Minerva's owl does not begin its flight until = night-fall'',^^23^^ i.e., that people begin to reflect upon a given social order only when it has already had its day and is becoming useless and harmful under the new historical conditions. People then strive to establish a new order which in such cases almost invariably seems to them to be the most natural and rational, but which in fact has only one great advantage: it is the most suitable for people in the new, changed conditions of their struggle for existence.

Now it is natural to ask oneself on what the conditions of human struggle for existence depend and how they change. They are, firstly, provided by nature, and, secondly, created by people, but created by them for the most part unconsciously. The influence of geographical conditions---soil, climate, fauna, flora, the characteristics of the surface, the river systems, coastline, etc.---on the development of human societies has by now been more or less explained by science and does not require any examples by way of elucidation. But the character and nature of the conditions of the struggle for existence, which are unconsciously created by people themselves, still remain unclear to many. For this reason 77 an example here will not be out of place. Let us take a society in which a natural economy has already disappeared and products are produced for sale, for exchange on the market, i.e., in other words, they have become commodities. It goes without saying that producers reflect as little on the commodity character of their products, as Moliere's bourgeois on the prosaic character of his everyday speech. They produce commodities not because commodity production seems the most natural and rational to them: they leave discussion of this to a special breed of men who are called economists. They themselves make their products commodities simply because in the given conditions they cannot help making them commodities. They put them on the market because they need to exchange them for other products essential to them. But these products, which lay in the workshop peacefully and quietly while they were "simply products, begin to behave in a most peculiar and wilful fashion when they appear on the market and acquire the name of commodities. Sometimes this or that commodity ^'fetches a good price'', and its producer rejoices. But sometimes suddenly, without any good reason, it begins to "fall off'', it is little in demand, and its price falls. The producer hangs his head. And sometimes it happens that a given commodity is not bought by anyone, then woe to its producer, if he has not managed to set aside a little money for a rainy day! But the matter is not confined to such apparently random price fluctuations in a society of commodity producers. Little by little inequality begins to arise between them: one's business is better than the other's, and so one grows rich, and the other is ruined. Gradually this inequality---which, incidentally, is also a consequence of technical progress---reaches such a degree that a new commodity called labour power appears on the market. A section of the impoverished commodity producers can no longer continue production at their own expense and hires itself out to work for the employers. Thus, we now have employers and workers, the commodity society is becoming a capitalist one. Who created this capitalist society? Why was it created? Because it was considered the most rational and ``natural'' one? People created it because their mutual relations were the relations of commodity producers, from which capitalist relations subsequently developed. But they created it unconsciously: Ivan, Pyotr and Alexei did not reflect on the consequences which proceed from commodity production, they did not even reflect on the meaning of the commodity nature of production. However, Ivan, Pyotr and Alexei do not, as we have already acknowledged, have congenital ideas. Their way of thinking is created by the influence of their surroundings. Living in a capitalist society, they begin to think that it is good that they live in one, that people cannot live otherwise, that the capitalist order is the most ``natural'' and ``just'' one. And even this they think only in rare cases, but for the most part they do not think 78 about their social order at all: they take it for granted, without wondering whether it could be changed. Nevertheless the influence of the capitalist order is still felt in their way of thinking, in their feelings and habits. They do not arrange their concepts into a system. But their unsystematic, fragmentary concepts are permeated with the spirit of capitalism. It permeates everything: civil and state law, art and literature, the natural and social sciences. With regard to the social sciences, this is self-evident: the social sciencesin a capitalist society are merely the elevation of capitalist relations into theory. As applied to the natural sciences our reasoning may seem very strange at first glance. How can people's views on oxygen or induction currents be permeated with capitalist spirit? But we do not say that they can. We simply wish to say that peopledid not always know about oxygen and induction currents. There was a time when they had no idea about them at all. When did they begin to take an interest in them? "The course of ideas corresponds to the course of things, all the sciences grew out of the social needs and requirements of the peoples,'' said a brilliant Italian long = ago.^^24^^ People's attention was directed at this or that sphere of natural phenomena in conformity with the needs of the society in which they lived. In all the sciences practice has invariably preceded theory and has never ceased to exert the greatest influence on it. What needs, what practice exist in a capitalist society? The needs and practice of a capitalist society, of course, and noother. These needs and this practice not only engender certain theories, they leave their mark upon them, sometimes impedingv sometimes accelerating their improvement. Say what you will, but the fact that the idea of the vast importance of the struggle for existence appeared among zoologists after the theoreticians of capitalism, economists, had elevated it into a principle is most characteristic.

But the capitalist system is not everlasting either. Gradually, under the influence of many causes, but again without conscious human participation, there appear in it very many inconveniences, very many negative and unfavourable aspects. The disadvantages of capitalism begin to outweigh its advantages. Its historical day is coming to an end. ``Night'' falls, and "Minerva's owl" flies out: the criticism of capitalist relations begins. People ask themselves: could not another order be introduced? Those who are particularly affected by the increasing inconveniences of capitalism reflect on this question more attentively and find to their amazement that another order not only can but must be introduced. The theories known as the harmful doctrines of communism and socialism arise. Under their banner gather all those who are deprived and oppressed by the existing order. But why was there none of this before? Surely the theoreticians of earlier times---all those great luminaries of knowledge, Petty, Smith, and Ricardo---were 79 not just cunning sycophants defending a cause which was profitable for only a tiny handful of fortunate people? Certainly not, they were honest thinkers, but how could you expect them to discover something which did not yet exist in reality? In their day historical movement had not yet revealed or, to be more precise, had not yet created the inconveniences of capitalism, against which the socialists are now fighting, and therefore they did not even suspect that they could arise. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof---this must never be forgotten in studying the history of human thought.

We shall perhaps be asked whether there does not exist a. connection between the natural, geographical conditions of human development referred to above and those of its conditions which are unconsciously created by people in the process of production. This connection exists without a doubt. Man's economic development takes place under the influence of geographical conditions. It proceeds quickly or slowly and takes this or that direction precisely because of this or that character of the geographical environment of the society in question. In China and in Attica, in the plains of North America and on the banks of the Nile the forms of social relations at the initial stages of development were completely the same, one might say identical. The science of primitive institutions finds tribal life everywhere, for example. Mankind evidently has a single point of departure. But the natural conditions of the struggle for existence vary, and therefore the forms of human society take on a different character with the passage of time. The tribal life found everywhere gives way to the most varying social relations. The structure of Athenian society is unlike that of China; the course of economic development in the West is totally unlike the course of economic development in the East. Here, of course, a great deal depends on the influence of the historical environment surrounding the society in question, but the "geographical basis" of human development undoubtedly makes itself felt most strongly.

What is the point of all this, however? It is to indicate certain specific features of the new materialism, of which N. G. Chernyshevsky was a follower. We merely wished to say that the modern materialists interpret the course of historical development just as or almost as we have expounded it, whereas the materialists of the end of the last century completely lacked such an interpretation of history. There were still many vestiges of idealism in their world outlook. In their historical views, as we have said, they remained idealists to a large extent. They denied the existence of congenital ideas in the head of the individual, but they recognised, as it were, the spontaneous birth and development of ideas in human society. They did not even suspect that the historical development of human thought takes place under the influence of causes which 80 have nothing to do with human consciousness and will. Therefore it was only with the appearance of modern materialism that a scientific interpretation of history became possible. From the point of view of the new materialism "the history of mankind no longer appeared as a wild whirl of senseless deeds of violence, all equally condemnable at the judgment-seat of mature philosophic reason and which are best forgotten as quickly as possible, but as the process of evolution of man himself. It was now the task of the intellect to follow the gradual march of this process ... and to trace out the inner law running through all its apparently accidental phenomena".^^25^^

This task had to a significant extent already been solved by the works of Marx and Engels, the great socialists to whom it fell to continue the development of philosophical thought after Hegel and Feuerbach. But one must remember that we owe the materialist, i.e., the only scientific, interpretation of history to Marx and Engels (partly to the American writer Morgan as well, incidentally), and not to Feuerbach. In Feuerbach's day the aim of philosophical thought was a different one. It needed, first and foremost, to part company with idealism in all its forms and varieties. It was to this end that Feuerbach's powers were employed. Thus, his philosophical views must be regarded as only the first step of modern materialism. He provided certain premises only; other, essential premises, and a whole series of the most brilliant deductions from them, we owe to Marx and Engels. In Feuerbach's world outlook the historical aspect, which is the pride and strength of modern materialism, was not yet developed. What significance could this factor have in the history of the intellectual development of N. G. Ghernyshevsky?

Reasoning in the abstract, one might perhaps think that he, as a man gifted with a fine, exceptional and very active mind, could have discovered the deficiencies and remedied the shortcomings in his teacher's views, i.e., in other words, do what Marx and Engels did. But, in order to make an epoch in the history of science, it is not enough to possess brilliant abilities, favourable external circumstances are also necessary to channel these abilities in the proper direction. How favourable were the circumstances surrounding our author in this respect? He lived in a country which was not developed in either the economic or the political sense of the word. Pure scientific and philosophical thought there were not distinguished by any great development either. No contribution by any Russian scholar has had a decisive influence on the destiny of European thought and science. We have seen how N.G. Chernyshevsky explained this phenomenon and what tasks he set the most gifted sons of his homeland. They amounted to the dissemination in it of the "noble ideas of truth, science, and art'', elaborated in countries which had advanced 81 further than us along the path of civilisation. Chernyshevsky was perfectly right to set his fellow-countrymen these tasks, rather than any others. But the type of activity selected and recommended by him possessed an inner logic of its own, with which the most richly endowed people had to reckon. The disseminator of ideas elaborated by other people in other countries may, given great abilities, make a few individual, secondary discoveries, but he will not cause a revolution in science, because this is not what concerns him. This was the case with our author as well. His works contain many important observations which throw new light on various scientific questions. Such observations often coincide completely with the most important discoveries being made at that time in Western science. But these flashes of brilliant thinking are not worked out consistently, not systematised; therefore, in his writing we find alongside them views which even then could be regarded as obsolete and have now been completely abandoned by science. Thus it turns out that the shortcomings and deficiencies in the philosophy of the thinker who had the greatest influence on him were not remedied and corrected by him. In Chernyshevsky's materialist views the aspect which was little developed by his teacher remained undeveloped too. Generally speaking, Nikolai Gavrilovich did not arrive at the modern materialist interpretation of history, and where he approached it by the force of his intellect, he often gave it a rather naive form.

__ALPHA_LVL2__ III

Chernyshevsky's materialism is far more obvious in his " anthropological" than in his historical views. Regarding man as the involuntary product of his environment, Chernyshevsky adopts a most humane attitude even to those unpleasant manifestations of corrupted human nature in which idealists see only "evil intent" deserving strict punishment. "Everything depends on social customs,'' he argues, "and on circumstances, i.e., in the final analysis everything depends exclusively on circumstances, because social customs too, in their turn, also proceed from circumstances. If you blame a person---first try to see whether it is he who is guilty of what you are accusing him of, or the circumstances and customs of society---take a good look, for perhaps what lies here is not his guilt at all, but only his misfortune.'' The ``protectors'' chose to regard such statements by Chernyshevsky as a defence of loose morals, but, of course, in so doing they merely demonstrated their lack of understanding of the matter.

The inadequate elaboration of Chernyshevsky's materialist views is seen in certain aspects of his teaching on morality. For him, as for Helvetius, even the most self-sacrificing actions are only a special form of rational egoism. According to him, "it is

6---0267

82 only necessary to examine more closely an action or a feeling that seems to be altruistic to see that all are based on the thought of personal interest, personal gratification, personal benefit; they are based on the feeling that is called egoism''. Occasionally Chernyshevsky's reflections on this matter assume a somewhat strange character. "Lucretia stabbed herself after Tarquinius Sextus had raped her, but she too was prompted by self-interest.'' Then follows an argument to prove that her self-interested action was right. "Collatinus might have said to his wife: 'I regard you as pure and love you as before.' With the conceptions prevailing at that time, however, and prevailing with but little alteration today, he could not have proved his words by deeds; willy-nilly, he had already lost considerable respect and love for his wife. He might have attempted to conceal this loss by deliberately exaggerated tenderness towards her, but such tenderness is more offensive than coolness, more bitter than beating and abuse'', etc. But it is most doubtful that Lucretia could have indulged in such hard-headed calculations just before her suicide. They require composure, and she could not be composed. Would it not be more correct to assume that in her action reason played a far smaller role than feeling which had developed under the influence of the social customs and relations of that time? Human feelings and customs usually adapt themselves to the existing social relations in such a way that actions committed under their influence may sometimes appear as the fruit of the most hardheaded calculations, whereas in fact they were not the result of calculation at all. In general, very noticeable in Chernyshevsky's views on rational egoism is the endeavour, characteristic of all "periods of enlightenment" (Aufklarungsperioden), to seek support for morality in reason and an explanation of the individual's character and behaviour in his more or less hard-headed calculation.^^*^^ But the words of Chernyshevsky quoted above contain a refutation of such extremes of reasoning. The actions of the individual are the result of social customs, and social customs are formed not under the influence of the calculations of reason, but by the historical development of society. To put the question properly it should be couched in these terms: what is the morality of the average individual? Is it the result of his calculation or the unconscious fruit of social relations? Finally, one must also ask by virtue of what influences of society on the individual can and does he develop an interest in the common good? Such questions are of great social importance. We see no need, however, to argue about what such an interest in the good of society should be called---altruism or noble egoism.

_-_-_

^^*^^ [See below the note to this passage for the German edition, p. 159 of this volume.]

83

In conformity with the exaggerated importance attached by Chernyshevsky to human calculation, he sometimes explains historical events also by conscious calculation of advantage in cases where one should turn for an explanation of them to the forces of economic development of which people are unconscious. At first glance such explanations by Chernyshevsky may suggest that in his historical theories he had adopted the viewpoint of modern materialism. But a careful study of the matter reveals quite the reverse. Anyone who sees in human historical activity merely the influence of conscious calculation, is still very far from an understanding of the power and importance of economics. In fact its influence extends even to human actions and customs of different social classes with regard to which there can be no question of conscious calculation. We have already seen that the main, most influential factors of economic development up to now are beyond the influence of conscious calculation. We have seen also that all social relations, all moral customs and all intellectual inclinations are formed under the indirect or direct action of these blind forces of economic development. The latter also determine, incidentally, all forms of human calculation, all manifestations of human egoism. Consequently, one cannot speak of conscious calculation of advantage as the prime mover of social development. Such a view of history contradicts the teaching of modern materialism; such historical materialism is still very naive.

Chernyshevsky's historical views have not yet been systematised and often contradict one another. Without much difficulty one can select from his works and contrast views on history which seem to belong to entirely different writers. Contradictions of this kind cannot be explained by assuming a gradual change in our author's way of thinking. He embarked on literary activity at a point in his intellectual development when his views were already completely formed in the main. Therefore the contradictions and inconsistencies which we encounter in his historical views must be ascribed to the vagueness and shakiness of his general view of the history of mankind.

Here are a few examples by way of confirmation. In his Outlines of Political Economy N. G. Chernyshevsky, after explaining the laws of the "tripartite distribution of commodities" which exists in modern advanced countries and drawing a brief final conclusion from his explanations, expresses the following extremely interesting view on the inner springs of modern European history: "We have seen that the interests of rent are opposed to the inter^ ests of profit and workers' wages together. The middle class and the common people have always been allies against the estate which receives rent. We have seen that the interest of profit is opposed to the interest of workers' wages. As soon as the estate of __PRINTERS_P_83_COMMENT__ 6* 84 capitalists and the estate of workers in joint alliance gain the upper hand over the class which receives rent, the history of the country acquires as its main content the struggle between the middle estate and the people."^^*^^ Any modern dialectical materialist would willingly subscribe to these lines. All the more willingly, because the above-quoted view of Chernyshevsky's on the cause of the struggle between the "middle estate" and the ``people'' in another passage of his Outlines is explained further by pointing to the decline of small industry and small' land cultivation and the inevitable triumph of large capitalist enterprises both in industry and in agriculture. In exactly the same way any modern dialectical materialist, with only certain reservations, would acknowledge the truth of the following view of Ghernyshevsky's on the history of political and philosophical thought. "Political theories, and all philosophical doctrines in general, have always been created under the powerful influence of the social status to which their founders belonged, and every philosopher has always been a representative of one of the political parties which in his time contended for predominance in the society to which the philosopher belonged. We shall not speak of the thinkers who have made a special study of the political aspect of life. Their affiliation to political parties is only too obvious to everybody. Hobbes was an absolutist, Locke was a Whig, Milton was a republican, Montesquieu was a liberal after the English taste, Rousseau was a revolutionary democrat, Bentham was simply a democrat, revolutionary or non-revolutionary as circumstances demanded. It is needless to speak of writers like these. Let us turn to those thinkers who have engaged in building more general theories, the builders of metaphysical systems, to the so-called philosophers proper. Kant belonged to the party that wanted to enthrone liberty in Germany in a revolutionary way, but abhorred terroristic methods. Fichte went a few steps farther; he was not afraid even of terroristic methods. Schelling was a representative of the party that was terrified by the revolution and sought tranquillity in mediaeval institutions, that wanted to restore in Germany the feudal state that had been destroyed by Napoleon I and the Prussian patriots, whose spokesman Fichte had been. Hegel was a moderate liberal, he was extremely conservative in his deductions; but he adopted revolutionary principles for the struggle against extreme reaction in the hope of preventing the development of the revolutionary spirit, which served him as a weapon for the purpose of overthrowing that which was old and too antiquated. Our point is not that these people held such convictions as private individuals, that would not be so very important, but _-_-_

^^*^^ Our italics. Outlines of Political Economy (according to Mill), N. G. Chernyshevsky, Works, Vol. IV, p. 205.

85 that their philosophical systems were thoroughly permeated with the spirit of those political parties to which the authors of these systems belonged."^^*^^ Leaving aside the details of the views on this or that thinker, one can say in general that the words quoted reveal a most profound understanding of the social conditions under the influence of which the development of philosophical and political thought takes place. Modern dialectical materialists would have added only that the political struggle itself, which determined the direction of human thought, was waged, not for abstract considerations, but under the direct influence of the needs and aspirations of those classes or those sections of society to which the conflicting parties belonged. Ghernyshevsky would hardly have objected to this. His views on the history of economic science express quite clearly an awareness of the dependence of human concepts on social surroundings. In his review of Roscher's book The Principles of the National Economy^^**^^ our author points to a "psychological law'', by virtue of which "almost everyone---be he an ordinary man, an orator, or a writer, and be it in conversation, in speeches, or in books---: regards as theoretically good, indisputable and everlasting all that is practically advantageous for the group of people which he represents. This psychological law must also be used to explain the fact that political economists of the Adam Smith school found the forms of economic life that dominated or sought to dominate at the end of the last and the beginning of the present century very good and worthy of constant dominion. The writers of this school represented the exchange or commercial estate in the broad sense of the word: bankers, wholesalers and industrialists in general. The present forms of economic organisation are advantageous for the commercial estate, more advantageous for it than all other forms; that is why the school that was its representative found that these forms were the best in theory__ When questions of political economy were taken up not by people who represented the estate for which the present economic forms are so fitting, but by representatives of the masses, another school appeared in the science, which, for some unknown reason, is called the Utopian party."^^***^^ Here the awareness of the influence which the class struggle has on the development of science is expressed with remarkable clarity. But it would be most wrong to conclude from this that this awareness never left Chernyshevsky. There is a vast gulf between a simple understanding or acknowledgment of a certain principle and its consistent application throughout a whole system of views. While understanding perfectly the significance of the class struggle in human societies, Chernyshevsky _-_-_

^^*^^ The Anthropological Principle in Philosophy, pp. 2, 3.

^^**^^ [Die Grundlagen der Nationalokonomte.]

^^***^^ Sovremennik, 1861, April, New Books, pp. 431--32.

86 nevertheless adhered to a view of ``progress'', which is far closer to Buckle's teaching than to the teaching of the new materialists. To give an idea of it, we shall quote a fairly long passage from his extremely interesting article "On the Causes of the Fall of Rome" written in connection with the publication of a Russian translation of GuizotV/ftsioJre de la civilisation en Europe. In this article Chernyshevsky vigorously attacks the very widespread opinion that the Western Roman Empire fell because of its inherent inability to develop further, whereas the barbarians brought with them new seeds of progress. We do not wish for the present to examine whether our author was right in attacking this opinion. All that is important for us now is his view on the course of progress. Here it is. "Just think, what progress is and what a barbarian is!" our author exclaims. "Progress is based on intellectual development; its fundamental aspect lies precisely in the successes and spread of knowledge.... Mathematics develops, and this leads to the development of applied mechanics; the development of applied mechanics leads to the improvement of all manner of fabrications, crafts, etc.... Historical knowledge advances; this reduces the number of false notions that prevent people from organising their social life, which therefore becomes better organised than before. Finally, all intellectual labour develops man's intellectual powers, and the more people in a country who learn to read, who acquire the habit and love of reading books, the larger the number of people in it who are capable of running things properly, whatever they may be---which means that the course of all aspects of life in the country is improved. Consequently, the main force behind progress is learning; the achievements of progress are proportionate to the amount and spread of knowledge. So this is what progress is: the result of knowledge. But what is a barbarian? A man who is still wallowing in the deepest ignorance; a man who is half-way between a wild beast and a human being with the rudiments of a developed mind.... What good is it to society, if institutions, good or bad, but nevertheless human ones, possessing something that is in the slightest degree rational, are replaced by the customs of animals?"

As we see, there is no mention here either of the internal social relations in Rome which caused its weakness and which were pointed out by the very same Guizot in the first article of his Essais sur Vhistoire de France, or the forms of communal life which determined the strength of the Germanic barbarians at the time of the conquest of the Western Empire. Chernyshevsky forgot even the famous words: latifundia perdidere Italiam (the latifundia were the undoing of Italy). In his formula of progress (as the phrase went in our country afterwards) there is no independent place for the internal relations of this or that " progressing" country. Everything is reduced to the amount and spread 87 of knowledge, and it does not even occur to him to wonder whether the history of knowledge does not depend on the history of the social relations of civilised countries. "It is said that a society found the established forms constricting,'' he argues further on, "which means that in the society there was a progressive force, there was the need for progress.'' But the need for progress is one thing, and the presence in society of a "progressive force" capable of satisfying this need is quite another. One must not confuse these two concepts, which are quite different in character and content: one of them is purely negative (the "need for progress" indicates merely the constricting nature of the existing forms), the other positive, for the presence in society of a progressive force capable of making the necessary change in the forms of communal life assumes a certain level of intellectual, moral and political development of the class or classes which are affected by the unfavourable aspects of these forms. If these concepts were identical, human progress would be an extremely simple matter, and we would not encounter in history the sorry spectacle of societies which have collapsed under the heavy weight of forms of communal life which, for all their indisputable harmfulness, could not be abolished because there was no vital forces in the people capable of doing so. It goes without saying that we are not speaking here of forms harmful to all classes of the society in question. Such forms abolish themselves, one might say. But more often than not it is other forms, unfavourable for the majority and very favourable for a privileged minority, which are particularly harmful for the further successes of the society. Such forms can be abolished only if the suffering majority possesses albeit the slightest ability to take independent political action. And it does not always possess this ability. This ability is by no means an inherent quality of the oppressed majority. It is itself created by the economics of the given society. It would seem that there was nothing more advantageous for the proletarians of Rome than to support the Gracchi draft laws. But they did not support them, nor could they have done so, because the social situation in which the economic development of Rome placed them not only did not promote their political development, but, quite the reverse, constantly lowered its level. As for the upper classes, firstly, it would be absurd to expect from them political action contrary to their economic interests, and, secondly, they were themselves being more and more corrupted by the influence of another aspect of the same course of economic development which was creating the Roman proletariat and at the same time turning it into a bloodthirsty and obtuse mob. Finally, things had come to such a pass that the Romans, those conquerors of the world, were unfit for military service, and the legions were reinforced with the very barbarians who eventually put an end to the existence of the Empire 88 which was half-dead already. Thus, contrary to Chernyshevsky's explanations, there is nothing accidental about the fall of Rome, for it was the natural end of an historico-economic movement which had begun long before.

We certainly do not wish to state, as many do, German writers in particular, that the Germanic peoples brought with them a special spirit and special inclinations, which ensured them pride of place in the subsequent history of mankind. We are saying merely that Rome's weakness in the struggle against the barbarians was caused and prepared by the course of its economic development, which destroyed the class of small landowners that had once constituted its strength. The small peasant holdings merged into huge latifundia inhabited by crowds of slaves. But slaves are a poor buttress for the state: brought from all over the world, of different races and tongues, they did not form a people in the true meaning of the word. They were and remained a rabble (if one can apply the term to a mass of people who have come together not of their own free will) and, of course, did not give a thought to the interests of the Roman state. Chernyshevsky remarks, it is true, that slavery was gradually modified in the Roman Empire, and was replaced towards the end by the colonatus. But, firstly, the instructions of the emperors concerning the colonatus were no more than the striving of the state to ensure that it received part of the surplus product created by the forced labour of the farmer. The transition to the colonatus could not alleviate his position radically at a time when all the sections of Roman society were literally crushed by state taxation and extortion.^^*^^ Secondly, it is obvious that = colons^^26^^ and = adscripts^^27^^ could not take the place of free farmers. Finally, even numerically the slaves and colons, at least in the villages, were inferior to the population of the old Italy of free farmers. Even Livy was amazed at how certain regions in Italy, where in his day only a few shepherds with their flocks were to be found, could have raised large and brave armies for the fight against Rome at the time of their independence. The explanation is simple: during their independence these regions lived under entirely different economic relations, to which they were indebted for their large, strong and vigorous population. At that time they still had strong tribal institutions which ensured the well-being of all members of the commune and gave them an independent and militant spirit. The Germans possessed the same institutions, and it was to them that the barbarian hordes owed their power and strength. In brief, one might say that towards the end of the existence of the Roman Empire economic relations prevailed in it which reduced _-_-_

^^*^^ See the acove-mentioned first article by Guizot in his Essais sur I' histoire de France; see also Untersuchungen auf dem Gebiete der Nationaloekonomie des klassischen Altertums by Rodbertus.

89 its power of resistance to a minimum. Whereas the institutions of the Germanic peoples at that time increased their power of attack to a maximum. That is that: it is a matter of economics, not of any spirit or any mysterious qualities of race.

If, in explaining the historical fate of the different countries, we were obliged to confine ourselves to abstract considerations about their ``progress'' and about the amount of knowledge accumulated in them, we would never be able to understand the history of Greece, for example, where the more educated, " progressive" countries retire, one after the other, making way for less and less educated and ``progressive'' ones. How is such a phenomenon to be explained? By the course of development of economic and, mainly, land relations in Greece. In the more ``progressive'' countries this development led earlier to the concentration of landed property in a few hands, to a terrible increase in the number of slaves, and to the weakening and demoralisation of the lowest class of free citizens. The state power of the ``progressive'' Greek countries diminished in direct proportion to this phenomenon. In the less ``progressive'' countries this process began later and proceeded more slowly, and consequently their state power also declined more slowly, even increasing during certain periods of this process (as sometimes happened in the more ``progressive'' countries also); this is why they were able to play an outstanding role when the more ``progressive'' countries had completely declined under the pernicious influence of the class struggle, insoluble at that time (but not in our time when there is a solution for it). But the less ``progressive'' countries also declined eventually as a result of the process indicated; one after the other they sang their swan songs and disappeared, until finally the iron hand of Rome put an end to the independent existence of Greece. When the Romans came, there was literally nobody to defend the Greek countries, with a few exceptions. This fact was noted by Polybius and Plutarch.

In the historical views of our author a great deal of room is given to chance in general. Even our modern economic system, the character, laws and tendencies of which he explains fairly well according to the Smith-Ricardo school, is regarded by him as the product of historical chance. "History shows,'' he says in the above-mentioned review of Roscher's book, "that the present economic forms arose under the influence of relations which contradicted the requirements of economic science and were incompatible with both successes in labour and economy in consumption, in a word, that they are the result of causes hostile to both labour and well-being. For example, in Western Europe economic life was founded on conquests, on confiscations and monopolies."^^*^^ _-_-_

^^*^^ Sovremennik, April 1861, New Books, p. 434.

90 No one will say that conquests, confiscations and monopolies did not occur in the history of Western Europe. But they also occurred in Ancient Greece, in India, and in China, yet the economic structure of these countries was very different or still is from the economic structure of modern Europe. What created this difference? Was it not the fact that all these conquests, confiscations and ``monopolies'', far from determining the direction of economic development, were, on the contrary, themselves determined by it in their forms and subsequent social effects? The direction and course of the economic development of Ancient Greece, or India, or China was not similar to the direction and course of the economic development of mediaeval and modern Europe, hence the conquests too with all their consequences led to different systems there than in Western Europe. In view of the decisive importance which Chernyshevsky ascribes to conquest in the creation of the economic system of modern Europe, we cannot help recalling Engels' words: "Even if we exclude all possibility of robbery, force and fraud, even if we assume that all private property was originally based on the owner's own labour, and that throughout the whole subsequent process there was only exchange of equal values for equal values, the progressive development of production and exchange nevertheless brings us of necessity to the present capitalist mode of production, to the monopolisation of the means of production and the means of subsistence in the hands of the one, numerically small, class, to the degradation into propertyless proletarians of the other class, constituting the immense majority, to the periodic alternation of speculative production booms and commercial crises and to the whole of the present anarchy of production."^^*^^ This is how modern dialectical materialists see the matter. But Chernyshevsky saw it quite differently.

By attributing the different forms of economic life which existed in history to conquest and regarding them as opposed to "the requirements of economic science'', our author naturally could not attach much value to their study. Familiar with the so-called historical method in economic science only from the works of such of its representatives as Wilhelm Roscher and other CitatenProfessoren,^^**^^ he regarded it most disparagingly and considered it the fruit of reaction against the emancipatory aspirations of the working class. "They inveighed against mediaeval institutions incompatible with the interests of the commercial estate ... in the name of reason; but then, as ill-luck would have it, people appeared who began to say: according to reason that which you want _-_-_

^^*^^ «Pa3BHTHe nayiHoro coHHajiH3Ma», npiiJioJKeHiie, cip. 58 [Plekhanov is quoting from the Russian translation of Engels' Socialism: Utopian and Scientific. = Supplement^^28^^].

^^**^^ [professors fond of quotations]

91 should exist, but in addition reason requires a great deal more, you are uttering only the beginning of the formula, but its end .goes like this; in a word, the inconsistent thinkers were confronted with consistent thinkers.... What was to be done?... If reason speaks against you, reach out for history, it will come to the rescue.'' In keeping with such an origin of the historical method, the theoretical task of the advanced representatives of the working class, in their struggle against "inconsistent thinkers'', was reduced simply to showing that the modern economic system arose .from "conquests, confiscations and monopolies''. This, according to Chernyshevsky, is what socialists do. In their hands "history denounces that which it has been invited to defend".^^*^^ But even before Chernyshevsky embarked on the path of literary activity, in the age of his predecessors, i.e., Belinsky and his circle, the .finest theoretical representatives of the working class made use of history not only for polemical references to conquests and confiscations. Marx and Engels placed the study of the economic history of mankind on a firm scientific foundation, by showing its inherent necessity and strict conformity to laws.^^**^^ But everything indicates that Chernyshevsky was not familiar with this trend which grew out of the theories of his teacher Feuerbach, just as Feuerbach's theories grew out of Hegel's system. Rejecting the historical method, our author made use in his economic studies of another method which he called the hypothetical method. We shall describe it in Chernyshevsky's own words. "This method,'' he says in his comments on book one of Mill's Principles of Political Economy, "is that when we need to determine _-_-_

^^*^^ Sovremennik, April 1861, New Books, pp. 432, 433, 434.

^^**^^ Basing themselves on history, Roscher arid those who shared his views oppose the revolutionary mode of action on principle. In their opinion evolution excludes revolution completely. This view is as erroneous as the view of some revolutionaries who oppose evolution. Both these extremes rule out entirely a correct interpretation of history. Armed with the dialectical method, the new socialists see the matter differently. For them evolution is as essential a factor in the process of the historical development of mankind as revolution. Evolution prepares revolution, revolution facilitates the further course of evolution. The "historical method'', accepted by German scholars in particular, limits the field of vision of science quite arbitrarily to one of these factors, evolution, and therefore must be regarded as anti-scientific. One is still perfectly justified in saying today of its ``scholarly'' representatives what Marx said of them in 1844: "A school which legitimates the baseness of today by the baseness of yesterday, a school that declares rebellious every cry of the serf against the knout once that knout is a ... historical one, a school to which history only shows its posterior as the God of Israel did to his servant Moses.... For every pound of flesh cut from the heart of the people ... Shylock, but Shylock the bondsman---swears on its bond, its historical bond, = etc."^^29^^ All this is perfectly right. However, the revolutionary Marx, who denounced the servility of official representatives of the "historical method" in such forceful and apt terms, not only did not ignore historical evolution, but was the first to show its mainsprings and its strict conformity to laws.

92 the character of a certain element, we must put aside intricatetasks for the time being and look for such tasks in which the element of interest to us reveals its character most clearly, look for tasks of the very simplest nature. Then, having found the character of the element with which we are concerned, we can easily determine the role which it plays in the intricate task, which we set aside for the time being. For example, instead of the complex task: were the wars with France at the end of the last and the beginning of the present century profitable for England, one takes the simple question: can war be profitable not just for a handful of people,, but for a large nation? Now, how does one solve this question? It is a matter of profit, that is, of an amount of prosperity or wealth, its decrease or increase, that is, values which are measurable by figures. But where can we obtain these figures? No historical fact can give us them in the form which we need, that isr in the simplest form, so that they depend solely on the element determined by us, war.... Thus, from the sphere of historical events we must turn to the sphere of abstract thought, whichr instead of the statistical data offered by history, acts on abstract figures, the significance of which is conventional and which are chosen simply according to convenience. For example, it ( abstract thought) operates as follows. Let us assume that a society has a population of 5,000, including 1,000 adult males by whoselabour the society is maintained. Let us assume that 200 of them go to war. What is the economic relation of this war to the society? Does it increase or decrease the prosperity of the society? As soon as we have posed the question in such a simple form, the solution becomes so simple and incontrovertible that anyone can find it very easily and nobody and nothing can disprove it.... From the term 'supposition', 'hypothesis', the method itself is called the 'hypothetical method."^^*^^

Chernyshevsky adheres to this method in all his economic studies, which because of this acquire a very distinctive, extremely abstract character. As we know, the main economic work of our author is his part-translation, part-exposition of Mill's Principles of Political Economy, accompanied by very extensive remarks and special addenda. As one reads this work it is interesting totrace how the method of research adopted by its author constantly diverts him from the sphere of real, existing economic relations to the sphere of abstract thought. On that which concerns existing relations, Ghernyshevsky rarely challenges Mill. He is for the most part content with the latter's analysis, which, as we know, leaves a great deal to be desired because of its vaguenessand inconsistency. He does not disagree with Mill even on such _-_-_

^^*^^ N. G. Chernyshevsky,. Works, Vol. Ill, pp. 89, 90, 91.

93 essential questions as those of value, price, money, the law of worker's wages, etc. Mill is perfectly right on that which concerns existing relations, Ghernyshevsky usually says, but let us see whether they should be so, whether they are what is required by rational economic theory. "Let us assume'', etc. is usually followed by a brilliant critique of existing relations, a critique which is, however, based entirely on completely abstract considerations and hypotheses. The defects of the method are thus glaringly obvious, and it would not, of course, be approved by any modern scientific opponent of capitalism, for these opponents now base themselves not on the requirements of abstract ``theory'', but on the inherent contradictions of the existing system, which in their further development are bound inevitably to lead to its abolition.

Readers familiar with the method of the philosophical school of which Ghernyshevsky regarded himself as a follower, will note without difficulty that our author did not remain true to it in his studies. In fact, the "hypothetical method" has nothing in common with the dialectical method of Ghernyshevsky's German teachers. To convince oneself of this it is enough to recall the characteristic features Chernyshevsky himself saw in Hegel's system, which engendered the teaching of Feuerbach. An indication of these features will help us greatly with the task of expounding and criticising Chernyshevsky's views. We would therefore ask the reader to pay the greatest possible attention to this matter, which may be dull and boring, but is certainly not without its uses.

In the eyes of the new dialectical materialists the greatest merit of Hegel's system and of the whole of German philosophy in general is that, to quote Engels, "for the first time the whole world, natural, historical, intellectual, is represented as a process, i.e., as in constant motion, change, transformation, development; and the attempt is made to trace out the internal connection that makes a continuous whole of all this movement and develop- = ment".^^30^^ With his enormous intellect and thorough grounding in philosophy Chernyshevsky could not ignore this aspect of the matter. He understood the immense importance of the Hegelian doctrine of development and even expounded it in vigorous, emotional language. "The constant change of forms, the constant rejection of form which has been engendered by a certain content or striving, in consequence of the strengthening of that striving, of the highest development of that content,'' he exclaims in his article "A Criticism of the Philosophical Prejudices Against Communal Land Tenure'', "he who has understood this (great), constant, universal law, who has learned to apply it to all phenomena---oh, how calmly he takes chances which others fear to take! Repeating after the poet:

94

Ich hatf mem' Sack auf Nichts gestellt Und mir gehort die ganze = Welt...^^*^^^^31^^

he has no regrets for anything that has outlived its time, and; says: come what may, there will be merrymaking in our street!"^^**^^ But, as we can see, it was not this "great, constant, universal law" which he regarded as the main merit and most outstanding feature of Hegel's philosophy. At least, in his Essays on the Gogol Period of Russian Literature, discussing Hegel in detail in connection with the well-known interest which the circle of Stankevich and Belinsky took in Hegel's teaching, he pays most attention to another aspect of Hegel's philosophy. Here Hegel's main merit is seen to be his removal of philosophy from the sphere of abstract thought and his attentive attitude to reality. " Toexplain reality became the paramount duty of philosophical thought. As a result extraordinary attention was paid to reality, which had been formerly ignored and unceremoniously distorted in order to pander to personal one-sided prejudices.... In reality, however, everything depends on circumstances, on the conditions of place and time---and therefore Hegel found that the former general phrases with which good and evil were judged without examination of the circumstances and causes that gave rise to a given phenomenon---that these general, abstract aphorisms were unsatisfactory.... There is no abstract truth; truth is concrete, i.e., a definitive judgment can be pronounced only about a definite fact, after examining all the circumstances upon which it depends."^^***^^ In a note to the page in question Chernyshevsky clarifies this idea as follows: "For example: 'Is rain good or bad?' This is an abstract question; a definite answer cannot be given to it. Sometimes rain is beneficial, sometimes, although more rarely, it is harmful. One must enquire specifically: 'After the grain was sown it rained heavily for five hours---was the rain useful for the crop?'---only here is the answer 'the rain was very useful...' clear and sensible.... 'Is war disastrous or beneficial?' This cannot be answered definitely in general; one must know what kind of war is meant, everything depends upon the circumstances of time and place.... The Battle of Marathon was a most beneficial event in the history of mankind'', etc. From this we can see that given a certain attention to reality even such an apparently simple question as that on the usefulness or harmfulness of war cannot be decided by means of this or that simple and completely abstract ``hypothesis''. Everything depends on the circumstances of place and time. This is perfectly true. But _-_-_

^^*^^ [I took my chance on naught, and see---
The whole world now belongs to me...]

^^**^^ N. G. Chernyshevsky, Works, Vol. V, p. 531.

^^***^^ Sovremennik, 1856, Book 9, Criticism, p. 12.

95 it is unfortunately also true that Chernyshevsky often forgot this both in his general studies and in his debates on such concrete phenomena as Russian communal land tenure.

We shall see below that the reality which he forgot frequently drew attention to itself in the most unceremonious fashion. But now we must continue the description of Chernyshevsky's historical views, which will help us determine the place belonging to our author in the general development of^European philosophical thought.

__ALPHA_LVL2__ IV

It is noteworthy that, while he did not attach any value to the historical point of view in the sphere of political economy, he considered it essential in the sphere of literary criticism. In one of his very first articles, the article on Aristotle's famous Poetics translated by B. Ordynsky, he ascribes to aesthetics the great merit of never having been hostile in Russia to the history of literature. "We have always proclaimed the necessity of the history of literature, and people who have especially engaged in aesthetical criticism have done a great deal---more than any of our present-day writers---for the history of literature. In our literature it has always been recognised that aesthetics must be based on an exact study of facts.... The history of art serves as a basis of the theory of art."^^*^^ One would think that the person who wrote these lines, if he remained true to himself, should recognise without any reservations that the history of the economic development of mankind should serve as a basis of economic ``theory''. But we have already seen that he looked upon this ``theory'' differently.

The great accuracy of Chernyshevsky's view on the theory of art is explained, firstly, by the beneficial influence of his predecessors: after Hegel's Aesthetics and Belinsky's critical works (to mention but his articles on Pushkin) it was completely impossible to ignore the historical point of view in the theory of art. Add to this the fact that in aesthetic theory only the supporters of so-called art for art's sake, i.e., people who wanted to place ``eternal'' art apart from any connection with reality and its pressing, burning social questions, could object to the historical point of view. In fighting against such people, Chernyshevsky, naturally, had to incline towards the historical point of view on art, since it enabled one to link the tasks of art with the most important social aspirations of the given age. Schelling said that "verschiedenen Zeitaltern wird eine verschiedene Begeisterung zu Theil".^^**^^ By developing this idea it was easy to crush the _-_-_

^^*^^ N. G. Chernyshevsky, Works, Vol. I, pp. 3-4.

^^**^^ [``Different generations are characterised by different enthusiasms.''] Ueber das Verhdltnis der bildenden Kilnste zu der Natur.

96 supporters of ``pure'' art. In political economy it was a different matter. There the ossified Roscher and company were the opponents of the aspirations of the working class, which were so dear to Chernyshevsky. They were the only representatives of the historical point of view in political economy with whom he was familiar. It is not surprising that as a reaction against them he adopted an attitude to this point of view, the erroneous nature of which would have been glaringly obvious to him in other conditions.

It cannot be said, incidentally, that our author succeeded in developing consistently his view of the importance of the history of art as an essential basis for the theory of art. We have already seen that it is a long way from the mere acceptance of a certain principle to its consistent application in a corresponding branch of science. Chernyshevsky had a splendid opportunity to relate the theory of art to its history in his dissertation on "The Aesthetic Relation of Art to Reality'', which he presented to the Philological Faculty of St. Petersburg University at the beginning of 1854 to obtain a Master's degree. This work occupies one of the most important places among our author's writings; for this reason all the merits and defects of his views and modes of thought are expressed extremely clearly in it. True to his materialist views, Chernyshevsky set himself the aim in his dissertation of putting an end to idealism in aesthetics. He tracks down idealism in all its aesthetic nooks and crannies from general theoretical questions on the origin of art and its importance in life to such details as the doctrine of the tragic and sublime. We shall quote here some of the theses advanced by him, as they throw into brilliant relief Chernyshevsky's materialist view on art.

``The true definition of beauty is: 'beauty is life'. To man, a beautiful being is that being in which he sees life as he understands it; a beautiful object is an object that reminds him of life....

``The sublime does not affect man by awakening in him the idea of the absolute; it hardly ever awakens it.

``To man, the sublime is that which seems to be much bigger than the objects, or much more powerful than the phenomena, with which he compares it.

``The tragic has no essential connection with the idea of fate or necessity. In real life the tragic is most often adventitious, it does not spring from the essence of preceding events. The form of necessity in which it is clothed by art springs from the ordinary principle of works of art: 'The denouement must follow from the plot', or else is due to the artist's misplaced surrender, to the conception of fate.

``The tragic, according to the conception of recent European learning, is "the horrible in a man's life'....

97

``Reality is not only more animated, but is also more perfect than imagination. The images of the imagination are only pale and nearly always unsuccessful imitations of reality.

``Beauty in objective reality is fully beautiful.

``Beauty in objective reality fully satisfies man.

``Art does not spring from man's desire to make up for the flaws in reality.

``The need that engenders art in the aesthetic sense of the term (the fine arts) is the same as that which is very clearly expressed in portrait painting.... By its reproductions, art merely reminds us of what in life is of interest to us and strives to acquaint us to some degree with those interesting aspects of life which we have not had occasion to experience or see in reality.

``Reproduction of life is the general characteristic feature of art and constitutes its essence. Works of art often have another purpose, viz., to explain life; they often also have the purpose of pronouncing judgment on the phenomena of life...."

With some of these theses one can agree only with certain reservations which give them a broader meaning. With one of them one cannot agree at all, namely, one cannot say that "the tragic, according to the conception of recent European learning, is 'the horrible in a man's life'''. It is quite true that "the tragic has no essential connection with the idea of fate''. But its connection with the idea of necessity is indisputable. Not everything that is horrible in a man's life is tragic. The fate of people upon whom the walls of a house in process of construction collapse, for example, is a horrible one; but it can be tragic only for those of them, and precisely for those of them, whose lives contained certain circumstances (great plans, broad political aspirations) which impart a tragic meaning to their accidental death from a pile of bricks. However, in the example quoted the tragic is still closely connected with the accidental, and therefore it is not tragic in the real meaning of the word. The truly tragic is based on the idea of historical necessity. Truly tragic is the fate of the Gracchi, the plans and very life of whom were ruined by the inability of the Roman proletarians to take independent political action. Truly tragic is the fate of Robespierre and Saint-Just, who perished because of the irresistible and inevitable contradictions in their historical position between the different classes of French society which were fighting for predominance. Generally speaking true tragedy is created by the clash of the conscious aspirations of the human personality, which is necessarily limited and more or less one-sided, with the blind forces of historical movement which act like laws of nature. Chernyshevsky did not and could not pay attention to this aspect of the matter, because his struggle against materialism was still limited to the sphere of'abstract philosophical hypotheses. In this struggle he

7---0267

98 again went to extremes of rationality and simply equated thetragic with the horrible. Whereas, had he recalled albeit the explanation of the tragic which Hegel gives using the exampleof Sophocles' Antigone, he would have seen that one can talk about necessity without being an idealist. Hegel points to the clash of two laws, tribal and state, in Antigone. The representative of the former is Antigone, and the representative of the latter is Creon. The struggle of these two laws has undoubtedly played a tremendous role in history, and without indulging in idealism one can connect the tragic with this type of struggle. Chernyshevsky does not see this, because he seems to forget about history in his study. This is all the more regrettable because if Chernyshevsky had remembered in time his own rule, that the theory of art should be based on the history of art, he might perhaps have succeeded in giving aesthetics a completely new theoretical basis. In arguing his thesis that beauty is life, he makes the extremely apt remark that different classes of society have different ideals of beauty depending on the economic conditions of their existence. This passage is so important that we shall quote it almost in full.

``Among the common people, the 'good life', 'life as it should be' means having enough to eat, living in a good house, and having enough sleep. But at the same time, the peasant's conception of life always contains the concept---work: it is impossible to> live without work; indeed, life would be dull without it. As a consequence of a life of sufficiency, accompanied by hard but not exhausting work, the [peasant lad or.---G.P.] peasant maiden will have a very fresh complexion and rosy cheeks---the first attribute of beauty according to the conceptions of the common people. Working hard, and therefore being sturdily built, the peasant girl, if she gets enough to eat, will be buxom---this toois an essential attribute of the village beauty: rural people regard the 'ethereal' society beauty as decidedly 'plain', and are even disgusted by her, because they are accustomed to regard ' skinniness' as the result of illness or of a 'sad lot'. Work, however, does not allow one to get fat: if a peasant girl is fat, it is regarded as a kind of malady, they say she is 'flabby', and the people regard obesity as a defect. The village beauty cannot have small hands and feet, because she works hard---and these attributes of beauty are not mentioned in our songs. In short, in the descriptions of feminine beauty in our folk songs you will not find a single attribute of beauty that does not express robust health and a balanced constitution, which are always the result of a life of sufficiency and constant real hard, but not exhausting, work. The society beauty is entirely different. For a number of generations her ancestors have lived without performing physical work. In a lifeof idleness, little blood flows to the limbs. With every new 99 generation the muscles of the arms and legs grow[feebler, the bones become thinner. An inevitable consequence of all this are small hands and feet---they are the symptoms of the only kind of life the upper classes of society think is possible---life without physical work. If a society lady has big hands and feet, it is regarded either as a defect, or as a sign that she does not come from a good, ancient family.... True, good health can never lose its value for a man, for even in a life of sufficiency and luxury, bad health is a drawback. Hence, rosy cheeks and the freshness of good health are still attractive also for society people; but sickliness, frailty, lassitude and languor also have the virtue of beauty in their eyes as long as they seem to be the consequence of a life of idleness and luxury. Pallid cheeks, languor and sickliness have yet another significance for society people: peasants seek rest and tranquillity, but people who belong to educated society, who do not suffer from material want and physical fatigue, but often suffer from ennui resulting from idleness and the absence of material cares, seek the 'thrills, excitement and passions' which lend colourt diversity and attraction to an otherwise dull and colourless society life. But thrills and ardent passions soon wear a person out. How can one fail to be charmed by a beauty's languor and paleness when they are a sign that she has lived a 'fast life'."^^*^^

People's concepts of beauty are expressed in works of art. The concepts of beauty of different social classes are, as we have seen, very different, sometimes even opposed. The class which predominates at a given time in society, dominates also in literature and art. It introduces its own views and its own concepts into them. But in a developing society different classes predominate at different times. Moreover, each class has its own history; it develops, attains prosperity and supremacy and, finally, declines. In conformity with this both its literary views and its aesthetic concepts change too. Therefore in history we encounter different literary views and different aesthetic concepts: the concepts and views which predominate in one age become antiquated in the next. Chernyshevsky showed that people's aesthetic concepts are in close causal connection with their economic life. This discovery was brilliant in the full senseof the word. All that remained was for him to trace the action of the principle discovered by him through the whole history of mankind with its alternation of different ruling classes, and he would have made a great revolution in aesthetics, by linking closely the theory of art with the modern materialist interpretation of history. But we know that such an interpretation of history was to a large extent alien to him. He could not, therefore, complete the matter which he had so brilliantly begun; and therefore in his "The Aesthetic Rela- _-_-_

^^*^^ N. G. Chernyshevsky, Works, Vol. I, pp. 44, 45, 46.

100 Emacs-File-stamp: "/home/ysverdlov/leninist.biz/en/1980/GPSPW4PP/20061011/199.tx" __EMAIL__ webmaster@leninist.biz __OCR__ ABBYY 6 Professional (2006.10.11) __WHERE_PAGE_NUMBERS__ top __FOOTNOTE_MARKER_STYLE__ [*]+ __ENDNOTE_MARKER_STYLE__ [0-9]+ tion of Art to Reality'" we find far fewer truly materialist comments on the history of art than, for example, in the Aesthetics of the "absolute idealist" Hegel.^^*^^ Chernyshevsky's dissertation, as we have already mentioned, reflects with special clarity all the defects and merits of his way of thinking.

__ALPHA_LVL2__ V

The Left wing of the Hegelian school, to which N. G. Chernyshevsky, like his literary predecessors, belonged, subsequently joined up, as we know, with socialism. The Russian Left Hegelians also joined up with it. Belinsky's passionate interest in socialism is well known. His works contain articles which reveal an understanding very profound for his time of the relations between the Western proletariat and the bourgeoisie.^^**^^ In this respect, as in all others, Chernyshevsky was the direct and immediate continuer of Belinsky's cause. It goes without saying that he went further than Belinsky. He not only took an interest in socialism, he also made a thorough study of the socialist and economic literature available to him. He spoke of socialism not only when it was relevant in articles devoted to other questions. His literary activity was aimed almost exclusively at disseminating socialist doctrines among the Russian reading public. In view of this we are obliged to give as detailed a description as possible of Chernyshevsky's attitude towards West-European socialism.

Anyone who talks about socialism today either speaks of the teaching of Marx or says nothing at all that is worthy of attention. At the time to which the decisive years of Chernyshevsky's development belonged (the late forties and early fifties) this was not yet the case. Marx's teaching by no means reigned supreme, it was still only being formed, elaborated and tested in the battle with other socialist theories. The main works of Marx's school had not yet appeared in print. It was still perfectly permissible to call oneself a socialist without having the slightest idea about Marx. The influence of the now so-called Utopian socialists, particularly Fourier and Owen, was still strong. The gifted socialists of that time all felt this influence and supplemented their teachers' theories, removing the unscientific, fantastic elements from them. Chernyshevsky was in precisely this position. We have already said that he had no idea of the works _-_-_

^^*^^ See, for example, Hegel's remarks on the history of Dutch painting, with which any modern dialectical materialist could agree almost without reservation (Aesthettk, I. Band, 217, 218; B. II, 217--23). There are many such remarks in his Aesthetics.

^^**^^ See, for example, his article on Eugene Sue in Part VII of the complete edition of his works.

101 of Marx's school. True, even Belinsky read with great pleasure the Paris Deutsch-Franzosische = Jahrbiicher,^^32^^ the first and last double issue of which was published by Arnold Ruge in collaboration with Marx and Engels. But the influence of this journal on the Russian public was not strong enough to determine a new direction in Russian socialist thought. The latter developed for a long time, a very long time, much longer than it should have, without the slightest influence of Marx's scientific works. It is not surprising that in elaborating his socialist views, Chernyshevsky did not take into account the new trend in socialism which had already played a considerable part in the history of the German working-class movement, and which from the second half of the sixties became predominant among the whole of the European working class. As a man with a good scientific education, Chernyshevsky was completely alien to the strange fantasies mixed in Fourier's teaching with brilliant views on the history and modern life of mankind. He was always extremely critical of the teaching of Saint-Simon. Robert Owen, the saintly old man, as Lopukhov calls him in the novel What Is ToBeDone?, always appealed greatly to Chernyshevsky. But our author's sober mind rarely allowed him to delude himself with Owen's hopes for assistance to the oppressed majority from sovereigns and the upper class. Studying West-European social relations, Chernyshevsky, one might say, involuntarily arrived at the conclusion which subsequently became the corner-stone of the programme of the International and which says that the liberation of the workers must be a matter for the workers themselves. Nevertheless our author's view on the historical tasks of the working class shows a vagueness which may seem strange to the reader of our day. Chernyshevsky makes no distinction between the proletariat and the general mass of the suffering and oppressed people. To designate the working class which is to free itself by its own efforts Chernyshevsky uses an expression which is very characteristic of the Russian writer and which reveals the vagueness of his idea of the role of the proletariat in West-European history. Chernyshevsky calls the working class of the West the common people and conceives its needs and tasks in almost exactly the same way as an educated and humane Russian would have conceived the needs and tasks of the Russian "common people" of that time. In one of his articles written in the heat of the polemic provoked by the question of the emancipation of the peasants, our author even goes as far as to express the following strange ideas on the views of West-European democrats. He maintains that political freedom is of no importance for the mass of the people and that therefore defenders of the people's interests can remain indifferent to politics. Here is how he defines the political views of liberals, on the one hand, and ``democrats'', on 102 the other.^^*^^ "The fundamental desires, the basic urges, of liberals and democrats are essentially different. Democrats intend to abolish as far as possible the predominance of the upper classes over the lower in the state structure; on the one hand to reduce the power and wealth of the upper estates, on the other to give more weight and well-being to the lower estates. How to change the laws in this sense and to support the new structure of society is almost a matter of indifference to them.^^**^^ On the other hand, liberals cannot at all agree to give the predominance in society to the lower estates, because owing to their lack of education and their material poverty these estates are indifferent to the interests that are of the utmost importance to the liberal party, namely, the right to free speech and £ constitutional system. For the democrat, our Siberia, where the common people are well off, stands far higher than England, where the majority of the people suffer great privations. Of all political institutions, the democrat is irreconcilably hostile to only one---aristocracy (but not absolutism?); the liberal almost always finds that only with a certain degree of aristocracy can society attain the liberal system. Therefore the liberals are usually the mortal enemies of the democrats, and say that democracy leads to despotism and is fatal to freedom."^^***^^

The article from which we have borrowed these lines was written, as we have already said, at the very height of the polemic on the peasant question. It is highly possible that Ghernyshevsky wrote it to some extent ad usum = delphini,^^33^^ wishing to show the Russian government that it need not fear the Russian democrats, whose attention was indeed concentrated for a while entirely on the economic position of the emancipated peasantry. Later, particularly in his Unaddressed Letters, Chernyshevsky expressed a new view on the importance of political freedom for the wellbeing of the people. But nevertheless the opinion quoted remains a very characteristic fact in the history of Russian political consciousness. It was bound to influence growing Russian democracy, which right up to the end of the seventies continued to have a profound contempt for ``politics''. Of course, this is explained not only by the influence of Chernyshevsky---the anarchic propaganda of Bakunin did a great deal in this respect. But the instability and vagueness of the political views of the young Russians' favourite teacher evidently made its contribution to the subsequent programme vagaries of the Russian _-_-_

^^*^^ One must not forget that it was difficult to speak of the socialists because of censorship conditions.

^^**^^ Our italics.

^^***^^ "Party Struggles in France Under Louis XVIII and Charles X.'' Reprinted in the third issue of Russkaya Sotsialno-Demokraticheskaya Blblioteka, Geneva, 1875, pp. 5, 6.

103 revolutionaries. That Chernyshevsky's views on the political tasks of the West-European proletariat never showed any great clarity, can best be seen from the following opinion of his on the importance of universal suffrage. We are borrowing this opinion from the article "The July Monarchy" written in 1860, i.e., at a time when he was completely disillusioned with the government's treatment of the peasant question and could no longer write ad usum delphini. In this article, incidentally, Chernyshevsky addresses those "best people" who, having seen that the introduction of universal suffrage in France profited reactionaries and obscurantists, ceased to ascribe any importance to it. Chernyshevsky reassures them, but not with the consideration that reactionaries and obscurantists were able to profit from the result of universal suffrage only after the massacre of the June = insurgents.^^34^^ He does not tell them that universal suffrage is absolutely essential for the political education of the working class. He simply refers to the backwardness of the ``peasants''.... "The direct result of the decree (which introduced universal suffrage in France),'' he says, "was contrary to the expectations of all honest Frenchmen. But what of it? Was not this decree nevertheless of some benefit to French society? People now saw that the ignorance of the peasants was ruining France. Until they had the vote, no one cared about this terrible calamity. No one noticed that at the basis of all the events of French history there always lay the ignorance of the peasants. The sickness was a secret one and remained without treatment; but it exhausted the whole organism. When the peasants appeared at the elections the essence of the matter was finally discovered. It was seen that nothing really useful could be achieved in France until honest men concerned themselves with the education of the peasants. This is now being done, and the endeavours are not entirely without fruit. Sooner or later the peasants will become more rational, and then progress will be easier for France. So let us be reassured: even if universal suffrage did not remain when legal institutions were restored in France, even if the bitter fruits brought by the decree on it made public opinion reject universal suffrage for a while, nevertheless the decree on it, for all its considerable direct harm, was indirectly of incomparably greater benefit."^^*^^

Here, as we see, there is no mention of the class struggle in French society or of the revolutionary role of the French proletariat. All our author's hopes are placed on some honest men who will concern themselves with the education of the peasants, as a result of which "progress will be easier for France''. This sounds very strange in our day. But again one must not forget that for _-_-_

^^*^^ "The July Monarchy" in Russkaya Sotsialno-Demokraticheskaya Biblioteka, Geneva, 1875, pp. 58, 59.

104 Chernyshevsky the proletariat was the "common people'', who differed little in their qualities, aspirations and tasks from other sections of the working population. If Ghernyshevsky saw anything revolutionary in the specific features of the economic condition of the West-European proletariat, it was only in the sense that economic calamities provoke the discontent of the workers. But since the other sections of the working population also suffer no few calamities, a revolutionary mood among them seemed as natural to him as among the proletariat. When Chernyshevsky defended Russian communal land tenure, as one of the advantages produced by it, he mentioned the fact that it saves us from the "ulcer of proletarianisation''. True, in so doing he evidently frequently recalled the words of reactionaries, such as Baron von Haxthausen or Tengoborsky who maintained that the "ulcer of proletarianisation" was the source of the revolutionary movements in Western Europe. He, too, had doubts about the advantages which the removal of the said ``ulcer'' would have for the cause of Russian progress. But he answered these doubts with the following type of remark: "The agricultural class, although it has always had use of the land under the communal system in our country, has not always appeared in Russian history with the same immovable character which is seen in it by Tengoborsky, who places too much trust in the general phrase about immovability being characteristic of the farmer in Western Europe, and has applied this unsubstantiated phrase to the Russian peasant. There is no need to discuss here the character of the West-European peasant. We would merely point out that the Cossacks came for the most part from the peasants and that from the beginning of the seventeenth century nearly all the dramatic episodes in the history of the Russian people were carried out by the energy of the agricultural population.'' Here the peasant wars are ranked, as we see, in terms of importance with the revolutionary movements of the modern proletariat---a confusion which would be quite impossible for the socialist of today.

In the eyes of the modern socialist the revolutionary movements of the working class are the result of the class struggle in a society which has grown up on the basis of large-scale industry. The modern socialist sees the further development of this industry as a pledge of the triumph of his cause. Chernyshevsky did not see the matter in this way. His views on it were strongly tinged with the most unambiguous idealism. Here is how he discusses the subject in his review of Bruno Hildebrand's book Political Economy of the Present and Future.^^*^^ "That which is truly human, truly rational, will find sympathy among all peoples.... Reason is the same at all latitudes and longitudes, with all black-skinned _-_-_

^^*^^ [Die Nationalokonomie der Gegenwart und Zukunft.]

105 and fair-haired people. Naturally, in the American prairies there are different people from those in Russian villages, and the Sandwich Islands are inhabited by men who bear little resemblance to English gentlemen; but, we would think, the Russian peasant, the savage, and the highly revered Roman cardinal all want to eat, and in order to do so they must have something to eat. The urge to improve one's position is an essential quality of th& whole of mankind. If the new theories conflicted with human nature, they would go no further than the country or the people whosaw fit to invent them, and all the peoples of the educated world would not strive after them."^^*^^ It is hardly necessary to repeat that the peoples of the educated world are striving for socialism not because it accords with "human nature" (this proves nothing at all), but solely because it accords with the nature of the economic condition of modern civilised mankind.

With such views on socialism, how did Chernyshevsky conceive of the practical tasks of the socialist party? Due to censorshipconditions he rarely spoke of them in the press, but he nevertheless expressed himself so definitely in this respect that only th& details are open to question: the general nature of his practical aspirations is sufficiently clear.

Let us say, first and foremost, that Chernyshevsky with his sober mind and constant striving for practical activity could not belong to those socialists who demand that mankind should accept their Utopias unconditionally and who regard all individual economic reforms as futile or even harmful. Such, for example, are the modern anarchists, if anarchists can be called socialists even in the colloquial, not the strict sense of the word. Chernyshevsky ridicules such visionaries caustically. "To reject in the name of higher ideals any, albeit not completely perfect improvement of reality is to idealise excessively and amuse oneself with fruitless theories.'' In his opinion, for people inclined to such amusements, "the matter usually ends, after strenuous attempts to reach up to their ideal, with them falling in such a way that they have no ideal at all in front of them''. This really hits the nail on the head with regard to the modern anarchists. But that is not the point. Let us see how Chernyshevsky himself regarded reforms which are useful and possible from the socialist point of view.

It is well known that modern Social-Democrats not only do not deny the importance of individual economic reforms, but demand them most insistently. The programmes of individual reforms or so-called minimum demands adopted by them in th& various countries are closely linked with their ultimate aspirations. They hope that the reforms won by them from modern _-_-_

^^*^^ Sovremennik, March 1861, New Books, p. 71.

106 governments will help them to approach their ultimate goal, that they will be a string of victories of the economy of Labour over the economy of Capital. Chernyshevsky realised that the reforms demanded by the socialists must conform to their ultimate goal. But he did not have such a clear idea of the ultimate goal of socialism as the modern Social-Democrats. In his mind the actual triumph of^socialism was removed to the somewhat vague future and was supposed to be the result of mankind's "centuries of experience''. Therefore even a programme of what he regarded as desirable individual reforms could not be a definite one. In general it can be said, however, that because Chernyshevsky saw socialism asa system of associations, he defended everything in which he saw even the slightest hint of the principle of association. It was from the point of view of facilitating the introduction of associations that Chernyshevsky defended Russian communal land tenure. He saw the commune as a ready-made historical basis for agricultural associations. He recommends the introduction of associations to Russian socialists in his novel What Is To Be Done? as well. It is most interesting to note the historical fact that associations were advocated simultaneously in Russia and in Germany. The year 1863 saw the appearance of Chernyshevsky's novel, the publication of which marked the beginning of a whole series of attempts in our country to set up production associations. Also in 1863 Lassalle recommended associations to German workers as the only means of improving their life to any degree. But what a difference in the way this question was raised in Russia and in Germany! In Chernyshevsky's novel, which for a while became the programme of the Russian socialists, it is separate, humane, educated individuals who concern themselves with the setting up of associations: Vera PaVlovna and her friends. Even the enlightened priest Mertsalov is enlisted to the cause, who, to quote his own expression, plays the role of a ``shield'' in the workshops set up by Vera Pavlovna. Not a word is said in the novel about the independent political activity of the class which is interested in the establishment of such associations. Nor did the people of the sixties, who attempted to implement the programme proposed by Chernyshevsky, say a word about it. Whereas the first word in Lassalle's agitation was to point out'to the workers the need for them to engage in independent political \activity. Lassalle demanded that the workers, after uniting in a special political party and acquiring influence over the course of affairs in the country, should force the government to give them the money needed to set up associations. In Lassalle's project the setting up of associations has a broad social character. Lassalle attached no importance whatsoever to associations set up by the efforts of enlightened individuals. By comparison with Lassalle, Chernyshevsky is a real Utopian in his novel. By 107 comparison with Chernyshevsky, Lassalle is a true representative of modern socialism in his agitation. This difference does not spring from the fact that Lassalle was intellectually superior to Chernyshevsky. One can say with confidence that in intellectual powers Chernyshevsky was by no means inferior to Lassalle. But the Russian socialist was the son of his country, the political and economic backwardness of which gave all his practical plans and even many of his theoretical views the character of Utopias. In his practical plans for the establishment of associations he was far closer to Schulze-Delitzsch than to Lassalle. On the other hand, however, we would point out that Lassalle too in his practical plans is a true representative of modern socialism only by comparison with Chernyshevsky. The men who really were the true representatives and founders of modern socialism, Marx and Engels, believed that Lassalle's plans too were mere Utopias. They refused to support the famous agitator precisely because they did not wish to cultivate in the German working class a taste for economic = Utopias.^^35^^

The decisive years of Chernyshevsky's development belong to the time when the West-European proletariat, dispirited after the Revolution of 1848, was not showing any signs of political life. Observing it from the side and not having had the opportunity of familiarising himself with the movements of the proletariat in the preceding age by personal observation, Chernyshevsky, naturally, had no reason to reflect on its historical role. Even acknowledging in principle that the proletariat should free itself by its own efforts, Chernyshevsky nevertheless sometimes inclined to extremely strange practical plans for easing its lot. In saying this, we have in mind an article printed in the May issue of the Sovremennik for 1861, in the foreign literature section. It is most possible, even probable, that this article did not belong to Chernyshevsky himself. But since it concerns economic questions and since everything in the Sovremennik that bore the slightest; relation to these questions passed through Chernyshevsky's hands, it could obviously not have been printed if it contradicted the views of our author. In any case it must be acknowledged as most characteristic of the views of the Sovremennik circle on the social question. At the beginning of the article the author makes some very valuable remarks to the effect that the proletariat is a phenomenon peculiar exclusively to modern history. "Only in the present century has it appeared in the west of Europe in the form of a conscious, independent whole. Before the nineteenth century there were, perhaps, more poor people in need of general assistance than today, but there was no talk of the proletariat. It is the fruit of modern history.'' Further on the author remarks correctly that female industrial labour will ensure the liberation of woman within the family. Reading this, one might think that 108 one was dealing with a person who had adopted the viewpoint of modern socialism. But disillusion appears as soon as the discussion turns to practical ways of improving the lot of the proletariat. Namely, discussing the Lyons silk-weavers, the author sees their salvation in the "decentralisation of production'', the setting up of workshops outside the town, and the combining of weaving with agriculture. In the author's opinion, combining the handicraft of weaving with agriculture would greatly increase the wellbeing of the worker. He sees the cheapness of raw materials in the villages as another source of a possible improvement in the wellbeing of the weavers. Here are his actual words: "For the Lyons worker the beginning of his emancipation from his employer lies in organising his own workshop outside the town. But how can it be set up? On whose money? Employers and factory-owners can be relied upon only by way of an exception, so that is why it is necessary to seek support from the government, its money. Only with credit made available by the government to the Lyons proletarian will he free himself from the exploitation of his labour by the capitalist and acquire the possibility of standing on his own two feet.'' But the author fears that workers will not want to move to the villages. "Urban life for many of them offers" pleasant features which they will not find in rural life.... But^this is a transient evil. One cannot, of course, expect all workers to move out of Lyons immediately into the surrounding countryside; but nor are there any grounds for thinking that the advantage of such a move will not penetrate the general awareness of workers more and more. A few successful examples, and the worker will see the solution to his present unfortunate position. It will be enough to start with if some small holdings and workshops of individual families are formed, and then the transition to an association and to the setting up on communal funds of factories with power looms will not be difficult."^^*^^ We would not have been at all surprised to read such a plan in the works of Mr. Uspensky or any of the ``subjective'' Russian = ``sociologists''.^^36^^ But in Chernyshevsky's journal it creates a strange, painful impression. It is obvious that the person who thought up this plan and the people who printed it in their journal had no idea whatsoever as to how the liberation of the workers could be a matter for the workers themselves. For modern Social-Democrats the matter is perfectly clear: the economic emancipation of the proletariat will be the result of its political supremacy, its taking of political power into its own hands. The author of the above-mentioned plan for the economic emancipation of the Lyons weavers assigns th& main role in this emancipation to the government of Napoleon III. According to this project, it was supposed to take the initiative _-_-_

^^*^^ Sovremennik, 1861, May, Foreign Literature, pp. 22 and 23.

109 and gradually accustom workers to the idea of moving to the countryside. Thus the workers would be the passive object of the beneficial action of the Bonapartist government. This conflicts radically with the views of the Social-Democrats, to say nothing of the economic aspect of the project which does not bear any criticism. But the appearance of such projects on the pages of the Sovremennik was, if you like, understandable and natural. We have already seen how Ghernyshevsky regarded universal suffrage. He did not consider it an essential instrument of the proletariat in its struggle with the bourgeoisie. A person who is unclear as to the importance of universal suffrage in this struggle, will also be unclear as to all its political tasks in general, and will not see the need for uniting the proletariat in a special political party with the aim of seizing power in the future. In such circumstances even the most sincere supporter of the working class is bound to hesitate when it is a question of practical measures for improving the workers' lot. He will sympathise deeply with their revolutionary movement; but in peace-time he will not decline to put the whole matter of improving their lot into the hands of existing governments: with an unclear understanding of the political tasks of the workers, he cannot understand clearly the importance of their independent political activity. In general, it can be said that a person's understanding of the modern tasks of the proletariat is revealed best of all in his opinions on the tactics of that class in calm peace-time. In order to sympathise with the revolutionary outburst of the workers, a person need only not be interested in supporting the bourgeois order. But, in order to have a clear idea of the tactics which the workers should employ at a time when there is no revolution and none in sight, a person must understand properly all the tasks, all the conditions and the whole course of the liberation movement of the working class. All this was not yet clear to Ghernyshevsky; hence the appearance on the pages of the Sovremennik of projects like the one mentioned above.

It is interesting that our author, while vigorously defending state intervention in the economic relations of different social classes, nowhere mentions the restriction of the working day by law. He evidently did not attach any significance to this aspect of the matter or, rather, did not give any thought to it whatsoever.

We have now elucidated sufficiently the socialist views of N. G. Chernyshevsky. For readers familiar with the movement in the West and with West-European socialist literature it will, perhaps, be interesting to mention here the fact that our author saw Proudhon as "a complete illustration of the intellectual position that is reached by a common man in the West''. Chernyshevsky is by no means an admirer of Proudhon. He sees his weak sides, his vacillations, his inconsistencies. But "in all this we 110 see again the common features of the intellectual position in which the West-European common man finds himself. Thanks to his robust nature and to his stern experience of life, the WestEuropean common man understands the essence of things much better, more correctly, and more deeply than people of the more fortunate classes. But he has not yet grasped the scientific concepts which correspond most to his position, inclinations and needs, and that correspond most to the present state of knowledge."^^*^^ About which "common people" is Chernyshevsky speaking here? Has he in mind the peasants, the small, independent artisans or proletarians in the true sense of the word? He speaks about them in general, not making any distinction between the different sections of the working population, because all of them, as we have seen, have merged together in his mind into the single general idea of the "common people''. Modern socialists see the matter differently. As early as 1848 Marx and Engels in their Manifesto of the Communist Party pointed to the great difference between the peasants and artisans, on the one hand, and the proletariat, on the other. For the authors of the Manifesto the peasants and small artisans, when they defend the economic features of their own position and do not adopt the point of view of the proletariat, are reactionary for they try to roll back the wheel of = history.^^37^^ Only in the proletariat do Marx and Engels see the truly revolutionary class of modern society. In keeping with this Marx and Engels could detect in Proudhon too, perhaps, the representative of the West-European common people, but common people placed in the special conditions of petty-bourgeois production. Proudhon's socialism seemed to Marx to be the socialism of the petty bourgeoisie or, if you like, of the peasants, these petty bourgeois of agriculture. Marx explained the inconsistency and vacillation of Proudhon's thinking not by the fact that he was not familiar with the latest advances in science, but by the fact that the prejudices and biases which he had brought from the petty-bourgeois environment made it impossible for him to understand these advances even if they reached him.^^**^^ The difference in the attitudes of Marx and Chernyshevsky to Proudhon demonstrates vividly the difference in their attitudes to the West-- European working-class movement as a whole.

__ALPHA_LVL2__ VI

We now know Chernyshevsky's attitude to "our common great Western teachers" from whom the Russian must learn diligently even today. We know that German philosophy had an immense _-_-_

^^*^^ The Anthropological Principle in Philosophy, pp. 21, 24.

^^**^^ See The Poverty of Philosophy (fifth issue of Biblioteka Sovremennogo Sotsializma).

111 influence on the shaping of Chernyshevsky's views. We know also in which period of the development of German philosophy our author studied it: in the period of its transition from idealism to materialism. In this transitional period modern materialist views had by no means reached the stage of refinement, clarity and consistency to which the works of Marx and Engels subsequently elevated them. This had a most telling effect on Chernyshevsky's views. Comparing them with the teaching of the school which developed subsequently from the teaching of Feuerbach, we find in them many gaps, much vagueness and inconsistency. Chernyshevsky's historical and socialist views can by no means be regarded as satisfactory from the point of view of European science today. Anyone who chose to hold them at the present time would be completely out of date. But in saying this we certainly do not wish to censure the great Russian writer. His development was greatly hindered by the fact that he lived in a country which was backward in all respects and which the latest discoveries and trends in the social sciences often did not reach at all. In the circumstances which surrounded him there were no materials for independent discoveries in this sense. Moreover, one must remember that the revolution in social science brought about by Marx and Engels was not immediately fully appreciated even by the most gifted people in Western Europe. Lassalle was placed in conditions most beneficial for his social and political development, he was closely acquainted with the founders of modern socialism, and all he needed to do, it would seem, was master the ideas which had been elaborated by others and were quite comprehensible to him because of the circumstances of his life, and yet we find a multitude of glaring contradictions in his works. In his major works (Philosophie Heracleitos des Dunkeln, System der erworbenen Rechte) he is a downright idealist and talks about the self-development of concepts (Selbstentwicklung der Begriffe). In his agitational brochures he is already much closer to modern materialism, he acknowledges nearly all its theses almost entirely, but nevertheless in these brochures as well there is much vagueness and inconsistency. How much correction does his main polemic work Bastiat-Schulze require = today!^^38^^ Lassalle must also be regarded as a representative of the transitional age in the development of philosophical socialist thought, just as Chernyshevsky was. But the gaps and contradictions in Lassalle's views did not prevent him from rendering a great service to the development of his country. Nor did the incomplete formulation of Chernyshevsky's views prevent him from doing the same. Today, standing on Marx's viewpoint, we can criticise a great deal in Chernyshevsky's theoretical propositions and practical plans. But for his time and for his country even those of his views which we must now acknowledge as erroneous were extremely important and

112 beneficial, because they roused Russian thought and led it on to a path upon which it had not succeeded in embarking during the preceding period: the path of the study of social and economic questions. In political economy, in history, even in aesthetics and literary criticism Chernyshevsky expressed a multitude of important ideas which have still not been mastered in all their scope and properly developed by Russian literature. In order to define in a few words the importance of everything that Chernyshevsky did for the development of Russian thought, it should suffice to point to the following fact which anyone familiar with the state of literature over the last thirty years will acknowledge as indisputable. Neither the Russian socialists with their vast number of factions and trends, nor legal Russian critics and publicists have taken a single step, literally, a single step forward since Chernyshevsky's literary activity ceased. In his articles you will find the thoughts and views the dissemination of which constituted the fame of the progressive writers in the following period. These writers made no amendments to Chernyshevsky's views, and could not have done so, for all the shortcomings which marked Chernyshevsky's world outlook were characteristic of their world outlook to a far greater = degree.^^39^^ The weak side of Chernyshevsky's views was explained by the fact that he was unfamiliar with the latest trend in West-European philosophical thought, with the teaching of Marx and Engels. But did the leading writers of the following period master this teaching? They began to talk of the inapplicability of West-European theories to our country, of the "subjective method" in sociology, of the peculiarities of Russian economic life, of the errors of the West---in a word, they were more or less conscious, more or less zealous advocates of the Narodnik teaching which would probably have seemed most unpalatable mysticism to Chernyshevsky.^^*^^ Once they had strayed off to Narodism, the leading representatives of Russian thought could not even think of seriously criticising Chernyshevsky. On the contrary, they often defended, with a zeal worthy of a better fate, precisely those of his views which betrayed his errors and revealed his backwardness in _-_-_

^^*^^ Aristov in his book on Shchapov describes how Chernyshevsky became interested in Shchapov's works, sought his acquaintance, and, meeting him at the home of a mutual friend, had a long argument with him. This argument showed Chernyshevsky that Shchapov could not contribute to the Sovremennik: so strongly did their views diverge. But what was the attitude to Shchapov later of the very people who regarded themselves as ardent admirers of Chernyshevsky? Shchapov's views on Russian history were an integral part of Narodnik teaching, and our Narodniks, while continuing to ``respect'' Chernyshevsky, did not even take the trouble to ask themselves whether there was not a contradiction between his views and Shchapov's idealisation of old folk life.

113 relation to West-European science. How remarkable is the fate of brilliant or even simply gifted people who have had a marked influence on the intellectual development of their country! Their followers and admirers often assimilate their errors and delusions, and then defend them with all the enthusiasm roused by the great name. The history of the intellectual development of mankind positively abounds in examples of this, at first glance very strange, predilection of students for the errors of their teachers. What did the Right wing of the Hegelian school assimilate? The brilliant philosopher's blunders and inconsistency. What did the so-called positivists repeat with special persistence? The scholastic part of the teaching of Auguste Comte (readers will forgive us for the truly sacrilegious comparison of Comte with Hegel). What prevented the German Lassalleans from joining with the Liebknecht-Bebel faction? Their predilection for Lassalle's political errors and economic Utopias. Without a doubt obscurantists have slandered the human mind, ascribing to it a constant striving forward and constant dissatisfaction with that which exists! In fact, it turns out to be the laziest of all conservatives.

But let us return to our author. Knowing the general character of his views, knowing the merits and defects of his characteristic interpretation of "the noble ideas of truth, science, and art'', we can now easily form a picture of his literary activity.^^*^^

We have already said that, while preparing his dissertation on "The Aesthetic Relation of Art to Reality'', Chernyshevsky engaged in translation and other literary work, mainly for Otechestvenniye Zapiski. The appearance of his dissertation in print attracted the attention of the editorial board of the Sovremennik, published since 1847 by Nekrasov and Panayev. Chernyshevsky was offered a permanent post on the journal, and even the whole of the criticism section was put in his charge. Later, in 1859, when the Sovremennik was allowed to write about politics, Chernyshevsky also took charge of the political section. It will always be to the great credit of Nekrasov and Panayev that they did not shun, as many other "friends of Belinsky's" did, people who continued his cause. It goes without saying that the editorial board had no occasion to regret its collaboration with Chernyshevsky. Already in the December issue of the Sovremennik for 1855 there appeared the first article of the frequently mentioned series Essays on the Gogol Period of Russian Literature, one of Chernyshevsky's finest works and still the best textbook for anyone who wishes to acquaint himself with the criticism of the Gogol _-_-_

^^*^^ [See below the addendum to this passage for the German edition, p. 160 of this volume.]

,

8---0267

114 period. The second article in this fine series of essays was printed in the January issue, the third in the February issue, and the fourth in the April issue of the Sovremennik for the following year. These four articles contain an appreciation of the literary activity of Polevoi, Senkovsky, Shevyryov and Nadezhdin. In the July issue the author turned to Belinsky, to whom the remaining five essays are devoted. In these articles the name of Belinsky was mentioned for the first time since = 1848,^^40^^ when Belinsky began to be regarded as a banned writer. With the appearance of the Essays it could be said with gratifying certainty, and without the slightest exaggeration, that Belinsky had a worthy successor. From the moment that Chernyshevsky appeared as critic and publicist of the Sovremennik, this journal was again assured of the predominant place among Russian periodicals which had belonged to it during Belinsky's lifetime. The Sovremennik was heeded with interest and respect by the advanced section of the reading public, all fresh, budding literary talent was naturally drawn towards it. Thus, in the middle of 1856 the young Dobrolyubov began to write for it. It is difficult for people of our day to imagine how great the importance of journalism was then in Russia. Today public opinion has far outgrown journalism; in the forties it was still too young for it. The late fifties and early sixties were the age of the greatest concord between public opinion and journalism and of the greatest influence of journalism on public opinion. Only in such conditions was it possible to have the passionate interest in literary activity and the sincere belief in the importance of literary propaganda which one find in all the eminent writers of that time. In brief, it was the Golden Age of Russian journalism. The unfortunate outcome of the Crimean War compelled the government to make a few concessions to educated society and effect at least the more pressing reforms that had long since become indispensable. Soon the problem of freeing the peasants was placed on the order of the day, a problem directly affecting the interests of all estates. Needless to say, Nikolai Gavrilovich eagerly set about elaborating this problem. His excellent articles on the peasants' cause were written in 1857 and 1858. How much was written by him on this subject can be seen from the fact that these articles make up a large volume of very small print in a separate foreign publication. The mutual relations of our social forces in the epoch of the abolition of serfdom are now fairly well known. We shall, therefore, mention them only in passing, only insofar as it may be necessary to elucidate the role adopted in this matter by our advanced publicists, chief of whom then was N. G. Chernyshevsky. It is well known that these writers zealously defended the interests of the peasants. Our author wrote one article after another, advocating the emancipation of the peasants with land, 115 and maintaining that the government would find no difficulty whatever in redeeming the lands allotted to the peasants. He supported his thesis both with general theoretical considerations and with the most detailed estimates. "Indeed, in what way can the redemption of land prove difficult? How can it be too much for the people to bear? That is improbable,'' he wrote in the article "Is Land Redemption Difficult?". "It runs counter to the fundamental concepts of economics. Political economy says plainly that all the material capital which a certain generation takes over from previous generations is not too considerable in value compared with the mass of values produced by the labour of that generation. For example, all of the land belonging to the French people, together with all the buildings and their contents, together with all the ships and cargoes, all the livestock and'money and other riches belonging to that country, is hardly worth a hundred thousand million francs, while the labour of the French people produces fifteen or more thousand million francs' worth of values annually, i.e., in no more than seven years the French people produce a mass of values equal to that of the whole of France from the Channel to the Pyrenees. Consequently, if the French had to redeem all France, they could do so in the lifetime of one generation, using only one-fifth of their revenue for the purpose. And what is the point at issue in our country? Is it the whole of Russia with all her riches that we must redeem? No, only the land. And is it to be all the Russian land? No, the redemption would affect only those gubernias of European Russia alone where serfdom is deep-rooted'', etc.^^*^^ After showing that the lands to be redeemed would constitute no more than one-sixth of the area of European Russia, he puts forward as many as eight plans for carrying out redemption. According to him, if the government were to accept any one of these plans, it could redeem the allotted lands not only without burdening the peasants, but also to the great advantage of the state treasury. Chernyshevsky's plans were all based on the idea that it was "necessary to fix the most moderate prices possible in determining the amount of redemption payments". We know now how much consideration the government gave to the interests of the peasantry in abolishing serfdom and how much it heeded Chernyshevsky's advice regarding moderation in fixing redemption payments. Statistics show that on average the payments fixed on peasant lands greatly exceed the income which the lands yield. They also show that it is mainly the lands of the former landowners' peasants that are burdened with payments. Hence it is clear that whereas our government, in freeing the peasants, never for a moment forgot the benefits _-_-_

^^*^^ See the article "Is Land Redemption Difficult?" in the fifth volume of the foreign edition of N. G. Chernyshevsky's Works.

8*

116 to the state treasury, it thought very little about the interests of the peasants. In the redemption operations it was exclusively fiscal and landowner interests that were borne in mind. And this is perfectly understandable, for no one has either the need or the desire to think of the interests of an estate (in this case the peasant estate) which cannot defend them vigorously and systematically itself. But at that time, when there were still only rumours of the emancipation of the peasants, the most advanced Russians thought somewhat differently. They believed that the government itself without great difficulty could understand to what extent its own advantages coincided with the interests of the peasants. Such hopes were, incidentally, nourished for quite a long time by Herzen. Chernyshevsky also nourished them. Hence the persistence with which he kept returning in his articles to the peasant question, and the diligence with which he explained to the government its own interests. But Chernyshevsky was the first Russian writer to understand the base and hypocritical role of the Russian government in the matter of peasant emancipation. Already in 1858 his article"/! Criticism of the Philosophical Prejudices Against Communal Land Tenure" appeared with a most significant epigraph from Faust: "wie weh', wie weh', wie wehe!"^^*^^ This splendid article is usually regarded as a most vigorous and successful defence of communal land tenure, but we shall examine it from the viewpoint of the actual principle of freeing the peasant with land. The article shows that by 1858 Chernyshevsky had already abandoned all hope of a satisfactory solution by the government of the peasant land question. "I am ashamed of myself,'' he says at the beginning of the article. "Ashamed to remember the untimely self-assurance with which I raised the question of communal land tenure. This affair has made me reckless, to put it bluntly, I have become stupid in my own eyes.... It is difficult to explain the cause of my shame, but I shall try to do so as best I can. However important I regard the question of retaining communal land tenure, it nevertheless constitutes only one aspect of the matter to which it belongs. As a high guarantee of the well-being of the people whom it concerns, this principle acquires meaning only when the other, low guarantees of wellbeing necessary to provide scope for the action of the principle are already given. Two conditions must be regarded as these guarantees. Firstly, the belonging of rent to those people who take part in communal land tenure. But this is not enough. It must also be pointed out that rent is only seriously worthy of its name when the person who receives it is not burdened with credit liabilities which result from its receipt.... When a person is not _-_-_

^^*^^ ["how painful, how painful, how painful!"]

117 fortunate enough to receive rent free of all liabilities, then, at least, it is assumed that the payment of these liabilities is not very large by comparison with the rent.... Only if this second condition is observed can people who take an interest in his wellbeing wish him to receive rent.'' But this condition could not be observed in the case of the emancipated peasants. Therefore Chernyshevsky thought it pointless to defend not only communal land tenure, but even the granting of land to the peasants. Anyone who still harbours any doubts on the matter will be totally convinced by the following example quoted by our author. "Let us suppose,'' he says, turning to his favourite method of explanation by means of a ``parable'', "let us suppose that I was interested in taking steps to preserve the provisions from the store of which your dinner is prepared. Obviously, if I did so out of affection for you, then my zeal would be based on the assumption that the provisions belong to you and that the dinner being prepared from them is nourishing and good for you. Just imagine my feelings when I learn that the provisions do not really belong to you and that for every dinner prepared from them you pay money which is not only more than the dinner itself is worth but which, in general, you cannot pay without extremely embarrassing yourself. What ideas will enter my head in the face of such strange discoveries?... How stupid I was to bother about a matter when the conditions for its usefulness were not guaranteed! Who but a dolt can bother about the preservation of property in certain hands, without first being assured that the property will fall into those hands and on advantageous terms?... Rather let all these provisions, which only cause harm to the person 1 love, be lost! Rather let the whole matter, which only causes your ruin, vanish!"^^*^^

If the reader, not content with the passages quoted, would like to have an even clearer idea of how greatly and how early Chernyshevsky became disillusioned with peasant ``emancipation'', we would direct his attention to the novel Prologue to a Prologue, published in 1877 by the editorial board of the journal Vperyodl and written by Chernyshevsky, it would seem, considerably earlier than the novel What Is To Be = Done?^^41^^ Prologue to a Prologue is actually not a novel but the author's notes relating to the period of the abolition of serfdom. Well-known literary and political figures of the day appear under the fictitious names of Count Chaplin, Ryazantsev, Savelov, Levitsky, Sokolovsky, = etc.^^42^^ Moreover, under the name of Volgin Chernyshevsky portrays himself, and this gives his novel, or notes, great biographical _-_-_

^^*^^ See volume five of the Geneva edition of N. G. Chernyshevsky's Works, pp. 472--78.

118 interest. Without aiming to expound the contents of the novel, we shall merely quote Volgin's conversations with Nivelzin and Sokolovsky concerning the emancipation of the peasants. "Let the matter of peasant emancipation be handed over to the landowners' party. There's no great difference,'' Volgin says to Sokolovsky, and to the latter's remark that, on the contrary, the difference is immense, since the landowners' party is against giving the peasants land, he replies firmly: "No, not immense, but trivial. It would be immense, if the peasants received the land without redemption. There is a difference between taking something away from a person or letting him keep it, but it's all the same if you make him pay for it. The plan of the landowners' party differs from the plan of the Progressists only in that it is simpler, shorter. Therefore it is even better. Less delay, probably, also less burden for the peasants.^^*^^ Those of the peasants who have money will purchase land. And there is no point in obliging those who do not have money to purchase land. It will only ruin them. Redemption is the same as purchase. To tell the truth, it would be better to free them without land.... The question is presented in such a way that I find no cause to get excited even at whether or not the peasants will be emancipated at all; all the less at who will emancipate them, the liberals or the landowners. To my mind, it does not matter. Or perhaps it would even be better if the landowners do this."^^**^^

In a conversation with Nivelzin Volgin displays a different aspect of his attitude to the formulation of the peasant question at that time. "They say: free the peasants!" he exclaims. "Where are the forces for such an undertaking? There are no forces as yet. It is absurd to embark on an undertaking when there are no forces for it. And you can see how things are going: they will start to free them. What will happen---judge for yourself, what will happen when you set about something that you cannot do.... You will spoil it, and the result will be an abomination. Ah, our emancipator gentlemen, all your Ryazantsevs and company! Braggarts; chatterers; dolts!..."^^***^^

These remarks by Volgin on the premature nature of peasant emancipation are, of course, erroneous. Serfdom was such a great evil, it hampered the development of all aspects of social life _-_-_

^^*^^ All the italics in this extract are ours.

^^**^^ Prologue to a Prologue, p. 199.

^^***^^ Ibid., p. 110. It is actually clear, from the novel, that these remarks by Volgin belong to the period when Chernyshevsky's articles on redemption appeared. But in that case the publication of these articles would be inexplicable: who would defend projects which he himself considers totally unfeasible in the given circumstances? We think it more likely that when Chernyshevsky was writing his novel he ascribed his later views on the conditions of peasant emancipation to an earlier period, without noticing it.

119 in Russia at that time to such an extent, that its abolition could not be premature in any case and under any conditions. But for a proper understanding of Chernyshevsky's view on this matter one must remember that the events of that time may have appeared to him in quite a different perspective from that in which they appear to us today. He nourished, it would seem, some hope for peasant uprisings, and at the same time he evidently considered possible a very rapid growth of the extreme party which was entirely on the side of the = peasantry.^^43^^ Thus, emancipation may have seemed premature to him in the sense that because it calmed peasant unrest, the Gordian knot of the landowners' power could no longer be cut by the axe of the peasantry, and, on the other hand, the extreme democratic party did not yet possess the strength for serious pressure on the government. The acquisition by the party of sufficient strength for this may have seemed to him a matter of only a few years, and he may have considered a short-term postponement of emancipation useful in view of the importance of the results which such a postponement promised. There are some obvious hints in his articles to the fact that he considered the revolutionary movement in the Russia of that day perfectly possible, hints on which we shall later arrest the reader's attention, since they explain to a considerable extent the direction of his subsequent literary activity.

Our Narodniks now idealise the Russian peasantry terribly and discover in it with the most amazing ease all the qualities and aspirations which they would like to see in it. Therefore, not wishing for a moment to liken Chernyshevsky to them, we hasten to add that, in spite of his belief in the possibility of a peasant revolution, he was in fact far from a false idealisation of the people. The Russia of that day did not appear to him as particularly attractive. He occasionally went so far as to express a sharply negative attitude towards his fellow-countrymen. "A wretched nation, a wretched nation!" exclaims Volgin, under whose name, as we have said, Chernyshevsky portrayed himself, in Prologue to a Prologue, "a nation of slaves, nothing but slaves from top to bottom."^^*^^ Even in his calmer moments the awareness of the terrible backwardness and downtrodden nature of the Russian peasantry did not leave him. In this respect he was the direct heir of Belinsky's views, who towards the end of his life used to say that arguing with the Slavophils helped him "reject a mystical belief in the people".^^**^^ To be more convincing, let us point _-_-_

^^*^^ P. 209.

^^**^^ n&mHH, «BejiHHCKHii, ero >i;ii3Hb n nepenucKa», Cn6. 1876, T. II, cxp. 324--325. [Pypin, Belinsky,] His Life and Correspondence, St. Petersburg, 1876, Vol. II, pp. 324--25.]

120 to Chernyshevsky's excellent and instructive article "Is This Not the Beginning of a Change?" in the November issue of the Sovremennik for 1861. The article was written on the occasion of the publication of a volume of Stories by N. V. Uspensky. In it the author criticises "the invincible urge to embellish popular customs and concepts''. According to him, the stories dealing with the life of the people by Turgenev and Grigorovich showed such an urge. He compares the attitude of these two writers to the people with Gogol's attitude to Akaky = Akakiyevich.^^44^^ Gogol does not mention his hero's defects, because he regards these defects as totally irremediable. "Akaky Akakiyevich was a silly idiot. But to tell the whole truth about Akaky Akakiyevich is pointless and shameless.... He can do nothing for himself, so let us incline others in his favour.... Let us keep silent about his defects.'' Grigorovich, Turgenev and all their imitators had precisely the same attitude to the people. All the people's defects "are concealed, varnished, glossed over, and the only point that is stressed is that the people is wretched, wretched".^^*^^ The chief merit of N. V. Uspensky, in the eyes of our author, was the total absence in him of such an attitude towards the people. Chernyshevsky remarks that N. V. Uspensky "represented the Russian common man as a duffer" who found it "hard to put together two separate thoughts in his head''. But, to quote him, it could not be otherwise. Not only Russian, but also West-European peasants show a terrible lack of development. With regard to the quality of the ``duffer'', he "is ready to prove that the vast majority of people of all estates are duffers''. Most people of all estates and all countries live by routine and display extreme slow-wittedness as soon as they leave their customary circle of ideas. In order to give us portrayals of the life of the people which are true to reality, literature should not ignore the negative aspects of the popular character. In N. V. Uspensky's stories---which, it must be said, frequently verged on caricature---Chernyshevsky saw "the beginning of a change" in the attitude of literature to the people, and in the author of these stories he hailed the appearance of a new section of educated Russians who were able to deal and talk with the peasants not as kind and condescending masters, but quite simply, as equals with equals. He expects a great deal from the appearance of this section.

The view of the peasantry as an estate of ``duffers'' would seem to exclude any hope of the possibility of a revolutionary movement in the Russian people. Bu; Chernyshevsky by no means renounces this hope. He states categorically that the peasants are extremely undeveloped or, to put it simply, stupid. "But do not be in a hurry to draw conclusions from this _-_-_

^^*^^ See the above-mentioned issue, Russian Literature section, p. 83.

121 regarding the validity or non-validity of your hopes, if you wish to> alleviate the lot of the people,'' he says at the end of the article. "Take the commonest ... shallow person: no matter how drab and petty the life he leads, it has in it moments of a totally different shade, moments of energetic efforts, courageous decisions. The same is also encountered in the history of every nation."

It was on such a moment of courageous decisions that N. G. Chernyshevsky pinned his hopes. He thought that this moment was not far off, and almost all the best people of that time thought exactly the same. The secret revolutionary societies, which sprang up at the beginning of the sixties, were based on this con- = viction.^^48^^ It was supported partly by the unrest of the emancipated peasants, who were stubbornly waiting for "real freedom'', and partly by the state of affairs in the West. The events in Italy, the North American = War,^^46^^ the intense political ferment in Austria and Prussia---all this could give grounds for thinking that the reaction which had reigned since 1849 would eventually be conquered by the new liberation movement. And it was permissibleto hope that the events in Europe would affect Russia also. Believing comes easily to him who wants to believe! Chernyshevsky and those who shared his views had not yet realised that the political movements of the West could serve as a useful stimulus for Russia's internal development on one essential condition only: namely, if Russia's domestic and, above all, economic relations bore even the slightest similarity to the relations in the West. Today the similarity exists and, one can say, it is increasing with each hour. But at the beginning of the sixties this was a long way oft. Therefore the liberation movements of the West were more likely to strengthen Russian stagnation, than Russian progress at that time. At the beginning of the sixties Russia could still have tried again to assume the role of gendarme of Europe, so brilliantly performed by her in 1848--49.

__ALPHA_LVL2__ VII

If, for all his ardent love of the people, our author was able to> take a sober view of its defects, one can imagine how he regarded the nobility and the liberal party, which was very strident at that time. Here he was quite merciless. We have already quoted Volgin's remark on the liberal Ryazantsev and company. There are many such remarks in the Prologue to a Prologue. In general Chernyshevsky never missed an opportunity of ridiculing the Russian liberals in his articles and stating in the press that neither he, nor the whole extreme party, had anything in common with them. Cowardice, lack of foresight, narrow-mindedness, inertia and loud-mouthed boastfulness---these are the distinguishing 122 features which he saw in the liberals of that time. Such a description is given by him almost word for word in the article "The Russian at a Rendezvous" printed in the Athenaeum in 1858. It was written in connection with Turgenev's story Asya, but since Asya appeared in the Sovremennik Chernyshevsky did not consider it proper to write about it in his journal. Very little, it would be better to say almost nothing, is said in the article about the story itself. The author merely draws attention to the scene in which the hero of the story makes his declaration of love to Asya, and, in connection with this scene, he indulges in ``reflections''. The reader will recall, of course, that at the critical moment Turgenev's hero turned coward and went back on his word. It is this circumstance that caused Chernyshevsky to ``reflect''. He notes that indecision and cowardice are the distinctive features not only of this hero, but of most of the heroes of our best literary works. He recalls Rudin, Beltov, and the tutor of Nekrasov's Sasha,'' and sees the same features in all of them. He does not blame the authors of the novels on this account since they were only recording what is encountered at every turn in real life. There is no manliness in Russian people, therefore the characters in the novels have none either. And Russian people have no manliness because they are not in the habit of taking part in public affairs. "When we go into society, we see around us people in uniforms and civilian morning or evening dress; these people are five and a half or six feet tall, and sometimes even more; they grow or shave the hair on their cheeks, above their upper lip and on their chin; and we imagine we are looking at men. This is a total error, an optical illusion, an hallucination, nothing more. Without acquiring the habit of independent participation in civil affairs, without acquiring the feelings of a citizen, the male child grows up and becomes middle-aged, and then an elderly being of the masculine gender, but he does not become a man or, at any rate, not a man of a noble character.'' "Among developed, educated and liberal people, the absence of noble manliness strikes one still more than among ignorant people, because the developed, and liberal man likes to talk about important matters. He talks with enthusiasm and eloquence, but only until it becomes a matter of passing from words to deeds.'' "So long as there is no question of action, but merely the need to fill up empty hours, an empty mind, or an empty heart, with talks and dreams, the hero is very glib; but once it is a matter of expressing his feelings plainly and precisely, the majority of the heroes immediately begin to waver and feel tongue-tied. A few, the most courageous, somehow contrive to muster their forces and stammer something that provides a vague idea of their thoughts. But just attempt to take their wishes at face value and say to them: 'you want so-and-so; we're very glad; begin to do something 123 about it and you'll have our support'---if such a remark is made one half of the very brave heroes faints, the other begins to reproach you gruffly for putting them in an awkward position; they begin to say that they did not expect such proposals from you, that they are quite at a loss and cannot think properly because it is not possible to do so at a moment's notice and, moreover, that they are honest people, and not only honest but very mild, and they do not want to cause you any unpleasantness, and that, in general, it is not possible, really, to trouble oneself about all that is said merely from having nothing to do, and that it is best not to undertake anything at all, because everything involves trouble and inconvenience, and at present no good can come of it, because, as already said, they never for a moment expected, or anticipated, and so on and so forth."

We have never read such a vicious and at the same time so accurate a description of Russian liberalism. What would N. G. Chernyshevsky have said to the by no means few people here now who, while calling themselves revolutionaries, pin all their hopes on a liberal ``society'' and seek by hook or by crook to turn our revolutionary party into a party of respectable and moderate liberals? For Russian liberals have changed little since the time when the Sovremennik showered its sarcasm upon them.

To be fair, however, one must add that our author was not contemptuous of Russian liberals alone. In the excellent political reviews which he wrote for the Sovremennik right up to the end of his life at liberty, our author constantly displayed the most merciless contempt for all European liberals in general. In particular for the Austrian liberals (i.e., the liberal party of the Austrian Germans), the Prussian and the Italian liberals. In his articles on the history of France, as is well known, he did not express any great respect for the liberal party either. All this, of course, could not please the representatives of Russian liberalism, and in their struggle with him they made use of the device to which liberals of all countries often have recourse in their clashes with those who have advanced far beyond them in politics: they accused him of hating freedom and even of sympathising with despotism. Naturally, such accusations on the part of the liberals could only amuse Chernyshevsky. He feared them so little that he sometimes, as it were, provoked them to make new accusations, pretending that he acknowledged these as perfectly justified. "For us there is no better amusement than liberalism,'' he says in one of his last political reviews, "and we have an irresistible desire to look about for liberals in order to poke fun at them."^^*^^ And he proceeds to poke fun at the _-_-_

^^*^^ Sovremennik, 1862, March, Politics, p. 188.

124 Prussian liberals, who, as he most aptly remarked, were annoyed that political freedom in Prussia "does not institute itself".^^*^^

But such "poking fun" did not prevent the attentive reader from realising that Chernyshevsky's contemptuous attitude towards liberalism was not caused by a lack of love for freedom. It was enough to read only a few of his political reviews to see how passionately he sympathised with all liberation movements no matter where they started: in France or Italy, America or Hungary. He merely thought that the role of the liberals in such movements was usually a most unseemly one. They themselves do very little, and often even impede the efforts of others, attacking people who are bolder and more resolute than they. Then later, when, thanks to the efforts of these resolute people, the struggle is nearing an end and victory seems certain, the liberals try to elbow their way to the front and enjoy the chestnuts taken out of the fire by the hands of ``fanatics''. Who does not know that liberals have always behaved like this everywhere? Who does not know that these people are the same exploiters in politics as they are in the sphere of the economy, where they belong to the class of businessmen and entrepreneurs? It was for these exploitatory inclinations that Chernyshevsky hated them. And this hatred of exploiters shows through on every page of his political reviews. We, for our part, regret not that Chernyshevsky expressed himself clearly and precisely on this count, but merely that after him none of our political reviewers has expressed himself with such clarity and precision. The political concepts of our progressive journalists have, in general, become dreadfully confused and shallow in the last twenty-five years. This is why there have been no fine political reviews such as Chernyshevsky wrote for the Sovremennik in any Russian journals. In these reviews his outstanding mind and his sober view of things are felt with particular force. In them he hardly ever deviates from the unquestionable thesis that "the course of history is determined by the actual relations of forces'',^^**^^ and, proceeding from this, he makes an accurate analysis of the internal springs of political life in the civilised countries of his day. Only one criticism can be made on the subject of Chernyshevsky's reviews. He was, of course, sometimes, mistaken in this or that political forecast: thus, for example, he did not think that the Civil War in North America would gojon for a long time, and wrote at the beginning of 1862 that _-_-_

^^*^^ Sovremennik, 1862, April, Politics, p. 357.

^^**^^ The reader will, perhaps, recall, that Lassalle in his Speech on the Essence of the Constitution ``(Uber Verfassungswesen"] speaks in almost exactly the same words of the relations of forces as the essential basis of the political organisation of any given country.

125 one could regard this war as already over with the total victory of the North. But who does not make mistakes in forecasts of this kind? In general, however, he displayed great political insight and assessed the relationships of the different states and different political parties remarkably accurately. The only thing which he did not foresee and forecast was the outstanding political role which the working class in all the advanced countries was to take upon itself in the very near future (from the time of the founding of the International Working Men's Association in 1864). This revolutionary in principle, who maintained that in the internal affairs of every country, as between individual states, all important disputes are in the last analysis settled by war,^^*^^ did not yet see the extent to which all the revolutionary forces of modern civilised societies were joining together in the working class alone. He was still too inclined to pin exaggerated hopes on the "best people" from other classes of society. Here his customary insight was paralysed by the vagueness of his view of the proletariat as the "common people".

However, we note that in discussing our author's attitude to liberalism and liberals we have digressed considerably. This interesting subject has caused us to forget consecutiveness of exposition. Let us hasten to rectify our error.

First and foremost, again to be fair, let us say that the cowardice of the Russian liberals was the more striking merely because of their predilection for high-sounding talk. In fact the reactionary "landowners' party" did not show greater courage. Chernyshevsky had no direct relations with our ``aristocrats''. "He never belonged even to the lower ranks of the nobility, to say nothing of the higher, important one. But which town, large or small, did not ring with the glory of their great deeds? He knew from childhood that they were violent, arrogant people."^^**^^ In the age of the emancipation of the peasants everything that these people regarded as their most important interests was at stake. They protested and shouted loudly: "We will not allow it, we will not allow it!--- we do not want it, and they will not dare!---Let them dare and they will see what it means to anger the Russian nobility!" But no sooner did the government raise its voice at them, than they put their tails between their legs---"fell silent, as if paralysed''. Chernyshevsky, "as a democrat'', found it amusing and pleasant to see such a change. He had no liking for the nobility, but there were moments when he felt no hostility towards it. How can one hate miserable slaves?^^***^^

_-_-_

^^*^^ Sovremennik, 1862, April, Politics, p. 364.

^^**^^ Chernyshevsky speaks thus of Volgin in the Prologue to a Prologue.

^^***^^ Prologue to a Prologue, pp. 208, 209.

126 __ALPHA_LVL2__ VIII

Such was Chernyshevsky's attitude to the various estates and parties of the Russia of his day. And the more he became imbued with this negative attitude, the sharper was the tone of his articles, the more merciless his ridicule, and the more often he threw himself into polemics. In general he was very fond of polemicising. To quote his own words, even his friends had always noticed in him an extraordinary, "in their opinion even excessive love of elucidating controversial questions by means of impassioned polemics."^^*^^ Polemics always seemed to him a very convenient and, perhaps, even essential instrument for introducing new ideas into society. Nevertheless at the beginning of his literary activity he seems to have avoided polemics. The Essays on the Gogol Period of Russian Literature are written in a calm and conciliatory tone. Only in relation to Shevyryov, a well-known Moscow critic in Belinsky's day, does he exhibit a trenchant irony, and he also writes about Senkovsky (Baron Brambeus) with scornful pity, describing him as a man who wasted his tremendous powers on futile literary clowning. For the most part, however, he speaks of the other writers of the Gogol period with praise. Even in the literary activity of Pogodin, whom Belinsky's circle ridiculed so much and whom Shchedrin later called a ventriloquist archaeologist---even in Pogodin's activity he finds useful and praiseworthy features. He speaks of the Slavophils with unfeigned respect. In spite of all their obvious delusions, he considers them to be true friends of ``enlightenment'' and warmly sympathises with their attitude towards the Russian land commune.^^**^^

But from the time of the disputes on communal land tenure _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. V, p. 472. In the Essays on the Gogol Period he defends Belinsky's predecessor, Nadezhdin, against the many reproaches for his passion for sharp polemics. "Why did Nadoumko (Nadezhdin's pseudonym) use such a sharp tone? Could he not have said the same thing in a milder form? They are quite remarkable---our literary concepts, and all other concepts for that matter! The question is constantly being asked as to why the farmer ploughs his field with a crude iron plough or ploughshare! How else can one plough up soil which is rich but heavy to till? Surely it is not hard to understand that no important question is decided without war, and war is conducted with fire and sword, not with diplomatic phrases, which are appropriate only when the aim of the struggle conducted by arms has been attained? It is unlawful to attack the unarmed and defenceless, the old and crippled, but the poets and men of letters against whom Nadezhdin was writing were not the like of these__" (Sovremennik, 1856, April, Criticism, pp. 41--42).

^^**^^ "The concept of the predominance of the mir, the commune, over the individual in old Russia is one of the most cherished convictions|of the Slavophils,'' he says in the third of these Essays. And this teaching on the relation of the individual to society constitutes, in his opinion, "the healthy part of their system and is, in general, worthy of all respect for its fairness" (see Sovremennik, 1856, February, Criticism, p. 80). On account of this teaching on the commune he sometimes defended the Slavophil Russkaya = Beseda^^48^^ __NOTE__ Footnote cont. on page 127. 127 he was compelled to abandon this calm, genial tone and employ his polemical talent to the full. The acknowledged representatives of liberal economy had a bad time of it, particularly Vernadsky, the editor of the Ekonomichesky = Ukazatel.^^49^^ Chernyshevsky positively immortalised this "S. C.'' (State Counsellor) and "D. Hist. Sc., Pol. EC. and Stat.'' (i.e., Doctor of Historical Science, Political Economy and Statistics, which is how Vernadsky, proud of his ranks and diplomas, signed himself). The devastated scholar not only fled from the battlefield, but, to crown the comedy, began to assure of his respect the self-same Chernyshevsky whom, at the beginning of the dispute, he had taken the liberty of treating like an impertinent ignoramus. It must be confessed that it would hardly be possible to defend any cause more skilfully than Chernyshevsky defended the commune. He said in its favour absolutely everything that could be said, and would, perhaps, have emerged victorious from the dispute, even if his opponents had been many times stronger than they were. If our ``intelligentsia'' adheres so firmly to the commune to this day, it is thanks to the ineradicable influence of Chernyshevsky.^^*^^

We have already seen that our author very soon ceased to attach importance to the granting of land to the peasants. He began to regard this as a source of the future ruin of the peasant. In his Unaddressed Letters he says outright that peasants who have been freed with land are placed in a worse economic position than they were in as serfs dependent on the landowners. We could therefore refrain entirely from examining his arguments in favour of the commune. But since such great practical importance is attached to them in Russia to this day, we feel bound to give a brief assessment of them.---In his defence of Russian communal land tenure Chernyshevsky reveals the same defect which characterises all his economic writings. He is excessively abstract. He speaks essentially not about the Russian commune with its real position and the possible conditions of its further development, but about the commune an sich,^^**^^ which exists in theory and which satisfies only certain of the demands relating to the periodic re-allotment of the land. But neither the commune nor any other forms of popular life should be discussed in this way. In the article "A Criticism of the Philosophical Prejudices Against Communal Land Tenure" Chernyshevsky answers his opponents by referring to Hegel's famous doctrine that the third and final phase in the development of any given phenomenon is similar in form to the first. The peoples began with communal land tenure, _-_-_ __NOTE__ Footnote cont. from page 126. from attacks by other periodicals (see Chernyshevsky''s Notes on Journals* March, 1857, reprinted in the fifth volume of the foreign edition of his Works).

^^*^^ [See below the addendum to this passage for the German edition, p. 161 of this volume.]

^^**^^ [in itself]

128 and they will return to it again in their later development. It must be said that Chernyshevsky went much further here than Hegel. Hegel speaks of the formal similarity of the third phase of development to the first, but he did not speak of the full identity of these phases. Chernyshevsky, however, seems to assume a full identity. Following Hegel, one can assume that the peoples, having begun with public ownership, will return to it later, but one cannot say that the peoples will return to the same forms of communal land tenure with which they began their development. And if this can be expected, why stop at the village commune with re-allotments? It must be assumed in such a case that the peoples will return to primitive tribal institutions, for the village commune itself is a relic and subsequent modification of them. But it is unlikely that anyone would venture to make such an assumption today. In referring to Hegel, Chernyshevsky overlooked two most important features of Hegelian philosophy. Firstly, in Hegel all development---in logic, in nature, and in social relations---takes place out of itself, by the force of its inner, ``immanent'' dialectics. Chernyshevsky should have shown that the Russian commune possesses that inner logic of relations, which with time should lead it from communal land tenure to communal cultivation of the land and to communal use of its produce. For it was in the interests of such a form of public ownership that he defended communal land tenure; he thought that the commune would facilitate the transition to it. But Chernyshevsky did not do this, because, pinning his hopes in general mainly on the dissemination of knowledge, he paid little attention to the inner logic of social relations, under the influence of which the development of mankind takes place. Moreover, Chernyshevsky forgot the constant attention to reality which, to quote his own words, characterised Hegel. Let us recall how he expounded Hegel's views in the Essays on the Gogol Period of Russian Literature: "There is no abstract truth; truth is concrete, i.e., a definitive judgment can be pronounced only about a definite fact, after examining all the circumstances upon which it depends. 'Is war disastrous or beneficial?' This cannot be answered definitely in general; one must know what kind of war is meant, everything depends upon the circumstances of time and place.'' The commune too should have been discussed in exactly the same way: is the land commune a good or bad thing? One cannot give a definite reply to this: one must know what kind of commune is meant; everything depends on the circumstances of time and place. But Chernyshevsky did not argue in this way. He indulged in abstractions and thus totally betrayed the spirit of the very philosophy which he quoted in his main polemical article.^^*^^

_-_-_

^^*^^ Chernyshevsky appears to have been against the collective responsibility. We assume this for the following reason. In a bibliographical note on __NOTE__ Footnote cont. on page 129. 129

Rightly regarding private ownership as merely an intermediate form in the development of economic relations, Chernyshevsky strongly emphasised the fact that, in Hegel's opinion, intermediate phases of development could, in certain circumstances, be considerably reduced or even not take place at all. This in particular was subsequently pounced upon by the Narodniks, all of whose programmes were based on the assumption that capitalism---that intermediate phase in the development of mankind--- would not take place in Russia. Abstractly speaking, such reductions of intermediate phases are perfectly possible. But it is a long way from the possibility of a phenomenon to its reality. For this or that theoretically possible phenomenon to be realised in real life, certain concrete conditions are necessary, in other words, an adequate cause is necessary. At the time when Chernyshevsky was defending Russian communal land tenure, he could regard as a cause sufficient for the removal of the "ulcer of proletarianisation" the good will of the Russian government, who, it _-_-_ __NOTE__ Footnote cont. from page 128. Gan's brochure «0 HacToHiqeM 6Hie memae CaparoBCKoii ry6epHHH» [On the Present Way of Life of the Petty Bourgeoisie in the Saratov Gubernia] he quotes without any reservations the opinion of the author whom he was analysing that the collective responsibility is detrimental to the well-being of tax-payers. "Those who pay punctually have more imposed upon them,'' says Gan. Chernyshevsky appears to be in complete agreement with him (see Sovremennik, 1861, January, Russian Literature, p. 64). Leaving aside the petty bourgeoisie, we would ask how the modern state could ensure punctual payment of taxes by commune peasants without the collective responsibility. If peasant holdings are the property of the commune and therefore not alienable in the event of the inability of individual householders to pay taxes, the whole commune must answer for the inability of these tax-payers to pay taxes. In this case the collective responsibility is not only natural, but simply essential. On the other hand, if land holdings are the property of individual homesteads, the collective responsibility loses all foundation, but then one must allow the alienability of the holdings in the event of the householders' being unable to pay taxes. True, the theory admits of yet a third solution: abstractly speaking, one could abolish the collective responsibility, but at the same time recognise the land as belonging to the commune and totally inalienable. But how could this be done in practice? How would the state deal with insolvent tax-payers? Sell their chattels? But the sale of chattels could easily make it totally impossible, and already often does, for the peasant to cultivate the land which has been allotted to him. Or, perhaps, the livestock and all domestic implements should also be recognised as inalienable? But will the average Russian peasant have much left that is liable for sale as chattels, if we exclude livestock and implements? Experience shows that in such cases all that remains to the peasant is one chattel: his own body, which is subjected to torture for the arrears. But the torture of insolvent tax-payers cannot be regarded as a satisfactory solution of the question, which must be solved because the state, of course, will not agree to deprive itself of all guarantees of punctual payment of taxes. We would remind the reader, however, that at the time when Chernyshevsky still thought it necessary to defend the commune, he was hoping that the peasants would be placed in a fairly favourable economic position, in which the question of taxes would not be as urgent as it has become today.

130 seemed, would not have found it difficult to understand that its own advantage depended on the well-being of the peasantry. But the government did not understand this, and therefore there was not sufficient cause in Russia for the removal of the "ulcer of proletarianisation" and the related phase of economic development. Chernyshevsky himself, as we know, very soon realised how natural this lack of understanding on the part of the government was. He thought it pointless to defend not only communal land tenure, but also the very principle of giving land to the emancipated peasants. To quote his own strong, mercilessly acute expression, he had "become stupid in my own eyes" and was "ashamed to remember the untimely self-assurance" with which he defended communal land tenure. But the modern Narodniks feel no shame for that of which Chernyshevsky was ashamed. They still persist in talking about the age-long foundations of popular life and reduction in phases of development---a reduction for which they do not indicate any cause, apart from their own ``ideals''. This cause cannot be recognised as sufficient in any case whatsoever. But we can find sufficient cause for the stubbornness of our Narodniks without difficulty. It li,es, among other things, in the weakness of minor pupils for the errors of their great teachers, about which we have already spoken above. Incidentally, we shall see later that Chernyshevsky himself did not view the Russian commune in the same way as the modern Narodniks.^^*^^

After commencing with communal land tenure, Chernyshevsky's dispute with our liberal economists rapidly assumed a broader theoretical nature and turned to general questions of economic policy. True to the dogmas of the vulgar economy under the influence of which all their views had been formed, our = Manchester men^^50^^ hastened to put their main, scientific stronghold on the stage: the principle of state non-interference. They knew that the whole teaching of Bastiat and his followers was based on this _-_-_

^^*^^ With regard to the reduction of certain phases of development, Chernyshevsky understood perfectly that a given phase when reduced does not always lead to the same results to which it leads when it lasts for a long time. In "Polemical Gems" (Works, Vol. I, p. 373) he talks about cigars which acquire particularly valuable properties for smokers, when they undergo the process of slow drying and the chemical changes associated with it. But try to reduce the length of this drying process and dry raw cigars straightaway artificially. To quote our author, such cigars will not be very good. What does this mean? It means that a different course of a process leads to different chemical results. And is it not the same in social life? Are there not grounds for thinking that the more or less prolonged process of capitalist development creates political, intellectual and moral qualities in the working class, which we will not find at all in a people that has not abandoned the antediluvian ``foundations'' of its life at any point in its history? Should one not fear that such a people will reject not only the intermediate but all other "phases of development" and will start to put forward for positions of authority people who recommend it to go straight over to the final phase of social development? What do the Narodniks think?

131 principle, and naively assumed that there was no one on earth greater than Bastiat. Naturally, the matter took such a turn that the dispute on non-interference of the state in the economic life of the people merely served as an occasion for a new victory for Chernyshevsky. Well acquainted with economic and socialist literature, he devastated all Bastiat's subtleties completely, without the slightest effort, joking and making fun of them. His article "Economic Activity and Legislation" may be regarded as one of the most skilful refutations of the theory of "laisser faire, laisser passer" not only in Russian economic literature, where Chernyshevsky occupies pride of place to this day, but in European socialist literature in general. In it our author employs all his dialectical power and polemical skill. He seems to be amusing himself with this fight, in which he parries the blows of his opponents with such ease. He plays with them, like a cat with a mouse; he makes all manner of concessions to them, expresses his willingness to agree to any of their tenets, to accept any interpretation of any given proposition---and then, after appearing to have given them every chance of victory and placed them in the most favourable conditions for their triumph, only then does he go over to the offensive and reduce them to absurdity with three or four syllogisms. Then new concessions begin, new, even more favourable interpretations of one and the same tenet and--- new proof of its absurdity. And at the end of the article Chernyshevsky, as was his wont, points out a moral to his opponents and makes them feel how little they know not only about the strict methods of scientific thinking, but also about the basic requirements of ordinary common sense. It is interesting that the principle of state non-interference, which had such ardent supporters in Russia in the late fifties and early sixties, was soon abandoned almost completely by Russian economists. To a large extent this is explained by the general state of our industry and trade and by the consequent influence on our theoreticians of the German school of Katheder = socialism.^^51^^ But in this case the fact that the principle in question, from the very beginning of its dissemination in Russian literature, encountered such a powerful opponent as N. G. Chernyshevsky is undoubtedly of great significance. Having been taught a lesson, the Russian Manchester men thought it prudent to fall silent, fade into the background, and retire.

__ALPHA_LVL2__ IX

It was not on economic problems alone that Chernyshevsky had to wage a fierce polemic. Neither were his opponents only liberal economists. As the influence of the Sovremennik circle in Russian literature grew, the greater were the number of attacks launched

9*

132 from the most varied quarters both on that circle in general and on our author in particular. The contributors to the Sovremennik were regarded as dangerous people who were prepared to destroy all the notorious ``foundations''. Some of " Belinsky's friends'', who at first considered it possible to go along with Chernyshevsky and those holding his views (among whom N. A. Dobrolyubov held pride of place), repudiated the Sovremennik as an organ of the ``nihilists'', and began to declare that Belinsky would never have approved of its trend. Such was I. S. Turgenev's attitude.^^*^^ Even the radical Herzen himself began to grumble in his Kolokol at the ``jaundiced'' and the ``whistlers'' who negate for the sake of negating, mock for the sake of mocking and whom it seems to be impossible to please with anything whatsoever. The reader knows, of course, that " whistlers" or "knights of bedlam" were the names given to contributors to the Sovremennik after the Svistok began to appear in the form of a special supplement to it, which mercilessly ridiculed all literary and social manifestations of petty tyranny, verbiage, obscurantism and = pedantry.^^62^^ Incidentally, most of the articles in the Svistok do not belong to the pen of Chernyshevsky. Only rarely did he contribute to it, as he was literally overwhelmed with other work. In the closing years of his literary activity he not only contributed regularly to every issue of the Sovremennik, but every issue almost always contained several articles by him. Usually his articles were distributed among the various sections of the journal as follows: firstly, he contributed a long article on some general theoretical problem, then he wrote a political survey, made a review of Russian, and sometimes also foreign literature, reviewed several new books, and, lastly, by way of relaxation and diversion, as it were, he readily made polemical sorties against his opponents. The Sovremennik for 1861 is particularly rich in polemical articles written by Ghernyshevsky. It was at this time that he wrote his well-known "Polemical Gems'', "National Tactlessness" (attacking the Lvov Slovo), "Popular Muddleheadedness" (attacking Aksakov's = Dyen^^53^^) and many polemical notes in the Russian and Foreign Literature section. It is necessary to dwell at length on certain of these polemical articles.

We shall not say a great deal about "Polemical Gems''. These articles constitute a reply to the attacks of the Russky Vestnik and Otechestvenniye Zapiski. For the historian of our literature, of course, it would be very interesting to recall the arguments _-_-_

^^*^^ Chernyshevsky relates that Turgenev could still tolerate him to some extent, but had no patience at all with Dobrolyubov. "You're just a snake, but Dobrolyubov is a cobra,'' he said to Ghernyshevsky (see the letter already quoted: "By Way of an Expression of Gratitude'').

133 used by the enemies of the Sovremennik; for a description of Chernyshevsky, however, there is no need to relate in detail what strange and often completely senseless accusations were made against him by Katkov, Albertini or = Dudyshkin.^^54^^ But in the article attacking the Russky Vestnik, our author expresses, among other things, an extremely interesting view on his own literary activity. We shall quote it here. Chernyshevsky was very well aware that he held a prominent place in Russian literature. His opponents dreaded him and occasionally even paid him compliments. But his growing renown did not make him happy in the least. He had too low an opinion of Russian literature to consider the prominent place he occupied in it to be honourable. He was "completely cold to his literary reputation''. The only thing he was interested in was whether he would be able to preserve the freshness of his thought and feeling till those better days when our literature would become really useful to society. "I know that better times will come for literary activity, when it will be of real benefit to society, and when he who possesses talent will really earn a good name. And so I am wondering whether when the time conies I shall still be able to serve society properly. Fresh strength and fresh convictions are needed for this. But I see that I am beginning to join the company of 'respected' writers, that is to say, of those writers who have been wrung dry, who lag behind the movement of social requirements. This rouses a feeling of bitterness. But what is there to be done? Age takes its toll. Youth does not come twice. I cannot help envying those who are younger and fresher than I.'' To encounter these noble fears is strange now for us, who know that when Chernyshevsky expressed them he had no more than a year of freedom left. The lines quoted were printed in the July issue of the Sovremennik for 1861, and in July of the following year he was already in the Fortress of SS Peter and Paul.... But one can imagine what contempt for his enemies was felt by this man, who in the full realisation of his vast superiority to them nevertheless attached no worth even to his own literary merits. And indeed almost every page of "Polemical Gems" radiates a cold contempt for the reprimanders of the Sovremennik. It is particularly noticeable in the reply to Otechestvenniye Zapiski. Chernyshevsky is not at all angry with his opponents from Otechestvenniye Zapiski. He admonishes them almost affectionately, as a good teacher admonishes a schoolboy who has misbehaved. Of course, a good teacher, reproving his charge, sometimes tells him very bitter truths and does not conceal his intellectual superiority to him. But he does so solely in the interests of the pupil. Chernyshevsky also acts thus. He does not forget a single error, a single slip of Otechestvenniye Zapiski and admonishes the editors paternally for their blunders. He is most vexed with them for the imprudent fervour with which they rushed into battle 134 with him. You are not competent to polemicise with me, he repeats to them, having shown the complete invalidity of this or that charge which they have levelled against him. When the opportunity arises, he tells them bluntly that he knows far more and understands things far better than they, that they are simply not in a position to judge the new ideas which he champions in literature. "You wish to know how extensive my knowledge is?" he addresses himself to Dudyshkin, who accused him of insolent ignorance on the evidence of other journals. "To that I can give you but one reply: incomparably more extensive than yours. And you know it yourself. So why did you try to get the answer in print? It was unwise, most unwise to put yourself in such a position. And please do not take this as pride: there is not much to be proud of in knowing more than you! And again do not take this as meaning that I want to say you have too little knowledge. No, this is not so: you do know something, and in general you are an educated person. Only why do you polemicise so badly?" etc. All this would, perhaps, be too caustic, if it were not undoubtedly true.

Nor does Chernyshevsky now spare the Slavophils, of whom he formerly spoke with respect. Now they no longer seem to him the true friends of enlightenment. The tendencies of the Slavophils had become so clear by the beginning of the sixties that it would be better to call them obscurantists. Of course, they continued to defend the commune and support peasant ownership of the land. But Chernyshevsky now no longer attached any importance to that. And apart from the defence of the afore-mentioned principles, the Slavophil literature of the day contained only absurd attacks on the decaying and cunning West and cloying eulogies of orthodoxy, autocracy and other similar delights of Russian life. So Chernyshevsky decided to teach them a lesson. The reason for this was the appearance of I. Aksakov's newspaper Dyen, the first few issues of which contained attacks on the Sovremennik. Chernyshevsky replied in the article "Popular Muddleheadedness". He explains the rudeness of the title by the fact that, having acquainted himself with Slavophil arguments, he decided to avoid the use of foreign words which, without changing the title of the article in essence, might have given it a more polite form.

Chernyshevsky was always a most ardent Westerner. And if his sympathy for communal land tenure brought him closer to the Slavophils for a while and to a certain extent, he nevertheless always realised perfectly the absurdity of their talk about the decay of the West and the revival of mankind through Byzantine legends. Already in the Essays on the Gogol Period he expressed himself on this subject mildly, but most decisively. He believed that the reason for the opinions of Slavophil writers on the decay 135 of the West and the bankruptcy of its philosophy lay in the fact that even the best of them were not familiar with the true state of affairs in Western Europe and with the trend of advanced WestEuropean thought. For Chernyshevsky the West was not a decrepit old man; on the contrary, it was a youth, a hale and hearty youth, "who (through the mouths of its advanced thinkers) says: I know a little, but I still have a great deal to learn, I still burn with the desire for more knowledge and am learning quite well__ I must still work hard in order to ensure myself a stable, comfortable existence; but I am willing to work, I have the strength, so, please, do not despair of my future."^^*^^ On the question of the future of Western Europe Chernyshevsky disagreed strongly not only with the Slavophils, which is self-evident, but even with Herzen, who had been influenced by his relations with the Moscow Slavophil circle of the = forties^^55^^ and who frequently expressed the fear that the West, having progressed as far as socialism in its thought, would not have the strength to carry out its programme, just as Ancient Rome allegedly did not have the strength to carry out the demands of Christianity. Needless to say, in view of this assumed inability of the West, Russia was represented as the promised land of socialism, called upon to revive decrepit mankind. In all probability, Chernyshevsky's article, already cited by us, "On the Causes of the Fall of Rome'', was aimed directly against this view of Herzen's. In it the author states bluntly that it is not worth arguing with such ``cranks'' as the Slavophils about the destiny of the West and that he is taking up his pen with other people in mind, who possess common sense. It is to these people with sense that he argues that W'estern Europe cannot possibly have exhausted its strength, since its history up to the most modern times has been determined by the activity of one estate only: the aristocracy. Even the middle estate did not become dominant on the European continent until very recent times. And behind the middle estate stands the lower class, which has still had no direct influence on the destiny of Europe. On what grounds do people think, asks Chernyshevsky, that this new estate, in its turn, after entering the historical arena, will not be able to solve the social tasks which the higher estates could not solve? There are absolutely no grounds for thinking so, and, consequently, no grounds for fearing for the destiny of the West. To fear a new invasion of barbarians is simply ridiculous in view of the immense superiority of the forces of the civilised world. Finally, with regard to Russia and her alleged calling to revive mankind, Chernyshevsky mercilessly exposes the invalidity of such patriotic self-delusion. He sees communal land tenure as the _-_-_

^^*^^ Sovremennik, 1856, February, Criticism, pp. 73--74.

136 only feature of our social life worthy of sympathy. Yet communal land tenure also finds no mercy from his criticism. In Chernyshevsky's opinion, the commune could contribute its share of benefit to the subsequent development of Russia; yet we must not take pride in it, because it is a sign of our economic backwardness. Fond of illustrating his ideas with examples, Chernyshevsky cites an example here too to explain his view on the Russian commune. European engineers, he says, now use applied mechanics to construct suspension bridges. But it appears that in a backward Asiatic country---he does not quite remember which one---local engineers have long since been building suspension bridges on suitable sites. Does that mean that applied mechanics in Asia may be placed on a footing with that in Europe? There are bridges and bridges, and the Asian engineers' suspension bridge is infinitely inferior to its European counterpart. To be sure, when European engineers arrive in the Asiatic country which has long been familiar with suspension bridges, they will find it all the easier to convince a mandarin that the suspension bridge of today is not a godless invention. But that is all. Despite its suspension bridges, the Asiatic country will remain a backward country all the same while Europe will still be its preceptor. The same holds true for the Russian commune. Perhaps the latter will promote the development of our country; but the chief stimulus will come nonetheless from the West, and it does not really befit us to renovate the world, even by means of the commune.

However, the Slavophil ``cranks'' not only went on about the renovation of Europe by the Russo-Byzantine spirit, but also advanced a practical programme for this renovation. In the opinion of I. Aksakov's Dyen, Russia should have started by bringing the Slavs "the gifts of an independent existence under the protection of the wings of the Russian = eagle".^^86^^ Chernyshevsky argues that such ideas are no more than the product of "popular muddleheadedness''. Firstly, he thinks that the mighty Russian eagle has many domestic Russian affairs of its own, which it should not forget for the sake of any renovations. "If you want war,'' he says, "ask yourselves whether our circumstances permit us to think of war.'' Secondly, he believes that our military interference would set all the Western powers against the liberation of the Slavs: "For there are only two million Turks in Europe, but seven or eight million Slavs. Surely they could cope with the Turks, couldn't they?... All they need is the certainty that the other powers will not prevent their liberation.'' If the Slavophils really meant well to the Turkish Slavs, they would try to convince the Western powers that the collapse of Turkish power in Europe would not result in the annexation of the Danube principalities by Russia and would not lead to the turning of Constantinople into a Russian provincial town. If the Slavophils did so, the 137 Turkish Slavs would be liberated even without our help. The same applies to the Austrian Slavs. "Would the Germans really want to support Austria, were they not afraid that if this Empire falls its eastern half will come under the rule of Russia?" You are setting the Germans against the liberation of the Austrian Slavs, Chernyshevsky says to the editors of the Dyen and adds that their military fervour is caused not by sympathy for the Slavs, but by the desire to subject the Slavonic tribes to Russian rule.

In passing Chernyshevsky also refutes the Slavophils' lofty arguments about the perfidious and malicious attitude of the West to Russia. Pardon me, he says, but did not all the serious organs of the European press show great sympathy for the most important reforms in Russia? And does sympathising with the achievements of Russian social life mean wishing Russia ill?

The following year Chernyshevsky attacked the Slavophils even more bitterly. The great minds of Slavophilism conceived the strange idea of addressing a series of the most naive homilies to the Serbs. These homilies are contained in the brochure To the Serbs. A Message from Moscow, which was signed by all the eminent representatives of the Slavophil party. Some of the ideas contained in this brochure are simply ridiculous, others not only ridiculous, but also reactionary in the extreme. Thus, for example, the Slavophils advised the Serbs not to give political rights to people who were not of the Orthodox faith. Chernyshevsky replied to this Message with the biting article "Self-styled Elders".

Contiguous to the disputes on the attitude of Russia to the Slavs in general was the dispute on the mutual relations of certain Slavonic tribes. We know that the Slavophils approved greatly of the struggle of the Galician = Ruthenians^^57^^ against the Poles. Chernyshevsky was always sympathetically inclined towards the Little Russians. He considered Belinsky's negative attitude to the emerging Little Russian literature to be a great mistake. In the January issue of the Sovremennik for 1861 he published a very sympathetic article on the occasion of the appearance of Osnova,^^58^^ the organ of the Little Russians. But his attitude towards the struggle of the Galician Ruthenians against the Poles could not be one of unconditional approval. First of all, he did not like the fact that the Ruthenians sought the support of the Viennese government. Nor did he like the influential role of the clergy in the movement of the Galician Ruthenians. "Lay affairs,'' he wrote, "should be the concern of laymen.'' Finally, Chernyshevsky did not like the exclusively national formulation of this question, which he regarded as primarily an economic one. In an article entitled "National Tactlessness" (Sovremennik, 1861, July) attacking the Lvov Slovo, Chernyshevsky sharply criticised the excessive nationalism of that organ. "It is very possible that a careful 138 examination of existing relations,'' he wrote, "would show the Lvov Slovo that at the basis of the matter there is a question that is far removed from the racial question---the question of estates. It is very possible that it would see Ruthenians and Poles on each of the two sides---people differing in race, but of the same social position. We do not believe that the Polish peasant should be hostile to the alleviation of the obligations and, in general, of the living conditions of the Ruthenian settlers. We do not believe that the sentiments of the Ruthenian landowners should differ very much in this matter from the sentiments of the Polish landowners. If we are not mistaken, the root of the Galician question lies not in relations of race, but of estate."

The mutual hostility of the peoples composing Austria was bound to appear even more tactless to Chernyshevsky since the Viennese government then, as previously, derived great advantages from it. "When one reflects carefully, one is not surprised at the many years of existence of the Austrian Empire,'' he wrote in a political review in the same issue of the Sovremennik that published the article "National Tactlessness''; "and why should it not maintain itself when there is such excellent political tact on the part of the nationalities embraced within its borders.'' To Chernyshevsky the Austrian Germans, Czechs, Croats and, as we have seen, Ruthenians seemed equally ``slow-witted''. He was afraid that the Slav ``slow-wittedness'' which was particularly evident in 1848--49 would again go very far. At the beginning of the sixties Hungary was waging a stubborn struggle against the Viennese reactionary centralists. The discontent of the Hungarians was running so high that at one time it could have been expected that there would be a revolutionary outburst in their country. In his political reviews, our author repeatedly expressed the fear that, in the event of a revolutionary movement in Hungary, the Austrian Slavs would again become obedient tools of reaction. The tactics of many Slav tribes in Austria at that time could only strengthen such fears, since the Austrian Slavs ventured to boast of the disgraceful role they had played in the 1848--49 events. Chernyshevsky strongly condemned these tactics and showed that it would have been more to their advantage if, on the contrary, they had supported the enemies of the Viennese government, enemies from whom they could have obtained substantial concessions. He said this concerning the attitude of the Croats to the Hungarians, and repeated it to the Ruthenians. "The estate party, hostile to the Ruthenians,'' we read in his article "National Tactlessness'', "is now ready for concessions---It would do no harm for the Lvov Slovo to give this some thought; perhaps the concessions which people who seem to it to be enemies are sincerely prepared to make, perhaps these concessions are so great that they would satisfy the Ruthenian settlers fully; in any event these concessions 139 are without doubt far greater and far more important than the concessions the Ruthenian settlers can get from the Austrians."

Finally, at the time when Chernyshevsky was polemicising against the Slovo, a strong political movement which he regarded with great sympathy was also taking place in Russian Poland. And for this reason alone the attacks of the Russian subjects of the house of Hapsburg against the Poles could not seem tactful and opportune to him.

Branches of the revolutionary Polish organisation existed in St. Petersburg as well, where Chernyshevsky lived almost continuously. Did he have any definite formal relations with the Polish revolutionaries? We do not yet possess any indication of this. It is highly likely that Polish historians of that period would be able to assist in clarifying this question. Nothing can be expected from Russian literature for most understandable reasons. With time Russkaya Starina will probably tell us something, but this will not be soon. Not wishing to indulge in conjectures, we shall limit ourselves, in clarifying Chernyshevsky's general sympathies towards the Polish cause, to information obtainable from his writings. But there is also little of that.

We could refrain entirely from touching upon the novel Prologue to a Prologue here. It portrays the friendly attitude of Volgin (Chernyshevsky) to Sokolovsky (Sierakowski). Volgin likes Sokolovsky's utter devotion to his convictions, his lack of conceited pettiness, his self-control, combined with the passionate zeal of the true agitator. Volgin calls him a real man and thinks that our liberals could learn a great deal from him. All this is very interesting, but it in no way explains Chernyshevsky's practical attitude to the Polish affair, about which there is not a word in the novel. From the articles of our author printed in the censored Sovremennik all that can be seen is that given the opportunity he always expressed himself in defence of Poland. He even defends from the attacks of official Russian writers the old Polish state system for which, with his democratic views, he could have felt little sympathy. But he praises in it aspects of social relations, to which he did not attach any value in his earlier articles. As we already know, in the article "Party Struggles in France" he displays a total indifference to political forms. When writing this article (in 1858) he believed that the democrat could not be reconciled with the aristocracy alone and that, in spite of the political freedom of England, the democrat should prefer Siberia where the "common people'', he thought, live better than in England. Now Chernyshevsky regards questions of political organisation quite differently. Poland's old way of life attracts him by its political freedom. "Behind the Polish absence of bureaucratic centralisation,'' he says, reviewing part two of The Archives of South-West Russia which had just appeared then, 140 ``lies the urge to establish a social order different from that which other powers had reached" (this is a reference to the Muscovite state, of course), "an order based, not on the sacrificing of the individual to the abstract idea of the state, embodied in the desire for power, but on the agreement of free individuals for their mutual welfare.... Here the social cause is the result of social thought; here the perpetual struggle of concepts and convictions moves from the sphere of thought and word straight to the manifestations of life.'' Let us assume that Polish society was completely aristocratic, "but the privileged circle could extend further and further and embrace the neglected, outcast mass of the people, deprived of all rights, if civic concepts became broader and grew into general human ideas not restricted by temporary prejudices which limit their fullness".^^*^^ Even Polish democrats did not always show such passion in the defence of the old way of life in Poland. For the whole question was basically how the members of the Upper House of the Polish Diet could be made to recognise "universal human ideas".

On the question of the historical results of joining the Grand Duchy of Lithuania with Poland, Chernyshevsky also disagreed most strongly with our official historians. "Was the state of old Russia in the time of the Olgierds, Lubartas, Skyrigailos and Svidrigailos really better than under the Sigismunds in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries,'' he exclaims in reply to historians who argued that the joining with Poland was the sole cause of everything wrong in Western Russia. "It is time we stopped being one-sided and unjust to Poland,'' he continues, "let us recognise at least the beneficial nature of its influence on old Russia, if only in relation to enlightenment. Let us take the level of intellectual education in those parts of the Russian world which were joined with Poland and compare it with what existed in this respect in the part of our Russian fatherland which remained independent---in the form of the Muscovite state. Was it not from Little Russia that enlightenment came to the Moscow of the seventeenth century, and did not this enlightenment prepare all our subsequent education? And was it not under the influence of Poland that it grew in Little Russia?"

In Chernyshevsky's opinion, the Poles were not to blame either for the Polonising of Western Russia. The upper class in Western Russia had both the rights and the means to defend its faith and its language and to save its people from humiliation, whom, incidentally, it had itself enslaved. If, in spite of this, the WestRussian aristocracy had become completely Polonised, it had only itself to blame. "You could not preserve yourselves---don't put the blame on others,'' our author = remarks.^^58^^

_-_-_

^^*^^ Sovr., 1861, April, New Books, p. 443 et seq.

141 __ALPHA_LVL2__ X

__NOTE__ This paragraph here to retain footnote "*". X^^*^^

The revolutionary mood of Polish society coincided with the intense excitement of the extreme party in Russia. The students were in a state of ferment, secret societies sprang up which printed revolutionary programmes and proclamations, and an uprising of the peasantry dissatisfied with "the false freedom" was expected. We have seen that Ghernyshevsky himself believed in the possibility of such an uprising; on the question of his attitude to the secret societies in Russia at that time we, unfortunately, know as little as of his attitude to the Polish organisations. Here we can also speak only of Chernyshevsky's mood, which is expressed in allusions and hints in his articles published in the Sovremennik. This mood was undoubtedly becoming more and more revolutionary. Ghernyshevsky, who had at one time found it possible and useful to explain to the government its own interests in the matter of freeing the peasants, no longer even thinks of addressing himself to the government. To bargain with it at all, to count on it at all, rightly seems to him to be harmful self-delusion. In the article "The Russian Reformer'', written on the occasion of the appearance of Baron M. Korf's book The Life of Count Speransky, Ghernyshevsky demonstrates conclusively that no reformer in our country can depend on the government as regards important social reforms. Revolutionaries can depend on it even less. Enemies called Speransky a revolutionary, but such an evaluation appears laughable to Ghernyshevsky. Speransky indeed had very extensive reform plans, but "it is ludicrous to call him a revolutionary judging by the extent of the means he proposed using to carry out his intentions''. He could maintain his post only because he had managed to earn the trust of the Emperor Alexander. With this trust to support him, he intended to carry out his reforms. Precisely for this reason, Ghernyshevsky considered him to be a dangerous dreamer. Dreamers are often simply ridiculous and their delusions trivial, but they "can be dangerous to society when their delusions concern important matters. In their rapturous bustle on the wrong track, they appear to achieve a measure of success, thus confusing many who, as a result of this illusory success, take it into their heads to follow them. From this standpoint, Speransky's activity may be called dangerous."^^**^^

Hinting to the young the need for a revolutionary mode of action, Ghernyshevsky at the same time explained to them that for the sake of attaining his aims the revolutionary is often _-_-_

^^*^^ [See below the version of the beginning of this chapter written for the German edition, p. 163 of this volume.]

^^**^^ Sovremenntk, 1861, October, Russian Literature, pp. 249--50.

142 compelled to put himself in positions which an honest person pursuing purely personal ends can never permit himself to adopt. Thus, as far back as January 1861, in analysing a book by the American economist, Carey, he unexpectedly turns to a discussion of the famous Jewish heroine, Judith, and vehemently justifies her action. "The path of history is not paved like Nevsky Prospekt,'' our author remarks, "it runs across fields, either dusty or muddy, and cuts across swamps or forest thickets. He who fears being covered with dust or muddying his boots, had better not engage in social activity, for this is a noble occupation when one is really concerned with the good of the people, but it is not exactly a tidy one. It is true, however, that moral purity may be understood differently; some, for example, may feel that Judith did not tarnish herself.... Broaden your considerations and on many individual questions you will have obligations that are different from those resulting from an isolated examination of the same questions.''

In relation to the Russian government Chernyshevsky's tone is growing more and more challenging. At the beginning of the sixties the government decided to lift the censorship regulations to some extent. It was resolved to draw up new censorship rules, and the press was allowed to express itself on the question of its own repression. Chernyshevsky lost no time in stating his view on the matter, a view which differed strongly from the usual liberal view. True, Chernyshevsky himself maliciously ridicules people who suppose that the printing press has some specific power like belladonna, sulphuric acid, fulminate of silver, etc. "Our personal opinion is not inclined towards expecting unnaturally harmful results from objects and actions which do not possess the power to produce such calamities. We think the printing press is too weak to produce social misfortune. After all, it does not contain so much ink that the latter could come pouring out somehow and flood the country; nor has it springs that, after jumping out somehow and thumping the type, could fire it as case shot.'' However, Chernyshevsky admits that there are epochs when the press can be no less dangerous than case shot to the government of a country. These are the epochs when a government's interests differ from the interests of society and a revolutionary upheaval is imminent. A government in such a position has every ground for restricting the press, because the press, together with other social forces, is preparing its downfall. Almost all the successive French governments of this century have been continuously in this situation. All this is very painstakingly and calmly expounded by Chernyshevsky. Nothing is said in the article, until the very end, about the Russian government. But in conclusion Chernyshevsky suddenly asks his reader---"Suppose it should turn out that the press laws are really necessary in our country? Then we should again deserve to be called obscurantists, 143 enemies of progress, haters of freedom, panegyrists of despotism, etc., just as we have already many times laid ourselves open tosuch censure.'' He therefore does not want to investigate the question of whether or not there is a need for special press laws in our country. "We fear,'' he says, "that a conscientious investigation would lead us to reply: yes, they are necessary."^^*^^ The conclusion is clear: they are necessary because Russia has entered the revolutionary period of her development.

In the same March issue of the Sovremennik that printed the article we have just quoted, there appeared a polemical article entitled "Have We Learned the Lesson?'', concerning the wellknown student demonstrations of = 1861.^^60^^ In it Chernyshevsky defends the students, who were reproached by our ``protectors'' for allegedly not wanting to study; and, incidentally, he also tells the government many home truths. The immediate cause for this polemic was an anonymous article in the St. Petersburg Academic Bulletin entitled "To Study or Not To Study?" Chernyshevsky replies that in regard to students this question has no sense, since they have always wanted to study, but the restricting university regulations prevented them. The university regulations would have treated students---people of an age when by our laws a man may marry, be taken into the civil service, or "command an army unit"---like children. It is not surprising that they protested. They were even barred from having such completely harmless organisations as mutual aid societies, which were undoubtedly essential in view of the material insecurity of the majority of the students. Students could not but revolt against such regulations, because it was a question of "a crust of bread and the possibility of attending lectures. This bread, this possibility were being withdrawn''. Chernyshevsky declared outright that the people who made the university regulations actually wanted to deprive the majority of those who entered the university of any possibility of studying. "If the author of the article and those who agree with him consider it necessary to prove that this was not the aim in view when the regulations were drawn up, let them publish the documents relating to the meetings at which the regulations were decided on."

The anonymous author of the article "To Study or Not To Study?" directed his charge of unwillingness to study not only against the students but against the whole of Russian society. Chernyshevsky took advantage of this to carry the controversy about the unrest at the university on to a more general field. His opponent allowed that there were certain signs of desire in Russian society lo study. Proof of this, in his opinion, was the ``hundreds'' of new periodicals,' the ``dozens'' of Sunday schools for adults that _-_-_

^^*^^ Sovr., 1802, March, the article ``French Laws on Matters of the Press''.

144 were appearing in Russia. "Hundreds of new periodicals, but where did he count the hundreds?" exclaims Chernyshevsky. "And hundreds really would be necessary. But does the author want to know why hundreds of new periodicals are not being founded, as they should? It is because under the conditions of our censorship it is impossible for any lively periodical to exist anywhere, except in a few large towns. Every rich commercial town should have several, even if only small, newspapers; several local news-sheets should be published in every province. They do not exist, because they are not allowed to.... Dozens of Sunday schools for adults.... Now that is no exaggeration, it is not the same as with the hundreds of new periodicals: in an empire with a population of over 60 million, the Sunday schools for adults are indeed to be counted only in dozens. Yet there should have been tens of thousands of them, and it would have been possible to establish quickly tens of thousands of them, and for at least many thousands to be now in existence. How is it that there are only dozens? Because they are so suspect, so hampered, so circumscribed, that the people who are most loyal to the work of teaching in them have all desire to teach driven out of them."

After referring to the existence of ``hundreds'' of new periodicals and ``dozens'' of Sunday schools for adults as apparent signs of the desire of society to study, the author of the article which Chernyshevsky was analysing hastened to add that these signs were deceptive. "You hear shouting in the streets,'' he recounts mournfully, "something or other is said to have happened somewhere, and you involuntarily hang your head and are disillusioned....'' "Excuse me, Mr. Author of the article,'' objects Ghernyshevsky, "what is the shouting you hear in the streets? The shouting of constables and police officers---we hear their shouting too. Are you speaking of that shouting? You are told something or other has happened somewhere...---what sort of thing, for example? There a theft has occurred, here authority has been exceeded, there the rights of the weak have been violated, here there has been connivance with the strong---we are incessantly being told this sort of thing. Because of this shouting which everyone hears, and this constant talk, one does indeed involuntarily hang one's head and become disillusioned...."

The accuser of the students attacked them for their apparent intolerance of the opinions of others, for having recourse in their protests to whistling, pickled apples and similar "street weapons''. Chernyshevsky argues that "whistling and pickled apples are not street weapons: street weapons are bayonets, rifle-butts and sabres''. He asks his opponent to recall "whether it was the students who used these street weapons against anyone, or whether they were used against the students... and whether there was any need to use them against the students".

145

It is easy to understand the impression such articles of Ghernyshevsky's were bound to make on the Russian students. When, subsequently, student demonstrations occurred again at the end of the sixties, the article "Have We Learned the Lesson?" was read at student gatherings as being the best defence of their just demands. It is also easy to understand what the attitude of the powers-that-be must have been to such defiant articles. The great writer's ``dangerous'' influence on the student youth was becoming more and more obvious to them.

Apart from his journalistic work, Ghernyshevsky was zealously engaged in propagating the main theoretical theses of his world outlook. The polemic with the representatives of Russian vulgar economy of that time showed him how little economic information there was in Russian educated society. He decided to remedy this deficiency and embarked upon the translation and exposition of Mill. A long series of economic articles by him was published over two years (1860--61) on the pages of the Sovremennik. We have already expressed our view of the method and devices of economic research employed by Chernyshevsky. In a second article, which will be specially devoted to this subject, we shall make a detailed analysis of the economic teaching of our = author.^^61^^ For the time being, therefore, we shall confine ourselves merely to the following remark. The choice of Mill's book as a textbook for the dissemination of correct politico-economic views among the Russian reading public can on no account be regarded as a happy one. Mill's economic views are so unclear and inconsistent that they could not possibly leave any clear economic concepts in the mind of the reader, in spite of all the corrections and additions made by Chernyshevsky. At times the influence of Mill's " syncretism" is clearly felt on Chernyshevsky himself. In a hurry to turn to the criticism of existing social relations from the point of view of sound ``theory'', Chernyshevsky does not analyse such views of Mill's which even the science of that day could certainly not have recognised as correct. In places it seems as though Chernyshevsky himself shares these erroneous = concepts.^^62^^ We shall not, however, dwell upon them in detail here.

In West-European economic literature of the day Chernyshevsky could have found writers far more worthy of serious attention. On tho question of the relations of labour to capital Rodbertus is a real giant by comparison with Mill. On the other sections it would have been more useful to translate Ricardo's book and furnish it with notes and addenda. Ricardo has a great deal to teach even the informed reader, whereas even the informed reader is likely to become confused under the influence of Mill. The pernicious influence on our reading public of this man, who spent all his life falling between two stools, became particularly marked later, when Chernyshevsky's notes and addenda to his book

10---0267

146 were banned and only his translation of it remained on sale. By drawing its economic concepts from Mill, the Russian reading public had no economic concepts whatsoever, one might say. Almost simultaneously with the popularisation of Mill, Chernyshevsky undertook the translation into Russian of Schlosser, an historian greatly beloved by him and indeed most worthy of respect.

__ALPHA_LVL2__ XI

At that time Chernyshevsky was about 34 years of age. He was in the prime of his mental powers, and who knows to what heights he might not have risen in his development! But he had not long to live in freedom. He was the recognised leader of the extreme party, an outspoken champion of materialism and socialism. He was considered the ``ringleader'' of the revolutionary youth, and was blamed for all their outbursts and unrest. As always happens in such cases, rumour exaggerated the affair and even ascribed to Chernyshevsky intentions and actions which were foreign to him. In Prologue to a Prologue Chernyshevsky himself describes the liberal sympathetic gossip spread in St. Petersburg concerning Volgin's (i.e., his own) alleged relations with the London circle of Russian exiles. The gossip was occasioned by the most insignificant incidents that had absolutely nothing to do with politics. And, as usual, things did not stop at mere gossip. The ``protective'' press had long been engaged in literary denunciations of Chernyshevsky. In 1862, the Sovremennik was suspended for an indefinite period. Then came non-literary denunciations as well. "The Director of the Third Department of His Imperial Majesty's Own Chancellery,'' said the indictment of Chernyshevsky, "has received an anonymous letter warning the government against Chernyshevsky, 'that youth ringleader and wily socialist'; he himself has announced that he will never be convicted; he is said to be a pernicious agitator, and people ask to be spared from such a man; all Chernyshevsky's former friends, liberal-minded people, seeing that his tendencies were finding expression in deeds and not merely in words, have dissociated themselves from him. 'Unless you remove Chernyshevsky,' writes the author of the letter, 'there will be trouble and bloodshed; they are a band of rabid demagogues, of reckless people.... Perhaps they will eventually be eliminated, but just think how much innocent blood will be shed because of them.... There are committees of such socialists in Voronezh, Saratov, Tambov and elsewhere, and everywhere they inflame the youth. Send Chernyshevsky away wherever you like, but be quick to deprive him of the opportunity to act__ Deliver us from Chernyshevsky for the sake of public peace.'"

Chernyshevsky was arrested on July 7, 1862. Since, in the 147 words of the denouncer, Chernyshevsky himself had said that he would never be convicted, the blue knights of the Third Department hastened to concoct false evidence. How Chernyshevsky's case was conducted can be seen from the fact that the procurator was not ashamed to cite a letter from an anonymous denouncer even in the indictment, whereas according to Russian law "an investigation shall not be carried out in accordance with denunciations in anonymous libels and anonymous letters" (Art. 52, Book II, Grim. Law, Vol. XV, Code of Laws, 1857 ed.). Even before Chernyshevsky's arrest, a certain = Vetoshkin^^63^^ was detained, who was said to be carrying a letter from Herzen to Serno-- Solovyevich containing the following postscript: "Chernyshevsky and I intend to publish the Sovremennik here or in Geneva.'' It was on the basis of this postscript that Chernyshevsky was arrested. In the meantime, however, Herzen maintained in No. 193 of the Kolokol that he had never said a word in his letters about his plans for literary activity together with Chernyshevsky. "I have never been in correspondence with Chernyshevsky. I could not have written that he and I intended to publish the Sovremennik because I had no information whatsoever about whether or not he wished to publish the Sovremennik outside Russia.... The banning of the Sovremennik was announced in the newspapers, and we immediately suggested loudly and publicly to the publishers of the Sovremennik that we should print it at our own expense abroad. There was never the slightest response to our offer. How could I have written about this in the affirmative and moreover to Russia? Perhaps I also serve in the secret police?" But when did the zealous servants of the Russian government stop at lies and falsification? A few papers and letters which proved nothing were found during a search at Chernyshevsky's home, such widely known denouncers as Vsevolod Kostomarov were brought into the case, the diary of the accused was unearthed in which incidentally, even before his marriage, he had written that he "might be arrested any day'', and the job was done. Chernyshevsky was brought before the Court of the Senate on the following charge: 1) of relations with Herzen; 2) of composing the seditious proclamation "To the Manorial Peasants'', which he was alleged to have given to the denouncer V. Kostomarov for printing, and 3) of preparations for a revolt. It is interesting that the only evidence of "preparations for a revolt" was a letter carried by the selfsame Kostomarov to a certain Alexei Nikolayevich, which says in the vaguest terms that there is no point in losing time, that it is "now or never" and that the unknown Alexei Nikolayevich has no energy. Chernyshevsky persistently denied that this letter belonged to him, but even if it did belong to him, all that could be proved on the basis of it is his participation in the setting up of a secret printing press. "For about a year now you have been 10* 148 making fools of us with your press, and now the time has come beyond which we cannot delay, if we wish our cause to be won.'' To which cause the letter refers is quite unknown. True, it does mention the printing of a manifesto, but not all manifestoes are "preparations for a revolt''. One would think even the Third Department's lawyers should have understood that it is a long way from setting up a secret printing press and printing manifestoes to preparations for a revolt. They did understand this, of course. But they understood even better that Chernyshevsky was an immense, irreplaceable revolutionary force.

There is nothing improbable in the assumption that Chernyshevsky belonged to a revolutionary society. On the contrary, such an assumption is perfectly probable. But where in the civilised world is probability regarded as legal evidence"? Nowhere, except Russia, and even in Russia only at political trials.

The lack of fastidiousness of the Directorate of the Public Prosecutor with regard to the evidence in Chernyshevsky's case is demonstrated by the following fact. The indictment cites a letter from the accused to his wife, which was written already from the fortress. "My life and yours belong to history; hundreds of years will pass and our names will still be dear to people, who will recall them with gratitude when those who lived with us are no more.'' Apart from these words, which clearly indicate "preparations for a revolt'', the indictment cites the following lines from the same letter. Informing his wife of his intention to compile An Encyclopaedia of Knowledge and Life, Chernyshevsky writes: "Since the time of Aristotle no one has done that which I wish to do, and I shall be a good teacher of people throughout the centuries, as Aristotle was.'' What do these lines prove? Why should the compiler of the indictment refer to them? It is obvious! A man who is prepared to publish an encyclopaedia is also perfectly prepared to ``revolt''!

The investigation of Chernyshevsky's case dragged on for about two years. He persistently denied the accusations made against him and evidently hoped that he would soon manage to escape from the claws of the Russian eagle. His intention to publish an Encyclopaedia indicates this hope. The novel What Is To Be Done?, written by him when he was already in prison, is also full of the brightest hopes. Incidentally, in this novel the hopes are linked not with legal considerations about the impossibility of sentencing him because of lack of evidence, but with the swift triumph of the emancipation movement in Russia. Allusions to the proximity of this triumph are frequently found in the novel. In the Epilogue there are even some vague references to the year 1866 (the novel was completed in April = 1864^^64^^), in which something special was to happen in Russia. A lady, who appears in the final scenes of the novel and is wearing mourning for a dear one 149 who is evidently in prison or exile, drives along the streets of St. Petersburg in 1866, gay and joyful, accompanied by her liberated friend. We can only guess, of course, at what the author meant by this.

__ALPHA_LVL2__ XII

__NOTE__ This paragraph here to retain footnote "*". XII^^*^^

We shall not expound the content of What Is To Be Done? Who has not read and re-read this famous work? Who has not been enthralled by it, who has not become purer, better, brighter and bolder under its beneficial influence? Who has not been impressed by the moral purity of the main characters? Who, after reading this novel, has not reflected on his own life, not put his own aspirations and inclinations to the test? All of us have drawn from it both moral strength and faith in a better future,

And great trust
In selfless = labour....^^65^^

Our obscurantists have frequently pointed to the absence in the novel of artistic merits, to its obvious tendentiousness. Outwardly these accusations are justified: the novel really is highly tendentious and possesses very few artistic merits. But let them show us any fine, truly artistic work of Russian literature which could vie with the novel What Is To Be Done? in its influence on the moral and intellectual development of the country! No one will show us such a work, because there has never been and probably never will be one. From the time when printing-presses were introduced in Russia right up to our day not a single printed work has had the same success in Russia as What Is To Be Done? Try, after that, to argue the tendentiousness of the author, try to repeat that he is not a writer! The reading public will tell you quite rightly that this is of no concern to it, that all novels are good, except boring novels---and it was delighted, not bored with Chernyshevsky's novel: that is quite enough for it. Finally, Messrs, the obscurantists, you also do not avoid tendentiousness in your works of fiction. You also are not averse to writing a tendentious novel or story. The trouble is that no one reads your tendentious works, no one gets enthralled by them. Whence this difference, what do you think? Does it not show that there are tendencies and tendencies, that there are some tendencies which in no way prevent the success of the works tinged with them?

What was the secret of the colossal, unparalleled success of What Is To Be Done? It lay precisely in the character of its tendency, in the fact that the ideas expressed by the author were being disseminated at exactly the right time. In themselves, these _-_-_

^^*^^ [See below the version of the beginning of this chapter written for the German edition, p. 166 of this volume.]

150 ideas were not new; Chernyshevsky had taken them wholly from West-European literature. In France,^^*^^ George Sand had much earlier advocated free and, most important, sincere, honest relations in the love of a man for a woman. As regards the moral demands she puts on love, Lucrezia Floriani differs in no way from Vera Pavlovna. The ideas of George Sand met with the most fervent sympathy in our country as early as the forties. Belinsky was an ardent admirer of this authoress. In his articles he often advocated her views on freedom and sincerity in love. We know how he reproached Pushkin's Tatyana because, while loving Onegin, she did not follow the dictates of her heart and, being "given to another'', continued to live with her aged husband whom she did not love. In their attitude to women, the best "people of the forties" adhered to the same principles as those of Lopukhov and = Kirsanov.^^68^^ However, prior to the appearance of the novel What Is To Be Done?, these principles were shared only by a ``select'' handful; the mass of the reading public did not understand them at all. Even Herzen hesitated to expound them fully and clearly in his novel Who Is To Blame? With the appearance of What Is To Be Done? the question was posed with the utmost clarity and force. There was no more room left for doubt. Thinking people were faced with the alternative of being guided in love by the principles of Lopukhov and Kirsanov, or of bowing to the sanctity of marriage and resorting, should a new sentiment arise, to the old, tested method of secret amorous adventures, or else completely subduing all affection in their hearts in view of the fact that they belonged to a marriage partner, whom they no longer loved. And the choice had to be made quite consciously. Chernyshevsky dealt with the issue in such a way that what had been natural instinctiveness and sincerity in love became utterly impossible. Mind control extended to love, and the general public adopted a conscious view of the relations between man and woman. This was particularly important in our country in the sixties. The reforms which Russia had undergone turned upside down not only her social but also her family relations. A ray of light reached into recesses that had been in complete darkness. Russian people were compelled to examine themselves, to take a sober look at their relation to their kin, to society and family. A new element came to play a big role in family relations, in love and friendship---convictions, which formerly only the very _-_-_

^^*^^ Let us note in passing that Goethe's Wahlverwandschaften and some of his dramas also represent a word in defence of free love. This is well understood by many German historians of German literature who, while not daring to decry such an authoritative writer, and at the same time not daring to agree with him because of their own philistine virtuousness, usually mutter something totally unintelligible about the apparently strange paradoxes of the great German.

151 smallest handful of ``idealists'' had possessed. Differences of conviction led to unexpected ruptures. A woman "given in marriage" to a certain man often discovered with horror that her lawful ``possessor'' was an obscurantist, a bribe-taker, a flatterer grovelling before his superiors. A man who had enjoyed the ``possession'' of his beautiful wife, and was unexpectedly affected by the current of new ideas, often realised in dismay that what his charming plaything was interested in was not at all the "new people" or the "new views'', but new dresses and dances, and also the title and salary of her husband. All explanations and exhortations are in vain, the beautiful woman turns into a veritable shrew as soon as her husband tries to say that he "would gladly be of service'', but that "servility is = nauseating".^^67^^ How is one to act? What is one to do? The famous novel showed how to act and what to do. Under its influence people who had previously regarded themselves as the legal property of others began to repeat with its author: 0, filth, 0, filth, he who dares to possess another!---and there awoke in them an awareness of human dignity, and, often after the bitterest spiritual and family storms, they became independent, organised their life in keeping with their convictions, and consciously progressed towards a rational human goal. In view of this alone it can be said that the name of Chernyshevsky belongs to history, and it will still be dear to people, who will recall it with gratitude when those who were personally acquainted with the great Russian enlightener are no more.

Obscurantists accused Chernyshevsky of preaching the " emancipation of the flesh" in his novel. Nothing could be more absurd and hypocritical than this accusation! Take any novel about high society life, recall the amorous intrigues of the nobility and bourgeoisie in all countries and among all peoples---and you will see that Chernyshevsky had no need whatsoever to preach the emancipation of the flesh, which had long been an established fact. On the contrary, his novel preaches the emancipation of the human spirit, the human intellect. No one influenced by the trend of this novel would have any desire for the boudoir adventures without which life was empty for ``society'' people, who had a hypocritical respect for conventional morality. Messrs, the obscurantists understand perfectly the strictly moral nature of Chernyshevsky's work and are annoyed with him precisely because of his moral strictness. They sense that people like the heroes of What Is To Be Done? must regard them as totally debauched and must feel the utmost contempt for them.

Some people also remark that it was alright for Lopukhov and Vera Pavlovna to show their lofty feeling, because they had no children: had they had children they would have been obliged to follow the usual path in their love. Chernyshevsky himself says that had Vera Pavlovna had children she would perhaps have 152 acted otherwise. He understood perfectly that the question of relations between a man and a woman is closely linked with the question of the family, without which people cannot live in the society which exists today. He knew that for love to be completely free it was necessary to reorganise all family and, consequently, all social relations. But he did not stop at this thought, because the relations of love into which people will enter in the future are one thing, and the humanity and rationality which are possible in the present day in a marriage between educated people is quite another. If the descendants of Vera Pavlovna and Lopukhov had multiplied as the sand of the sea, they would have remained sensible and humane people, and would therefore not have poisoned each other's lives because of involuntary deviations of feeling which were independent of their will. It was perhaps even intentionally that Chernyshevsky portrayed in his novel the simplest case: the awakening of a new love in a married woman with no children. By explaining on the example of this case the mutual obligations of decent people, he could then expect that readers who had understood him would themselves decide how married couples with children should behave in similar situations: under the influence of different personal considerations they might behave differently; but once they had understood Chernyshevsky's view, they would never behave like people of the old school.

__ALPHA_LVL2__ XIII

As we know, the dissemination in Russia of the great ideas of truth, science, and art was the main, one might say, the only aim in our author's life. It was in the interests of this dissemination that he wrote the novel What Is To Be Done? It would be wrong to regard this novel merely as the preaching of rational relations in love. The love of Vera Pavlovna for Lopukhov and Kirsanov is only the canvas on which other, more important ideas of the author's are set. We have already spoken of the associations set up by Vera Pavlovna. In making her undertake this activity, the author wished to point out the practical tasks of socialists in Russia to his followers. In Vera Pavlovna's dreams the author's socialist ideals are painted in bright colours. The picture of socialist society drawn by him is modelled entirely on Fourier. Chernyshevsky does not offer the reader anything new. He merely acquaints him with conclusions which West-European thought reached long ago. Here again it must be mentioned that Fourier's views were known in Russia even in the forties. The = ``Petrashevtsi''^^68^^ were accused and found guilty of Fourierism. But Chernyshevsky spread Fourier's ideas on a previously unprecedented scale. He introduced them to the public at large. Later, even Chernyshevsky's admirers in our country would shrug their shoulders in 153 talking of Vera Pavlovna's dreams. The phalansteries of which she dreamed seemed rather naive to some later. It was said that the famous writer could have talked to the reader about something nearer to our hearts and more practical. Even people who called themselves socialists reasoned thus. We must confess that we regard this matter quite differently. In Vera Pavlovna's dreams we see a feature of Chernyshevsky's socialist views to which, unfortunately, Russian socialists have still not paid sufficient attention. In these dreams we are attracted by Chernyshevsky's full realisation of the fact that the socialist system must be based on the widespread application to production of the technical forces developed by the bourgeois period. In Vera Pavlovna's dreams huge armies of labour are jointly engaged in production, passing from Central Asia to Russia, from hot climate countries to the cold countries. All this, of course, could have been conceived with the aid of Fourier as well, but it is evident even from the subsequent history of so-called Russian socialism that the Russian reading public was not aware of this. In their ideas of socialist society our revolutionaries frequently went so far as to conceive it in the form of a federation of peasant communes, cultivating their fields with the same antiquated plough as that used to scrape the soil in the time of Basil the Blind.^^*^^ But obviously such ``socialism'' cannot be regarded as socialism. The emancipation of labour can come about only through the emancipation of man from the "power of the land" and nature in general. And this emancipation has made absolutely indispensable those armies of labour and that extensive application of modern productive forces to production of which Chernyshevsky spoke in Vera Pavlovna's dreams and which we have completely forgotten in our desire to be ``practical''.

That Chernyshevsky's socialist views were not understood by many of his readers can be seen from D.I. Pisarev's article, excellent in the literary respect, "The Thinking Proletariat', which is an analysis of What Is To Be Done? Pisarev is in raptures about Vera Pavlovna, Lopukhov and Kirsanov. For him they are the true representatives of the "Bazarov = type"^^69^^ placed in the most suitable conditions for them.^^**^^ They are new people in the full sense of the word. But how does he picture to himself the character and activity of the new people? First of all, he seizes on the fact that all of them are engaged in the natural sciences. The natural sciences were, as we know, the alpha and omega of knowledge _-_-_

^^*^^ [See below the addendum to this passage for the German edition, p. 167 of this volume.]

^^**^^ But Chernyshevsky himself hardly regarded his heroes as representatives of the "Bazarov type''. The Sovremennik saw Bazarov as a caricature of the "younger generation" (see the well-known article of M. A. Antonovich "An Asmodeus of Our Time" in the March issue of the Sovremennik for 1862).

r

154 for Pisarev. Take up one of these real sciences, work hard, organise your relations with your wife and friends sensibly---and you will thereby become a "thinking proletarian'', you will work for the good of others who are not yet thinking proletarians, you will be completely "at one" with them. There is not a word in the article about the fact that the ``thinking'' proletarian could have different, broader tasks with regard to other proletarians. It is, of course, good to set up, like Vera Pavlovna, this or that association, but that is not the main thing. The main thing is to organise one's private life sensibly and engage in the natural sciences. Pisarev does not understand Rakhmetov at all. He is, perhaps, not averse to praising Rakhmetov (one is bound to praise him, because Chernyshevsky himself does), but, not understanding this type, he involuntarily reveals his antipathy towards him. For Pisarev the real, ideal "new people" are Vera Pavlovna, Lopukhov and Kirsanov. Whereas, according to Chernyshevsky, Rakhmetov is to Lopukhov and his closest friends as a huge castle to an ordinary house. Rakhmetov is portrayed precisely in order to show the relative ordinariness of people like Lopukhov. Lopukhov is a man of personal relationships. He has great sympathy for socialism, but engages in social activities only in passing, only when the occasion happens to arise. Rakhmetov devotes all his time and all his thought to society. He knows no personal joy or sorrow at all. He has even decided never to become intimate with a woman. He is therefore completely insured against the type of event in which the character of Lopukhov and Kirsanov is delineated. He is a man devoted to an idea. Only in the service of this idea can the rich forces of this iron character reveal themselves. In personal relationships he is difficult, if you like, simply insufferable, as Vera Pavlovna tells him bluntly. And he himself is aware of it and not in the slightest perturbed by this awareness. A big ship has far to sail.

Chernyshevsky was present at the birth of the new type of "new people" in our country---the revolutionary. He joyfully welcomed the emergence of this new type and could not deny himself the pleasure of depicting at least a vague profile of him. At the same time, he foresaw with sorrow how many trials and sufferings were in store for the Russian revolutionary, whose life must be one of severe struggle and great self-sacrifice. And so, in Rakhmetov, Chernyshevsky presents us with the true ascetic. Rakhmetov positively tortures himself. He is completely " merciless towards himself'', as his landlady says. He even decides to test whether he can endure torture by spending a whole night lying on a length of felt with nails sticking through it. Many people, including Pisarev, regarded this as mere eccentricity. We agree that some aspects of Rakhmetov's character could have been drawn differently. But the character as a whole nevertheless 155 remains completely true to life. Every prominent Russian revolutionary possessed much of the Rakhmetov spirit.

Today the revolutionary from the ``intelligentsia'' has almost finished playing his part. He no longer has any originality, he is repeating himself, growing shallow. His place must, and will, be taken by revolutionaries from the working class, those true "children of the people''. But he has had his own glorious history and therefore one cannot help marvelling at the perceptiveness of Chernyshevsky, who succeeded in portraying so well and so accurately the main features, at least, of this type which was then only just = emerging.^^70^^

__ALPHA_LVL2__ XIV

The Senate sentenced Chernyshevsky to civil execution followed by fourteen years of penal servitude in the mines, and then exile in Siberia for life. In the final sentence the penal servitude was reduced to 7 years. On June 13, 1864, in Mytninsky Square in Peski the sentence on the great Russian socialist was read out publicly. Pale, emaciated and exhausted, he was brought to the pillory and stood in silence, his back turned to the official who was reading out the sentence. The ceremony of the breaking of the sword was performed over the condemned man, and then his hands were pushed by the executioner into the rings riveted to the scaffold. At this moment a bouquet fell on the scaffold, and shouts of sympathy for the condemned man rang out in the crowd which packed Mytninsky Square.... Chernyshevsky was sent off to Siberia.

The notorious Muravyov the Hangman wished to charge him in connection with the Karakozov affair, but Alexander II objected to this for some reason, and Chernyshevsky remained in Siberia. He spent 20 years there, and at the insistence of the Chief of the Gendarmes, Count Shuvalov, he was not included in any amnesties. At the end of the seven years of penal servitude, he was sent to Vilyuisk, Yakutsk Region, where the only people he could talk to were the Cossacks and gendarmes who guarded him. Chernyshevsky lived in this new imprisonment in a remote and extremely unhealthy corner of Siberia right up to 1883, when he was allowed to go and live in Astrakhan. One can only marvel at the way that this physically feeble, weak-chested man endured the many persecutions which befell him.

We shall not speak here of the many attempts to free Chernyshevsky, since they are well enough known to the = public.^^71^^

Immediately upon return from Siberia Chernyshevsky again embarked vigorously on literary work. He diligently translated Weber's Universal History^^*^^ and wrote several articles for _-_-_

^^*^^ [Allgemeine Weltgeschichte.]

156 periodicals. It is interesting that one of the last articles written by our author before exile was ``Materials for a Biography of N. A. Dobrolyubov'' and one of the first long articles written by him on return from exile was a continuation of these ``Materials''. Evidently the memory of his gifted and beloved comrade, who had died so prematurely, never left Chernyshevsky.

About the articles written by him after exile we shall speak in our second article. For the present we shall merely say that, although from the language and manner it was easy to recognise Chernyshevsky, his former brilliance and former depth of thought were no longer to be found in them. His article on Darwin is positively weak, extremely weak, so that it produces a most painful = impression.^^72^^ Reading it, you feel that you are dealing with a writer who has been utterly shaken and broken. The small portion of freedom granted to him before his death could not resurrect the former Chernyshevsky. The former Chernyshevsky was killed by the sentence of the Senate, and never has the Russian government committed a greater crime in respect of the intellectual development of Russia. That is why, in concluding this first article, we repeat with great sympathy Herzen's words, written when he heard the sentence passed on Chernyshevsky: ``May this immense crime descend as a curse upon the government, upon the society, upon the base, corrupt journalism, which brought this persecution, which whipped it up because of personal scores. It allowed the government to murder prisoners-of-war in Poland, and in Russia to approve the sentences of the savage ignoramuses of the Senate and the grey-haired villains of the State Council.... And then wretched people, worthless sluggards, say that one should not curse this band of rogues and scoundrels which governs us!''

[157] __ALPHA_LVL1__ [ADDENDA FOR THE GERMAN EDITION
OF THE BOOK
N. G. CHERNYSHEVSKY
(1894)]

Appendix to p[age] 93 of the Sots[ial]-Demokrat^^*^^

(It was to the dissemination in his homeland of the noble ideas of truth, art, and science that Chernyshevsky wished to devote his = powers.)^^73^^

He became a writer. The appearance of his dissertation in print attracted the attention of the editorial board of the Sovremennik, published since 1847 by Panayev and the poet Nekrasov. Chernyshevsky was offered a permanent post on the journal, and even the whole of the criticism section was put in his charge. Later, in 1859, when the Sovremennik was allowed to write about politics as well, Chernyshevsky also took charge of the political section. He worked truly indefatigably. Usually his articles were distributed among the various sections of the journal as follows: firstly, he contributed a long article on some theoretical problem, then he wrote a political survey, made a review of Russian, and sometimes foreign literature, reviewed several new books and, lastly, by way of relaxation and diversion, as it were, he made polemical sorties against his opponents. This persistently hard work was explained to a considerable extent by the fact that even among the contributors to the Sovremennik, particularly in the early years of Chernyshevsky's literary activity, there were few people who had matured as far as his views on things. In the novel Prologue to a Prologue the writer Volgin, under whose name Chernyshevsky portrayed himself,^^**^^ says bluntly that he is compelled to write a great deal for fear that others would write nonsense. Incidentally, from the time that Chernyshevsky became the main contributor to the Sovremennik, all fresh, budding literary forces were naturally drawn towards the journal. Thus, already in 1856, Dobrolyubov, who soon became famous and whom Chernyshevsky placed---with excessive modesty---far above himself, began to write for it. The importance of journalism was very great in our country at that time. Today _-_-_

^^*^^ [See p. 70 of this volume, and German edition, p. 31.]

^^**^^ Chcrnyshevsky's native town, Saratov, stands on the River Volga.

158 public opinion has far outgrown journalism (constricted by the censorship); in the forties it was still too young for it, but the late fifties and early sixties were the age of the greatest concord between public opinion and journalism and of the greatest influence of journalism on public opinion. Only in such conditions was it possible to have the passionate interest in literary activity and the sincere belief in the importance of literary propaganda which one finds in all the eminent writers of that time. All that was old, traditional, inherited from one's ancestors, was subjected to criticism, all that was new was discussed from the point of view of ``reason'', which was called upon, it seemed, to refashion all the views of Russian readers, from the most general philosophical questions to questions of whether children should be swaddled in the cradle and beaten at school age. This age in Russian life is extremely reminiscent of the time in France when the great enlightener Voltaire wrote about everything under the sun, from Newton's theory to the education of young ladies.

Chernyshevsky's journal stood at the head of the literary movement in Russia at that time. It was read avidly by all the = "new people'',^^74^^ and feared greatly by all those who, for this or that reason, would have liked to impede this movement. Fear naturally engenders hatred. As the influence of the Sovremennik grew, the greater were the number of attacks launched from the most varied quarters on the journal in general and on Ghernyshevsky in particular. The contributors to the Sovremennik began to be regarded as dangerous people who were destroying all the "foundations of society''. Some of the "advanced people" of the forties, who had at one time been friends of the most influential writer of that day, Belinsky, repudiated the Sovremennik as an organ of the " nihilists'', and began to declare that Belinsky would never have approved of the trend adopted by it. Such was I. S. Turgenev's attitude.^^*^^ And the Slavophil radical Herzen, who attacked the ``jaundiced'' in his London Kolokol, alleging that it was quite impossible to please them, acted in almost the same way. The Sovremennik, for its part, replied in similar coin. It responded to the attacks with sharp polemical articles and, moreover, ridiculed them in a special supplement bearing the title of Svistok. Chernyshevsky also wrote occasionally for the Svistok, but the main contributor there was Dobrolyubov, who possessed a remarkable talent for writing parodies in verse on the bombastic, highsounding talk of the ``protectors''. The ``protectors'' attempted to fight the Sovremennik with the same weapon, but very soon realised that "les rieurs" (the laughers) were not on their side.

_-_-_

^^*^^ Chernyshevsky relates that Turgenev could still tolerate him to some extent, but had no patience at all with Dobrolyubov. "You're just a snake, but Dobrolyubov is a cobra,'' he said to Chernyshevsky.

159

Chernyshevsky plunged into the literary battle, so that writing the history of this period of his life means writing the history of his literary activity. Obviously we shall not ignore this activity, but let us first see how he interpreted the ideas of "truth, art, and science" which he expounded and defended in the Sovremennik.

In his philosophical views he was a follower of Feuerbach, for whom he had the greatest respect, ranking him on a level with Hegel, which says a great deal, for Chernyshevsky, in spite of the increasingly widespread prejudice of the "thinking proletarians'', considered Hegel to be one of the most brilliant thinkers of all times and peoples.^^*^^ As a follower of Feuerbach, Chernyshevsky opposed philosophical idealism and dualism. "The principle underlying the philosophical view of human life,'' he wrote in his article "The Anthropological Principle in Philosophy'', "is the idea, worked out by the natural sciences, of the unity of the human organism; the observations of physiologists, zoologists and medical men have driven away all thought of dualism in man. Philosophy sees him as medicine, physiology and chemistry see him. These sciences prove that no dualism is evident in man, and philosophy adds that if man possessed another nature, in addition to his real nature, this other nature would inevitably reveal itself in some way, but since it does not reveal itself in any way, since everything that takes place and manifests itself in man originates solely from his real nature, he cannot have another nature."^^**^^ This is quite clear. But it does not follow from this that Chernyshevsky was a consistent materialist in the most modern meaning of the word. Feuerbach himself, as we know, was still very far from such consistency, and the errors of the teacher left a deep mark on the world outlook of the pupil. Chernyshevsky's materialism is far more obvious in his ``anthropological'' than in his historical views. Regarding man as a product of circumstances, Chernyshevsky adopts a most humane attitude even to those unpleasant manifestations of corrupted human nature (in which idealists see only "evil intent" deserving strict punishment...}.

[Note to page 105]^^***^^

(In general, very noticeable in Chernyshevsky's views on rational egoism is the endeavour, characteristic of all "periods of enlightenment'', to seek support for morality in reason and an _-_-_

^^*^^ In fact Feuerbach was far lower and poorer than Hegel, as was brilliantly shown by Engels and as Marx pointed out in a letter to the editor of the Berlin Sozial-Demokrat printed shortly after the death of Proudhon.

^^**^^ We would again remind our German readers that Chernyshevsky had to express himself very cautiously because he was writing in a Russian journal which was subject to censorship.

^^***^^ [See p. 82 of this volume, and German edition, p. 37.]

160 explanation of the individual's character and behaviom in his more or less hard-headed calculation.)

Xenophon in his Erinnerungen an Socrates (6, 27) quotes the following argument of this wise man in support of the idea that it is better to be friends with honest people than with rogues: "Es ist aber vortheilhafter, den Rechtschaffenen gutes zu erweisen, da ihre Zahl geringer ist, als den Schlechteren, deren Zahl grosser ist, denn die Schlechten bediirfen weit mehr Wohltaten, als die Rechtschaffenen."^^*^^ This is the complete triumph and final limit of rationality, after which it must immediately reach the absurd.

[Manuscript continuation of page 134]^^**^^

(But let us return to our author. Knowing the general character of his views, knowing the merits and defects of his characteristic interpretation of "the noble ideas of truth, science, and art'', we can now easily form a picture of his literary activity.)

The first practical question with which Chernyshevsky was confronted was that of the abolition of serfdom. At that time, when this question had only just been placed on the order of the day by the government of Alexander II, advanced people in Russia assumed that it would be easy to show this government the extent to which its own interests coincided with the interests of the emancipated peasantry. Some even thought that this would be clear to the government without any explanation. "Thou hast won, Galilean!" wrote Herzen, addressing the young tsar.

About the same time he publicly proclaimed a toast to the Emancipator = Tsar.^^75^^ For a while Chernyshevsky also appears to have cherished such illusions. At least, he did his utmost to explain to the government where its properly understood interests lay. How much he wrote on the peasant question can be seen from the fact that in a special foreign edition the articles by him relating to this constitute a large volume of very small print. He advocated the emancipation of the peasants with land, of course, and maintained that the government would find no difficulty whatever in redeeming the lands allotted to the peasants. He supported this thesis both with general theoretical considerations and with the most detailed estimates.

_-_-_

^^*^^ ["It is, however, more profitable to do good to the righteous, for their number is smaller, than to the wicked, whose number is larger, for the wicked have need of far more good deeds than the righteous."]

^^**^^ [See p. 113 of this volume, and German edition, p. 72.]

161
[Manuscript continuation of page 148]^^*^^

(If our ``intelligentsia'' adheres so firmly to the commune to this day, it is thanks to the ineradicable influence of Chernyshevsky.)

One of his main arguments in favour of the commune is that the commune will save us from the "ulcer of proletarianisation''. He evidently frequently recalled the arguments of reactionaries, such as Baron Haxthausen who saw the "ulcer of proletarianisation" as the main source of the revolutionary movement in Western Europe. He occasionally had doubts as to the advantages which the removal of the said ulcer would have for the cause of Russian progress. But he quickly banished such doubts. "The agricultural class, although it has always had use of the land under the commune system in our country, has not always appeared in ... history with an immovable character.... There is no need to discuss...the character of the West-European peasant. We would merely point out that the Cossacks came for the most part from the peasants and that from the beginning of the seventeenth century nearly all the dramatic episodes in the history of the Russian people were carried out by the energy of the agricultural population.'' Here, as we see, the peasant wars are ranked in their historical importance with the revolutionary movements of the modern proletariat, a confusion which is quite impossible for the socialist of our time, but quite unnoticeable for the Russian revolutionaries of Chernyshevsky's day.

Liberal economists regarded the commune as a backward form of ownership of the land, characteristic only of primitive and savage peoples. In countering this argument, Chernyshevsky referred to Hegel. The third and final phase in the development of any phenomenon, he said, is very similar to its first phase. Peoples began with communal land tenure and they are bound to return to it in the more or less near future. True, the West-- European peoples passed from primitive communal land tenure to private ownership of the land, as they were bound to do for a time. But this intermediate period can be completely by-passed by other countries which have embarked on the path of historical development later and had the experience of Western Europe before them. Russia is such a country. There is no need whatsoever for her to introduce at home a form of ownership of the land which West-European history has already clearly shown to be invalid.

The article which contains this argument of = Chernyshevsky's^^78^^ was written so skilfully and so outwardly convincingly that the liberal opponents of the village commune could find no objection to it. This fact alone shows how abstract their own views on social _-_-_

^^*^^ [See p. 127 of this volume, and German edition, p. 85.]

11--0267

162 questions were. Chernyshevsky's arguments could be convincing only for people who placed themselves "above society'', only for Utopians of various trends. It is true that in Hegel all development---in logic, in nature, and in society---takes place out of itself, by the force of its immanent dialectics. If Chernyshevsky wished to defend communal land tenure from the viewpoint of Hegel, he should have shown that the inner relations of the Russian village commune themselves lead to the creation of a social system which, firstly, would avoid the ``mistakes'' of the West, and secondly, would come close to the ideals of the socialists (in whose person the West-European peoples have realised the inconvenience and invalidity of private ownership of the land). But Chernyshevsky says nothing about this logic of communal land tenure. In him this objective logic is replaced by the subjective logic of ``progressive'' Russian people who are familiar with West-European socialism (in its Utopian form) arid believe that Russia should make use of the experience of more advanced countries. Hegel would hardly have agreed to such an application of his views. This is to say nothing of the fact that in Hegel the third phase bears only a formal resemblance to the first, whereas Chernyshevsky almost equates socialist society---as it was pictured by the Utopian socialists---with the Russian village [commune], which incidentally is very far removed from the really primitive form of landownership.

``There is no abstract truth; truth is concrete.... Everything depends upon the circumstances of time and place,'' said the self-same Chernyshevsky in another article, expounding Hegel. In defending communal land tenure by reference to Hegel, he should have recalled this aspect of Hegel's views, first and foremost. Then he would have reasoned differently. Is communal land tenure a good or bad thing? It is impossible to give a definite answer to this. One must know what its present position is and what position the likely future is preparing for it. "There is no abstract truth; truth is concrete" ... but Chernyshevsky wished to find abstract truth and he went against the spirit of the very philosophy which he was quoting.

The extent to which Chernyshevsky did not notice the invalidity of his abstract point of view on the commune is shown by the following interesting fact. The article, the arguments of which we have just expounded, is preceded by an introduction in which our author expresses the cheerless view on the future of Russian peasant landownership, with which the reader is already familiar, and "his shame'' that he had thoughtlessly gone to the defence of the commune. At first glance this seems completely incomprehensible: on the one hand, the man is saying that he has become ``reckless'', even more---"I have become stupid in my own eyes" because he defended the commune, and on the other, he is again 163 defending it, and defending it with what he regards as an invincible weapon. What does this mean? It means that in one case Chernyshevsky is speaking of the real Russian commune which is in a definite historical position. The cause of this commune seems to him to be completely lost. But, as a Utopian, he does not reckon with real social relations only, he also does not forget the possible relations which play such a large part in the world outlook of all Utopians. From the point of view of these possible relations the commune remains a splendid thing, and to defend it is not only not shameful, but on the contrary, very good. Thus, the possible is a sphere which is completely independent of reality. This logical error was repeated constantly later by all the Russian Narodniks, up to and including G. I. Uspensky. However, Chernyshevsky's view on communal land tenure was very different from the Narodnik view.

[Manuscript continuation of page 160]^^*^^

The revolutionary mood of Polish society coincided with the intense excitement of opposition elements in Russia. The students were in a state of ferment, secret societies sprang up which printed proclamations and awaited a general uprising of the peasants who were dissatisfied with the conditions of their ``emancipation''. All these ``disorders'' had a direct influence on Chernyshevsky's fate.

``At that time,'' says the late Shelgunov in his memoirs, " proclamations were distributed with great audacity and fairly openly. One would meet acquaintances with bulging pockets, and in reply to the question 'what have you got there?' came the perfectly calm reply 'proclamations', as if they were some legal and even approved printed publication. Or the bell rang. You would open the door and see an acquaintance who, without a single word, or even pretending that he did not recognise you, would thrust a bundle of proclamations into your hand and retire hastily with the same incognito. Proclamations were left on seats in theatres, stuck like posters on the walls of concert halls, even stuffed into pockets, so they say, and concerning the proclamation To the Younger = Generation^^77^^ the story goes that a certain gentleman trotted along the Nevsky on a white horse, tossing it right and left. Finally, proclamations were sent by post. The proclamation To All = Officers^^78^^ was circulated with particular audacity. It was distributed during Christ's matins^^**^^ and even handed out _-_-_

^^*^^ [See p. 141 of this volume, and German edition, p. 105. The beginning of Chapter X (VIII).]

^^**^^ That is, during matins on Easter Sunday. The most remarkable of all the appeals of that time was the leaflet "Young = Russia'',^^79^^ which invited the student youth ``(our main hope'') to prepare for "a bloody and inexorable __NOTE__ Footnote cont. on page 164. 164 in the churches, so they said.'' Shelgunov notes that in terms of importance all these proclamations "were simply an act of courage and produced the impression of banging petards''. This is quite right. The working population of St. Petersburg probably understood nothing in the proclamation "To the Younger Generation" which was scattered about the streets and the proclamation "Young Russia''. But the very courage of the distributors of the proclamations forced the government to assume that they were backed by a large revolutionary force. This provided a good excuse for taking those "intimidatory measures" with the help of which the Russian government usually directs its opponents to the true path. Arrests began. The day after the distribution of the proclamation "To the Younger Generation" (this was in autumn 1861) one of the most eminent contributors to the Sovremennik, M. I. Mikhailov, was arrested. This event caused a great stir in the literary world of St. Petersburg. Two or three days later nearly all the literary people of St. Petersburg gathered at the home of the publisher of the journal Russkoye = Slovo,^^80^^ Count Kushelev, in order to discuss what they could do to help the arrested man. It was decided to send a petition to the Minister of Public Education (the press then came under his jurisdiction) requesting him to concern himself with'Mikhailov's fate. The Minister (the above-mentioned Admiral Putyatin) received the petition, although he remarked to the delegates who brought it that there was no literary ``estate'' in Russia. For his part the liberal Alexander II ordered the delegates to be locked in the guardhouse.^^*^^ In the meantime Mikhailov was imprisoned in the fortress and amazed the investigators who were interrogating him with the harshness and truthfulness of his answers. He admitted to being the author of one of the proclamations and announced that he hated the existing order in Russia with all his heart and looked forward to the day when the tsarist government would be overthrown. The Senate sentenced him to 15 years penal servitude in the mines (the harshest type of penal servitude). The tsar reduced the sentence to 7 years. This _-_-_ __NOTE__ Footnote cont. from page 163. revolution" with the cry of "long live the social and democratic Russian republic''. The leaflet pronounced the death sentence both on the tsar's family and on the whole "imperial party". The liberal constitutionalists are chided in it in a most hostile fashion. As an example for Russian revolutionaries the author of the leaflet names thelgreat French terrorists of the last century. The revolutionary party Jshould take political power into its hands in order "with its help to introduce different foundations of economic and social life in the quickest possible time''. Herzen rightly remarked in his Kolokol in connection with "Young Russia" that "a call to arms can be made only on the eve of battle" and that "any premature call is a hint, a word given to the enemy, and the exposure of one's weakness to him''. But the point was that the Russian revolutionaries of that time thought they were already "on the eve of battle''. They did not understand that there could be no talk of revolution AS long as the ^tudent youth were the revolutionaries' "main hope''.

^^*^^ Incidentally, he later ``forgave'' them.

165 was very grossmiitig,^^*^^ but at the same time it did not interfere with the achievement of the aim: the removal of one of the main ``ringleaders'' of the revolutionary movement. It was now the turn of the main ``ringleader'', Chernyshevsky.

The student disturbances of 1861, long remembered by all St. Petersburg, were caused by the fact that even in the honeymoon of its liberalism the government of Alexander II could not, as already mentioned, endure even the remotest hint of academic freedom. In 1856 Prince G. A. Shcherbatov, something of a liberal, was appointed guardian of the St. Petersburg educational area. He allowed the students to have a benefit fund, a library, and a reading room, and to publish their own ``collection''. For the management of all these branches of student life meetings were held to elect representatives. The students began to lead a corporative life. It was this fact that displeased the government. In 1860 Prince Shcherbatov was forced to retire and the Caucasian General Filippson was appointed in his place. The students were "taken in hand". Student meetings were banned, as were the public lectures given by professors to raise money for the student benefit fund, the fund itself and the library which belonged to the students were closed down. An end was put to the students' corporative life, and at the same time measures were taken to restrict the influx of pupils into the university (at that time there were 1,500 of them at St. Petersburg University; in the final years of Nicholas' reign only 300): the University Council was no longer able to exempt students from payment for attending lectures. Such were the new university statutes drawn up by the " enlightened seafarer'', Minister of Public Education Admiral Putyatin. The best professors of St. Petersburg University hastily handed in their resignation, and the students, in spite of the ban, began to assemble at noisy meetings. There was even a demonstration of students who went to have it out with the guardian Filippson. True to his military memories Filippson turned to armed force. A street clash of students and soldiers took place, the university was closed temporarily, and so many students were arrested that there was not enough room for them in the SS Peter and Paul Fortress and they were taken away on boats to Kronstadt.

All this took place in 1861, and in the spring of the following year in St. Petersburg a series of fires began, which the government blamed on the ``nihilists''. The reactionary press began to proclaim the need for strict measures and denounced Chernyshevsky and those who supported his views in the most unambiguous fashion.

For his part, Chernyshevsky gave his articles an increasingly revolutionary character. He, who at one time had found it _-_-_

^^*^^ [magnanimous]

166 (possible and useful to explain to the government its own interests in the matter of freeing the peasants, no longer even thinks of addressing himself to the government).

[Manuscript continuation of page 168]^^*^^

The plot of the novel What Is To Be Done? is very simple. A student of the St. Petersburg Medico-surgical Academy, Lopukhov, meets a young girl of modest means, Vera Pavlovna Rozalskaya, whose parents want to marry her against her will to a shallow and debauched, but very rich officer. In order to get her out of this difficult position, Lopukhov suggests that she should secretly conclude a fictitious marriage alliance with him. Vera Pavlovna agrees and thus escapes from the painful guardianship of her parents. For a while she remains Lopukhov's fictitious wife only, but then falls in love with him, and he becomes her husband in more than name. The Lopukhovs are very happy. They lead the rational life of the "new people" surrounded by rational and honest friends. But Vera Pavlovna is dissatisfied with this life. She wants to embark upon the practical implementation of the socialist ideas about which she has thought so much and talked so often with her friends. She and her friends regard the organisation of workers' production associations as the best way of implementing these ideas. So she takes the initiative in organising the St. Petersburg seamstresses. This undertaking---which is expounded by Ghernyshevsky, as was his wont, with a whole series of the most detailed estimates showing the advantages of the new principle---develops rapidly. Vera Pavlovna can now call herself a completely happy person. But a painful drama awaits her. Among the Lopukhovs' friends there was a young, highly promising professor of physiology by the name of Kirsanov. Vera Pavlovna realises with horror that she is in love with Kirsanov, who, in his turn, discovers quite unexpectedly for himself that he loves Vera Pavlovna. Both of them fight hard against their feelings. But their feelings do not yield to their efforts: Lopukhov notices it and decides that for the happiness of his friend and his beloved he should retire. He disappears; the police and almost all his friends are convinced that he has drowned himself in the Neva. Vera Pavlovna is free in the eyes of the law. Now nothing prevents her from marrying Kirsanov. And she does so, after learning that Lopukhov is alive and in America. When the latter sees that he has succeeded in overcoming his feeling for Vera Pavlovna, he returns to St. Petersburg and marries a friend of the Kirsanovs. His new wife also engages in the organisation of sewing workshops. _-_-_

^^*^^ [See p. 149 of this volume, and German edition, p. 115. The beginning of Chapter XII (X).]

167 Both families, the Lopukhovs and the Kirsanovs, live in the greatest of friendship.

As the reader can see, almost each of the main characters in the novel behaves in such a way that the ``protectors'' have every right to complain about the shaking of the sacred ``foundations'' of the family, the insult to morality, the profanation of the law, etc. And the ``protectors'' did complain about it and still do to the present day. At the same time they claim that the novel is void of all artistic merit, that Chernyshevsky revealed a complete lack of artistic talent in it. This second accusation is true in part only: the comic characters in the novel What Is To Be Done? (for example, Vera Pavlovna's parents) are well drawn and full of life, but the true heroes of the novel, Vera Pavlovna and her friends, are indeed unsuccessful from the artistic point of view. But what of it? Let them show us (any fine, truly artistic work of Russian literature which could vie with the novel What Is To Be Done? in its influence on the moral and intellectual development of the country).

[Manuscript continuation of page 172]^^*^^

(In their ideas of socialist society our revolutionaries frequently went so far as to conceive it in the form of a federation of peasant communes, cultivating their fields with the same antiquated plough as that used to scrape the soil in the time of Basil the Blind.)

On the other hand, there can be no doubt that the view on the practical way of implementing socialist ideas, expressed by Chernyshevsky in his famous novel, must be regarded as backward even for its time. The historical fact that associations were advocated simultaneously in both Russia and Germany is most interesting. Chernyshevsky's novel appeared in 1863. Also in 1863 Lassalle recommended production associations to German workers as the only means of improving their life to any degree. But what a difference in the way this question was raised in Russia and in Germany! In Chernyshevsky's novel it is humane and educated individuals [who concern themselves with! the setting up of associations: Vera Pavlovna and her friends. Even the " enlightened" priest Mertsalov is enlisted to the cause, who, to quote his own expression, plays the role of a shield in the workshops set up by Vera Pavlovna. Not a word is said in the novel about the independent political activity of the working class. Nor did the Russian "people of the sixties'', who attempted to implement the programme proposed by Chernyshevsky, say a word about it either. Whereas the first word in Lassalle's agitation was to _-_-_

^^*^^ [See p. 153 of this volume.]

168 point out to the workers the need for political action by them. In Lassalle's project the setting up of associations has a broad nation-wide character. For Chernyshevsky it remains the affair of private individuals. Lassalle would have taken Chernyshevsky for a follower of Schulze-Delitzsch. The difference between the practical plans of Lassalle, on the one hand, and Chernyshevsky, on the other, shows perfectly how great a difference there was between Germany and Russia in internal relations. By this wedo not wish to say, of course, that Lassalle's plans, like the older plans of Louis Blanc, were not a Utopia.

In the novel What Is To Be Done?, contrary to Chernyshevsky's. custom, a great deal is said about love, which is supposed to redeem mankind. Here one sees clearly the influence of Feuerbach.

[169] __ALPHA_LVL1__ N. G. CHERNYSHEVSKY
1909^^81^^ __ALPHA_LVL2__ INTRODUCTION

We shall not discuss here the importance in the history of our society of that great "epoch of the sixties" to which the finest time in the life and literary activity of N. G. Chernyshevsky belongs: it is to be hoped that this importance is now known to all and sundry. Nor do we intend to write a biography of our author. True, much valuable material for such a biography is now to be found in the press. But the processing of this valuable material should, of course, be undertaken by someone with access to even more valuable material, i.e., to the family archive of the Chernyshevskys. In so saying, we have in mind Mr. Yevg. Lyatsky, who has already printed the extremely interesting article "N. G. Chernyshevsky in His School Years and on the Way to University" (Sovremenny Mir, May and June 1908). It is to b& hoped that Mr. Lyatsky will continue his work and gradually describe the whole life of this great representative of the epoch of the sixties. Our work had already been printed, when the continuation of Mr. Lyatsky's interesting article, relating to, N. G. Chernyshevsky's university years, appeared in the Sovremenny Mir. For our part, we shall confine ourselves here to a few, undoubtedly essential facts.

Nikolai Gavrilovich was the son of a priest. His forbears, who from time immemorial had also belonged to the clergy, originated "from the Great Russians of Chembarsk Okrug, Penza Gubernia'', i.e.---we would mention in passing---from the same area as V. G. Belinsky. But he himself was born (on July 12, 1828) in Saratov, where his father was then senior priest in the Church of St. Sergius. Mr. Yevg. Lyatsky rightly says that in the history of Nikolai Gavrilovich's childhood and youth the following interesting fact cannot fail to attract attention: "All the conditions among which this remarkable and original person developed arose so naturally and formed such a complete set of ideas of a definite intellectual and moral culture that the family atmosphere of the Chernyshevskys can, without exaggeration, be

170 called unusually beneficial for the development in the boy of independent thought and a strong will capable of controlling healthy and normal feelings. All the best that old Russian life of the last century could give seems to have combined in this family in order to save the future writer from the sombre aspects of Russian reality, the struggle with which claimed so many ardent lives."^^*^^ One reservation only must be made here: no family, however good its domestic relations, can protect a child from the sombre aspects which are characteristic of the society surrounding this family. And Mr. Yevg. Lyatsky himself admits this. "Amid the pursuits and games of the adolescent Nikolai,'' he says, "the sombre aspects of life around him, which were greatly alleviated by environment and parental care, could not escape his keen mind."^^**^^ And he quotes lines from Pypin's memoirs which give a most clear idea of the aspects of the life of that day which could have made the strongest impression on the gifted child. They were "sombre pictures of violence, cruelty and the repression of personal and human dignity".^^***^^ But, if this is so, Mr. Yevg. Lyatsky is bound to agree that Nikolai Gavrilovich's observations already as a child and a youth must have given him considerable material for the very conclusions, on the basis of which the moods that claimed "so many ardent lives" usually arose. In this respect there was no contrast between the childhood and youth of Chernyshevsky, on the one hand, and the mature period of his life, on the other. The only indubitable fact is that the happy family environment gave the young Chernyshevsky the opportunity to build up a reserve of spiritual and even purely physical strength which the "young lives" who joined battle with harsh reality very rarely possessed.

As for external impressions, their constant flow was ensured by the simple fact that Nikolai Gavrilovich received an upbringing which was rather---not to say extremely---democratic. In clerical circles his family was considered very prosperous, and we shall see in a moment that this relative prosperity considerably intimidated the poor among the Saratov clergy. But how modest the degree of prosperity of Nikolai Gavrilovich's parents was in fact and how democratic, in consequence of its modesty, was his upbringing, are shown by his own words: "We had very, very little money,'' he wrote to Y. P. Pypina in a letter of February 25, 1878. "In St. Petersburg the poorest of the people you have seen--- even beggars---do not know now what a ten-kopeck piece was in our---not poor---family. It was not poor. There was plenty of food. And clothing. But there was never any money! Therefore our _-_-_

^^*^^ See the above-mentioned article by Mr. Yevg. Lyatsky, Sovr. Mir., 1908, May, pp. 45--46.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 57.

^^***^^ Ibid., same page.

171 elders could not dream of such things as governesses and the like. We did not even have nannies. There were many servants. But they were all engaged in domestic chores. They looked after the children only at odd moments, few and far-between, as a rest from work, and that was all.---But what about our elders? Both fathers^^*^^ wrote their official papers from morning to night. They did not even have time to go visiting. Our mothers worked from morning to night. When they were worn out, they would take a rest and read books. They wanted to be, and were, our nannies. But they had to sew for their husbands and children, look after the household, and concern themselves with all the worries of moneyless households.

``And so, at odd moments, we had nannies---who read, and we occasionally listened; but mostly we read ourselves. No one 'encouraged' us. But we became fond of reading.

``'Apart from this we did as the fancy took us. There was constant advice so that we should not bruise our foreheads. At the slightest adventure of this kind adults came running to our aid---either our elders, or the servants. But there could not be any great disasters. We had no dangerous playthings: nothing made of iron, nothing sharp. This was because we had no bought toys at all. We had no money for toys. We had nothing with which to hurt ourselves. And our elders were quiet people; there was no noise or disorder even, among the servants: all the servants---the serfs of your husband's mother---were truly noble people. So we, too, growing up in an honest and modest society, developed modest, sensible habits in our games. Thus, there was no danger for us from our amusements. And we grew up, in fact, as adults spend their time, that is: did all that we pleased."^^**^^

And what ``pleased'' the children? Above all to exercise their physical powers, to play and frolic. F. V. Dukhovnikov in his article on Ghernyshevsky's life in Saratov says that in childhood Nikolai Gavrilovich played games with great enthusiasm and passion. This can also be seen from the reminiscences of V. D. Chesnokov, who was his playmate. But in the latter's reminiscences of Nikolai Gavrilovich's games in childhood and youth another feature emerges which is worthy of note.

``Having read a great deal about the life of the Greeks and Romans,'' he says, "Nikolai Gavrilovich realised even during childhood (at the age of 14) the importance of gymnastical exercises for strengthening the body (about which he repeatedly told his playmates) and engaged in them, although without the knowledge of his parents, who would probably have forbidden such pastimes. _-_-_

^^*^^ Nikolai Gavrilovich is referring here, apart from his own father, to the father of A. N. Pypin, whose family lived next to the Chernyshevsky family.

^^**^^ Sovremenny Mir, May 1908, pp. 70--71.

172 In his own backyard, together with some other boys, he dug a pit over which they would jump for prizes. Those who jumped over the pit received a prize: apples, nuts, money and so on. Nikolai Gavrilovich usually jumped over the pit, but, as the eldest of us, he himself did not take prizes, leaving them for the other boys, or else he would share them with us. Our other gymnastical exercises were: jumping over various objects, climbing up a post,, up trees, throwing stones from a sling, chasing one another, running races, etc."^^*^^

Who knows how N. G. Chernyshevsky's body would have coped with the unsalutary conditions which surrounded him in the second half of his life, had he not been hardened since childhood by this democratic simplicity of upbringing and these gymnastical exercises modelled on the "Greeks and Romans"?

From the moral point of view the freedom to do everything "he pleased" was good in that it gave the child a full opportunity to look directly at life, without being cut off from it by a Chinese wall of all manner of conventions. And it is obvious from everything that even in his early youth Chernyshevsky was able to look at the life around him with keen eyes. In the first part of the novel Prologue, which is undoubtedly of autobiographical significance, he speaks thus of the relationship of his hero Volgin to the ``aristocracy'': "He never belonged even to the lower ranks of the nobility, to say nothing of the higher, important one. But which town, large or small, did not ring with the glory of their great deeds? He knew from childhood that they were violent, arrogant people."^^**^^

And it was not the ``aristocracy'' alone that Volgin ( Chernyshevsky) observed in his childhood. He also observed the so-called common people.

``He remembered a crowd of drunken barge haulers walking along the street of his native town: noise, shouting, daring songs, robbers' songs. A stranger would have thought: The town is in danger---another moment and they will loot the shops and houses, and smash everything to smithereens. The door of a watchman's hut opens slightly and out peeps a sleepy old face with a grey, straggling moustache, a toothless mouth opens and shouts or rather moans in a senile wheeze: 'What's all the noise about, you swine? I'll give you what for!' The bold gang falls silent, each of them trying to hide behind the other; another shout like that and the bold lads who called themselves 'not thieves, nor robbers, but Stenka Razin's men' and boasted that when they raised their _-_-_

^^*^^ K. M. <t>eflopOB, «}KH3Hb = pyccKHX^^1^^ BBJIHRHX nroflefi. H. F. HepHHiueBCKHH», AcxaSafl, 1904 r., cip. 5---6. [K.M. Fyodorov, The Life of Great Russians. N. G. Chernyshevsky, Askhabad, 1904, pp. 5-6.]

^^**^^ N. G. Chernyshevsky, Collected Works, Vol. X, Part 1, Section 2. p. 171.

173 fists 'Moscow trembled' would take to their heels, they would run for their lives if the cripple shouted once more through the door of the hut; but the old watchman knows it would be a sin to frighten the lads too badly: they would bang their heads and break their legs and be crippled for life, poor things---so the watchman takes a pinch of snuff and says: 'Go with God, lads, but don't wake me up, don't needle me.' The hut door closes, and the gang of bold lads, Stenka Razin's former men, walk off quietly, whispering to one another that, luckily for them, the watchman seemed to be a good man."^^*^^

Chernyshevsky says that such scenes used to bewilder Volgin in childhood.

In view of the autobiographical nature of the novel Prologue (i.e., of part one, Prologue to a Prologue), it can be said that Chernyshevsky's childhood impressions already suggested to him ideas which produced not only humorous scenes of the type quoted. And even these humorous scenes could not fail to have a profound influence on the adult Chernyshevsky's view of the "common people'', about which we shall speak frequently below. For the present, however, we would merely note that only a child whose upbringing had not prevented him from coming close to reality and reflecting on its phenomena could observe such scenes from everyday life and be bewildered by them.^^**^^

But for all the democratic nature of N. G. Chernyshevsky's upbringing, it contained an element of peculiar aristocratism which is worthy of our full attention. In order to understand the significance of this element, one must take into account, for example, the following testimony of N. G. Chernyshevsky:

``Now, as I hear, in many, perhaps in all, seminaries heavy drinking has been reduced or completely abolished. But in my time at the Saratov Seminary no meeting of seminarists could help being a drinking-bout. Nikolai Alexandrovich^^***^^ was so much younger than his fellow students, that he would have been unsuited to participate in the drinking, even if his family life had not restrained him from such a propensity."^^****^^

And further: "When I moved to rhetoric, of my 122 fellow ° tudents only four were fourteen and only one was thirteen and we regarded him as a child. This youth drank very heavily and got up to all manner of youthful pranks with remarkable zeal."^^*****^^

_-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., same page.

^^**^^ Mr. Yevg. Lyatsky says: "It was in Saratov---and this was during his childhood and youth---that he acquired the profound understanding of the people's needs and aspirations which he later revealed in his articles on the peasant question" (Sovr. Mir, 1908, May, p. 57). We regard this as perfectly correct.

^^***^^ A reference to Dobrolyubov.

^^****^^ N. G. Chernyshevsky, Works, Vol. IX, pp. 10--11.

^^*****^^ Ibid., p. 11.

174

As you see, drinking was very tempting for the seminarist of that day: it was a way of getting a reputation of being a fine fellow among his mates. But, as far as we know, Chernyshevsky never succumbed to this temptation. Why not? Leaving aside otherpossible explanations, we would remind the reader that Chernyshevsky himself says of Dobrolyubov: "Because of his youth Dobrolyubov would have been unsuited to take part in seminary drinking-bouts even if his family life had not restrained him from them.'' These words show that, in Chernyshevsky's opinion, family life restrained young people from a propensity for heavy drinking. But there are families and families. For family life to protect young people from the influence of bad examples, it must not, provide such examples itself. And in this respect Chernyshevsky's family was a good one. Nikolai Gavrilovich's father was, of course, a person of the old school, but he was always sober, industrious and serious. This was extremely fortunate for the boy. But that is not all. Given closer contact with his fellow seminarists N. G. Chernyshevsky might nevertheless have been infected by their drunken ``bravado'', if what we have called the element of ``aristocratism'' in his position had not prevented this. His contact with his fellow seminarists could not go beyond certain limits, thanks to the relative prosperity of his family. N. G. Chernyshevsky himself admits the great significance of this element, in speaking of Dobrolyubov's life. And it is interesting that he explains this significance using himself as an example.

``Nikolai Alexandrovich,'' he says, "was the son of an urban priest who enjoyed the esteem of his superiors in the diocese. In order that people unfamiliar with seminary life may understand this, I shall say a word about my own relations with my fellow seminarists. My father was also a priest in a gubernia town in a rich (!) parish (my father's income from service offerings extended to 1,500 rubles in banknotes, and we lived comfortably). I was on good terms with all my fellow seminarists; about ten of them were my close friends. How often we roughed one another up in a friendly wrestle---countless times; in a word, in the classroom and at the seminary (where I went nearly every day for a friendly chat) as few of the students stood on ceremony with me as with anyone else. But only two or three of them visited me at home, and rarely at that; and it must be said that these were by no means some of my closest friends: they were no more than acquaintances; but they were not ashamed to visit me in my family, because they had decent clothing and footwear. Nothing can compare with the poverty of the great majority of seminarists. I remember that in my time only one of the 600 students in the seminary had a wolf-skin coat---and this unusual coat seemed somehow unfitting for a seminary pupil, as if a peasant had put 175 on a diamond ring. I remember that the late Misha Levitsky, who had no other clothes apart from a blue homespun coat for winter and a yellow nankeen jacket for summer---I remember that this greatest friend of mine dared not visit me when I was sick with fever and did not leave the house for three weeks; and yet Levitsky and I could not go for two days without seeing each other, and when he did not come to classes, I went to his home each day. In short, no matter how moderate the degree of my family's standing and wealth was, nearly all my friends would have considered visiting my home just as fantastic, and would have felt just as poor and insignificant in it, as I would have felt in the drawing room of the Duke of Devonshire."^^*^^

Nikolai Gavrilovich's childhood and adolescence were such that he could observe unimpeded the highly unpleasant reality which surrounded him and at the same time was fortunate enough to have the possibility of not dirtying himself in its filth. This is not the lot of all.

The third fortunate circumstance of this period of his life was the fact that his father, a highly educated man, taught him right up to the seminary and thereby enabled him to avoid the "church school'', in which the children, in accordance with the custom of the day, were subjected to "physical persuasion" by the venerable teachers for the slightest misdemeanour. He entered the seminary on September 1, 1844, in the rhetoric class. Here he made good progress in general. But he revealed a special talent, it would seem, in compositions on the subjects: "the passions should be curbed''; "the righteous man, like Mount Zion, will not be moved''; "God is leading us all to salvation'', etc. The future critic and publicist of the Sovremennik developed these edifying subjects to the complete satisfaction of his philology teacher. "There is reason to hope,'' the latter found, "that the author will be a good master of his trade with time."^^**^^

With the move into the philosophy class, the subjects on which the young ``author'' exercised himself became even more serious. Our young seminarist wrote a composition in which he argued that "the source of wisdom lies in fear of the Lord''; he also wrote "on the source and significance of the Old Testament offerings'', "on the essence of the world'', "on the gradual turning of primordial essence into phenomena'', "on the expanse of the world'', etc. But the most interesting point is that already in these exercises of his Nikolai Gavrilovich was confronted with a question which attracted his serious attention in his mature years and to which one of the articles written on his return from Siberia ``(The Character of Human Knowledge'', discussed below) is devoted: _-_-_

^^*^^ N. G. Chernyshevsky, Collected Works, Vol. IX, p. 10.

^^**^^ Yevg. Lyatsky, op. cit.: Sovr. Mir, June 1908, p. 38.

176 the question "do our sense organs deceive us or not?" Here is what we read about this in Mr. Yevg. Lyatsky:

``Chernyshevsky disagreed with Eckartshausen who maintained that it is impossible to determine the correspondence of our ideas of objects to the objects themselves. Chernyshevsky considered Eckartshausen's evidence to be unconvincing. If we have no a posteriori, experimental evidence of the nature of the actual object of investigation, we can use a priori evidence. For what purpose in that case have we been given senses, if they only deceive us and, consequently, do not help, but harm us, by deluding us? 'In that case who would be the perpetrator of the deceit into which our senses plunged us? Without doubt, he who gave them to us. But it is quite impossible for God to be the perpetrator of falsehood and the cause of deceit. And if it is impossible for God to be the perpetrator of falsehood, then we must agree that he did not give us sense organs which are arranged so as to deceive us.' The teacher marked the essay: 'Very good.' Evidently the answer to the question satisfied the teacher's requirements completely, and excessive theorising was not allowed."^^*^^

Later N. G. Chernyshevsky solved this question, of course, with the help of other arguments. But his final conclusion remained, in the last analysis, the same: he was always very scornful of theories which preached the incognisability of the external world.

However, he did not please the seminary authorities for long with his progress in the sciences. At the end of December 1845 he applied for permission to leave, and in May of the following year he was already travelling to St. Petersburg by horse-drawn carriage to enter the university. This was done with the full consent of his parents, who had their own mundane reasons for giving it.^^**^^ With regard to N. G. Chernyshevsky himself, we have only a few indirect indications of the reasons which prompted him to renounce a career in the church. These indications, however, are fairly clear. He wrote of himself: "Pyotr Nikiforovich Karakozov, the priest of the Alexandrov hospital church, was the first to wish me that which I desire with all my heart: speaking of my impending journey to St. Petersburg, he said: 'God grant that we shall meet again, come back to us from there a professor, a great man, and by then we shall have turned grey.'" To this Chernyshevsky added: "My heart was suddenly moved by this! How pleasant to see a person who, albeit accidentally, unintentionally, perhaps, nevertheless says what you yourself think, wishes you what you desire fervently and what hardly anyone would wish either himself or you, particularly at such an age _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., pp. 40--41.

^^**^^ Ibid., pp. 44--45.

177 as mine, and in such a position."^^*^^ After meeting the deacon M. S. Protasov on the way to St. Petersburg, who said to him: "May you be of service to enlightenment and Russia'', the future student again writes: "I now have a duty: to be eternally grateful to him and Pyotr Nikiforovich for their wishes: these people can understand properly what it means to strive for renown and to serve mankind. Mamma said: that is too much, to serve his father and mother is enough; no, that is far too little; one must serve one's whole homeland. I must remember them forever."^^**^^ To this one can add that already in one of his seminary essays Chernyshevsky spoke out as an ardent supporter of ``enlightenment''. This essay was written on the subject that the education of mankind depends on the education of the younger generation. According to Mr. Yevg. Lyatsky, who quotes this adolescent essay, "Chernyshevsky clearly and consistently established a connection between the tasks incumbent upon the younger generation and the wealth of cultural knowledge which this generation receives from the past."^^***^^ He says there that "knowledge is an inexhaustible mine, the deeper it is worked the more riches it gives its owners''. But of special interest is the conclusion of this essay, in which the young author calls for tireless activity in the sphere of knowledge. "Just think!" he exclaims, "the course of the education of all mankind depends on our activity."^^****^^ But at the time to which this work belongs, Chernyshevsky does not appear to have made a distinction between secular and so-called ecclesiastical education. Later his young mind perceived this difference very quickly, and he saw that a career in the church did not correspond to his views on things and his strivings.

In August 1846 he was admitted as a student of St. Petersburg University. We know little of his student years. There would seem to be no doubt that, as Mr. K. Fyodorov says: "During the university course Nikolai Gavrilovich studied classical languages, philology, Slavonic languages, attended the lectures of the wellknown philosopher and archaeologist Izm. Iv. Sreznevsky and under his guidance compiled a glossary for the Hypatian^^*****^^ chronicle. This glossary was printed in the Supplements to the "Proceedings of the Second Section of the Academy of Sciences" in 1853.^^******^^ But all this is too vague. We do not know, for example, exactly when Chernyshevsky's first literary experiments began. Volume I of his Collected Works begins with two bibliographical _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., pp. 46--47.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 47.

^^***^^ Ibid., p. 40.

^^****^^ Ibid., same page.

^^*****^^ Mr. Fyodorov has a misprint here: there is ``Ignatian'' instead of ``Hypatian''. The glossary is now reprinted in Part 2 of Volume X of N. G. Chernyshevsky's Collected Works.

^^******^^ K. Fyodorov, N. G. Chernyshevsky, Askhabad, 1904, p. 11.

12--0267

178 notes (on books by A. Hilferding and Neukirch) which were printed in the seventh issue of Otechestvenniye Zapiski for 1853. Hence one may conclude that the beginning of his literary activity belongs to the middle of that year. But in the same volume, in a lengthy bibliographical note on Starchevsky's Reference Encyclopaedic Dictionary, we read: "On the publication of the first volume of this Dictionary we presented (Otech. Zap., 1847, No. 8) a detailed analysis of it, which showed that undertakings of this kind, in order to be of real use to the public, must be compiled in accordance with a strictly thought-out plan and executed with great accuracy, and that the Reference Dictionary satisfies neither of these conditions. The public, as far as we can judge, agreed with us entirely."^^*^^ What does this mean?

Two assumptions can be made here, and we shall examine each of them separately.

Firstly, one can assume---and this is, of course, the first assumption that comes to mind---that the literary activity of N. G. Chernyshevsky began in 1847 (if not earlier) and that, consequently, it is only due to an oversight by the publisher of his Collected Works that the note about the first volume of the dictionary in question was not included in this collection. There is nothing improbable in such an assumption: in 1847 Chernyshevsky was 19 years old, i.e., of an age when it is perfectly possible to write a serious bibliographical note. By accepting this assumption, we are inevitably confronted with two questions. Was the note in question really the first work of our author to appear in print? And is it possible that, after printing it in 1847, he printed nothing else right up to July 1853, when, as we know, his notes on the books of Hilferding and Neukirch appeared in the same journal? We cannot solve either of these questions: they could probably be solved only by M. N. Chernyshevsky or Mr. Yevg. Lyatsky.^^**^^

The second possible assumption here is that the note on the Reference Encyclopaedic Dictionary printed in Volume I of _-_-_

^^*^^ N. G. Chernyshevsky, Collected Works, Vol. I, p. 14.

^^**^^ During the investigation of his case, Chernyshevsky testified that already in July or August 1846 he took to the editorial office of Otech. Zapiski a translation of the feuilleton from Journal des Debats, and at the end of 1847 or the beginning of 1848 handed Nekrasov for publication in the Sovremennik a novel (about the misfortunes of an orphan girl who was brought up in an institution and then fell into bad hands). This novel was not published (M. K. JleMKe, «JIeJio H. F. ^lepHHmeBCKoro*, Ewjioe, 1906 r., N° 4, cxp. 161. [M. K. Lemke, "The Case of N. G. Chernyshevsky'', Byloye, 1906, No. 4, p. 161]). This is all that we know so far. But these few facts would seem to show that Chernyshevsky had no other literary dealings at that time either with Krayevsky (i.e., with Otech. Zapiski), or with Nekrasov (i.e., with the Sovrerriennik), otherwise he would have mentioned them, vrhereas in his testimony he says only that he did not see the persons in question again* until 1853. '< '

179 N. G. Chernyshevsky's Works belongs not to him, but to another contributor to Otechestvenniye Zapiski, to whom in which case, of course, the review printed in 1847 of the first volume of the dictionary would also belong. There is nothing improbable in this assumption either. The reviews in Otech. Zapiski at that time were unsigned. True, the authorship of an article may be judged not only from the signature. Its content and language also usually provide an indication of authorship. But, guided by these latter indications, we find the second assumption more likely than the first.

We realise that it is difficult to judge the language of a budding writer, such as Chernyshevsky was in 1847: budding writers use a language which is not yet fully developed and therefore not characteristic of them. But the language of the review printed in 1847 seems to us to be fully developed. This in itself would not be of decisive importance either: no one who has read Dobrolyubov's first printed works is likely to say that they were written by a novice in literature. But the point is that Chernyshevsky, even in his fourth year at university, wrote in a language whieh was far less developed than that in which the review of interest to us was written. This is obvious if one reads his article on = "Fonvizin's Brigadier'',^^82^^ first published in Part 2 of Volume X of his Works, but---as can be seen from the note with which it is prefaced by the publisher---belonging to the time when Chernyshevsky was in his fourth year at university. The language of this article is, undoubtedly, the language of a writer who is a far less "practised hand" than the one who wrote the note on the first volume of the Reference Encyclopaedic Dictionary.

The same must be said about the content of the latter: it reveals in the author a completeness of world outlook and a wealth of information which we do not see in the article on the Brigadier. This article was written by N. G. Chernyshevsky when he was in the fourth year, but the review of 1847, if it belonged to him, would have been written either at the end of the first year or immediately after he moved to the second year. We therefore think that the publisher of his works was mistaken in ascribing to him the note on pp. 14--25 of the first volume.

But this too, unfortunately, does not solve the question of when our author's first literary experiments began. In expectation of a solution to it, let us turn again to the article about the Brigadier. It is worthy of our considered attention.

Almost at the very beginning of it the young author makes the following, most interesting reservation:

``About the influence of Fonvizin on society I shall say nothing, because even if Fonvizin had any, it was too little. We must, incidentally, agree on what we call the influence of a literary work on society; if this means that on the appearance of a new work

12*

180 people start talking about it, praising or criticising the author, then Fonvizin had it, and particularly with the Brigadier; he himself says in his Confession how much his Brigadier was talked about at court, how the grandees vied with one another in inviting him to read his comedy---but, to our mind, this cannot be called influence on society. It exists only when the ideas on which a-work is based come into living contact with the real ( intellectual, moral or practical, it makes no difference which, but it must be the real) life of society, so that, after reading the work, society begins to feel a little different from before, to feel that its view of things has become clearer or changed, to feel that an impetus has been given to its intellectual or moral life."^^*^^

These words express briefly the view of the task of literature, which was later developed in detail by N. G. Ghernyshevsky and which was assimilated by N. A. Dobrolyubov also.^^**^^ Here one can already see the future author of the Gogol Period of Russian Literature; but this author has not yet developed the original style of exposition which was so characteristic of him later; he is just beginning to develop it. In the same way also his argumentation is by no means marked by the wealth of information which amazes the reader of his later works. It is clear straightaway that we have before us just a "trial of the pen''. But how interesting this "trial of the pen" is, is shown, apart from the extract just quoted by us, by the following lines:

``The requirement is that 'the characters portrayed by the writer, particularly the writer of drama, must develop; if they remain static the author is to blame, and the work is void of artistic merit'---you hear this requirement constantly, and you hear constant criticism of this or that work for not satisfying it. But, to our mind, this requirement cannot be made a fixed law determining the artistic beauty of a literary work. The laws of artistry cannot contradict that which exists in real life, they cannot demand that reality is portrayed differently from what it is; as it is, so it should be reflected in artistic works. But in real life we often encounter such a shallow nature, such an uncomplicated character, that you can see right through the person at once, and see all of him, absolutely all, so that even if you were to live with him for twenty years you would see in him nothing apart from what was manifested in his very first word, his very first glance. How can such a person develop his character before you in an artistic work/when he does not develop it in real life?"^^***^^

The ideas expressed here were the ideas of Belinsky, as they _-_-_

^^*^^ * N. G. Chernyshevsky, Collected Works, Vol. X, Part 2, p. 2.

^^**^^ On the question of the importance of satire, see, in particular, Dobrolyubov's article "Russian Satire in the Time of Catherine" (Sovremennik, 1859, No. 10), reprinted in Vol. I of his Works.

^^***^^ N. G. Chernyshevsky, Collected Works, Vol. X, Part 2, p. 7.

181 developed in the final period of his literary activity; the same attention to reality, the same conviction that the artist should portray reality as it is, without embellishments or omissions. In this respect the article on the Brigadier is of tremendous importance for N. G. Chernyshevsky's biographer. It shows that by the end of his university course our author had become a staunch follower of Belinsky, for whom he always felt an admiring respect subsequently.

But can one say that he was brought up on the works of Belinsky and his circle? That this was the source from which he derived his views? No, that would not be quite right. Chernyshevsky undoubtedly owed a great deal to Belinsky; and yet it must be acknowledged that he certainly did not owe everything to him.

Although in his writings Chernyshevsky touches upon the history of his intellectual development extremely rarely, one nevertheless finds in them a few passing remarks which throw a certain light upon it. Among these extremely rare remarks is a letter written by him after Dobrolyubov's death in response to an article by a certain Mr. Z...n and printed in the February issue of the Sovremennik for 1862. In his article Mr. Z...n said, inter alia, that the late Dobrolyubov had been a disciple of Chernyshevsky's and was very strongly influenced by him. Chernyshevsky denies this passionately, even very angrily, saying that Dobrolyubov had arrived at his views quite independently and was far superior to him both in intellectual powers and in literary talent. We do not need to determine now to what extent this modest statement corresponded to the truth. To be honest, we, for our part, doubt greatly that it did coincide with it. But this does not concern us here; all that interests us now in Chernyshevsky's letter is the following passage. After reminding Z...n that Dobrolyubov knew German and French and could therefore acquaint himself with the finest literary works of France and Germany in the original, Chernyshevsky says: "If, however, a gifted Russian in the decisive years of his development reads the books of our common great Western teachers, then books and articles written in Russian may please him, may delight him (as Dobrolyubov too was delighted then by certain things written in Russian), but under no circumstances can they serve as the most important source of the knowledge and concepts which he derives from reading. As for the influence of my articles on Dobrolyubov, such an influence could not have existed even in the insignificant degree which Belinsky's articles may have had. At that time I did not have an important influence in literature."^^*^^ In fact at the time to which Chernyshevsky is referring here, i.e., _-_-_

^^*^^ "By Way of an Expression of Gratitude, a Letter to Mr. Z...n'', Works, Vol. IX, p. 101.

182 in 1855--56, when his famous Essays on the Gogol Period of Russian Literature had already appeared in print, his influence was considerably stronger than he maintains. But, we repeat, this is of no concern to us here. For us now the only important point is that he also knew foreign languages and that he also read the books of "our common great Western teachers" in the decisive years of his development. One may assume therefore that he too could only be delighted by certain articles and books written in Russian, among which pride of place belonged to the works of Belinsky, but that for him too they were not the "original source of his concepts and knowledge".

What was that source? The article on "Fonvizin's Brigadier" gives certain indications of this also. Its young author says:

``You cannot read La Petite Fadette, Francois le Champi and other novels of this kind by the greatest writer of our time without a feeling of pleasure: how you relax in this splendid, pure sphere! You would be glad to call each of these peasants your friend, you would live for years in their company without feeling bored, and it would never once occur to you, I think, that you were superior to them in intellect and education, even if you were actually far superior to them; but at the same time is it not true that all of them (apart from Fadette herself) are narrow-minded people and for the most part very, very narrow-minded indeed?"^^*^^

This highly interesting passage shows that Chernyshevsky read avidly the novels by George Sand dealing with peasant life which were at that time a literary novelty.^^**^^ He gave George Sand pride of place among the writers of his day. But he read and studied not only French writers, of course. The remarks about seventeenthcentury French literature which one finds in the same article show that by then he was strongly influenced by Lessing, to whom he later devoted a whole work.^^***^^ It should be noted, incidentally, that these remarks are very biassed and that if they are to be explained by the influence of Lessing, it is only with the reservation that the young Russian pupil in his enthusiasm exaggerated the ideas of his German teacher excessively.^^****^^

Passing over Schiller and Goethe, whose works Chernyshevsky _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. X, Part 2, p. 13.

^^**^^ The novel La Petite Fadette appeared in 1848, and Franfois le Champi in 1850.

^^***^^ «JIeccHHr, ero apeMH, ero JKHSHB H AesTeJisnocTb* [Lessing, His Age, His Life and His Work] (Sovremennik, 1856, Nos. 10--12; 1857, Nos. 1, 3-6. See Collected Works, Vol. III).

^^****^^ See, for example (ibid., p. 15), his extremely contemptuous remarks about seventeenth-century French comedy and its still famous representative" Moliere, "in all of whose works one can hardly find two consecutive pages of natural conversation; everything is so artificial and exaggerated to make it sound more amusing and to make the characters stand out 'more sharply'."

183 first read, probably, while he was still at the seminary, he appears to have begun studying the classics of German philosophy, particularly Hegel, in the same pre-university period. But, to quote his own words, at that time he knew only "Russian expositions of Hegel's system, which are very incomplete''. Also from his own words it is clear that these incomplete expositions "expounded the system of the great German idealist from the standpoint of the Left wing of the Hegelian school".^^*^^ (Were they perhaps A. I. Herzen's Letters Concerning the Study of Nature?) Further, we know, again on the basis of Chernyshevsky's own testimony, that after Hegel---whom he began to study in German when he moved to St. Petersburg and whom he liked less in the original than in the Russian expositions---he ``accidentally'' came across one of the principal works of Ludwig Feuerbach. The author of The Essence of Christianity^^**^^ had a decisive influence upon him. Chernyshevsky himself says that he "became a follower of that thinker" and zealously read and reread his works.

His acquaintance with Feuerbach began, as he himself says, about six years before the mundane necessity arose for him to write a scientific treatise, i.e., in other words, before he embarked upon his master's dissertation on aesthetics. And since he wrote this dissertation in 1853,^^***^^ his acquaintance with Feuerbach must have begun almost in his second year at university. In any case, he remained a follower of Feuerbach to the end of his life, and we would take the liberty of drawing Mr. K. Fyodorov's attention to the fact that the influence of that thinker on the philosophical views of our great writer was incomparably stronger than the influence of "the well-known philosopher I/m. Iv. Sreznevsky" (see above).

Feuerbach provided the philosophical basis of the whole world outlook of N. G. Ghernyshevsky. But we already know that our author admired the novels of George Sand. These novels touched upon many themes relating directly to social and family life. And we shall hardly be wrong in assuming that while he was at university Ghernyshevsky was already studying these themes a great deal. It is more than likely that this was also the time when he became acquainted with the most important socialist systems and began to study political economy.^^****^^ So far we possess _-_-_

^^*^^ See the preface to the third edition of "The Aesthetic Relation of Art to Reality" printed in Part 2, Vol. X of the Collected Works. For more about (this interesting preface see below, in the chapter "N. G. Chernyshevsky's Philosophical Views".

^^**^^ [Das Wesen des Christentums.]

^^***^^ See the publisher's note on p. 84, Part 2, Vol. X of N. G. Chernyshevsky's Collected Works.

^^****^^ Already in 1854 his very good note on Lvov's book «0 aeMJie, Kan ajieMeeie 6oraicTBa» [On the Earth as an Element of Wealth] appeared in the Sovremennik (No. 6).

184 no direct indications of how his studies of this kind progressed. One thing can be said with almost complete certainty. Although, on the eve of his departure for St. Petersburg, he had been delighted by the words of the priest Karakozov, who expressed the hope that he would become a man of learning, at a more mature age he no longer had any intention of becoming an academic specialist. The activity of the literary critic and publicist attracted him. In the seminary he had already decided to devote his powers to working for the good of his country. And, perhaps, already at that time he believed that this work should assume not so much an academic, as a publicistic character. In the Essays on the Gogol Period, he expresses himself most definitely on this subject.

``Many of the greatest scholars, poets and artists,'' he says there,, "had in mind the service of pure science or pure art, and not any exceptional requirements of their homeland. Bacon, Descartes, Galileo, Leibnitz, Newton, and today Humboldt and Liebig, Cuvier and Faraday worked and work, thinking of the benefit to. science in general and not of what is necessary at a given time for the welfare of the particular country which is their homeland. We do not know and do not ask ourselves whether they loved their country: so far removed is their fame from any connection, with patriotic services. As members of the intellectual worldr they are cosmopolitans. The same must be said of the many great poets of Western Europe. Let us take the greatest of them as an example---Shakespeare.... Let us name Ariosto, Corneille, Goethe. It is of artistic services to art, and not of special, prime endeavoursto act for the good of their country, that their names remind us."^^*^^ Not so in our country. The Russian members of the intellectual world are, according to Chernyshevsky, in a completely different position. They cannot yet be cosmopolitans, i.e., cannot think of the interests of pure science or pure art. In this respect, in keeping with the conditions of their country, they have to be ``patriots'', i.e., to think first and foremost about the special needsof their homeland. In this respect the ideal ``patriot'' for Chernyshevsky is Peter the Great, the man who set himself the aim of bringing Russia all the blessings of European civilisation. Chernyshevsky thought that even in his own time this aim was still far from being fully achieved. "Up till now for a Russian the only possible service to the noble ideas of truth, art, and science is to promote their dissemination in his homeland. With time we too, like other peoples, will have thinkers and artists who act purely in the interests of science or art; but until our education is on a level with that of the most progressive nations, each of us has another cause dearer to his heart---the promotion, as far as possible, _-_-_

^^*^^ N. G. Chernyshevsky, Collected Works, Vol. II, pp. 120--21.

185 of the further development of that which was begun by Peter theGreat. This cause demands today and will probably demand for a long time to come all the intellectual and moral forces which the most gifted sons of our homeland possess."^^*^^ It was to the dissemination in his homeland of the noble ideas of truth, art, and science that Chernyshevsky wished to devote his powers. And everything indicates that this intention was formed far earlier than his embarkation on a literary career. In all probability,, it took final shape in the university years.

Subsequently, when he was in prison on a charge of propagating socialist doctrines, Chernyshevsky wrote:

``I am not a socialist in the serious, academic sense of the word, for a very simple reason: I am no lover of defending old theories against new ones. Whatever I am, I try to understand the present state of society and the convictions proceeding from it. The division of people engaged in political economy into socialist and non-socialist schools is a fact in the historical development of the science which has become obsolete. The practical application of this inner division of the science has also become a thing of the past: for a long time in England, and since the events of 1848 on the continent of Western Europe. I know there are many oldfashioned people who believe that this opinion of mine is open to dispute; but this is a dispute about whether or not my academic beliefs are well founded, a subject of no juridical importance. And yet it has been brought into the case."^^**^^

No kind of morality could demand from N. G. Chernyshevsky that he reveal his innermost thoughts to his accusers. Consequently all the testimony of this kind provided by him can serve as material for his biography only if the biographer adopts a properly critical attitude towards it. In the case in question the critic should explain the meaning of the statement: "I am not a socialist in the serious, academic sense of the word.'' In fact it means that, in Chernyshevsky's opinion, the well-known old counterposing of socialism and political economy had become quite obsolete. And this opinion, in its turn, means that socialism not only should not fight against political economy but, quite the reverse, should substantiate its demands with the latter's basic tenets. In keepingwith this belief of his, Chernyshevsky embarked upon the translation and commentary of J. S. Mill's Principles of Political Economy. And when he was accused of disseminating socialist doctrines,, he referred to this fact as an argument in his defence. This is very clear from another passage of the document quoted by us.

``In the juridical sense of the word,'' N. G. Chernyshevsky sayshere, "in the serious, academic sense, which alone has juridical _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., pp. 121--22.

^^**^^ M. K. Lemke, "The Case of N. G. Chernyshevsky" (Byloye, 1906,. No. 5, p. 102).

186 importance, the term 'socialist' contradicts the facts of my activity. The most extensive of my works on political economy was the translation of the treatise by Mill, a pupil of Ricardo's; Mill is the greatest representative of the Adam Smith school in our time; he is far more faithful to Adam Smith than Roscher. Of the notes with which I supplement the translation, the most extensive is a study of the Malthusian law. I take it and try to disprove^^*^^ Malthus' formula. This principle is the touchstone of unconditional fidelity to the spirit of Adam Smith."^^**^^

In the juridical sense of the word, of course, it is strange--- in view of the above-mentioned old counterposing of socialism and political economy---to accuse a person of propagating socialism who has translated Mill and demanded from economics unconditional fidelity to the spirit of Adam Smith. But this by no means deprives of its theoretical importance the question of the sense in which Ghernyshevsky commented Mill and whether he believed that economics which was unconditionally faithful to the spirit of Adam Smith should lead to socialism. Below we show that our author did comment Mill in a socialist sense. We also show there the way in which he drew socialist conclusions from the main tenets of political economy. It is, incidentally, unlikely that anyone would question this. It is unlikely that anyone would doubt that Ghernyshevsky was a socialist. But, as we have already said in the = preface,^^83^^ many people still refuse to recognise Ghernyshevsky as an adherent of Utopian socialism. We trust that our later exposition will reveal to the reader with sufficient clarity that such a refusal is completely unfounded. Here we shall simply note the following:

N. G. Chernyshevsky did regard the old counterposing of socialism and political economy as obsolete. But for him this meant primarily that after the experience of 1848 one could no longer pin one's hopes on people's altruistic feelings: compassion for the oppressed, sympathy for their neighbour, etc.; one had to appeal to their reason and defend socialism from the point of view of advantage, economic ``calculation''. But, as we shall show, this appeal to calculation did not exclude a Utopian view of society.

In the second part of the novel Prologue written by Ghernyshevsky in Siberia, Levitsky (Dobrolyubov) notes in his diary after a meeting with Volgin (Chernyshevsky): "He does not believe in the people. In his opinion, the people is as bad and vulgar as society."^^***^^ If we are not mistaken, this means that, according to Ghernyshevsky's own recollections, his view of the people _-_-_

^^*^^ Mr. Lemke's article contains ``develop'', but this is an obvious misprint.

^^**^^ Ibid., same page.

^^***^^ Works, Vol. X, Part 1, Section 2, pp. 215--16.

187 impressed,Dobrolyubov as a total "lack of faith''. We shall expound this view in detail below, and the reader will see that N. G. Ghernyshevsky really did not count upon the initiative of the people either in Russia, or in the West. The initiative for progress and all changes in the structure of society of benefit to the people belonged, in his opinion, to the "best people'', i.e., the intelligentsia. In this respect---and in this respect alone---his view came very close to the views expounded later by P. L. Lavrov in Historical Letters. This is not the place to criticise this view. But it is worth reminding the reader of the period in which N. G. Chernyshevsky formed it: this was the age of disillusion which followed the collapse of hopes that had been pinned on the movement of 1848, an age which was characterised by the albeit temporary but total depression of the West-European working class.

This age of disillusion did not, of course, favour the emergence in Chernyshevsky of any exaggerated hopes for the near future. This is probably the reason why, shortly after completing the university course (in 1850), he went to Saratov where he received the post of senior teacher in the gymnasium. But the diary which he kept in Saratov and which relates to 1852--53 shows that although he had no exaggerated hopes for the near future, Chernyshevsky was not one of those people who had completely lost all faith in the more or less imminent triumph of progressive undertakings. Take this, for example. On March 5, 1853 he wrote: "Finally I should marry, in order to become more cautious. Because if I continue as I have begun, I may really be caught. I must have the idea that I do not belong to myself, that I have not the right to risk myself, otherwise who knows? Will I not risk? I must have it as a defence against the democratic, against the revolutionary trend, and nothing but the thought of a wife can be this defence."^^*^^ He did in fact marry Olga Sokratovna Vasilyeva on April 29, 1853. It must be said, however, that he himself could hardly have expected seriously that marriage would defend him "against the democratic, against the revolutionary trend''. He warned his fiancee that he might come to a bad end. From the first part of the novel Prologue it can be seen that he had talks with Olga Sokratovna on this subject after she became his wife as well. How did he picture the train of events which might threaten his downfall? This is answered by the following passage in Levitsky's Diary (part two of the novel Prologue). Reading this passage, one must remember that the narrator in it is Levitsky (Dobrolyubov) who is recording words spoken to him by Volgin (Chernyshevsky):

_-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. X, Part 2, Section 3, p. 39. In another passage he writes: "I must restrain myself by something on the road to Iskander" (ibid., p. 96).

188

``A serious time will come. When?---I am young, therefore as far as I am concerned it is all the same to me when it comes: in any case it will find me still at the height of my powers, if I do not waste them. How will it come? Like the little mess of the Crimean War came; without our exertions; I don't have to make an effort; no effort will delay or hasten the breaking up of the Neva. How will it come? We are speaking of a time of strength---only the power of nature is strong.

A whirlwind blows freely through the air now;
Who knows from whence it flies and how.

``The possibilities for the future are various. Which of them will come to pass? Does it matter? Would I like to hear his personal opinion as to which possibility is more likely than the others? The disillusionment of society and from disillusionment a new liberalism in a new style, as petty, contemptible and loathsome as before for any intelligent person, no matter what his cast of mind; as loathsome for the intelligent radical as it is empty, scandalous, cowardly, base and stupid for the intelligent conservative, and it will develop, develop, basely and cowardly, until somewhere in Europe---most likely in France---a storm rises and sweeps over the rest of Europe as in 1848.

``In 1830 the storm raged in Western Germany only, in 1848 it seized Vienna and Berlin. Judging by this, one is bound to think that next time it will seize St. Petersburg and Moscow."^^*^^

In all probability Chernyshevsky reasoned thus about himself as well on completion of the university course: "It is impossible to undertake anything practical now, but a serious time will undoubtedly come under the influence of this or that 'mess' in international life. Then it will be possible to embark on social activity, but for the time being I must muster my strength and work upon myself, and upon the few, for the most part, young people with whom I come into direct contact.'' And he did work, of course. It would be hard to doubt that, as a teacher at the Saratov gymnasium, he missed the opportunity of planting good seeds in the young souls. But this was done in the expectation of broader tasks, this was a preparatory period, the ``prologue'' to his social activity. What his mood was in Saratov may be seen from the following words written in his diary on March 7, 1853 after a performance of William Tell: "I was tremendously moved by William Tell, I even cried."^^**^^ These words may, perhaps, even produce an exaggerated impression upon the reader, by suggesting to him that Chernyshevsky was an unreserved supporter of the revolutionary mode of action. To prevent such an error, we again _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. X, Part 1, Section 2, pp. 214--15.

^^**^^ Works, Vol. X, Part 2, Section 3, p. 93.

189 turn to Levitsky's Diary and quote from it the passage which follows immediately after the one just quoted. We remind the reader that Levitsky is conveying Volgin's thoughts.

``Is it true? [i.e., is it true that the future European storm will seize St. Petersburg and Moscow?---G.P.] There is nothing true about this, it is only likely. Is such a likelihood comforting? In his opinion, there is nothing good about this at all. The smoother and calmer the course of improvements, the better. This is a general law of nature: a given amount of power produces the greatest amount of motion when it acts smoothly and continuously; action in stops and starts is less economical. Political economy has discovered that this truth is just as immutable in social life as well. Hence it is to be hoped that everything here will happen quietly, peacefully. The calmer, the better."^^*^^

In the novel Prologue Chernyshevsky portrays his mood as it was in the middle of the fifties. Further on we shall show that later his view on ``stops'' and ``starts'' changed most significantly. But we have no grounds for thinking that when he was a student and in the first few years after his completion of the university course he took a different view of ``stops'' and ``starts'' from his view of them during the time when he first closely associated with Dobrolyubov. This is why we assume that the young Chernyshevsky was by no means a convinced supporter of revolution.

In order to finish with the period of our author's stay in Saratov, we would note, also on the basis of his own diary, two features of his character which are most worthy of attention.

Our ``reactionaries'' usually pictured him to themselves as the "leader of the nihilists'', and in their eyes the ``nihilists'' were nothing but a

Band of robbers and thieves
Who made their parents grieve....

The diary gives a somewhat different idea of the "leader of the nihilists''. Intending to marry 0. S. Vasilyeva, Chernyshevsky wrote of his parents: "They cannot judge in this matter, because their ideas of family life, of the qualities necessary in a wife, of the relations between husband and wife, of housekeeping and one's way of life are certainly not mine. I am a person from an entirely different world than they, and it would be just as strange to follow them in relation to politics and religion, for example, as to ask their advice on marriage. This is in general. In particular, they know absolutely nothing about my character and what sort of wife I need. In this matter no one but myself can judge, because no one can enter into my character and my ideas except me."^^**^^ It is hard to object to this now in any way, and it _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. X, Part 1, Section 2, p. 215.

^^**^^ Works, Vol. X, Part 2, Section 3, p. 47.

190 would seem that the 24-year-old Chernyshevsky could have married at his own discretion with a clear conscience. Yet his conscience was far from clear, and he was constantly tormented by doubts as to how he should act if his parents did not agree to his marriage. "I was born to be obedient, submissive,"' he wrote, "but this obedience must be free. You regard me too despotically, like a child. 'Even at seventy you will still be my son and you will obey me then, as I obeyed my mother until fifty.' Whose fault is it that your~...^^*^^ are so great that I must say: in trivialities, in things that do not matter, and before these trivialities were important things, I was an obedient child. But in this matter I cannot, I have not the right, because it is a serious matter. No, madam, here I am no longer the son whom you kept thus: 'Permit me to visit Nik. Iv., dear Mother.'---'Very well, you may go!'---'Permit me to visit Anna Nik., dear Mother.' 'Do not dare visit her, she is a nasty woman.' No, in this matter I do not intend to ask permission, and if you wish to order mer I must tell you regretfully that you will order in vain."^^**^^

But since Chernyshevsky was afraid they would order him nevertheless, he took the following decision to be on the safeside. "If you persist, very well, I shall not argue, I shall kill myself. We shall see what happens then. And if the need arises, I shall carry out my threat, because it is better to die than to live without honour in my own eyes, or estranged from those whom I love and who do in fact love me, only are too strange with their claim to know everything and to have the right ideas about people and about how one should and should not behave in the case in question."^^***^^

True, a few lines later Chernyshevsky himself remarks that this fear of obstacles to his marriage on the part of his parents is nothing more than "wild fantasy" and that, in all probability, the matter would be settled easily and quickly. But nevertheless the anxiety aroused in him by the thought of the possibility of such obstacles is extremely characteristic, and the conviction that it would be morally impossible for him to go on living ``estranged'' from his parents is even more characteristic. All this is most unlike the reactionaries' current idea of the ``nihilists''!'

Equally out of keeping with it is a character trait of Chernyshevsky's which shows through in these lines of his diary: " Furthermore, I wish to be possessed by my wife with a body which has not belonged to a single woman apart from her. I wish to marry with a virginal body, just as my bride will be virginal."^^****^^ The ``reactionaries'' maintained that the "people of the sixties" preached _-_-_

^^*^^ The publisher could not make out this = word.^^84^^

^^**^^ Ibid., pp. 48--49.

^^***^^ Ibid., p. 49.

^^****^^ Ibid., p. 40.

191 sexual debauchery,^^*^^ many people, even those who were not. ``reactionaries'', sincerely believed that only the ``pure'' morality of Count Tolstoy had begun to repair in part the moral damage caused by such unbridling. We can see to what extent this was. correct.

Shortly after his marriage Chernyshevsky moved to St. Petersburg where throughout the first year he continued his pedagogical activity, employed in the Second Cadet Corps in "the post of teacher of the third rank'', as an official paper describes him. It was then that his first, as far as we know, printed works began to appear. At first he wrote in Otechestvenniye Zapiski, and then in the Sovremennik. Beginning in 1855 and right up to his arrest Chernyshevsky worked almost exclusively on the Sovremennik. This is the general rule, so to say, to which we know of two exceptions: in 1858 his critical article "The Russian at a Rendezvous" appeared in the Athenaeum (No. 3), and in the same year he was for a while editor of a military collection. During his first year in St. Petersburg he worked on his master's dissertation "The Aesthetic Relation of Art to Reality''. Consideration of this dissertation by the university authorities dragged on, according to the publisher of N. G. Chernyshevsky's Collected Works, until 1855, and, as far as we know, ended unfavourably for the young scholar: the trend of thought revealed in his work was not to theliking of the university authorities, and he did not receive the title of Master of Arts. But it was precisely this misadventure with his dissertation that brought its author together, so to say, with the editors of the Sovremennik, which was soon put, to quoteN. G. Chernyshevsky's own words, entirely in his charge.

Concerning his dissertation N. G. Chernyshevsky informed his. father in a letter of September 21, 1853: "I am writing my dissertation on aesthetics. If it gets through the university in its present form, it will be original, incidentally, in that it will contain not a single quotation, and only one reference. If this is found to beinsufficiently academic, however, I shall add several hundred, quotations in three days. I can say in confidence that Messrs.. the local professors of philology have never studied the subject which I have taken for my dissertation and are therefore unlikely to see what relation my ideas bear to the modern mode of thought about aesthetic questions. They might even imagine that I anx a follower of the very philosophers whose opinions I challenge, if I did not speak of this clearly. Therefore I do not think the people here will understand to what extent the questions which I am discussing are important, unless I am obliged to explain this directly. In general our concepts of philosophy have become _-_-_

^^*^^ See, for example, Prefessoi; Tsitovich's filthy lampoon: "What They Did in the Novel What Is To Be Done?"

192 very dim since the people who understood philosophy and kept up with it died or fell silent."^^*^^

In a letter of May 3, 1855 he wrote again to his father: "To save time and expense I have printed the dissertation on large paper in very small print; moreover, to the same end I shortened it considerably (although the university censor did not cross out a single word), after the manuscript had already been approved for printing. For this reason there are only 6!, printer's sheets, instead of the 20 which would have been taken up by it without shortening and in normal print.... Outwardly it has the distinction of containing not a single quotation---contrary to the general custom of playing the academic with this cheap erudition. Another distinction is that it was written by me without any preliminary drafts---which can hardly have been the case with anyone else. By all this I wanted to give myself the pleasure of laughing privately at people who (cannot) do the same. About the content I shall say nothing here---that is for another letter. The title you know: 'The Aesthetic Relation of Art to Reality'...."^^**^^

N. G. Chernyshevsky was the chief publicist and until the middle of 1856 the chief literary critic of the Sovremennik. It will always be .to the great credit of Nekrasov and Panayev that they did not shun, as almost all the other "friends of Belinsky's" did, Ghernyshevsky and those who shared his views. True, from the point of view of the journal's success they had no cause to regret that they had put it at the disposal of the author of "The Aesthetic Relation''. Already in the December issue of the Sovremennik for 1855 there appeared the first article of the frequently mentioned series Essays on the Gogol Period of Russian Literature, one of Ghernyshevsky's finest works and still the best textbook for anyone who wishes to acquaint himself with the criticism of the Gogol period. The second article in this fine series of essays was printed in the January issue, the third in the February issue, and the fourth in the April issue of the Sovremennik for the following year. These four articles contain an appreciation of the literary activity of Polevoi, Senkovsky, Shevyryov and Nadezhdin. In the July issue the author turned to Belinsky, to whom the remaining five essays are devoted. In these articles the name of Belinsky was mentioned for the first time since 1848, when Belinsky began to be regarded as a banned writer. With the appearance of the Essays it could be said with gratifying certainty, and without the slightest exaggeration, that Belinsky had a worthy successor. From the moment that Chernyshevsky appeared as critic and publicist of the Sovremennik, this journal was again assured of the predominant place among Russian periodicals _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. X, Part 2, Section 1, p. 84.

^^**^^ Ibid., same page.

193 which had belonged to it during Belinsky's lifetime. The Sovremennik was heeded with interest and respect by the advanced section of the reading public, all fresh, budding literary talent was naturally drawn towards it. Thus, in the middle of 1856 the young Dobrolyubov began to write for it. It is difficult for people of our day to imagine how great the importance of journalism was then in Russia. Today public opinion has far outgrown journalism; in the forties it was still too young for it. The late fifties and early sixties were the age of the greatest concord between public opinion and journalism and of the greatest influence of journalism on public opinion. Only in such conditions was it possible to have the passionate interest in literary activity and the sincere belief in the importance of literary propaganda which one finds in all the eminent writers of that time. In brief, it was the Golden Age of Russian journalism. The unfortunate outcome of the Crimean War compelled the government to make a few concessions to educated society and effect at least the more pressing reforms that had long since become indispensable. Soon the problem of freeing the peasants was placed on the order of the day, a problem directly affecting the interests of all estates. Needless to say, Nikolai Gavrilovich eagerly set about elaborating this problem. His excellent articles on the peasants' cause were written in 1857 and 1858. The mutual relations of our social forces in the epoch of the abolition of serfdom are now fairly well known. We shall, therefore, mention them only in passing, only insofar as it may be necessary to elucidate the role adopted in this matter by our advanced publicists, chief of whom then was N. G. Chernyshevsky. It is well known that these writers zealously defended the interests of the peasants. Our author wrote one article after another, advocating the emancipation of the peasants with land, and maintaining that the government would find no difficulty whatever in redeeming the lands allotted to the peasants. He supported his thesis both with general theoretical considerations and with the most detailed estimates. "Indeed, in what way can the redemption of land prove difficult? How can it be too much for the people to bear? That is improbable,'' he wrote in the article "Is Land Redemption Difficult?" "It runs counter to the fundamental concepts of economics. Political economy says plainly that all the material capital which a certain generation takes over from previous generations is not too considerable in value compared with the mass of values produced by the labour of that generation. For example, all of the land belonging to the French people, together with all the buildings and their contents, together with all the ships and cargoes, all the livestock and money and other riches belonging to that country, is hardly worth a hundred thousand million francs, while the labour of the French people produces fifteen or more thousand million francs' worth of values

13---0267

194 annually, i.e., in no more than seven years the French people produce a mass of values equal to that of the whole of France from the Channel to the Pyrenees. Consequently, if the French had to redeem all France, they could do so in the lifetime of one generation, using only one-fifth of their revenue for the purpose. And what is the point at issue in our country? Is it the whole of Russia with all her riches that we must redeem? No, only the land. And is it to be all the Russian land? No, the redemption would affect only those gubernias of European Russia alone where serfdom is deep-rooted,'' etc.^^*^^ After showing that the lands to be redeemed would constitute no more than one-sixth of the area of European Russia, he puts forward as many as eight plans for carrying out redemption. According to him, if the government were to accept any one of these plans, it could redeem the allotted lands not only without burdening the peasants, but also to the great advantage of the state treasury. Chernyshevsky's plans were all based on the idea that it was "necessary to fix the most moderate prices possible in determining the amount of redemption payments". We know now how much consideration the government gave to the interests of the peasantry in abolishing serfdom and how much itheeded Chernyshevsky's advice regarding moderation in fixing redemption payments. Whereas our government, in freeing the peasants, never for a moment forgot the benefits to the state treasury, it thought very little about the interests of the peasants. In the redemption operations it was exclusively fiscal and landowner interests that were borne in mind. And this is perfectly understandable, for no one has either the need or the desire to think of the interests of an estate (in this case, the peasant estate) which cannot defend them vigorously and systematically itself. But at that time, when there were still only rumours of the emancipation of the peasants, the most advanced Russians thought somewhat differently. They believed that thegovernment itself without great difficulty could understand to what extent its own advantages coincided with the interests of the peasants. Such hopes were, incidentally, nourished for quite a long time by Herzen. Chernyshevsky also nourished them. Hence the persistence with which he kept returning in his articles to the peasant question, and the diligence with which he explained to the government its own interests. But Chernyshevsky was the first Russian writer to understand that he was deluding himself with a vain hope and to cease trying to persuade those who did not pay the slightest attention to his arguments: This is also greatly to his credit.

We shall not expound and analyse here the view on the Russian commune advanced by Chernyshevsky in his articles on the _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. IV, pp. 335--36.

195 peasant question. It is examined by us in detail below. We would merely add here that, even in the period of his greatest enthusiasm for the commune, Chernyshevsky in his views on it remained alien to the semi-Slavophil extremes to which Herzen went or---under the obvious influence of Herzen---M. L. Mikhailov in his Appeal "To the Younger Generation" (1861).^^*^^

Chernyshevsky very quickly gained influence in our advanced literature. But however great this influence was, he had very few people who were like-minded, in the true sense of the word. The following words of Volgin, which are addressed to Nivelzin in the first part of the novel Prologue, give us grounds for thinking thus: "The heads of all our enlighteners of the public are filled with rubbish; they write nonsense and totally confuse Russian society which is, in any case, in a state of near-madness. There is not a single person among them whom 1 could take as a comrade. I am compelled willy-nilly to write all the articles which express the opinion of the journal. And I cannot keep up with it. There is no one with a lucid mind, and that's that!"^^**^^ Dobrolyubov alone was a lucid mind on which Chernyshevsky could rely completely. This was why our author loved him with such a truly enthusiastic love.^^***^^

Later Chernyshevsky found a good helper in M. A. Antonovich, to whom our ``cold'' author also, evidently, became very quickly attached. But Dobrolyubov soon died, and this loss was an irreplaceable one for the Sovremennik.

N. G. Chernyshevsky was very fond of polemicising. He confesses that even his friends always noticed in him an extraordinary, "in their opinion even excessive love of elucidating controversial questions by means of impassioned polemics".^^****^^ Polemics always seemed to him a very convenient or, to be more precise, _-_-_

^^*^^ See the second supplement to the collection State Crimes in Russia. Russkaya Istoricheskaija. Biblioteka, No. 5 (Paris, 1905), p. 5 et seq.

^^**^^ Works, Vol. X, Part 1, Section 2, p. 89.

^^***^^ The confidence which he had in Dobrolyubov as a writer from the very first meeting is clear from the following scene in Levitsky's Diary. Levitsky writes: "After what happened yesterday I cannot doubt that he [ Volgin.---G. P.] regards me as a good contributor. But these words surprised me: 'You are giving me a completely free hand in the journal?' 'Well, would you be of much use to me, if it were not so? Contributors who have to be guided on leading strings are ten a penny, but what is the use of them? Checking and correcting is such a bore, that it is easier to write the thing oneself.' 'So you won't check my articles?' 'What will be so remarkable about them? To tell the truth I won't even read them after they are printed, not only before. I have to read far too much rubbish as it is---ha, ha, hal---thank me for the compliment.' 'But I might make mistakes.'' 'To hell with you and your mistakes! I'm only wasting time with you---ha, ha, ha! Well, goodbye. Come the day after tomorrow. We'll have another talk, even if it's about nothing'" (Works, Vol. X, Part 1, Section 2, pp. 210--11).

^^****^^ Works, Vol. IV, p. 304.

13*

196 essential instrument for introducing new ideas into society.^^*^^ Nevertheless at the beginning of his literary activity he seems to have avoided polemics. The Essays on the Gogol Period are written in a calm and conciliatory tone. Only in relation to Shevyryov, a well-known Moscow critic in Belinsky's day, does he exhibit a trenchant irony, and he also writes about Senkovsky (Baron Brambeus) with scornful pity, describing him as a man who wasted his tremendous powers on fruitless literary clowning. For the most part, however, he speaks of the other writers of the Gogol period with praise. Even in the literary activity of Pogodin, whom Belinsky's circle so detested and ridiculed, even in Pogodin's activity he finds useful and praiseworthy features. He speaks of the Slavophils with unfeigned respect. In spite of all their obvious delusions, he considers them to be true friends of enlightenment and warmly sympathises with their attitude towards the Russian land commune.

Without touching here upon his view of the commune, we would remark only that already in disputes on this form of landownership he was compelled to abandon his calm, genial tone and employ his polemical talent to the full. The acknowledged representatives of liberal economy had a bad time of it, particularly Vernadsky, the editor of the Ekonomichesky Ukazatel. Ghernyshevsky positively immortalised this "S.C.'' (State Counsellor) and "D. Hist. Sc., Pol. EC. and Stat.'' (i.e., Doctor of Historical Science, Political Economy and Statistics, which is how Vernadsky, proud of all his ranks and diplomas, signed himself). The devastated scholar not only fled the battlefield, but, to crown the comedy, began to assure of his respect the self-same Chernyshevsky whom, at the beginning of the dispute, he had taken the liberty of treating like an impertinent ignoramus. It must be confessed that it would hardly be possible to defend any cause more skilfully than Ghernyshevsky defended the commune. He said in its favour absolutely everything that could be said. And if his settlement of the controversial question cannot be regarded as satisfactory now, this is explained only by the extreme _-_-_

^^*^^ In the Essays on the Gogol Period he defends Nadezhdin against the many reproaches for his passion for sharp polemics. "Why did Nadoumko (Nadezhdin's pseudonym) use such a sharp tone? Could he not have said the same thing in a milder form? They are quite remarkable---our literary concepts, and all other concepts for that matter! The question is constantly being asked as to why the farmer ploughs his field with a crude iron plough or ploughshare! How else can one plough up soil which is rich but heavy to till? Surely it is not hard to understand that no important question is decided without war, and war is conducted with fire and sword, and not with diplomatic phrases, which are appropriate only when the aim of the struggle conducted by arms has been attained? It is unlawful to attack the unarmed and defenceless, the old and crippled, but the poets and men of letters against whom Nadezhdin was writing were not the like of these" (Works, Vol. II, p. 130).

197 abstractness of the point of view from which he looked at this question. It must, however, be remarked that, as we shall see below, he defended the Russian land commune most conventionally.

After commencing with communal land tenure, Chernyshevsky's dispute with our liberal economists rapidly assumed a broader nature and turned to general questions of economic policy. The liberal economists supported the principle of state non-- interference; Chernyshevsky challenged it. And again it happened that the dispute on the non-interference of the state in the economic life of the people served as an occasion for a new victory for our author. His article "Economic Activity and Legislation"^^*^^ may be regarded as one of the most skilful refutations of the theory of "laisser faire, laisser passer" not only in Russian economic literature, but in world economic literature in general. In it our author employs all his dialectical power and polemical skill. He seems to be amusing himself with this fight, in which he parries the blows of his opponents with such ease. He plays with them, like a cat with a mouse; he makes all manner of concessions to them, expresses his willingness to agree to any of their tenets, to accept any interpretation of any given proposition---and then, after appearing to have given them every chance of victory and placed them in the most favourable conditions for their triumph, only then does he go over to the offensive and reduce them to absurdity with three or four syllogisms. Then new concessions begin, new, even more favourable interpretations of one and the same tenet and---new proof of its absurdity. And at the end of the article Chernyshevsky, as was his wont, points out a moral to his opponents and makes them feel how little they know not only about the strict methods of scientific thinking, but also about the basic requirements of ordinary common sense. It is interesting that the principle of state non-interference, which had such ardent supporters in Russia in the late fifties and early sixties, was soon abandoned almost completely by Russian economists. To a large extent this is explained by the general state of our industry and trade and by the consequent influence on our theoreticians of the German school of Katheder socialism. But in this case the fact that the principle in question, from the very beginning of its dissemination in Russian literature, encountered such a powerful opponent as N. G. Chernyshevsky is undoubtedly of great significance. Having been taught a lesson, the Russian Manchester men thought it prudent to fall silent, fade into the background, and retire.

Of course, if we wanted to compare the arguments advanced by Chernyshevsky in this polemic with the arguments which Marx employed, for example, in the Speech on Freedom of Trade we _-_-_

^^*^^ Reprinted in Vol. IV of the Collected Works, pp. 422--63.

198 would again have to admit that our author's point of view suffers from abstractness. But this is a general shortcoming of his economic views, which will be discussed in Part Two of our work.

It was not on economic problems alone that Chernyshevsky had to wage a fierce polemic. Neither were his opponents only liberal economists. As the influence of the Sovremennik circle in Russian literature grew, the greater were the number of attacks launched from the most varied quarters both on that circle in general and on our author in particular. The contributors to the Sovremennik were regarded as dangerous people who were prepared to destroy all the notorious ``foundations''. Some of "Belinsky's friends'', who at first considered it possible to go along with Chernyshevsky and those holding his views, repudiated the Sovremennik as an organ of the ``nihilists'', and began to declare that Belinsky would never have approved of its trend. Such was I. S. Turgenev's attitude.^^*^^ Even Herzen grumbled at the ``clowns'' in his Kolokol. He warned them that, "while exhausting all their ridicule over the literature of exposures, our dear clowns forget that on this slippery path they may not merely 'whistle' themselves into becoming like Bulgarin and Grech, but even into being decorated with the Stanislav Order''. Herzen affirmed that there were excellent things in the "literature of exposures" that the ``clowns'' were ridiculing. "Do you imagine that all the tales of Shchedrin and others can just be hurled into the water together with = Oblomov^^85^^ on their necks? You indulge yourselves too much, gentlemen!"^^**^^ The reference to Shchedrin was extremely unfortunate since Chernyshevsky himself appreciated his works greatly. In general, everything shows that Herzen was misled by his liberal friends, such as Ravelin. The ``clowns''---or ``whistlers'', as they were called in Russia---were not ridiculing the exposures, but the naive people who could not or would not go beyond innocent exposures, forgetting the moral of Krylov's fable The Cat and the = Cook.^^***^^^^86^^

Herzen himself was to see very soon how bad in a political sense were those liberal friends who kept discussing his relations with Chernyshevsky. When he had to break with K. D. Kavelin, he perhaps told himself that the "jaundiced ones" were not entirely wrong.^^****^^

_-_-_

^^*^^ Chernys levsky relates that Turgenev could still tolerate him to some extent, but had no patience at all with Dobrolyubov. "You're just a snake, but Dobrolyubov is a cobra,'' he said to Chernyshevsky (see the letter already quoted: "By Way of an Expression of Gratitude'', Works, Vol. IX, p. 103).

^^**^^ The article "Very Dangerous!!" in Kolokol, No. 44.

^^***^^ Regarding the article "Very Dangerous!!" and its more or less conjectural consequences, sea, among others, Vetrinsky's book Herzen (St. Petersburg, 1908, p. 354).

^^****^^ The history of this break may be followed in the letters of K. D. Kavelin and I. S. Turgenev to A. I. Herzen, published by M. Dragomanov in Geneva in 1892.

199

Incidentally, most of the articles in the Svistok which evoked the especial dissatisfaction of the well-bred liberals did not belong to the pen of N. G. Chernyshevsky. Only rarely did he contribute to it, as he was overwhelmed with other work. In the closing years of his literary activity he not only contributed regularly to every issue of the Sovremennik, but every issue almost always contained several articles by him. Usually his articles were distributed among the various sections of the journal as follows: firstly, he contributed an article on some general theoretical problem, then he wrote a political survey, reviewed several new books, and, lastly, by way of relaxation and diversion, as it were, he made polemical sorties against his opponents. The Sovremennik for 1861 was particularly rich in polemical articles written by him. It was at this time that he wrote his well-known " Polemical Gems'', "National Tactlessness" (attacking the Lvov Slovo), ^'Popular Muddleheadedness" (attacking Aksakov's Dyen; we shall speak of this article later) and many polemical notes in the Russian and Foreign Literature section.

What is now especially interesting in "Polemical Gems" is our author's views of his own literary activity. We shall cite them here. Chernyshevsky was very well aware that he held a prominent place in Russian literature. His opponents dreaded him, and occasionally even paid him compliments. But his growing renown did not make him happy in the least. He had too low an opinion of Russian literature to consider the prominent place he occupied in it to be honourable. He was "completely cold to his literary reputation''. The only thing he was interested in was whether he would be able to preserve the freshness of his thought and feeling till those better days when our literature would become really useful to society. "I know that better times will come for literary activity, when it will be of real benefit to society, and when he who possesses talent will really earn a good name. And so I am wondering whether when the time comes I shall still be able to serve society properly. Fresh strength and fresh convictions are needed for this. But I see that I am beginning to join the company of 'respected' writers, that is to say, of those writers who have been wrung dry, who lag behind the movement of social requirements. This rouses a feeling of bitterness. But what is there to be done? Age takes its toll. Youth does not come twice. I cannot help envying those who are younger and fresher than I...."^^*^^ To encounter these noble fears is somehow strange now for us, who know that when Chernyshevsky expressed them he had no more than a year of freedom left. The lines quoted were printed in the July issue of the Sovremennik for 1861, and in July of the following year he was already in the Fortress of SS Peter and _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. VIII, p. 231.

200 Emacs-File-stamp: "/home/ysverdlov/leninist.biz/en/1980/GPSPW4PP/20061011/299.tx" __EMAIL__ webmaster@leninist.biz __OCR__ ABBYY 6 Professional (2006.10.12) __WHERE_PAGE_NUMBERS__ top __FOOTNOTE_MARKER_STYLE__ [*]+ __ENDNOTE_MARKER_STYLE__ [0-9]+ [BEGIN] Paul.... But one can imagine what contempt for his enemies was felt by this man, who in the full realisation of his vast superiority to them nevertheless attached no worth even to his own literary merits. And indeed almost every page of "Polemical Gems" radiates a cold contempt for the reprimanders of the Sovremennik. It is particularly noticeable in the reply to Otechestvenniye Zapiski. Chernyshevsky is not at all angry with his opponents from Otechestvenniye Zapiski. He admonishes them almost affectionately, as a good teacher admonishes a schoolboy who has misbehaved. Of course, a good teacher, reproving his charge, sometimes tells him very bitter truths and does not conceal his intellectual superiority to him. But he does so solely in the interests of the pupil. Ghernyshevsky also acts thus. He does not forget a single error, a single slip of Otechestvenniye Zapiski and admonishes the editors paternally for their blunders. He is most vexed with them for the imprudent fervour with which they rushed into battle with him. You are not competent to polemicise with me, he repeats to them, having shown the complete invalidity of this or that charge which they have levelled against him. When the opportunity arises, he tells them bluntly that he knows far more and understands things far better than they, that they are simply not in a position to judge the new ideas which he champions in literature. "You wish to know how extensive my knowledge is?" he addresses himself to Dudyshkin, who accused him of insolent ignorance on the evidence of other journals. "To that I can give you but one reply: incomparably more extensive than yours. And you know it yourself. So why did you try to get the answer in print? It was unwise, most unwise to put yourself in such a position. And please do not take this as pride: there is not much to be proud of in knowing more than you! And again do not take this as meaning that I want to say you have too little knowledge. No, this is not so: you do know something, and in general you are an educated person. Only why do you polemicise so badly?"^^*^^ etc. All this would, perhaps, be too caustic and presumptious, if it were not undoubtedly true.

Meanwhile, feelings were rising, at least in a section of Russian ``society''. The student youth were filled with unrest and secret revolutionary organisations were springing up which printed their own manifestoes and programmes and awaited an imminent peasant uprising. We already know that Chernyshevsky fully recognised the possibility of an impending "serious time" in Russia and we shall yet see how strongly the rise of the social mood was reflected in his activity as a publicist. But was he in any way connected with the secret societies? It is not yet possible to reply with certainty to this question, and who knows whether _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. VIII, p. 270.

201 we shall ever have the facts to answer it. In the opinion of Mr. M. Lemke, who made an excellent study of the N. G. Chernyshevsky case, "it can be presumed (his italics) that he was the author of the proclamation 'To the Manorial Peasants', which the court found him guilty of having written''. Mr. Lemke supports his conjecture by pointing to the style and content of the proclamation. We find these arguments not without foundation. But we hasten to repeat with Mr. Lemke that "all these are more or less probable considerations, and no more".^^*^^ We also consider fairly well founded Mr. Lemke's opinion that the famous paper Velikoruss was, in part, the work of Chernyshevsky. Mr. Lemke supports his hypothesis by quoting Mr. Stakhevich, who for several years lived with Chernyshevsky in Siberia: "I noticed that Chernyshevsky was obviously sympathetically inclined towards the paper which appeared at irregular intervals under the title of Velikoruss; I recall three issues coming out. As I listened to Nikolai Gavrilovich's conversation, I sometimes noticed that both his thoughts and the way he expressed them strongly reminded me of the paper Velikoruss, and I decided in my own mind that he was either the author or, at least, co-author of thepaper which advocated the need for constitutional reforms."^^**^^ We are in full agreement with Mr. Stakhevich: the style and content of Velikoruss are indeed very reminiscent of Chernyshevsky's journalistic articles. And if Chernyshevsky was in fact the author, then that, of course, explains the circumstance that Velikoruss- was far wiser and more tactful than other such ``papers'' of th& time.^^87^^

Simultaneously with the rise of the extreme party in Russia, there was a growth of the revolutionary movement in Poland. Had Chernyshevsky any formal relations with the Polish revolutionaries of whom there were not a few in St. Petersburg at that time? Again, there are no data on this point. Not wishing to indulge in conjectures, we shall limit ourselves, in clarifying Chernyshevsky's general sympathies towards the Polish cause, to data obtainable from his writings; however, even such data are not numerous.

We know that the Slavophils approved greatly of the struggle of the Galician Ruthenians against the Poles. Chernyshevsky was always sympathetically inclined towards the Little Russians. He considered Belinsky's negative attitude to the emerging Little Russian literature to be a great mistake. In the January _-_-_

^^*^^ M. K. Lemke, "The Case of N. G. Chernyshevsky'', Byloye, 1906, No. 4, p. 179.

^^**^^ M. K. JleiuKe, «IIpon,ecc BejiiiKopyccn,eB», Bbutoe, 1906 r., Ns 7, cip. 92. [M. K. Lemke, "The Trial of the Velikoruss Publishers'', Byloye, 1906, No. 7, p. 92.] Mr. Stakhevich's article was published in the Zakaspiiskojje Obozreniye, 1905, No. 143.

202 issue of the Sovremennik for 1861 he published a very sympathetic article on the occasion of the appearance of Osnova, the organ of the Little Russians. But his attitude towards the struggle of the Galician Ruthenians against the Poles could not be one of unconditional approval. First of all, he did not like the fact that the Ruthenians sought the support of the Viennese government. Nor did he like the influential role of the clergy in the movement of the Galician Ruthenians. "Lay affairs'', he wrote, "should be the concern of laymen.'' Finally, Chernyshevsky did not like the exclusively national formulation of this question, which he regarded as primarily an economic one. In an article entitled "National Tactlessness" (Sovremennik, 1861, July) attacking the Lvov Slovo, Chernyshevsky sharply criticised the excessive nationalism of that organ. "It is very possible that a careful examination of existing relations,'' he wrote, "would show the Lvov Slovo that at the basis of the matter there is a question that is far removed from the racial question---the question of estates. It is very possible that it would see Ruthenians and Poles on each of the two sides---people differing in race, but of the same social position. We do not believe that the Polish peasant should be hostile to the alleviation of the obligations and, in general, of the living conditions of the Ruthenian settlers. We do not believe that the sentiments of the Ruthenian landowners should differ very much in this matter from the sentiments of the Polish landowners. If we are not mistaken, the root of the Galician question lies not in relations of race, but of estate."

The mutual hostility of the peoples composing Austria was bound to appear even more tactless to Chernyshevsky since the Viennese government then, as previously, derived great advantages from it. "When one reflects carefully, one is not surprised at the many years of existence of the Austrian Empire,'' he wrote in a political review in the same issue of the Sovremennik that published the article "National Tactlessness''; "and why should it not maintain itself when there is such 'excellent' political tact on the part of the nationalities embraced within its borders.'' To Chernyshevsky the Austrian Germans, Czechs, Croats and, as we have seen, Ruthenians seemed equally ``slow-witted''. He was afraid that the Slav ``slow-wittedness'' which was particularly evident in 1848--49 would again go very far. At the beginning of the sixties Hungary was waging a stubborn struggle against the Viennese reactionary centralists. The discontent of the Hungarians was running so high that at one time it could have been expected that there would be a revolutionary outburst in their country. In his political reviews, our author repeatedly expressed the fear that, in the event of a revolutionary movement in Hungary, the Austrian Slavs would again become obedient tools of reaction. The tactics of many Slav tribes in Austria at that time could 203 only strengthen such fears, since the Austrian Slavs ventured to boast of the disgraceful role they had played in the 1848--49 events. Chernyshevsky strongly condemned these tactics and showed that it would have been more to their advantage if, on the contrary, they had supported the enemies of I he Viennese government, enemies from whom they could have obtained substantial concessions. He said this concerning the attitude of the Croats to the Hungarians, and repeated it to the Ruthenians. "The estate party hostile to the Ruthenians,'' we read in his article "National Tactlessness'', "is now ready for concessions.... It would do no harm for the Lvov Slovo to give this some thought; perhaps the concessions which people who seem to it to be enemies are sincerely prepared to make, perhaps these concessions are so great that they would satisfy the Ruthenian settlers fully; in any event these concessions are without doubt far greater and far more important than the concessions the Ruthenian settlers «an get from the Austrians."

In Chernyshevsky's eyes the principles expressed in this article were, of course, of more than local, Galician significance. He would evidently have liked to make them also the basis of all relations of the Little Russians with the Poles, and thus his article "National Tactlessness" was a kind of warning to the Little Russians who formed part of the Russian Empire.

In the same year a review of part two of The Archives of SouthWest Russia which had just come out was printed in the April issue of the Sovremennik. The author of this review discusses, inter alia, the question of the old way of life in Poland and says: "Behind the Polish absence of bureaucratic centralisation lies the urge to establish a social order different from that which other powers had reached" (this is a reference to the Muscovite state, of course), "an order based, not on the sacrificing of the individual to the abstract idea of the state, embodied in the desire for i|power, but on the agreement of free individuals for their mutual welfare.... Here the social cause is the result of social thought: here the perpetual struggle of concepts and convictions moves from the sphere of thought and word straight to the manifestations of life.'' Let us assume that Polish society was completely aristocratic, "but the privileged circle could extend further and further and embrace the neglected, outcast mass of the people, deprived of all rights, if civic concepts became broader and grew into general human ideas not restricted by temporary prejudices which limit their fullness".^^*^^ Even the Polish democrats did not always show such passion in the defence of the old way of life in Poland. For the whole question was basically how the members of _-_-_

^^*^^ Sovremennik, 1861, April, New Books, p. 443 et seq.

204 the Upper House of the Polish Diet could be made to recognise "universal human ideas".

On the question of the historical results of joining the Grand Duchy of Lithuania with Poland, the author of the review also disagreed most strongly with our official historians. "Was the state of old Russia in the time of the Olgierds, Lubartas, Skyrigailos and Svidrigailos really better than under the Sigismunds in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries?" he exclaims in reply to historians who argued that the joining with Poland was the sole cause of everything wrong in Western Russia. "It is time we stopped being one-sided and unjust to Poland,'' he continues, "let us recognise at least the beneficial nature of its influence on old Russia, if only in relation to enlightenment. Let us take the level of intellectual education in those parts of the Russian world which were joined with Poland and compare it with what existed in this respect in the part of our Russian fatherland which remained independent---in the form of the Muscovite state. Was it not from Little Russia that enlightenment came to the Moscow of the seventeenth century, and did not this enlightenment prepare all our subsequent education? And was it not under the influence of Poland that it grew in Little Russia?"

In the opinion of the author of the review, the Poles were not to blame either for the Polonising of Western Russia. The upper class in Western Russia had both the rights and the means to defend its faith and its language and to save its people from humiliation, whom, incidentally, it had itself enslaved. If, in spite of this, the West-Russian aristocracy had become completely Polonised, it had only itself to blame. "You could not preserve yourselves---don't put the blame on others,'' the author remarks.

Before the publication of the Collected Works of Chernyshevsky we were convinced that this review belonged to his pen. But it was not included in the Collected Works. Therefore it must be assumed that we were mistaken. We think, however, that theviews of the author of the review were very close to Chernyshevsky's views at that time: otherwise they would hardly haveappeared in the Sovremennik.

Finally, the first part of the novel Prologue depicts the friendly attitude of Volgin to Sokolovsky (Sierakowski?). Volgin likes Sokolovsky's utter devotion to his convictions, his lack of conceited pettiness, his self-control, combined with the passionate zeal of the true agitator. Volgin calls him a real man and thinks that our liberals could learn a great deal from him. All this is very interesting,^^*^^ but it too in no way _-_-_

^^*^^ Volgin particularly prized in Sokolovsky his "balanced judgment" which he displayed in 1848 when of all his companions-in-arms in Volhynia Region he was the only one not to lose his head and to weigh coolly the chances of the armed insurrection. These proved to he all but nil.

205 explains Chernyshevsky's practical attitude to the Polish affair.

At that time Chernyshevsky was about 34 years of age. He was in the prime of his mental powers, and who knows to what heights he might not have risen in his development! But he had not long to live in freedom. He was the recognised leader of the extreme party, a highly influential exponent of materialism and socialism. He was considered the ``ringleader'' of the revolutionary youth, and was blamed for all their outbursts and unrest. As always happens in such cases, rumour exaggerated the affair and even ascribed to Chernyshevsky intentions and actions which were foreign to him. In Prologue to a Prologue Chernyshevsky himself describes the liberal sympathetic gossip spread in St. Petersburg concerning Volgin's (i.e., his own) alleged relations with the London circle of Russian exiles. The gossip was occasioned by the most insignificant incidents that had absolutely nothing to do with politics. And, as usual, things did not stop at mere gossip. The ``protective'' press had long been engaged in literary denunciations of Chernyshevsky. In 1862, the Sovremennik was suspended for an indefinite period. Then came non-literary denunciations as well. "The Director of the Third Department of His Imperial Majesty's Own Chancellery,'' said the indictment of Chernyshevsky, "has received an anonymous letter warning the government against Chernyshevsky, 'that youth ringleader and wily socialist'; 'he himself has announced that he will never be convicted'; he is said to be a pernicious agitator, and people ask to be spared from such a man; 'all Chernyshevsky's former friends, liberal-minded people, seeing that his tendencies were finding expressions in deeds and not merely in words ... have dissociated themselves from him. Unless you remove Chernyshevsky,' writes the author of the letter, 'there will be trouble and bloodshed; they are a band of rabid demagogues, of reckless people.... Perhaps they will eventually be eliminated, but just think how much innocent blood will be shed because of them.... There are committees of such socialists in Voronezh, Saratov, Tambov and elsewhere, and everywhere they inflame the youth.... Send Chernyshevsky away wherever you like, but be quick to deprive him of the opportunity to act.... Deliver us from Chernyshevsky for the sake of public peace.'"

On July 7, 1862 Chernyshevsky was arrested. We shall not describe the course of his case: it is described in great detail and very well by Mr. Lemke.^^*^^ The Senate sentenced N. G. Chernyshevsky to civil execution followed by penal servitude in the mines for 14 years and then exile in Siberia for life. The Senate's sentence was conveyed to the State Council, which approved it _-_-_

^^*^^ See the article already quoted "The Case of N. G. Chernyshevsky'', Byloye, 1906, March, April, May.

206 in full. The Emperor Alexander II reduced the term of penal servitude by half.

By the end of 1864 Chernyshevsky was already in Kadaya in Trans-Baikal area, where his wife Olga Sokratovna was allowed to visit him for three days with their young son Mikhail. After the three years in Kadaya Chernyshevsky was moved to Alexandrovsky Zavod in Nerchinsk okrug, and at the end of his term of penal servitude he was sent to Vilyuisk which was 450 verstsfrom Yakutsk. Nikolai Gavrilovich did not return to Russia until 1883, when he was allowed to settle in Astrakhan. He lived there for about six years and, finally, in June 1889 with the permission of the authorities he moved to his native town of Saratov.

V. G. Korolenko in his reminiscences on N. G. Chernyshevsky says: "The Poles with whom I met together and lived in Yakutsk Region made an interesting observation. One of them told me that almost all those who returned after the manifestoes straight to their homeland, having lived for many years in the cold Yakutian climate, died unexpectedly quickly. Therefore those who could tried to soften the transition by staying for a year or two or three in the southern parts of Siberia and the north-east of European Russia.

``Whether this is a true observation or these deaths are mere accidents, it was true in Chernyshevsky's case. From the cold of Yakutsk Chernyshevsky arrived in torrid Astrakhan a healthy man. My brother saw him there looking just as he does on his portrait. From Astrakhan he moved to Saratov as we saw him, hunched, with a sallow complexion and a serious blood disease which was already taking him to the grave."^^*^^

He died in the same year, 1889, on the night of 16 October at 12:37. In the words of Mr. K. Fyodorov, who was his secretary in the last years of his life, "his burial took place on the fourth day after his death in the presence of a large crowd, after the funeral service in the Church of St. Sergius, in the Resurrection Cemetery, where his father, who died in the autumn of 1861 was also buried. On the day of the funeral, and after, a mass of wreaths was laid on the grave of the deceased, among which one wreath, or rather two joined together, stood out in particular---from the Russian and Polish students of Warsaw University and the Veterinary Institute".^^**^^

An indefatigable worker, Chernyshevsky worked hard both during his imprisonment in the Fortress and in Siberia. In the Fortress he wrote his famous novel What Is To Be Done? and what has survived of his writings in Siberia fills a large volume _-_-_

^^*^^ B. KopojieHKO, «OTOineAiune», Cn6., 1133. «PyccKoro.EoraTCTBa», 1908 r. cip. 75. [V. Korolenko, Those Who Are Gone, St. Petersburg, Russkoye Bogatstvo Publishers,- 1908, p. 75.]

^^**^^ K. M. Fyodorov, N. G. Chernyshevsky, pp. 67--68.

207 of 757 pages.^^*^^ How hard he worked on his return from Siberia can be seen, inter alia, from the reminiscences of Mr. K. Fyodorov. "Chernyshevsky worked a great deal,'' he says, "particularly in the last three years before his death. The day usually began as follows: at 7 o'clock he was already up, drinking tea and at the same time either proof-reading or looking over the original of a translation, then from 8 o'clock until 1 o'clock he translated, dictating to his 'writing machine', as he called me jokingly for my fast writing unde'r dictation. At 1 o'clock we, that is, Mr. and Mrs. Chernyshevsky and I, had dinner. Suffering from his old ailment---catarrh of the stomach, he ate very little during dinner and partook only of milk and a thin gruel. After dinner, which lasted no more than 30 or 40 minutes, Chernyshevsky read newspapers and journals, and from three o'clock to 6 o'clock, that is, until evening tea, the work continued. And if the 'writing machine', i.e., myself, and the 'dictating machine' ( Chernyshevsky) were not tired, the sessions sometimes went on long after midnight. In particular this almost always happened before the completion of the translation of each volume of Weber's history."^^**^^

Between 1885 and 1889 Chernyshevsky managed to translate eleven volumes of Weber's Universal History, and he made some interesting supplements to some of the volumes. We shall examine them in due course, as also the two articles which he wrote during the same period and published---one in Russkiye Vedomosti (1885) and the other in Russkaya Mysl = (1888).^^88^^ For the time being, however, we would like to say a few words about his fictional works.

During the investigation of his case N. G. Chernyshevsky wrote in an attempt to disprove the arguments of his accusers who cited papers which had been confiscated from him:

``I had long been preparing to become a writer of fiction too, incidentally. But I am of the belief that people of my character should not engage in fiction in the years of their youth---success will not come to them early. Were it not for the financial necessity, arising from the cessation of my publicistic activity by my arrest, I would not have published a novel at the age of 35 either. Rousseau waited until old age. Godwin = also.^^89^^ The novel is something intended for the mass of the public; it is the most serious of literary occupations, and the most suited to old age. The simplicity of the form should be compensated for by the seriousness of the thoughts which are being instilled in the masses. Thus, I prepared material for the elderly period of my life."^^***^^

_-_-_

^^*^^ See Collected Works, Vol. X, Part 1.

^^**^^ K. M. Fyodorov, N. G. Chernyshevsky, pp. 58--59.

^^***^^ M. K. Leiuke, "The Case of N. G. Chernyshevsky'', Byloye, 1906, May, p. 105.

208

We have already remarked that a person in Chernyshevsky's position at that time had every right not to be frank and that consequently great circumspection is required in the use of his testimony as material for his biography. But the fact that he had long been preparing himself to become a writer of fiction may be believed, particularly as he had before him the example of Lessing whose activity served him as the ideal of literary activity. And it did, in fact, turn out that our author did not take up fiction until quite late. But once he had taken it up, he applied himself to it, as we can see, most diligently. The afore-mentioned Part 1 of Volume X of his Works consists primarily of fiction; it even contains poetry, for example, the "Hymn to the Maid of the Skies" which first appeared in Russkaya Mysl, in No. 7 for 1885. In a letter to A. N. Pypiu (undated, with the following note written by Pypin: "received in July 1870'') Chernyshevsky wrote on the subject of his works of fiction that he had "written a great deal'', and added: "I have talent, definitely. Probably a lot."^^*^^ This latter remark should, of course, be attributed to N. G. Chernyshevsky's habit of making fun of himself. But even in exile he would not have wasted his time writing works of fiction had he considered himself quite incapable of doing so. He probably regarded these works of his as possessing certain merits, but above all he hoped to exert through them a beneficial influence on the readers. It must be admitted that, with the exception of the novel Prologue which is interesting because it is something in the nature of reminiscences attired in fictional form, his Siberian fiction was not successful. It is unlikely to find many readers. Rationality---that distinctive feature of the ``enlightener'', which was characteristic of our author even in childhood---reaches the very extreme here and not only deprives the characters of all signs of "real life'', but even affects their language, which is the same in all of them and very heavy in all of them because of their indomitable propensity for detailed analysis and equally detailed explanation to their collocutor of each of their actions and each movement of their soul: they do not live, but keep on explaining why they want to live in such a way, and no other. If, in embarking upon his Siberian fictional works, Chernyshevsky set himself the aim of propaganda, this aim will, surely, remain unattained.^^**^^

The novel What Is To Be Done?, written in the Fortress, was of completely different significance. It was destined to become a tremendous success, and it had a truly colossal and extremely beneficial influence on young readers of the seventies and eighties. Our obscurantists and decadents were accustomed to shrug their shoulders contemptuously about this famous work because of the _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. X, Part 1, p. 28.

^^**^^ We would reiterate that this judgment does not extend to the novel Prologue,

209 alleged complete absence in it ol' artistic merit. But it is interesting that even in this respect their sentence is not entirely just: the character of Maria Alexeyevna Rozalskaya, the mother of Vera Pavlovna, is drawn rather well. Moreover, the novel in general contains a great deal of acute observation, humour and that genuine fervour, or rather, enthusiasm, which grips the reader and makes him follow the fate of the main characters with unfaltering interest in spite of the undoubted weakness of the author's artistic powers. It is obviously easy to pass withering judgment on the novel What Is To Be Done? by comparing it with, say, Anna Karenina. But the critic who compares two entirely incommensurable literary works is a bad one. It would be more appropriate to compare the novel What Is To Be Done? with, for example, this or that philosophical novel by Voltaire. And if we approach it with such a criterion, we see at once how wrongly those strict judges, the obscurantists and decadents, were in their judgment of it.

What is the secret of the extraordinary success of What Is To Be Done? It is the same as is generally responsible for the success of literary works, the fact that this novel gave a living and universally understood answer to questions in which a considerable section of the reading public was keenly interested. In themselves, the ideas expressed in it were not new: Chernyshevsky had taken them wholly from West-European literature. In France, George Sand had much earlier advocated free and, most important, sincere and honest relations in the love of a man for a woman.^^*^^ As regards the moral demands she puts on love, Lucrezia Floriani differs in no way from Vera Pavlovna Lopukhova-Kirsanova. And as for the novel Jacques, it would be simple to copy out a fairly large number of passages from it to show that in the novel What Is To Be Done? the thoughts and reasonings of George Sand's freedomloving, selfless hero are at times reproduced almost in their entirety.^^**^^ And George Sand was not the only one to advocate _-_-_

^^*^^ Let us note in passing that Goethe's Wahlverwandschaften also represents a word in defence of such relations. This is well understood by some German historians of German literature who, while not daring to decry such an authoritative writer, and at the same time not daring to agree with him because of their own philistine virtuousness, usually mutter something totally unintelligible about the apparently strange paradoxes of the great German.

^^**^^ On March 26, 1853, Chernjrshevsky recorded in his diary the following conversation with his fiancee: "'Can you possibly think that I will deceive you?' 'I don't think that, I don't expect it, but I have considered such an event too.' 'What would you do then?' I told her of George Sand's Jacques. 'Then you, too, would shoot yourself?' 'I don't think so'; and I told her I would try to obtain George Sand for her (she had not read it, or at any rate does not remember the ideas in it)" (Works, Vol. X, Part 2, Section 3, p. 78). We consider that it is not superfluous to note another passage from Chernyshevsky's conversations with his. fiancee: "But what these relations would be like---the day before yesterday she said: 'We would have separate halves of the house and you ought not to come to me with&ut permission'; __NOTE__ Footnote cont. on page 210. __PRINTERS_P_209_COMMENT__ 14--0267 210 freedom in relations of this kind. It is well known that they were also advocated by Robert Owen and Fourier, who had a decisive influence on Chernyshevsky's outlook.^^*^^ And as early as the forties all these ideas met with warm sympathy in our country. In his articles Belinsky often called passionately for freedom and sincerity in relations of love. The reader will recall, of course, how bitterly the "impetuous Vissarion" reproached Pushkin's Tatyana because, while loving Onegin, she did not follow the dictates of her heart and, being given to ``another'', continued to live with her aged husband whom she did not love. In their attitude to women, the best people of the ``forties'' adhered to the same principles as those of Lopukhov and Kirsanov. However, prior to the appearance of the novel What Is To Be Done?, these principles were shared only by a ``select'' handful; the mass of the reading public did not understand them at all. Even Hcrzen hesitated to expound them fully and clearly in his novel Who Is To Blame? A. Druzhinin handles the question more resolutely in his story Polenka Saks.^^**^^ But this story is too colourless, and its characters, belonging to socalled high society---officials and titled personages---did not at all appeal to the ``raznochifitsi'', who, after the fall of Nicholas' regime, formed the left wing of the reading public. With the appearance of What Is To Be Done? everything changed, everything became clear, precise and definite. There was no more room left for doubt. Thinking people were faced with the alternative of being guided in love by the principles of Lopukhov and Kirsanov, or of bowing to the sanctity of marriage and resorting, should a new sentiment arise, to the old, tested method of secret amorous adventures, or else completely subduing all affection in their hearts in view of the fact that they belonged to a marriage partner, whom they no longer loved. And the choice had to be made quite consciously. Chernyshevsky dealt with the issue in such a way that what had been natural instinctiveness and sincerity in love became utterly impossible. Mind control extended to love, and the general public adopted a conscious view of the relations between man and woman. This was particularly important in our _-_-_ __NOTE__ Footnote cont. from page 209. I would have liked to arrange things that way myself, perhaps I think more seriously about it than she does;---she probably only means that she doesn't want me to bore her, while I understand it to mean that in general every husband should be extremely considerate to his wife in his matrimonial relations" (ibid., p. 82). Almost literally the same conversation takes place between Vera Pavlovna and Lopukhov in the novel What Is To Be Done?

^^*^^ It seems hardly necessary to recall what an energetic advocate Robert Owen was in this respect. As for Fourier, we quote here his very profound words: "les coutumes en amour ... ne sont que formes temporaires et variables, et non pas fond immuable" (Oeuvres completes de Ch. Fourier, t. IV, p. 84) ["customs in love ... are only temporary and variable forms, and not immutable substance"}.

^^**^^ Sovremennik, 1847, No. 12.

211 country in the sixties. The reforms which Russia had undergone turned upside down both our social and family relations. A ray of light reached into recesses that had been in complete darkness. Russian people were compelled to examine themselves, to take a sober view of their relation to their kin, to society and family. A new element came to play a big role in family relations, in love and friendship---convictions, which formerly only the very smallest handful of ``idealists'' had possessed. Differences of conviction led to unexpected ruptures. A woman "given in marriage" to a certain man often discovered with horror that her lawful ``possessor'' was an obscurantist, a bribe-taker, a flatterer grovelling before his superiors. A man who had enjoyed the ``possession'' of his beautiful wife, and was unexpectedly affected by the current of new ideas, often realised in dismay that what his charming plaything was interested in was not at all the "new people" or the "new views'', but new dresses and dances, and also the title and salary of her husband. All explanations and exhortations are in vain, the beautiful woman turns into a veritable shrew as soon as her husband tries to say that he "would gladly be of service'', but that "servility is nauseating''. How is one to act? What is one to do? The famous novel showed how to act and what to do. Under its influence people who had previously regarded themselves as the legal property of others began to repeat with its author: 0, filth, 0, filth, he who dares to possess another!---and there awoke in them an awareness of human dignity, and, often after the bitterest spiritual and family storms, they became independent, organised their life in keeping with their convictions and consciously progressed towards a rational human goal. In view of this alone it can be said that the name of Chernyshevsky belongs to history, and it will still be dear to people, who will recall it with gratitude when those who were personally acquainted with the great Russian enlightener are no more.

Obscurantists accused Chernyshevsky of preaching the " emancipation of the flesh" in his novel. Nothing could be more absurd and hypocritical than this accusation! Take any novel about high society life, recall the amorous intrigues of the nobility and bourgeoisie in all countries and among all peoples---and you will see that Chernyshevsky had no need whatsoever to preach the emancipation of the flesh, which had long been an established fact. On the contrary, his novel preaches the emancipation of the human spirit, the human intellect. No one influenced by the trend of this novel would have any desire for the boudoir adventures without which life was empty for ``society'' people, who had a hypocritical respect for conventional morality. Messrs, the obscurantists understand perfectly the strictly moral nature of Chernyshevsky's work and are annoyed with him precisely because of his moral strictness. They sense that people like the heroes of What Is To

14*

212 Be Done? must regard them as totally debauched and must feel the utmost contempt for them.

As we know, the dissemination in Russia of the great ideas of truth, science, and art was the main, one might say, the only aim of our author's life. It was in the interests of this dissemination that he wrote the novel What Is To Be Done? It would be wrong to regard this novel merely as the preaching of rational relations in love. The love of Vera Pavlovna for Lopukhov and Kirsanov is only the canvas on which other, more important ideas of the author's are set. In Vera Pavlovna's dreams the author's socialist ideals are painted in bright colours. The picture of socialist society drawn by him is modelled entirely on Fourier. Chernyshevsky does not offer the reader anything new. He merely acquaints him with conclusions which West-European thought reached long ago. Here again it must be mentioned that Fourier's views were known in Russia even in the forties. The ``Petrashevtsi'' were accused and found guilty of Fourierism. But Ghernyshevsky spread Fourier's ideas on a previously unprecedented scale. He introduced them to the public at large. Later, even Ghernyshevsky's admirers in our country would shrug their shoulders in talking of Vera Pavlovna's dreams. The phalansteries of which she dreamed seemed rather naive to some later. It was said that the famous writer could have talked to the reader about something nearer to our hearts and more practical. Even people who called themselves socialists reasoned thus. We must confess that we regard this matter quite differently. In Vera Pavlovna's dreams we see a feature of Ghernyshevsky's socialist views to which, unfortunately, Russian socialists have still not paid sufficient attention. In these dreams we are attracted by Ghernyshevsky's full realisation of the fact that the socialist system must be based'on the widespread application to production of the technical forces developed by the bourgeois period. In Vera Pavlovna's dreams huge armies of labour are jointly engaged in production, passing from Central Asia to Russia, from hot climate countries to the cold countries. All this, of course, could have been conceived with the aid of Fourier as well, but it is evident even from the subsequent history of so-called Russian socialism that the Russian reading public was not aware of this. In their ideas of socialist society our revolutionaries frequently went so far as to conceive it in the form of a federation of peasant communes, cultivating their fields with the same antiquated plough as that used to scrape the soil in the time of Basil the Blind. But obviously such ``socialism'' cannot be regarded as socialism. The emancipation of the proletariat can come about only through the emancipation of man from the "power of the land? and nature in general. And this emancipation has made absolutely indispensable those armies of labour and that extensive application of modern productive forces to production of which Ghernyshevsky spoke in 213 Vera Pavlovna's dreams arid which wo have completely forgotten in our desire to be ``practical''.

Chernyshevsky was present at the birth of the new type of "new people" in our country. He has drawn this type in the character of Rakhmetov. Our author joyfully welcomed the emergence of this new type and could not deny himself the pleasure of depicting at least a vague profile of him. At the same time, he foresaw with sorrow how many trials and sufferings were in store for the Russian revolutionary, whose life must be one of severe struggle and great self-sacrifice. And so, in Rakhmetov, Chernyshevsky presents us with the true ascetic. Rakhmetov positively tortures himself. Me is completely "merciless towards himself'', as his landlady says. IJc even decides to test whether he can endure torture by spending a whole night lying on a length of felt with nails sticking through it. Many people, including Pisarev, regarded this as mere eccentricity. We agree thai some aspects of Rakhmetov's character could have been drawn differently. But the character as a whole nevertheless remains completely true to life. Almost all of our prominent socialists of the sixties and seventies possessed no small share of the Rakhmetov spirit.

We should like to say in closing our Introduction that Chernyshevsky's significance in Russian literature has yet to he appraised properly. How much he is misunderstood in our country even by many of those who think very well of him can be seen from V. G. Korolenko's reminiscences of him. This gifted and intelligent author portrays him as a sort of "rationalistic economist" who, moreover, believes "in the power of Comte's organising reason".^^*^^ If the words about "organising reason" mean anything at all, it is that Chernyshevsky regarded social phenomena from an idealistic standpoint, from which they were considered by Comte himself. But he who looks on social phenomena from an idealistic standpoint cannot be called an economist for the simple reason that this name is applied, even if not very properly, to those who, while not believing in the power of organising reason, do believe in the organising power of economics. An ``economist'' who believed in the power of organising reason would be like a Darwinist who accepted the cosmogony of Moses. But this is not the most, important thing here. What is most important is the fact that Mr. Korolenko counterposes the sociological views of our " subjectivists" to the ``economism'' of Chernyshevsky. "We, too. did not stand still when we ceased to be 'rational economists'. Instead of purely economic patterns, the literary trend, represented chiefly by N. K. Mikhailovsky, -has opened to us a veritable vista of laws and parallels of a biological character, while the play of economic interests was assigned a subordinate role."^^**^^

_-_-_

^^*^^ Korolenko, Those Who Are Gone, p. 78.

^^**^^ Ibid., pp. 79--80.

214

``Did not stand still'', indeed! The "vista of laws and parallels of a biological character'', revealed by Mikhailovsky, was an enormous step backwards in comparison with Chernyshevsky's social views.^^*^^ N. K. Mikhailovsky was a disciple of P. L. Lavrov, whose views on the course of social development corresponded to those of Bruno Bauer, as we have shown in the book The Development of the Monist View of = History.^^90^^ Hence whoever would like to understand the relation between N. G. Chernyshevsky's world outlook and that of our ``subjectivists'' should first of all try to understand the relation between Feuerbach's philosophy, to which Chernyshevsky adhered, and Bruno Bauer's views. And this is clear and simple: Feuerbach is far ahead of Bruno Bauer.

As an epigraph to our first article on Chernyshevsky, written while the news of his death was still fresh in mind, and completely revised in the present edition, we have taken the following words from our author's letter to his wife: "My life and yours belong to history; hundreds of years will pass and our names will still be dear to people, who will recall them with gratitude when those who lived with us are no more.'' This letter was written on October 5, 1862, i.e., when the author was already imprisoned. His accusers quoted it later as evidence of his extreme conceit. He objected that they were taking seriously lines in his letter, which he had not written seriously at all.^^**^^

We, for our part, leave aside altogether the question of whether conceit comes under any clause of any criminal code. And we are quite sure that the lines from Chernyshevsky's letter quoted by us signified a simple joke for their author. But we believe that now they have another, completely serious meaning. N. G. Chernyshevsky's life does indeed belong to history, and his name will not cease to be recalled with gratitude by all those who are interested in tho destiny of Russian literature and who are able to appreciate intellect, talent, knowledge, courage and selflessness.

_-_-_

^^*^^ No wonder Chernyshovsky's attitude to those "laws and parallels" was entirely negative, according to the self-same Mr. Korolenko.

^^**^^ M. K. Lemke, Bijloije, 1906, p. 103.

[215] __NUMERIC_LVL2__ PART ONE
N. G. CHERNYSHEVSKY'S
PHILOSOPHICAL, HISTORICAL
AND
LITERARY VIEWS
SECTION ONE __ALPHA_LVL2__ N. G. CHERNYSHEVSKY'S PHILOSOPHICAL VIEWS __NUMERIC_LVL3__ Chapter One __ALPHA_LVL3__ Chernyshevsky and Feuerbach

In the first edition of this work, the first article of which dealing, inter alia, with Chernyshevsky's philosophical views was written in late 1889, we expressed the conviction that in his philosophical views our author was a follower of Feuerbach. Naturally, this conviction was based primarily on a comparison with Feuerbach's views of those ideas of Chernyshevsky's which had a more or less direct bearing on philosophy. We were able to base ourselves also on the actual testimony of our author. True, in keeping with the censorship conditions of that time, Chernyshevsky always referred to this subject in hints alone; but to anyone who understood the matter his hints were as clear as daylight. Thus, for example, in the dispute with Dudyshkin (in the article " Polemical Gems'') Chernyshevsky says that he supports a philosophical system which "is the latest link in a series of philosophical systems" and which "emerged from Hegel's system, just as the latter emerged from Schelling's''. It was not difficult to guess that these words alluded to Feuerbach. But Chernyshevsky did not count upon the quick-wittedness of his opponent and therefore wanted to make his allusion even more transparent. "But perhaps the matter is still unclear to you,'' he asks, "and probably you would like to know who this teacher is that I am talking about? To help you in your inquiries I will tell you that he is not a Bussian, not a Frenchman or an Englishman, not Biichner, not Max Stirner, not Bruno Bauer, not Moleschott, not Vogt. Who is it then? You begin to guess. 'It must be Schopenhauer!' you exclaim, after reading Mr. Lavrov's essays. The very man; you have guessed right.'' These lines left no doubt whatever that Chernyshevsky regarded Feuerbach as his teacher in philosophy.

In one of our articles devoted to the "fate of our criticism" we argue that Chernyshevsky's famous dissertation "The Aesthetic Relation of Art to Reality" is an interesting attempt and the only one of its kind to construct aesthetics on the basis of Feuerbach's 216 materialist philosophy.^^*^^ It was hard for anyone with an idea of Feuerbach's philosophy not to agree with this loo. But, firstly, in our country there are extremely few people with an idea of this philosophy and, secondly, no matter how sound our argument on the kinship of Chernyshevsky's philosophical views with the philosophical views of the author of The Essence of Christianity, this argument was not at that time based on a single piece of direct, undisguised evidence from Chcrnyshevsky himself. We now possess such evidence and hasten to draw the render's attention to it.

In the preface to the third edition of "The Aesthetic Relation of Art to Keality'',^^**^^ mentioned above, Chernyshevsky says:

``The author of Lhe pamphlet, to the third edition of which I am writing this preface [i.e., N. G. Chernyshevsky himself.--- G.~P.], obtained the opportunity to use a good library and to spend a little money on purchasing books in 1840. Until then he had read only such books as can be obtained in provincial towns where there are no decent libraries. Me was familiar with the Russian expositions of Hegel's system, which are very incomplete. When he obtained the opportunity to read Hegel in the original he began to read those treatises. He liked Hegel in the original far less than he had been led to expect by the Russian expositions. The reason for this was that the Russian followers of Hegel expounded his system from the standpoint of the Left wing of the Hegelian school. In the original, Hegel proved to resemble the philosophers of the seventeenth century, and even the scholastics more than the Hegel who appeared in the Russian expositions of his system. Reading him was wearisome, because it was obviously of no use for forming a scientific mode of thought. It was at that time that the youth who wanted to form such a mode of thought for himself accidentally came across one of the principal works of Feuerbach. He became a follower of that thinker; and until mundane cares diverted him from scientific studies, he zealously read and reread the works of Feuerbach."

This passage, which constitutes, as it were, the philosophical curriculum vitae of N. G. Chernyshevsky, shows us how important German philosophy in general and Feuerbach's philosophy in particular was in the history of the development of his world outlook. And the lines which immediately follow it reveal the influence of Feuerbach on our author's aesthetic views.

_-_-_

^^*^^ This article was intended for I lie Novoye Slovo, hut "because of circumstances beyond the editors'control" only half of it was printed. It appeared in full in 1905 in my symposium Twenty Years and was reprinted in subsequent = editions.^^81^^

^^**^^ The publisher of his father's works, M. N. Chernyshevsky, states: "This preface was not passed by the censor, since it was not permitted to write about Feuerbach. It was therefore decided not to print the third edition of 'The Aesthetic Relation'.'' The preface is dated 1888.

217

Chernyshevsky continues, speaking of himself in the third person as before:

``About six years after he had made the acquaintance of Feuerbach, the mundane necessity arose for him to write a scientific treatise. It seemed to him that he could apply the fundamental ideas of Feuerbach to the solution of certain problems in branches of knowledge that had not come within the scope of his teacher's researches.

``The subject of the treatise he was to write had to be something dealing with literature. It occurred to him to meet this condition by expoundingconceptions of art, and of poetry in'particular, which seemed to him to bo deductions from Feuerbach's ideas. Thus, the pamphlet to which I am writing this preface is an attempt to apply Feuerbach's ideas to the solution of the fundamental problems of aesthetics.

``The author made no claim whatever to saying anything new of his own. He wished merely to interpret Feuerbach's ideas in application to aesthetics."^^*^^

The reader can see that we interpreted Chernyshevsky's attitude to Feuerbach correctly. But what is the viewpoint of Feuerbach himself? We referred lo him above as a materialist. He was also considered a materialist by Ihose people in our country who look up arms against Chernyshevsky for his propagation of Feuerbach's philosophical views. But today the opinion is very widespread in philosophical literature that Feuerbach was never a ``true'' materialist. This opinion, which is based on certain ``aphorisms'' and terms of Feuerbach himself, was, incidentally, also expressed in Lange's well-known History of Materialism.^^92^^ It is, however, completely invalid, as we shall now see.

In his Grundsdtze^^**^^ Feuerbach says: "The new [i.e., his.---G.P.] pfiilosophy makes man, including nature as the basis of man, the only universal and the highest, subject of philosophy---accordingly, it makes anthropology, including physiology, a universal science."

In these words of Feuerbach's Lange sees a feature which proceeds from Hegelian philosophy and sets Feuerbach apart from materialists in the true sense of the word. He remarks that "for the materialist the nature of man is only a particular case in the chain of physical life processes''. What is more, in Lange's opinion, the true materialist is little inclined to ascribe---as Feuerbach does---divine attributes to human nature.^^***^^ But what do these divine attributes mean according to Feuerbach? He himself says _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. X, Part 2, p. 192.

^^**^^ \Grundsiitze der 1'hilosophie dcr Zukunft.]

^^***^^ «J/icTopnii MaTepuajiJi3Ma». Russian translation by N. N. Strakliov, Vol. II, p. 82. fPlekhanov is quoting from the Russian translation of' F. Lange's Cesrhicl/te des Moterialismus und Kritik seiner Bedeutung in der Gegenwart.}

218 that his ``anthropology'' merely means that man takes for God that which is his own essence.^^*^^ In view of this the "divine nature" of the attributes of human nature loses all spiritualistic meaning: all that remains is a certain misuse of the term, which is most undesirable in the interests of the proper development of philosophical concepts, but which does not change the true content of Feuerbach's teaching in the slightest. Feuerbach never denied that human nature "is only a particular case in the chain of the physical processes''. This proposition lies at the basis of all his philosophy. And if nevertheless he considered it necessary to take human nature as his point of departure, this is brilliantly explained by his own words: "...In this dispute [between materialism and spiritualism] it is a question of the human head... . Once we have found out what... the matter of the brain is, we shall soon find out about all other matter also, about matter in general."^^**^^ These lines show how little Feuerbach was understood by those who refused to regard his teaching as materialism and christened it with the name of humanism, which says nothing at all. True, Feuerbach himself occasionally refused to regard himself as a materialist. "Materialism,'' he says, "is an entirely unsuitable name which leads to incorrect conceptions and can be justified only in so far as the materiality of thought is counterposed to the immateriality of thought... . But for us there exists only an organic life, organic action, organic thinking. Therefore organism is the right expression, for the consistent spiritualist denies that thinking requires an organ, whereas the natural viewpoint holds that there is no activity without an organ."^^***^^ In the same aphorisms from which we have taken these lines, Feuerbach announces that he goes along with the materialists to a certain point only and that materialism is only the basis of human essence and human knowledge, but not knowledge itself, as certain naturalists think, for example, Moleschott. But here it must be remarked that in fact the term ``organism'', suggested by Feuerbach, expresses precisely the same philosophical view as the word " materialism". Naturalists "in the narrow sense of the word" did not satisfy Feuerbach because, in his opinion, they reduced everything to the brain, and "the brain is no more than a physiological abstraction; it is the organ of thinking only as long as it is connected with the human head and body".^^****^^ But has any naturalist ever denied that the brain ceases to think when it is separated from the head and the body? No. In this cass Feuerbach is simply being _-_-_

^^*^^ Feuerbach's Werke, VI, 249.,

^^**^^ "Ueber Spiritualismus und Materialismus'', Werke, X, 129.

^^***^^ "Nachgelasssne Aphorismon'', printed in Griin's Ludwig Feuerbach in seinem Brieftoschsel und Nachlass, Zwoitor Band, S. 307--03.

^^****^^ Werke, II, 362.

219 unfair to naturalists.^^*^^ It cannot be denied that in the person of such naturalists as Moleschott, Buchner and Vogt, materialism has occasionally suffered from considerable narrowness and made serious theoretical mistakes. But it would be wrong to attribute to materialism in general the shortcomings characteristic of one of its schools. This was evidently understood by Feuerbach himself, who in his work Ueber Spiritualismus und Materialismus besonders in neziehung auf die Willensfreiheit attributes what he regarded as the weak side of materialism to the French materialist school, counterposing it to German materialism which enjoyed his full sympathy. In reality the criticisms which he made there of the French school of materialism are entirely undeserved by the latter and could bo levelled with far more justification at German materialists such as Buchner or Vogt. But this is a detail, explained by the fact that Feuerbach, brought up on German philosophy, was ill-acquainted with French materialism. This detail did not prevent Feuerbach from adopting a purely materialist viewpoint in his ``anthropology''. In the work just quoted by us, Ueber Spiritualismus und Materialismus, he writes, without realising it, in the spirit of French materialism as the latter was express d in the works of La Mettrie and Diderot.^^**^^

__NUMERIC_LVL3__ Chapter Two __ALPHA_LVL3__ ``The Anthropological Principle in Philosophy''

Be that as it may, N. G. Chernyshevsky understood Feuerbach in the materialist sense. His famous philosophical article, which appeared in Nos. 4-5 of the Sovremennik for 1860, leaves no doubt on this count. Here he explains as follows the meaning of the title of his article: "The Anthropological Principle in Philosophy". "It is that a man must be regarded as a single being having only one nature; that a human life must not be cut into two halves, each belonging to a different nature; that every aspect of a man's activity must be regarded as the activity of his whole organism, from head to foot inclusively, or if it is the special function of some particular organ of the human organism we are dealing with, that organ must be regarded in its natural connection with the entire organism."

_-_-_

^^*^^ An idea of how this question is regarded in modern natural science is given by the short but interesting work of Felix Le Dantec Le determinisme biologique ei la personnalite consciente. Esquisse d'unc theorie chimique des epiphenomenes.

^^**^^ For more about this see our article in the symposium Twenty Years ``(Chernyshevsky's Aesthetic Theory'') and our brochure Fundamental Problems of Marxism, pp. = 1--25.^^93^^

220

Explaining the anthropological principle, one might say, with the words of Feuerbach himself, Chernyshevsky remarks that the majority of thinkers engaged in the moral sciences still continue towork "according to the old fantastic method of unnaturally cutting man into halves, each purported to spring from different natures''. But precisely because most scientists have not yet realised the importance of the anthropological principle, their work lacks any serious significance. "Their neglect of the anthropological principle deprives them of all merit. The only exceptions are the works of a very few of the old thinkers who followed the anthropological principle, although they did not yet employ the term to characterise their conceptions of man. Such, for example, were Aristotle and Spinoza."

People who hold the vulgar view of the essence of the materialist doctrine are bound to find this remark by our author concerning Aristotle and Spinoza quite unexpected and even ridiculous. In the mid-nineties of the last century Mr. A. Volynsky in his book Russian Critics pronounced the following solemn sentence on this remark: "Of all (he thinkers of the past Chernyshevsky, due to some strange association of ideas and, undoubtedly, mistaken recollections, is prepared to acknowledge only Aristotle and Spinoza. In his fantastic conception of the systems of these two truly great creators in the realm of human thought ho assumes that, in following the anthropological principle described above, he is their successor given the new data of positive knowledge" (p. 271).

This solemn remark on Ihc allegedly fantastic conceptions of Chernyshevsky merely testifies to the fact that Mr. A. Volynsky understood nothing whatsoever in the philosophical views of N. G. Chernyshevsky.

We already know that the latter adopted the viewpoint of Feuerbach. How did Feuerbach regard Spinoza? In his history of the new philosophy he expounded Spinoza's teaching with the greatest sympathy, but in his Grundstitze, written in 1843, he expressed the quite correct idea that Spinoza's pantheism is theological materialism, i.e., a rejection of theology which continues to adopt a theological viewpoint. In Feuerbach's opinion, this confusion of materialism and theology constituted Spinoza's inconsistency, which, however, did not prevent him from providing "a correct--- at least for his time---philosophical expression for the materialist trend of modern times''. Therefore Feuerbach called Spinoza the Moses of the modern free thinkers and materialists.^^*^^

After this it is understandable why Chernyshevsky regarded Spinoza as one of the very few earlier thinkers who adhered to the _-_-_

^^*^^ Werke, II, 291. For more about this see Fundamental Problems of Marxism, pp. = 9--13.^^94^^

221 anthropological principle, although they did not yet employ this term to describe their philosophical views: in acting thus, he was following the example of his teacher who rightly regarded Spinoza as the Moses of modern materialism. As for Aristotle, Chernyshevsky was indeed wrong in regarding his philosophy as akin to the teaching of Feuerbach. Aristotle was far closer to the idealists than to the materialists, but here again it must not be forgotten that among Aristotle's disciples were those who interpreted his system in a sense which was very close to materialism.^^*^^ Such as Aristoxenus, Dicaearchus and particularly Strato. Chernyshevsky probably regarded their interpretation of Aristotle's philosophy as correct and therefore proclaimed their teacher to be an adherent of the anthropological principle. We repeat, this opinion cannot be considered correct; but it would take all the philosophical ignorance of Mr. Volynsky to see it as proof of the fact that Chernyshevsky knew nothing about philosophy.^^**^^

Thus, at the basis of Chernyshevsky's philosophy lies the idea of the unity of the human organism. Chernyshevsky is a confirmed opponent of all dualism. According to him, philosophy---i.e., the philosophy ofPeuerbach which he expounded and defended--- sees in the human organism that which the natural sciences see in it. "These sciences prove,'' he says, "that no dualism is evident in man, and philosophy adds that if man possessed another nature, in addition to his real nature, this other nature would inevitably reveal itself in some way, but since it does not reveal itself in any way, since everything that takes place and manifests itself in man originates solely from his real nature, he cannot have another nature.'' But the unity of human nature does not prevent the existence within the human organism of two different types of phenomena: phenomena of what is called a material order and phenomena of what is called a moral order. And Chernyshevsky is faced with the question: in what relation do these two orders of phenomena stand to one another? Does not their existence contradict the unity of man's nature? Chernyshevsky replies categorically that it does not: "There are no grounds for such a hypothesis, for there is no object that possesses only one quality. On the contrary, every object displays an incalculable number of different phenomena which, for convenience, we place in different _-_-_

^^*^^ On this see Ed. Zeller, Die Philosophie der Griechen in Hirer geschichtlichen Entwicklung, II. Th., II. Abtheilung, II. AuFlage, Tubingen, 1862, S. 717, 719--20, 732, 742. Gf. also Ueberweg, Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie, I. Theil, Berlin, 1876, S. 218--19.

^^**^^ The fact that in the sixties of the last century Chernyshevsky was not alone in his tendency to belittle the importance of the idealist element in Aristotle's philosophy is shown by A. Lo Blais' book of considerable 'interest, Materialisms et Spiritualisms, in the series Bibliotheque de philosophie cantemporaine with a preface by Littre (see pp. 48--54). This book was published in 1865.

222 categories, calling each category a quality, so that every object has numerous qualities of different kinds.'' Here again the complete unity of his philosophical views with the views of Feuerbach is. revealed. We know that, according to the latter's teaching, the being is the subject, and thinking a quality (``predicate'') of this subject, so that it is not the abstract being once used by idealist philosophy that thinks, but a real being, the body. But what is the human organism? It is "an extremely complex chemical combination'', answers Chernyshevsky, "that goes through an extremely complex chemical process that we call life''. Some parts of this process have still not been properly explained. But from this it certainly does not follow, to quote Chernyshevsky, "that we have not already positively learned a great deal about those parts, the investigation of which is at present in a very imperfect state''. The knowledge of certain aspects of the vital process enables us to draw at least negative deductions concerning those aspects which have still been poorly studied. Such negative deductions are, according to Chernyshevsky, of great importance in all sciences; but they are particularly important in the moral sciences and in metaphysics, because there they eliminate many harmful errors. In order to explain this important idea, we shall call upon Chernyshevsky himself to speak. "It is said that the natural sciences have not reached such a degree of development as to provide a satisfactory explanation of all the important phenomena of nature. This is quite true; but the opponents of the scientific trend in philosophy draw from this truth a totally illogical deduction when they say that the gaps left in the scientific explanation of natural phenomena justify the preservation of certain remnants of the fantastic world outlook. The fact is that the results achieved by analysis of the parts and phenomena that have been explained by science are sufficient evidence of the character of the elements, forces and laws that operate in the other parts and phenomena which have not yet been fully explained. If there were anything in the unexplained parts and phenomena different from what has been found in the explained parts, then the explained parts would not bear the character they bear now."

This argument is again directed against dualism. No matter how little the so-called psychic phenomena have been studied, we can already say with certainty that the thinkers who attributed them to a special substance were mistaken. Such a substance does not exist. The psychic phenomena are no more than the result of the activity of the human organism. This is the proposition which runs through the whole of Chernyshevsky's article.

The following reservation should be made here, however. In Chernyshevsky's article there is a passage which could give--- and has in fact given---grounds for misunderstanding. It is this passage: "We know, for example, what nutrition is. From this 223 we already know approximately what, for example, sensation is: nutrition and sensation are so closely interconnected that the character of one determines the character of the other.'' Reading these lines one might perhaps think that Chernyshevsky shared the view of those self-styled materialists who maintained that thought, and consequently, sensation also are nothing more than the motion of matter. But in fact he, like Feuerbach, was very far from this sort of materialism. His materialist view is best expressed in Feuerbach's words "That which to me, or subjectively, is a purely spiritual, non-material and non-sensuous act is in itself an objective, material and sensuous act."^^*^^ So that the reader should not suspect us of the intention to ascribe to Chernyshevsky views which he did not hold, we would quote the following words of Chernyshevsky himself: "By its very nature, sensation necessarily presupposes the existence of two elements of thought, merged into one thought. Firstly, there is the external object, which creates the sensation. Secondly, the being that is conscious of the sensation.'' Let us consider these words carefully. The being that is conscious of the sensation is a material being, an organism that is experiencing the action of an external object upon itself. This action consists of this or that part of the organism somehow or other being set in motion. This motion of certain parts of the organism arouses a certain sensation, but it is not identical with the sensation: it is merely the objective aspect of the phenomenon which from the subjective aspect, i.e., to the being in which this process of motion is taking place, seems like a sensation. In Chernyshevsky, as in Feuerbach, these two aspects of the phenomenon, the subjective and the objective, are very closely interconnected; but they are not identified with one another. On the contrary, Chernyshevsky like Feuerbach would have objected to such an identification, because he would rightly have seen in it an unconscious repetition of one of the fundamental mistakes of idealism--- a vain attempt to resolve the antinomy between subject and object by the removal of one of its elements.^^**^^

Below we shall see that Chernyshevsky's opponents who attacked him for the article "The Anthropological Principle in Philosophy" failed to understand his view on the relationship between subject and object. But for the moment we must confine ourselves to remarking that Chernyshevsky did not approve of the refusal, characteristic of the positivists, to examine the question of the mutual relation between matter and spirit. Thus, for example, he refuses to acknowledge J. S. Mill as "a representative of modern philosophy" because Mill never studied this question. "He deliberately refrains from expressing any opinion on these subjects, _-_-_

^^*^^ Werke, II, 350.

^^**^^ Cf. Fundamental Problems of Marxism, p. 9.^^95^^

224 as if he regarded them as being beyond llie limits of exact investigation.'' The latter words show that, in Ghernyshevsky's opinion, subjects of this kind were fully within the limits of investigation.

Let us proceed further. We know that Ghernyshevsky regarded the human organism as "an extremely complex chemical combination that goes through an extremely complex chemical process that we call life''. The complexity of this process is so great that the branch of chemistry which studies it has been made into a special science called physiology. But this fact by no means invalidates the idea that man is merely a part of nature. "The relation of physiology to chemistry,'' Ghernyshevsky says, "may be compared with the relation of Russian history to world history. Of course, the history of Russia is only a part of world history, but the subject of this part concerns us particularly closely, and is therefore treated as if it were a special science. In educational establishments the history of Russia is dealt with as a special subject apart;from world history, and at examinations students receive separate marks for it; but it must not be forgotten that this superficial division is made only for the sake of practical convenience and is not based on any theoretical difference between the character of this branch of science and all the other parts of this science. The history of Russia is intelligible only in connection with world history, it is explained by it and represents only a variety of the same forces and phenomena as are dealt with in world history. In the same way, physiology is only a variety of chemistry, and its subject is only a variety of the subjects dealt with in chemistry.'' To this it must be added that physiology does not confine itself to the study of the vital process which takes place in the human organism. The physiology of the human organism is merely a part of one of the departments of physiology--- -zoological physiology. There is no essential difference between a man and an animal from the viewpoint of the material processes of the organism, or even from the viewpoint of the so-called spiritual processes. "Truly scientific analysis reveals the fallacy of bare statements to the effect that animals totally lack different honourable qualities, such as, for example, some capacity for progress. Usually it is said: an animal remains all its life what it was when it was born; it learns nothing and makes no progress in mental development. This opinion is demolished by facts known to everybody: bears learn to dance and to perform all sorts of tricks; dogs learn to fetch and carry and to dance; elephants are even taught to walk the tightrope, and even fish are trained to assemble at the sound of a bell---all this is done by trained animals, they would not be able to do it if they were not trained; training gives them qualities they would not have otherwise. Animals are not only taught by man, they teach one another. It is known that birds of prey teach their young to fly.'' Not 225 considering it necessary to enlarge on this question too much here, we would merely add, that in his article Chernyshevsky expressed many ideas in this connection which can be found in a book that came out considerably later, Darwin's The Descent of Man.

If the human organism is essentially 110 different from the organism of the animal, the latter in its turn does not differ essentially from the plant organism. Chernyshevsky says: "In its most developed forms, the animal organism differs very much from plants, but the reader knows that mammals and birds are connected with the vegetable kingdom by numerous transitional forms by which we can trace all the stages of development of so-called animal life from plant life. There are plants and animals that scarcely differ from one another, so that it is difficult to say in which kingdom each should be classed.'' Moreover, in the first period of their existence all animals are almost like plants in the first period of their growth. Chernyshevsky points out that in both animals and plants the ``cell'' serves as the embryo, and, after remarking that it is difficult to distinguish the embryo of an animal from the embryo of a plant, he continues: "Thus, we see that all animal organisms begin from the same thing that plants begin from, and only later do some animal organisms assume forms very different from those of plants and reveal to a very high degree qualities which in plants are so feeble that they can be discovered only with the aid of scientific instruments. For example, a tree contains the embryo of locomotion; its sap moves within it as in animals; its roots and branches stretch in all directions. True, this locomotion affects only its parts, the plant organism as a whole does not change its location; but nor does the polyp do so; its power of locomotion does not exceed that of a tree. But there are plants which do change their location: among these are several species of the Mimosa family."

We would not say that the ideas expressed by Chernyshevsky in this case were entirely new for their time: they can be found both in Hegel and particularly in certain natural philosophers of the Schelling school. Chernyshevsky knew German idealist philosophy; it is not surprising that these ideas too were known to him. But under his pen they became so liberated from all metaphysical admixtures, so tinged with the materialist hue of natural science, that the question naturally arises as to whether Chernyshevsky was already familiar at that time with the zoological theories of Lamarck and Geoffrey Saint-Hilaire. We find no direct indication of this in his works, but it is no accident that, in challenging the "theory of the beneficial nature of the struggle for life" on his return from Siberia, he signed himself "An old transformist'', and it is no accident that he referred to Lamarck then as a brilliant biologist. It is most likely that by the sixties he __PRINTERS_P_225_COMMENT__ 15---0267 226 was already well acquainted with the biological theory of transformism in the works of certain precursors of Darwin.

We shall conclude our exposition of Chernyshevsky's views in question with a reminder that to his mind organic life in general was merely an extremely complex chemical process. This determines his attitude to vitalism. No special life force exists. The chemical processes which take place in the organism differ only in their complexity from the chemical processes which take place in so-called inorganic nature. "Not so very long ago,'' remarks Chernyshevsky, "it seemed that the so-called organic substances (for example, acetic acid) existed only in organic bodies. It is now known, however, that under certain circumstances they also arise outside of organic bodies, so that the difference between an organic and an inorganic combination of elements is insignificant. The so-called organic compounds arise and exist in conformity with the same laws, and all equally arise out of inorganic substances. For example, wood differs from an inorganic acid in that this acid is not a complex compound, whereas wood is a combination of numerous complex compounds. It is, as it were, the difference between 2 and 200---a quantitative difference, no more."

Chernyshevsky wrote little about philosophical problems as such although he knew philosophy incomparably better than the vast majority of our leading writers of the late sixties, seventies and eighties, for example, N. K. Mikhailovsky. Philosophy interested him mainly as the theoretical basis of certain practical requirements. This is why even in his article "The Anthropological Principle in Philosophy" he did not lose sight of these requirements, speaking of them time and time again. And this is also why he devotes a great deal of attention in it to those questions of philosophical theory which have a direct bearing on the tasks of practical life. Such, for example, is the question of the philosophical basis of morality, and, above all, of the will.

Chernyshevsky argues that the first result of the entry of the "moral sciences" into the sphere of the exact sciences was the removal of certain old views on human actions. "It is definitely known, for example,'' he says, "that all the phenomena of the moral world originate from one another and from external circumstances in conformity with the law of causality, and on this basis all assumptions that there can be phenomena that do not arise from preceding phenomena and from external circumstances are regarded as false. Hence, present-day psychology does not accept, for example, the following assumptions: 'in one case a man performs a bad action because he wants to perform a bad action; and in another case he performs a good action because he wants to perform a good action'. It says that the bad action, or the good action, was necessarily prompted by some moral or material fact, or combination of facts, and that the 'wanting' was only the 227 subjective impression which accompanies in our minds the emergence of thoughts or actions from preceding thoughts, actions or external facts.'' In other words, regarding man as the involuntary product of his environment, Chernyshevsky adopted a most humane attitude even to those unpleasant aspects of human character in which the idealists saw only evil intent deserving of severe punishment. In Chernyshevsky's opinion everything depends on social customs and circumstances, but since social customs are also formed under the influence of circumstances, it is the latter which in the final analysis determine all human actions. "If you blame a person,'' he wrote, "first try to see whether it is he who is guilty of what you are accusing him of, or the circumstances and customs of society---take a good look, for perhaps what lies here is not his guilt at all, but only his misfortune.'' The ``protectors'' chose to regard such statements by Chernyshevsky as a defence of loose morals, but, of course, in so doing they merely demonstrated their lack of understanding of the matter. In fact here too Chernyshevsky was merely expounding and developing the views of his teacher Feuerbach, which had nothing to do with dissoluteness. The latter's aphorisms of the following type are well known: "One thinks differently in a palace than in a hut, the low ceiling of which seems to press down on the brain. We are different people outside from what we are in a room; cramped spaces constrict, wide, open spaces extend the heart and head. Where there is no opportunity to show talent, there is no talent; where there is no scope for activity, there is no striving, at least no real striving, for activity''; or "if you want to improve people, make them happy''. But not everyone knows that in the nineteenth century aphorisms and a theory of this kind were merely the repetition and in part the application to changed circumstances of the doctrines of the materialists of the eighteenth century. As early as the forties Marx pointed to the close link between materialist doctrines, on the one hand, and socialist ones, on the other. "If man,'' he wrote, "is unfree in the materialistic sense, i.e., is free not through the negative power to avoid this or that, but through the positive power to assert his true individuality, crime must not be punished in the individual, but the anti-social sources of crime must be destroyed, and each man must be given social scope for the vital manifestation of his being. If man is shaped by environment, his environment must be made = human."^^96^^

Incidentally, Chernyshevsky's view on human character as the product of circumstance developed under the influence not only of Feuerbach, but also of contemporary West-European socialists, particularly Robert Owen, who, as is known, wrote a whole study on the formation of human character (A New View of Society or Essays on the Principle of the Formation of the Human Character) and who in all his practical activity invariably proceeded

15*

228 from the conviction that people's bad actions are not their fault, but their misfortune.

But if human character is the product of circumstance, it is easy to see how one should answer the question of whether man is good or bad by nature. He is not good or bad in himself, but becomes good or bad depending on the circumstances. Chernyshevsky says: "Therefore, we may think that Ivan is good, while Pyotr is bad; but these opinions apply only to individual men, not to man in general, in the same way as we apply to individual men and not to man in general the conception of the habit of sawing planks, forging iron, etc. Ivan is a carpenter, but we cannot say that man in general is or is not a carpenter. Pyotr can forge iron, but we cannot say that man in general is or is not a blacksmith. The fact that Ivan became a carpenter and Pyotr a blacksmith merely shows that under certain circumstances, which were present in Ivan's life, a man becomes a carpenter; and under other circumstances, which were present in Pyotr's life, a man becomes a blacksmith. In exactly the same way, under certain circumstances a man becomes good, under others, he becomes bad."

From here, of course, it is but a little way to practical conclusions in the direction pointed out by Marx. As an example Chernyshevsky takes the question of how people could become good, so that bad people would become an extreme rarity in the world, and answers it as follows: "Psychology tells us that the most abundant source of the display of bad qualities is inadequacy of means for satisfying requirements; that a man commits a bad action, that is, harms others, almost exclusively when he is obliged to deprive them of something in order not to remain himself without that which he needs.'' If society were organised in such a way that man's food requirements were properly satisfied, this alone would remove at least nine-tenths of all that is bad in present-day society. We are told that this is impossible because of the imperfection of the technical arts, but even if this argument was valid at one time, with the present state of mechanics and chemistry it has lost all significance: "The land in every country in the temperate zone could provide incomparably more food than is needed for an abundant supply of provisions for populations ten and twenty times larger than the present populations of these countries.'' Chernyshevsky does not find it possible to analyse why up till now no human society has concerned itself with the proper satisfaction of such an urgent requirement as the requirement for food. But he believes that his remarks are sufficient to explain "the present position of the moral sciences''. And they are in fact quite sufficient to give the reader an idea of the point of view of our author.^^*^^

_-_-_

^^*^^ Here, as everywhere, Chernyshevsky is completely true to Feuerbach. For readers who are unfamiliar with the works of the German thinker, it will be useful to quote the following passage from a preface written by __NOTE__ Footnote cont. on page 229. 229

Written---by virtue of a necessity all too familiar to Russian writers---in Aesopian language, but nevertheless bold and vivid in content, the article "The Anthropological Principle in Philosophy" was bound to produce a very strong impression both on readers who sympathised with Chernyshevsky's tendency, and, perhaps, an even stronger one on those who opposed him. It is not surprising that it provoked a heated polemic.

__NUMERIC_LVL3__ Chapter Three __ALPHA_LVL3__ The Polemic with Yurkevich and Others

Of the more or less eminent opponents of Chernyshevsky's views mention must be made first and foremost of P. Yurkevich, a professor at the Kiev Theological Academy, who attacked him in a long article "From the Science of the Human Spirit" printed in the 4th issue of the Transactions of the Kiev Theological Academy for 1860. At the time this article aroused the warm approval of Katkov in the Russky Vestnik, and even P. L. Lavrov, who was extremely far from Chernyshevsky's consistent mode of thought, evidently found Yurkevich's arguments fairly convincing. Later the philosophical campaign of the esteemed professor of the Theological Academy against Chernyshevsky was extolled by Mr. Volynsky in his above-mentioned work Russian Critics. Mr. Volynsky is firmly convinced that Chernyshevsky was totally devastated, as they say, by Yurkevich. And since Mr. Volynsky is the precursor, as it were, of all the philosophical charlatans, now so numerous in our literature, who lead the attack on materialism under the most motley idealist banners---all the Struves, Trubetskoys, Ivanovs, Lunacharskys, Bazarovs, Yushkeviches, Bermans, Valentinovs, Filosofovs, and so on and so forth---we shall examine in considerable detail exactly what seemed so convincing to Mr. Volynsky in the arguments of the Kiev theologian.

_-_-_ __NOTE__ Footnote cont. from page 228. Feuerbach to an edition of his works, the first volume of which came out in 1846: "Das Uebel sitzt nicht im Kopf oder Herzen, spndern im Magen der Menschheit.... Ich fiihlte es, sagte eine Verbrecherin, wie mir die bosen Gedanken aus dem Magen aufstiegen. Diese Verbrecherin ist das Bild der heutigen menschlichen Gesellschaft. Die einen haben Alles, was nur immer ihr liisternder Gaumen begehrt, die Andern haben Nichts, selbst nicht das Nothwendige in ihrem Magen. Daher kommen alle Uebel und Leiden, selbst die Kopf-und Herzenskrankheiten der Menschheit" (Vorwort, XV, ed. 1846). ["Evil has its seat not in the head or heart, but in the stomach of mankind.... I felt the evil thoughts coming out of my stomach, said a woman criminal. This criminal is the symbol of modern human society. Some have everything that their greedy palate craves, others have nothing, not even the necessities in their stomach. Hence all the evil and suffering, even the head and heart diseases of mankind."]

230

Firstly, Mr. Volynsky is very pleased with Yurkevich's idea that there is a whole chasm between the facts of internal and external experience and that any attempt to judge one subject from the viewpoint of another should be expelled from science. Chernyshevsky overlooked this and therefore committed a whole series of errors. According to him, philosophy sees in the human organism that which the natural sciences see in it. In this connection Yurkevich asked what was then the need for philosophy "which sees yet again that which other sciences have seen before it"? For his part Mr. Volynsky adds with a most complacent air: "Such is the first error of the author of 'The Anthropological Principle' according to the clear and simple explanation of Yurkevich."^^*^^

That Yurkevich's explanation was simple is true. But today it could seem clear only to someone who was quite unfamiliar with the question.

Chernyshevsky adopted the viewpoint of Feuerbach. And the question of the relation of philosophy to the natural sciences was regarded by Feuerbach as follows. He considered that philosophy should give way to natural science: "My philosophy,'' he said, "is that we need no philosophy.'' But in order that philosophy might usefully give way to the natural sciences, it was essential that the naturalists themselves should master those deductions of philosophy which led it to its own negation. In other words, it was essential that natural scientists ceased to be narrow specialists. But there was still a long way to go to this. The overwhelming majority of natural scientists did not go further in their thinking than the confines of their special science and continued to hold obsolete philosophical and social ideas. Until this shortcoming was remedied, philosophy could not merge with natural science. It was in this sense that Feuerbach said he went along with the naturalists to a certain point only. He would have expressed his view more accurately had he said that the natural scientists of his day were not capable of going along with him beyond a certain point. But be that as it may, he held this view and it contained the reply to Yurkevich's question. Chernyshevsky was, of course, quite familiar with this view. In evidence I shall quote the following passage by him: "Those naturalists who imagine that they are builders of all-embracing theories have actually remained pupils, and usually dull pupils, of the ancient thinkers who created the metaphysical systems, and usually of thinkers whose systems had already been shattered, partly by Schelling and utterly by Hegel.... When the naturalists stop talking such and similar metaphysical nonsense they will become capable of working out, and probably will work out, on the basis of natural science, a system of conceptions that will be more exact and fuller than those _-_-_

^^*^^ Russian Critics, St. Petersburg, 1896, p. 282.

231 expounded by Feuerbach. Meanwhile, the exposition of the scientific conceptions of the so-called fundamental problems of human enquiry made by Feuerbach remains the best.'' This passage was taken by us from the above-mentioned preface to the third edition of "The Aesthetic Relation of Art to Reality" which was planned but not published. The preface was written in 1888. But the passage quoted by us relates to a view which was expressed by Feuerbach in 1845 and which was, of course, well known to Chernyshevsky when he wrote the article "The Anthropological Principle in Philosophy''. We repeat, this view contains the reply to the question as to the need for philosophy which sees yet again that which the natural sciences have seen. This reply may have been unknown to Yurkevich, who was a backward person ex professo, so to say. But how could it have been unknown to Mr. Volynsky who aspired to the role of a thinker of the very latest model? The trouble is that our thinkers of the very latest model have no knowledge at all of the truly advanced authors whom they ``criticise''. They beckon the reader on, but themselves lag behind, warming up old philosophical dishes. There were many such people in Germany too in Feuerbach's day. Feuerbach called them Wiederkauer (ruminants). Unfortunately, we have incomparably more ``ruminants'' today; our literature is literally teeming with them. This is probably very pleasant for their precursor---Mr. Volynsky; but it is bound to nauseate those who do not engage in chewing the philosophical cud.

Secondly, Mr. Volynsky follows Yurkevich in finding that " Chernyshevsky outlined the question of the unity of human nature badly''. The point here is as follows. Yurkevich ascribes to Chernyshevsky the idea that there is no difference at all between material and psychical phenomena, and inquires triumphantly how it is that sensations arise from the movement of a nerve. This is the old nonsense that has long been flung at materialists and from which it merely follows that the people who want to ``criticise'' materialism do not even know the ABC of materialism. Nowhere in his article does Chernyshevsky say that there is no difference at all between so-called physical phenomena, on the one hand, and psychical phenomena, on the other. On the contrary, he categorically admits the existence of this difference; but he believes that it in no way justifies attributing psychical phenomena to a particular non-material factor. We are already familiar with his remark to the effect that there are very many different qualities in every object. We now shall discuss it in more detail. "For example.'' Chernyshevsky says, "a tree grows and burns; we say it has two qualities: the power of growth and combustibility. What similarity is there between these two qualities? They are totally different; there is no concept under which one could put both these qualities, except the general conception---quality; there is no 232 concept under which we could put both series of phenomena corresponding to these qualities, except the concept---phenomenon. Or, for example, ice is hard and sparkles; what is there common to hardness and sparkle? The logical distance from one of thesequalities to the other is immeasurably great or, it would be better to say, there is no logical distance between them, whether short or long, because there is no logical relation between them. From this we see that the combination of quite heterogeneous qualit ies in one object is the general law of things.'' The same also with the quality we call the capacity for sensation and thought. Its distance from the so-called physical qualities of the living organism is immeasurably great. But this does not prevent it being a quality of the same organism which, at the same time, possesses extension and capacity for movement. Those who believe that since sensation and thought are quite unlike movement and extension they should be attributed to another substance (spirit) quite different from that (matter) to which extension and movement are attributed, are guilty of a grave sin against logic. Such is Chernyshevsky's idea, and if Mr. Volynsky had the ``quality'' essential for understanding it, he would have seen at once how invalid, and what is more, how pathetic was Yurkevich's argument, the whole alleged force of which lay in its intentional or unintentional distortion of the views of the Russian adherent of the anthropological principle. But the fact of the matter is that Mr. Volynsky did not possess the ``qualities'' essential for understanding Chernyshevsky, just as our present-day ``ruminant'' wisdom-lovers, who are naively but firmly convinced that the philosophical views of Chernyshevsky have long since become "antiquated?, did not and still do not possess them.

Even J. Priestley remarked in his Disquisitions that the idea that brain vibrations are identical with perception would be a very great abuse of materialist doctrine. "It is easy to form an idea of there being vibrations without any perceptions accompanying them. But it is supposed that the brain, besides its vibrating power, has superadded to it a percipient or sentient power, likewise; there being no reason that we know why this power may not be imparted to it."^^*^^ This is precisely the point of view held by all the prominent materialists of modern times, including, of course, Feuerbach and Chernyshevsky. The opponents of materialism---the consistent or inconsistent, conscious or unconscious idealists---ought, in their criticism of this doctrine, to convince us above all that they know more about it than Priestley does, and show us what grounds specifically prevent them from recognising, together with Priestley, that the brain, besides having the ability to vibrate, may also _-_-_

^^*^^ Disquisitions Relating to Matter and Spirit. By Joseph Priestley, Vol. I. The second edition, Birmingham, MDCCLXXXII, p. 121.

233 be capable of perceiving. They undoubtedly have such grounds. But these amount to the spiritualistic prejudice that by itself, i.e., unless animated by spirit, matter is dead and incapable not only of perception, but even of motion. To refer, in arguing with the materialists, to such grounds means to commit an obvious petitio principii,^^*^^ i.e., to argue from the very same proposition which has to be proved. The opponents of materialism themselves more or less vaguely sense this. Therefore, they are usually very careful not to show the grounds which hinder them from recognising the capacity for perceiving as one of the properties of matter, and prefer to refute what no single prominent materialist has ever stated, at least in modern times, i.e., that perception is the same as motion.^^**^^ We leave it to the reader to judge of this sort of criticism, a criticism which is more widespread in our country than anywhere else, and is more so now than ever before.

So, once again---Chernyshevsky does not identify perception and motion, but he regards the ability to perceive as the same quality of matter as its capacity for motion. The question now arises as to what is the nature of the conditions under which matter which possesses the ability to perceive becomes perceiving in fact. Chernyshevsky replies that these conditions have been little studied as yet, but that we can now attribute a material nature to them with complete certainty. The ability to perceive reveals itself in organisms only, and we already know that, in Chernyshevsky's opinion, the life of the organism is primarily a certain chemical process. This, in his opinion, explains the fact that the organism displays this ability which we do not find in unorganised matter.

This is a most important question, and we invite the reader to give it his full attention. Chernyshevsky writes: "...during a chemical process bodies reveal qualities that are totally unobserved when they are in the state of an immobile compound. For example, wood by itself does not burn; tinder and flint also do not burn of themselves. If, however, a particle of steel made red-hot by friction (a blow) with flint falls on the tinder and greatly raises the temperature of some part of this tinder, it creates the conditions necessary for the beginning of the process that is called combustion in this particle of tinder. The latter, drawn into this chemical process, will begin to burn, which it did not do when it was not going through this chemical process. If brought in contact with wood while undergoing this process, it will draw the latter into its process of combustion, and during this process the wood will _-_-_

^^*^^ [taxing a principle for granted]

^^**^^ We allow that among the ancient materialists---Democritus and Epicurus, for example---there may have been a certain lack of clarity on this point, although this is far from having been proved: it must be remembered that the views of these thinkers have not survived in their entirety.

234 also burn, radiate light and reveal other qualities that it did not display before the process began. Take, for example, the process of fermentation. The brew in the vat is still; the yeast in the cup is also still. Put the yeast into the vat; a chemical process called fermentation will commence; the brew bubbles, froths, and seethes in the vat."

These arguments of Ghernyshevsky's are reminiscent of the view of those French and English materialists of the eighteenth century who assumed that the capacity for perception and thought was the result of a certain state of an organised body.^^*^^ But in Chernyshevsky this opinion contains nothing at all exceptional. Chernyshevsky understands perfectly that there is no great difference between a "chemical process'', on the one hand, and the "state of an immobile compound'', on the other. In view of the extreme importance of this subject we find ourselves again obliged to quote a long extract from the article "The Anthropological Principle in Philoso-

phy".

``It stands to reason,'' Chernyshevsky admits, "that when we speak of the difference in the state of a body during a chemical process and at a time when it is not in that process, we mean only the quantitative distinction between a vigorous, rapid course of that process and a very feeble, slow course of it. Properly speaking, every body is constantly undergoing a chemical process. For example, a log, even if it is not set on fire or burnt in a stove but lies quietly, seemingly undergoing no changes, in the wall of a house, will nevertheless come in time to the same end to which burning brings it: it will gradually decay, and nothing will be left of it, too, but ashes (the dust of decayed wood, of which in the end nothing remains but the mineral particles of ash). But if this process---e.g., in the case of a log decaying in a house wall---takes place very slowly and feebly, then qualities inherent in a body undergoing the process manifest themselves with a microscopic feebleness that is completely imperceptible under ordinary conditions. For example, the slow decay of a piece of wood in a house wall also generates heat; but that quantity of it which in burning would have been concentrated into a few hours, in this case becomes diluted, so to speak, into several decades, so that it does not achieve any result that is easily perceptible in practice; the existence of this heat is negligible for practical purposes. It is the same as the taste of wine in a whole pond of water into which _-_-_

^^*^^ For example, Holbach tended towards this idea, and it was expressed categorically by J. Priestley. The latter says: "my idea now is that sensation and thought do necessarily result from the organisation of the brain, when the powers of mere life are given to the system.'' Loc. cit., p. 150. Cf. in general the whole of Section 13 of the Disquisitions: "of the Connection between Sensation and Organisation."

235 one drop of wine has been cast: from the scientific point of view, the pond contains a mixture of water and wine, but to all practical purposes it can be assumed that there is no wine at all in it."

This brilliant passage allows one to surmise that for Chernyshevsky in this respect too there was no cleavage between organised matter on the one hand and unorganised matter, on the other. To be sure, the organism of the animal (and particularly of the animal at the top of the zoological tree, that is, man) displays in the respect that is of interest to us such properties as are altogether alien to unorganised matter. But, after all, the burning of a piece of wood, too, is accompanied by a number of phenomena that are not to be observed during the process of its slow decay. However, there is no essential difference between these two processes. On the contrary, this is one and the same process, with this difference only that in the one case it is very rapid and in the other, extremely slow. Therefore, in the one case the properties which belong to a body undergoing this process manifest themselves with great force, while in the other case they do so "with a microscopic feebleness that is completely imperceptible under ordinary conditions''. In regard to the question of psychical phenomena this means that in an unorganised form, also, matter is not devoid of the basic capacity for ``sensation'', which provides such rich ``spiritual'' fruits among the higher animals. But in unorganised matter this capacity exists to an extremely small extent. Therefore it is totally imperceptible to the investigator and, without risk of committing any appreciable error, we can equate it to nil. Nevertheless, it must not be forgotten that this capacity in general is inherent in matter and that in consequence there are no grounds for regarding it as something miraculous where it manifests itself particularly strongly, as can be seen, for example, among the higher animals in general, and pre-eminently in man. In expressing this idea---with the caution necessary under the conditions of our press at that time---Chernyshevsky came close to such materialists as La Mettrie and Diderot, who, in turn, adopted the view of Spinozism, freed of the unnecessary theological appendages.

Mr. Volynsky believes that Yurkevich expressed an extraordinarily clever idea in saying that the changing of the motion of the air into sound and the vibration of the ether into light must presuppose a percipient being capable of turning quantitative motions into the qualities of sound and light. But Chernyshevsky himself also knew this very well; only he assumed that this percipient being was matter organised in a certain way, and neither Mr. Volynsky nor Yurkevich whom he extols advanced a single sensible argument against this assumption.

Yurkevich also asserted that quantitative differences are 236 transformed into qualitative differences not in the object itself but in its relation to the sentient subject. This is a very gross logical error. In order to become changed in its relation to the sentient subject, the object must undergo a preliminary change in itself. If for us ice does not have the same properties as steam, it is because the mutual relations of the water particles in the former case are entirely different from those in the latter. But enough of this.

Thirdly, Mr. Volynsky believes that Yurkevich was right in reproaching Chernyshevsky for having forgotten the main feature by which man is distinguished from other animals, namely, that man manifests himself "as a personal spirit''. On this we find it quite unnecessary to argue with Mr. Volynsky and we refer the reader to such works as Darwin's The Descent of Man or Romanes' book devoted to a study of the mental development in man and the animals. One need only compare the conclusions of Darwin and Romanes with those of Chernyshevsky to see how firmly our defender of "The Anthropological Principle in Philosophy" adhered to the viewpoint of natural science.

We know how contemptuous Chernyshevsky was of Yurkevich's arguments. He did not analyse these arguments---nor had he any possibility of doing so under the conditions of the censorship--- but simply declared them to be obsolete and not in the least convincing.

``I am a seminarian myself,'' he wrote in his "Polemical Gems''. "I know from my own experience the position of people who get their education as Yurkevich did. I have seen people in the same position as he is. I therefore find it hard to laugh at him; it would mean laughing at the impossibility of having decent books available, laughing at a person's complete lack of power to develop himself, at a situation that is unimaginably restricted in all possible respects.

``I do not know Mr. Yurkevich's age; if he is no longer a young man, it is too late to worry about him. But if he is still young, I gladly offer him the small collection of books in my possession."

Mr. Volynsky still finds this reply highly unsatisfactory. He thinks that Chernyshevsky replied in this way solely because of his inability to refute Yurkevich. Evidently some journalists at the beginning of the sixties also reasoned in this manner. For example, Dudyshkin, enumerating Yurkevich's allegedly irrefutable arguments point by point, wrote the following in Otechestvenniye Zapiski, addressing himself to Chernyshevsky.

``The matter would appear to be clear; it now concerns not someone else, but you; not philosophy or physiology in general, but your ignorance of these sciences. Why drag in the red herring of seminary philosophy? Why confuse totally different things and 237 say that you knew ail that when you were at the seminary and even now remember it all by heart?"

To this Cliernyshevsky replied that Dudyshkin's lack of acquaintance with seminary notebooks prevented him from understanding what was at issue. "If you took the trouble to look through these notebooks,'' he continues, "you would see that all the shortcomings which Mr. Yurkevich discovers in me, these notebooks discover in Aristotle, Bacon, Gassendi, Locke, etc., etc., in all the philosophers who were not idealists. Consequently, these reproaches by no means apply to me as an individual writer; they apply rather to the theory which I consider it useful to popularise. If you are incredulous, take a look at the Philosophical Dictionary, published by Mr. S.G., which takes the same line as Mr. Yurkevich, and you will see that the same thing is said there of every nonidealist: he does not know psychology, he is not acquainted with the natural sciences, he rejects inner experience, he is overwhelmed by facts, he confuses metaphysics with the natural sciences, he degrades man, etc., etc. Tell me, then, why should I regard seriously the author of the famous article and the people who praise him, when I can see that they are repeating against me personally things that have been repeated from time immemorial about every thinker of the school to which I adhere? I should reason thus: either they do not know, or they are pretending not to know that these reproaches are not against me, but against a whole school; consequently, they are either people with a poor knowledge of the history of philosophy, or merely acting in accordance with tactics, the hypocritical nature of which is known to them. In either case such opponents are not worthy of serious dispute.'' This was quite right.

Chernyshevsky was equally right when he wrote in the same article that the theory which he considered correct was the last link in a series of philosophical systems and that it proceeded from Hegelian theory, just as Hegel's had proceeded from Schelling's. He said proudly that he regarded his philosophical theory not only as the newest, but also as the most complete and most correct.

One would have to be Mr. Volynsky or one- of his present-day numerous ``ruminant'' followers to consider Yurkevich's arguments irrefutable. In fact these arguments did not even shaketo say nothing of refuting---any of Chernyshevsky-Feuerbach'? basic propositions. But it must be acknowledged that certain deductions drawn by Chernyshevsky from the main propositions of his materialist philosophy were insufficiently elaborated, and therefore one-sided and---by virtue of their one-sidedness---not entirely correct. Such were his deductions relating to the doctrine of morality.

238 __NUMERIC_LVL3__ Chapter Four __ALPHA_LVL3__ The Doctrine of Morality

``A careful examination of the motives that prompt people's actions shows that all deeds, good and bad, noble and base, heroic and craven, are prompted by one cause: a man acts in the way that gives him most pleasure. He is guided by self-interest, which causes him to abstain from a smaller gain, or a lesser pleasure, in order to obtain a larger gain or a larger pleasure.'' In support of this idea, Chernyshevsky quotes several examples. When a wife laments the death of her beloved husband, the thought of herself forms the basis of her grief: "What shall I do without you? Life will be impossible for me without you'', etc. The same is seen also in the grief of a mother who has lost her child: "I have been robbed of all my hopes in you, 1 have been robbed of all my joy!'', etc. Here, according to Chernyshevsky, the egoistic basis of the feeling is very clear. Cases of so-called self-sacrifice are a little more difficult. The inhabitants of Saguntum committed suicide to avoid surrendering to = Hannibal.^^97^^ This was an heroic act; but this heroic act does not contradict egoistic self-interest: "Had they not exterminated themselves, the Carthaginians would have exterminated them, but the latter would have first subjected them to barbarous torture, and common sense prompted them to prefer a quick death to a slow and painful one.'' Or take Lucretia who stabbed herself after Tarquinius Sextus had raped her. Chernyshevsky believes that she, too, was guided by self-interest. "Her husband might have spoken words of consolation and endearment to her, but such words would have been sheer nonsense, testifying to the nobility of the one who uttered them, but by no means averting the inevitable consequences of the incident. Collatinus might have said to his wife: 'I regard you as pure and love you as before.' With the conceptions prevailing at that time, however, and prevailing with but little alteration today, he could not have proved his words by deeds; willy-nilly, he had already lost considerable respect and love for his wife. He might have attempted to conceal this loss by deliberately exaggerated tenderness towards her, but such tenderness is more offensive than coldness, more bitter than beating and abuse. Lucretia was right in thinking that suicide was preferable to living in a state that was degrading compared to the life to which she had been accustomed. A fastidious man would prefer to go hungry rather than touch food that had been in any way polluted. A self-respecting person would prefer death to degradation."^^*^^

_-_-_

^^*^^ Works, VI, pp. 230--31.

239

In advancing these arguments Chernyshevsky makes a reservation. He does not attempt in the slightest to belittle the great praise which the inhabitants of Saguntum and Lucretia deserve. He merely argues that their heroic acts were also wise ones. And to argue this is not, in his opinion, to belittle heroism and nobility. This is quite true, and when people like Yurkevich reproached him for not being able to appreciate these feelings, they were merely displaying their own inability to understand our author's views. Chernyshevsky's doctrine of morality did not belittle heroism and nobility in any way; on the contrary, it sought to enhance them by pointing out that the path chosen by the hero is the path which is prescribed by proper self-interest. But this does not remove the logical error inherent in Chernyshevsky's views. In fact, by the examples of the inhabitants of Saguntum and Lucretia Chernyshevsky wished to convince us that noble actions are not reckless ones. We do not doubt this in the slightest. But we maintain that an action based on self-interest is one thing and an action the consequences of which are just as favourable for the person who commits it as the consequences of the action that was based solely on self-interest is quite another. We grant that it was in fact more advantageous for Lucretia to take her life, but we doubt very much that she could have indulged in any hard-headed calculations of advantage just before her suicide. Such calculations require composure, and Lucretia could not have been composed. Would it not be more correct to assume that in her action self-interest, i.e., reason, played a far smaller part than feeling which had developed under the influence of the relations, customs and views of that time? Human feelings and customs usually adapt themselves to the existing social---and also family, of course---relations in such a way that actions committed under their influence may sometimes appear as the fruit of the most hard-headed calculations, whereas in fact they were not the result of calculation at all. This is true to such an extent that Chernyshevsky himself confirms it by his own reflections: he says, as we have seen, that a selfrespecting person would prefer death to degradation. And this again is true. But one must not equate custom with self-interest, and one must not say that a person who acts on the strength of a certain praiseworthy custom "is guided by self-interest, which causes him to abstain from a smaller gain, or a lesser pleasure, in order to obtain a larger gain or a larger pleasure''. In general, very noticeable in Chernyshevsky's view of rational egoism is the endeavour, characteristic of all "periods of enlightenment" (Aufklarungsperioden), to seek support for morality in reason and an explanation of the individual's character and behaviour in his more or less hard-headed calculation. Sometimes Chernyshevsky's arguments in this connection are as similar as two 240 peas in a pod to the arguments of Helvetius and those who shared his ideas. They recall almost as strongly the arguments of Socrates, the typical representative of the epoch of enlightenment in Ancient Greece, who, in coming forward as a champion of friendship, showed that it is advantageous to have friends because they may be of some use in times of misfortune. The explanation for such extremes of rationality is that the enlighteners were usually incapable of adopting the viewpoint of development.~^^*^^

We know that, according to Chernyshevsky's theory, man is by nature neither good nor bad but becomes good or bad depending on circumstances.^^**^^ Were we to recognise that man is always prompted by calculation in his behaviour, then we should have to formulate Chernyshevsky's view of human nature differently; we should have to say that man is by nature neither good nor bad, but only calculating, this property of his becoming more or less pronounced depending on circumstances. But such a formulation would hardly be to our author's liking.

What is good and what is bad, according to his theory? This question is answered by the same article, "The Anthropological Principle in Philosophy"---a very informative one, as the reader can see. "Individuals regard as good the actions of other people that are beneficial for them; society holds as good what is good for the whole of society, or for the majority of its members. Lastly, people in general, irrespective of nation or estate, describe as good that which is beneficial for mankind in general.'' It often happens that the interests of different nations or estates run counter to one another or to human interests generally; it is also a frequent occurrence that the interests of one estate are opposed to those of the whole nation. How is one to decide in this case what is good and what is bad? It is very easy to decide this question in theory: "The interests of mankind as a whole stand higher than the interests of an individual nation; the common interests of a whole nation are higher than the interests of an individual estate; the interests of a large estate are higher than the interests of a small one.'' But what happens in practice? In practice people describe an action that is beneficial to them as good, and one _-_-_

^^*^^ For more about this see our book Beitrage zur Geschichte des Materialismus---Holbach, Helvetius und Karl Marx, Stuttgart, = 1896.^^98^^

^^**^^ It is worth noting, however, that previously our author expressed a different view of human nature. According to that view, man is "a being whicli by nature is inclined to respect and love truth and goodness, and to abhor all that is bad, a being capable of violating the laws of goodness and truth only through ignorance, error or under the influence of circumstances stronger than his character and reason, but a being never capable of preferring evil to good of his own free will''. (See the article on Shchedrin's Provincial Sketches in the Sovremennik, 1857, No. 6, reprinted in Collected Works, Vol. III. The lines quoted are on pp. 221--22 of the volume.) This is closer to Socrates than to the present-day doctrine of development.

241 that is detrimental to them as bad, rarely asking what relation it bears to the broader interests of the whole. But Ghernyshevsky is convinced that people, estates or nations, that prefer their own interests to the general interests, suffer from this "theoretical fallacy" themselves in the final analysis. He says: "In those cases when, for its own advantage, an individual nation tramples upon the interests of mankind, or when an individual estate tramples upon the interests of the nation, the result is always detrimental not only to the side whose interest has been encroached upon, bul also to the side that had hoped to gain by this. It always turns out that a nation which enslaves mankind ruins itself; an individual estate that sacrifices the whole nation to its own interest comes to a bad end itself.'' We do not propose to analyse here the historical and economic examples with the help of which he seeks to support his thesis: we shall touch upon this subject below, when we discuss Chernyshevsky's historical views. For the moment, however, we shall confine ourselves to the remark that no matter how true or false his proposition, what he says about the relation of the interests of the part to the interests of the whole undoubtedly enables us to formulate the question of egoism more correctly than it has been done in his article. Let us, in fact, assume that we are dealing with a society which is not divided into ^estates or classes. In such a society the actions of individuals that coincide with the interests of the whole will be considered good, and those that are opposed to these interests will be considered bad. Thus, at the basis of judgments on good and evil there will lie what might be called the egoism of the whole, public egoism. But the egoism of the whole by no means excludes the altruism of individuals, individual altruism. On the contrary, it is its source: society strives to educate its individual members in such a way that they put public interests before their private interest; the more the actions of a given individual satisfy this requirement of society, the more self-sacrificing, moral and altruistic the individual will be. And the more his actions go against this requirement, the more self-seeking, immoral and egoistic he will be. This is the criterion which has always---more or less consciously---been applied by people in their judgment of whether a given action by a given person is altruistic or egoistic. The only possible difference here amounts to what exactly is the whole, the interests of which are put before the interests of individuals in the given case.

But when society applies its criterion based on the interests of the whole to the judgment of actions by individuals, it wants an action that is beneficial to it to be dictated by the inner urge of the individual who committed it, and not by the individual's thoughts of his own gain. As long as an individual who is serving the interests of the whole is guided by his personal gain, he __PRINTERS_P_241_COMMENT__ 16---0267 242 displays more or less acumen, more or less foresight, but not more or less altruism. Educating a person to be moral means that actions which are beneficial to society become an instinctive requirement (Kant's "categorical imperative'') for him. And the stronger this requirement, the more moral the individual. Heroes are people who cannot help obeying this requirement even when the satisfaction of it runs counter to their most essential interests, threatening them, for example, with death. This was usually overlooked by the ``enlighteners'', Chernyshevsky included. It may, incidentally, be added that Kant, who maintained that moral promptings bore no relation to advantage, was just as mistaken as the " enlighteners''. He also in this case failed to adopt the viewpoint of development and to deduce individual altruism from public egoism.

It is interesting that Chernyshevsky, who maintained that man is always guided by considerations of gain, in the final analysis thought exactly what we are saying, but formulated his idea badly as a result of the afore-mentioned incorrectness of his logical premises. Take a look at how Lopukhov and Kirsanov describe themselves in the novel What Is To Be Done? Vera Pavlovna, who has made the acquaintance of Kirsanov, asks him whether he loves Lopukhov very much. In this connection the following conversation takes place between them:

``I? I do not love anyone but myself, Vera Pavlovna.

``So you do not love him?

``We lived together without quarreling, that's enough.

``And he did not love you?

``I did not notice anything. But let us ask him: Did you love me, Dmitri?

``I never felt any particular hatred for you."^^*^^

Kirsanov does not love "anyone but himself'', and Lopukhov confines himself to the fact that he does not feel "any particular hatred" for his best friend. As you can see, they are egoists to the very core. And they remain such ``egoists''... in all their conversations and statements. Lopukhov, having decided to renounce the academic career which awaits him, in order to marry Vera Pavlovna and save her from her parents' authority, convinces himself that he is not making a sacrifice: "And I had no intention of sacrificing anything. Up to now I have never been so stupid as to make sacrifices---and I hope I never will be. I did what was best for me. I'm not the sort of person to make sacrifices. There aren't such people anyway, nobody makes sacrifices; it is a false concept; a sacrifice is stuff and nonsense. You do what you like best. But just try to explain it. It's understandable in theory; but when he is faced with the fact, a person is moved and says: you are my benefactor."^^**^^

_-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. IX, Section 2, p. 92.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 85.

243

You do what you like best. Who follows this rule? Everybody. But each person is ``self'', and for each person each idea of this or that action by him is inseparable from his awareness of his ``self''. This indisputable fact is interpreted by Chernyshevsky--- as it has always been interpreted by the ``enlighteners'' of all countries---in favour of his theory of rational egoism. Having convinced himself that it would even be beneficial for him to renounce an academic career and marry Vera Pavlovna, Lopukhov concludes his reflection on this point with the following solemn statement: "How true it is that the 'self is always in the foreground---I began with myself and I have ended with myself. What did I begin with: 'sacrifice'---what trickery! As if I were renouncing academic fame and a professorial chair---what nonsense! It makes no difference, I will work just the same, and get a chair just the same, and serve medicine just the same. It is nice for a person who is a theoretician to see how egoism plays with his thoughts in practice."^^*^^

Here Chernyshevsky's logical error is displayed most prominently. From the fact that the awareness of his ``self'' never leaves a person in his thoughts about his actions, it by no means follows that all his actions are egoistic. If the ``self'' in question sees its happiness in the happiness of others; if it has a ``passion'' for this happiness, such a ``self'' is called altruistic, not egoistic. And to seek to obscure the profound difference between egoism and altruism merely on the basis that altruistic actions are also accompanied in people by an awareness of their ``self'' is to wish to introduce logical confusion where complete clarity is quite essential. The extent to which it is essential is shown by Chernyshevsky's own example. Having equated altruism with egoism, he finds himself compelled to seek another criterion to distinguish those actions which are usually called egoistic from those which are given the name of altruistic. And what does he find?

In his Notes on Journals (January 1857) he says, defining the difference between Pechorin and Rudin: "One is an egoist who thinks of nothing but his own personal pleasure; the other is an enthusiast who forgets about himself completely and is totally absorbed in general interests; one lives for his passions, the other for his ideas. They are people ... who stand in complete contrast _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 86. In a similar way Vera Pavlovna, explaining to the seamstresses her intention of setting up a cooperative workshop, says: "This is because I have no great passion for money; you know that different peoplehave different passions, not everyone has them just for money: some have a passion for balls, others for clothes or cards, and all people like that are even prepared to face ruin for their passion, many of them do ruin themselves,, and no one is surprised that their passion is dearer to them than money. Bui my passion is for what I am going to try to undertake with you" (ibid., p. 117): In her case too the matter is depicted in such a way as to suggest that she is always putting her ``self'' in the foreground.

16*

244 to each other."^^*^^ Quite right! But precisely because such contrasts are possible it is wrong to say that all people are egoists and that they differ from one another only in the greater or lesser extent of their desire for gain. It was not for gain that Rudin lived for his ideas, and in exactly the same way it was not for gain that Pechorin lived for his passions.

Another example. After marrying Lopukhov, Vera Pavlovna did not see her parents for six whole months; then she visited them, and this is how our author describes the impression which she carried away of that visit: "For six months Vera Pavlovna had breathed clear air, she had already grown quite unaccustomed to the stifling atmosphere of cunning words, each of which was uttered out of calculating self-interest, to hearing wicked thoughts, base plans, and the cellar made a terrible impression on her. Filth, vulgarity, cynicism of all kind---all this struck her now with the force of something new.

``How did I have the strength to live in such vile conditions? How could I breathe in that cellar? And I not only lived there, I even stayed healthy. It's amazing, beyond comprehension. How did I manage to grow up there with a love of goodness? It's incredible, past understanding, thought Vera Pavlovna as she returned home, and felt as if she were resting after almost choking."^^**^^

Formerly Vera Pavlovna had lived in an "atmosphere of cunning words, each of which was uttered out of calculating selfinterest''. Now she finds it difficult to breathe in this atmosphere. Why should it be difficult if people in general are guided by nothing but self-interest? She finds it difficult because the self-- interest by which people such as her parents are guided is bad, " calculating" self-interest, totally alien to a "love of goodness". So we gee that after having reduced everything to self-interest Chernyshevsky was obliged to distinguish between calculating selfinterest, "alien to a love of goodness" and uncalculating selfinterest which is full of this love.^^***^^ In other words, he returns to the old distinction between egoism and altruism. The same thing happened to him as happened much earlier to Holbach and the other eighteenth-century Enlighteners who also reduced everything to self-interest and also found themselves compelled by logic to distinguish between calculating and uncalculating self-interest.

_-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. Ill, p. 66.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 108.

^^***^^ In another passage of the same novel he displays great displeasure with people "who are accustomed to interpret the word 'interest' in the too narrow sense of common self-interest" (Works, Vol. IX, p. 169). So now it emerges that in addition to common self-interest there is a kind that is uncommon. How does it differ from the common kind? In that people who are guided by it take the interests of their ``conscience'' into consideration ((ibidem).

245

In the above-mentioned article by Chernyshevsky on Provincial Sketches we find the following most correct idea: "the customs and rules which govern society arise and continue in consequence of facts which are independent of the will of the person who follows them: they must necessarily be regarded from the historical viewpoint."^^*^^ But if the customs and rules which govern society arise independently of the will of its members and if they must necessarily be regarded from the historical, and not the rationalistic viewpoint, the customs and rules which determine the actions of individuals must also be regarded in the same way; they in their turn also arise independently of the will, and consequently, also of the self-interest of the individual and the individual frequently obeys them in spite of the fact that this goes against his personal interests.

In fact this is precisely what Chernyshevsky means to say, when he makes his heroes assure us that they have never loved anyone but themselves. This assurance of his heroes would appear to be contradicted by Lopukhov's imaginary fiancee---about whom he speaks to Vera Pavlovna when he is dancing with her on her birthday---calling herself "love of people".^^**^^ But actually there is no contradiction here: Chernyshevsky simply means that the whole moral being of his heroes is imbued with a love of people, as a result of which the actions dictated by this love are an urgent requirement of their ``self''. The desire for unselfish action is so characteristic of Lopukhov and Kirsanov that, in giving way to it, they experience no inner struggle, but simply follow their own good instinct, as a result of which they imagine themselves to be people who think only of themselves.^^***^^

Their logical mistake is caused by the fact that in their actions they are governed by feeling, not logic. And in their case such a mistake might be said to be inevitable. But in assessing their characters we are by no means obliged to repeat their logical error. We should understand that in fact these people are not egoists at all and that those who believe them and think them egoists are confusing concepts without the differentiation of which there can be no proper doctrine of morality.

The process due to which individual altruism grows on the basis of public egoism is a dialectical process, which usually _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. Ill, p. 214.

^^**^^ [Works, Vol. IX, Section 2], p. 70. "Vera's first dream.

^^***^^ Reflecting on his relationship with Vera Pavlovna, Kirsanov reasons thus with himself: "If I once act against the whole of my human nature, I will lose the possibility to be at peace, the possibility to be content with myself forever, I will poison the whole of my life" (ibid., p. 151). Kirsanov merely forgets to add that, in possessing such a ``nature'', he has no need to resort to the calculation of gain; such a ``nature'' does not need calculation in order to decide upon a good action.

246 escapes the notice of the ``enlighteners''. As people pursuing primarily practical aims, the ``enlighteners'' show little interest in the dialectics of phenomena and concepts in general. We shall see this presently on the example of our author. For the time being, however, in parting with his doctrine of morality, we would say that, whatever the logical error inherent in this doctrine, it is worlds apart from the propagation of practical egoism. This was not understood by people like Yurkevich at the time when the article "The Anthropological Principle in Philosophy" appeared. And it is not understood now by people like Mr. Volynsky, the precursor of our ``ruminant'' wisdom-lovers. By displaying their misunderstanding of it, such people testify to their own intellectual poverty. Chernyshevsky had every right to despise them. Anp he made extensive use of this right. Whole pages in his novel What Is To Be Done? are taken up with the ridicule of these people, and these pages may be called brilliant without the slightest exaggeration. We should like to reproduce one of them in part.

Describing Lopukhov's relationship with Vera Pavlovna in the period preceding his marriage to her, Ghernyshevsky pretends to be indignant at his callousness and says that not only is it impossible jto justify him, but it is wrong to even try to do so. Some might say in his defence that he was a medical man and engaged in the natural sciences which, as is known, incline one towards materialism. To this Ghernyshevsky ironically objects that all the sciences lead to materialism, but that fortunately not all scientists are materialists. "Therefore,'' he concludes, "Lopukhov remains guilty. Compassionate people, who do not try to justify him, could also say in his excuse that he is not entirely without certain praiseworthy features: he has deliberately and firmly resolved to renounce all worldly gain and honour in order to work for the benefit of others, finding that the pleasure from such work is the finest gain for him; he looked upon the girl, who was so beautiful that he fell in love with her, with a gaze purer than that with which some brothers regard their sisters; but against this excuse of his materialism it must be said that in general there is not a single person without some good features, and that materialists, whatever they may be, are nevertheless materialists, and this in itself is conclusive proof that they are base, immoral people who must not be excused, because excusing them would be pandering to materialism. So one cannot excuse Lopukhov without justifying him. And he must not be justified either, because the lovers of fine thoughts and champions of noble aspirations, who accuse materialists of being base, immoral people, have of late so recommended themselves in respect of intellect, and character too, in the eyes of all respectable people, materialists and non-materialists alike, 247 that to defend anyone against their reprimands has become quite superfluous, and to pay attention to their words has become quite improper."^^*^^

__NUMERIC_LVL3__ Chapter Five __ALPHA_LVL3__ Chernyshevsky and Dialectics

In his work on Lessing Chernyshevsky says:

``If anyone was ever destined by his cast of mind for philosophy, it was Lessing. Yet he hardly wrote a word about philosophy itself, he did not devote a single page to it in his works, and in his letters he speaks of it almost only to Mendelssohn, confining himself to what was necessary for Mendelssohn. Can it really be that he himself, in defiance of his own nature, had such little interest in philosophy? Quite the reverse: he revealed to us what occupied his thoughts when he engraved on Gleim's country cottage the classical 'hen kai pan' (one and all), while he was talking to Gleim about his 'Grenadier Songs' and his poem ' Halladat'.^^**^^ The point is that it was not yet time for pure philosophy to become the focus of German intellectual life---so Lessing kept silent about philosophy: the minds of his contemporaries were ready to respond to poetry, but were not yet ready for philosophy---so Lessing wrote dramas and discussed poetry."^^***^^

These words are almost entirely applicable to Chernyshevsky himself. True, in his ability to get to the heart of philosophical questions he could not rival the brilliant Belinsky.^^****^^ But nevertheless, "by his cast of mind" he possessed many qualities for an extremely fruitful study of philosophy, and he would, of course, have achieved incomparably more than, for example, P. Lavrov has managed to do. And he evidently loved philosophy: it was he who said that the man who has a philosophical spirit, who has once become interested in philosophy, will find it difficult to tear himself away from philosophy's great questions for the sake of the relatively trivial questions of the individual sciences. But in compiling his plan of studies this ``egoist'', who speaks so often about ``self-interest'', was guided, like Lessing, not by his personal tastes, but by the requirements of social development. The society of his day had little interest in philosophy and a relatively strong interest in literature. This is why he devoted his early works _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. IX, p. 63.

^^**^^ ["Preussische Kriegslieder von einem Grenadier" and "Halladat oder das rote Buch".]

^^***^^ Works, Vol. Ill, p. 755.

^^****^^ Chernyshevsky himself wrote that Belinsky "must be acknowledged as brilliant" (Works, Vol. II, p. 122).

248 mainly to literary questions, using his philosophical deductions to elucidate questions of this nature. Thus arose "The Aesthetic Relation of Art to Reality''. Later economic and also--- particularly in relation to foreign affairs---political questions appeared on the scene. And Chernyshevsky turned to these questions, which occupied far more of his time than literary questions. Thus, he had no real opportunity to devote much time to philosophy. Only the article "The Anthropological Principle" commemorates his interest in it at that time. But in other articles by him one also finds passages which show that his interest in philosophy never died and that he knew the subject well. In this respect our ``advanced'' writers of the subsequent period, for example, N. Mikhailovsky and his ``subjective'' followers, cannot bear even the remotest comparison with him.^^*^^

N. Mikhailovsky and his ``subjective'' followers could only shrug their shoulders contemptuously at Hegel's ``metaphysics'' about which, incidentally, they did not have the faintest idea. But Chernyshevsky knew Hegel and had a very high opinion of his philosophy. This is how he describes his own attitude to Hegel and that of his teacher Feuerbach:

``We often see the continuators of a scientific work turning against their predecessors whose work served as the starting point of their own work. Thus, Aristotle looked with hostile eyes upon Plato, and Socrates infinitely belittled the Sophists, whose work he continued. Many examples will also be found in modern times. But sometimes we meet with gratifying cases when the founders of a new system clearly perceive the connection between their opinions and the ideas expressed by their predecessors, and modestly call themselves the latter's disciples. When exposing the inadequacy of their predecessors' conceptions, they nevertheless clearly say how much these conceptions have helped to develop their own ideas. Such, for example, was Spinoza's attitude towards Descartes. It must be said to the credit of the founders of present-day science that they regard their predecessors with reverence and almost with filial love; they fully recognise their genius and the nobility of their doctrines, in which they point to the germs of their own views. Mr. Chernyshevsky is _-_-_

^^*^^ The interest in philosophy, so strong here in the thirties and forties, was completely insignificant during the next four decades. What Chernyshevsky himself thought about this decline can be seen from the following passage by him: "Philosophical strivings are now all but forgotten by our literature and criticism. We do not wish to assess how much literature and criticism have gained from this forgetting---it would appear that they have gained nothing and lost a great deal" (Works, Vol. II, p. 183). Interest in philosophical questions has now revived again here. But our preceding and prolonged lack of concern with philosophy has resulted in the fact that each obsolete philosophical idea is greeted here like an important philosophical discovery.

249 aware of this and follows the example of the people whose ideas he has applied to aesthetical problems."^^*^^

After all that has been said by us above there can hardly beany need to repeat that by the founders of present-day science our author means Feuerbach, whose example he follows not only in his profound respect for Hegel, but also in his critical attitude towards the latter's system.

What he says about Hegel in his Essays on the Gogol Period of Russian Literature is not always right, but it is always intelligent and interesting. We find the following passage there, for example, which is most reminiscent of Engels' comments on th& dual nature of Hegel's philosophy. "Hegel's principles were extremely powerful and broad; his deductions were narrow and feeble. Despite all his colossal genius, the great thinker possessed only enough strength to express general ideas, but not enough to adhere firmly to these principles and to make all the necessary logical deductions from them.... Not only was Hegel unable to makedeductions from his principles, but the principles themselves were not altogether clear to him, they were hazy to him. The next generation of thinkers took a step forward, and the principles that were vaguely, one-sidedly and abstractly expressed by Hegel appeared in all their fullness and clarity. Then, no room remained for vacillation, duality vanished, the false conclusions introduced into science by Hegel's inconsistency in developing fundamental propositions were eliminated, and content was brought into harmony with fundamental truths."^^**^^

One can only applaud the clarity of views displayed by our author here. But when he begins to describe Hegel's dialectical method, we unfortunately remain dissatisfied. This is what he says about it:

``The essence of this method is that the thinker must not rest content with any positive deduction, but must find out whether the object about which he is thinking contains qualities and forces that are the opposite of those which the object presented to him at first sight. Thus, the thinker was obliged to examine the object from all sides, and truth appeared to him only as a consequence of a conflict between all possible conflicting opinions. Gradually, as a result of this method, the former one-sided conceptions of an object were supplanted by a full and all-sided investigation, and a living conception was obtained of all the real qualities of an object. To explain reality became the _-_-_

^^*^^ This passage is taken from a critical article which Chernyshevsky devoted to his own dissertation "The Aesthetic Relation" in the iifth issue of the Sovremennik for 1855 (Works, Vol. X, Part 2, p. 175).

^^**^^ Works, Vol. II, pp. 184--85. Cf. the first chapter of Engels' brochure Ludwtg Feuerbach translated by us into Russian and published by Mr. Lvorvich.^^89^^

250 paramount duty of philosophical thought. As a result, extraordinary attention was paid to reality, which had formerly been ignored and unceremoniously distorted in order to pander to personal one-sided prejudices. Thus, conscientious, tireless search for truth took the place of the former arbitrary interpretations. In reality, however, everything depends upon circumstances, upon the conditions of place and time, and therefore, Hegel found that the former general phrases by which good and evil were judged without an examination of the circumstances and causes that gave rise to a given phenomenon, that these general, abstract aphorisms were unsatisfactory. Every object, every phenomenon, has its own significance, and it must be judged according to the circumstances, the environment, in which it exists. This rule was expressed by the formula: 'There is no abstract truth; truth is concrete,' i.e., a definitive judgment can be pronounced only about a definite fact, after examining all the circumstances upon which it depends."^^*^^

Much of this is correct. The dialectical method is indeed quite incompatible with "general, abstract aphorisms'', on the basis of which people judged phenomena---and, unfortunately, too often still do---without examining the circumstances and causes that give rise to them. And Ghernyshevsky is, of course, quite right in regarding this as a great advantage of the dialectical method. But precisely because he is right in this case, it must be recognised that he was wrong in seeing the attentive attitude to reality, which obliges the thinker to examine an object from all sides, as the main distinctive feature of the dialectical method. An attentive attitude to reality is, of course, an essential _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. II, p. 187. In a footnote to the page quoted Chernysheysky explains his idea as follows: "For example: 'Is rain good or bad?' This is an abstract question; a definite answer cannot be given to it. Sometimes rain is beneficial, sometimes, although more rarely, it is harmful. One must enquire specifically: 'After the grain was sown it rained heavily for five hours---was the rain useful for the crop?'---only here is the answer: 'the rain was very useful' clear and sensible.---'But that very same summer, just when harvest time arrived, it rained in torrents for a whole week---was that good for the crop?' 'The answer: 'No, the rain was harmful' is equally clear and correct. That is how all questions are decided by Hegelian philosophy. 'Is war disastrous or beneficial?' This cannot be answered definitely in general; one must know what kind of war is meant, everything depends upon the circumstances of time and place. For savage peoples, the harmfulness of war is less palpable, the benefits of it are more tangible. For civilised peoples, war usually does more harm than good. But the war of = 1812,^^10^^° for example, was a war of salvation for the Russian people. The Battle of Marathon was a most beneficial event in the history of mankind. Such is the meaning of the axiom: 'There is no abstract truth; truth is concrete';---a conception of an object is concrete when it presents itself with all the qualities and specific features and in the circumstances, evironment, in which the object exists, and not abstracted from these circumstances and its living, specific features (as it is presented by abstract thinking, the judgment of which has, therefore, no meaning for real life)."

251 condition of correct thinking. But the dialectical method is characterised first and foremost by the fact that it looks for the forces which determine the development of a phenomenon in the phenomenon itself, and not in the likes and dislikes of the investigator. All the main advantages of the dialectical method amount to this, including the fact that it leaves no room "for general, abstract aphorisms based on the subjective predilection of the investigator''. The dialectical method is materialist by its very nature, and under its influence even investigators with an idealist viewpoint are sometimes indisputable materialists in their arguments. The best example of this is Hegel himself, who in his philosophy of history frequently abandons the standpoint of idealism and becomes, as people who misuse Marx's terminology would now put it, an economic materialist.^^*^^ But in order to understand fully the materialist nature of the dialectical method, one must realise that its strength lies in the awareness that the course of ideas is determined by the course of things and that therefore the subjective logic of the thinker must follow the objective logic of the phenomenon under investigation. Belinsky sensed this when he wrote his article on the Borodino anniversary and when--- unable "to develop the idea of negation'', i.e., unable to find a theoretical justification of this idea in the objective course of social development---he sharply condemned subjective strivings divorced from reality. But precisely because Belinsky was unable "to develop the idea of negation'', he was guided in his criticism of social relations more by his subjective predilections---perfectly legitimate, of course, and worthy of the greatest respect, but nevertheless merely subjective. He was therefore bound to overlook the main feature of the dialectical method, to which we have already referred: an awareness of the dependence of the course of ideas on the course of things. It was also overlooked, and for exactly the same reason as we shall explain below, by Chernyshevsky, who in his description of this method reduces it to a canon---as Kant would have put it---which obliges the thinker to examine the object from all sides. But the awareness of the need to examine an object from all sides is by no means equivalent to the awareness of the fact that the course of this examination must be determined totally by the logic of the development of the object itself. And the investigator who is not fully aware of this second truth may easily remain an idealist even with the most attentive attitude to the object and the most all-sided study of it. We shall see below that Chernyshevsky, who was a determined materialist in philosophy, remained an idealist in his historical and social views. In philosophy his attention was attracted _-_-_

^^*^^ For more about this see my article on Hegel's philosophy of history published in the book A Critique of Our Critics.™

252 mainly by the relation of the subject to the object. And he solved this question in a materialist way. But he had comparatively little interest in the question of the method to be adopted by the investigator who took a materialist view of the relation of the subject to the object. Therefore, while recognising the importance of the dialectical method, he was far from understanding its main advantage and consequently could not subject it to the revision which it received from Marx and Engels. Chernyshevsky was a materialist; but in his philosophical views one finds only the embryo---a perfectly viable one, it is true---of materialist dialectics. This will not surprise us if we remember that the philosophy of his teacher,Feuerbach also suffered from the same defect. Only Marx and Engels, who also went through Feuerbach's school in their time, succeeded in remedying this defect and making the modern materialism a primarily dialectical doctrine.

But we repeat: Chernyshevsky's philosophical views already contain the viable embryo of materialist dialectics. For example, the following eloquent lines from the article, "A Criticism of the Philosophical Prejudices Against Communal Land Tenure'', bear witness to this: "The constant change of forms, the constant rejection of form which has been engendered by a certain content or striving, in consequence of the strengthening of that striving, of the highest development of that content---he who has understood this great, constant, universal law, who has learned to apply it to all phenomena---oh, how calmly he takes chances which others fear to take! Repeating after the poet:

Ich hab' mein' Sach'---auf Nichts gestellt,
Und mir geh\"ort die ganze Welt...
^^*^^

he has no regrets for anything that has outlived its time, and he says: come what may, there will be merrymaking in our street."^^**^^

In his article on Aristotle's Poetics, Chernyshevsky, having shown fully how penetrating and comprehensive was Aristotle's mind, makes the following important reservation: "But in spite of his genius he often lapsed into pettiness owing to his constant striving to find a profound philosophical explanation not only of the chief phenomena, but also of all their details. This striving, expressed in the axiom of a modern philosopher, a rival of Aristotle's: 'all that is real is rational, all that is rational is real,' often compelled both thinkers to attach great importance to minor facts merely because these facts fitted well into their system."^^***^^ The modern philosopher, a rival of Aristotle's, is none other than Hegel. Thus we see that Hegel's famous proposition that all that _-_-_

^^*^^ [I took my chance on naught, and see--- The whole world now belongs to me...]

^^**^^ Works, Vol. IV, pp. 332--33.

^^***^^ Works, Vol. I, p. 38.

253 is real is rational and all that is rational is real was regarded by Ghernyshevsky as the result of the great German thinker's ``pettiness'' which made him seek for a profound explanation even of insignificantjdetails. This is the best demonstration that Chernyshevsky was further from an understanding of Hegel than Belinsky, who sensed instinctively that Hegel's doctrine on the rationality of all that is real was the only possible basis for social science.

In the article "A Criticism of the Philosophical Prejudices" Chernyshevsky appears as a brilliant dialectician. But here too his dialectics is not entirely materialist. And precisely because it is not entirely materialist, because Chernyshevsky believes it possible here to examine the question of communal land tenure from the viewpoint of development in general, irrespective of the conditions of time and place---his brilliant article was interpreted by readers as a defence of Russian communal land tenure, which by then (the end of 1858) our author appears to have abandoned completely. But more about this below.

__NUMERIC_LVL3__ Chapter Six __ALPHA_LVL3__ The Theory of Knowledge

We have already said that various practical questions diverted Chernyshevsky from his study of philosophy. Once in exile, he was no longer able to devote his time to so-called current problems. Here he evidently gave himself up to theory, in so far as he was able to do so given the obstacles inevitable in his position and in so far as his powers were not attracted to fiction. The essays which he appended to many volumes of his translation of Weber's Universal History show that in Siberia he studied history a great deal and also the so-called prehistoric life of mankind. But we have direct evidence also that he continued to study philosophy and to follow the spread of philosophical views among contemponiry scientists. This evidence is: firstly, the article "The Character of Human Knowledge" published in 1885 in Nos. 63 and 64 of Russkiye Vedomosti, and, secondly, the preface, with which we are already familiar, to the planned but not published third edition of "The Aesthetic Relation of Art to Reality".

Chernyshevsky begins the first of these articles by reducing to absurdity the ``critical'' view according to which we know only our perceptions of things, but not the things themselves, in consequence of which we do not know whether our perceptions of them correspond to the things themselves. He proves that this View is bound to lead to the negation of the reality of the human organism. We have a certain perception of an arm; therefore, it 254 must be assumed that something exists that rouses this perception in us. But does this certain something correspond to our perceptions of it? It is impossible to answer this question for certain. Perhaps it does correspond, but perhaps it does not. If it does, then the thing that we perceive as an arm really is an arm, and in that case we really do have arms. If it does not, then we have no arms: "Instead of arms we have groups of something or other unlike arms, groups of things unknown to us, but we have noarms. And we know nothing for certain about these groups except that there are two of them. We know for certain that there are two because each of our two perceptions---each of which is a separate perception of a separate arm---must have a separate basis. Hence, the existence of two groups of something leaves no room for doubt. Thus, the question as to whether we have arms or not is unanswerable. All we know is that, if we have arms, then we actually have two arms, but if we have no arms, then the number of groups of something that we have instead of arms is also not any number, but two."

Chernyshevsky calls the theory of knowledge which if logically developed must lead to the negation of the reality of the human organism illusionism. He calls it a new form of mediaeval scholastics and says that it tells the same fantastic story that scholastics once told. From the logical aspect, he explains the origin of this theory---completely in the spirit of Feuerbach---by the fact that instead of man, i.e., a material organism, an abstract being is taken, a ``self'' about which we know nothing except that it has a perception which comprises the content of our mental life. And if all we know about this abstract being is that it has a perception, then it is clear that we do not know whether it has a real organism with a real life of its own. But tlie defenders of this theory of knowledge recoil from saying categorically: we have no organism. They therefore confine themselves to an ambiguous definition, in which only the logical possibility of doubting the existence of the human organism shows through the scholastic mist. And this characterises the whole of this theory of knowledge. It amounts to ruses of scholastic syllogistics, to sophisms, to the presentation of different concepts under one term. In Chernyshevsky's brief exposition the theory of illusionism appears as follows:

``When analysing our perceptions of objects that seem to us to exist outside of our minds, we find that every one of these perceptions contains the perception of space, time and matter. When analysing our perception of space, we find that it contradicts itself. We find the same thing when we analyse our perceptions of time and matter; each of them contradicts itself. Nothing can contradict itself. Hence, nothing can correspond to our perceptions of external objects. That which we perceive as the 255 external world is an hallucination. Nothing corresponding tothis phantom exists, nor can exist, outside of our minds. We think that we have an organism; we are mistaken, as we now see. Our perception of the existence of our organism is an hallucination; it does not, and cannot, actually exist."

But if this is so, if this theory of knowledge is simply an absurd story about the unreal mental life of a non-existent being, the question naturally arises as to why many naturalists are inclining precisely towards this theory at the present time. This is explained by the influence upon them of scholars specialising in philosophy. "Most educated people are, in general, prone to regard as coming nearest to the scientific truth those solutions of problems which are accepted as true by the majority of the specialists in the science to which these problems appertain. And like all educated people, naturalists, too, find it difficult to resist the influence of the philosophical systems that prevail among the specialists in philosophy."

The majority of specialists in philosophy adhere to illusionismChernyshevsky does not want to blame them for this. The character of the philosophy that predominates at any given time is determined by the general character of the intellectual and moral life of the advanced nations. In other words, specialists in philosophy are, in their turn, influenced by the social environment around them. Here one might be permitted to ask why the intellectual life of the advanced nations is developing at the present time in such a way that the absurd story of illusionism is spreading more and more in them under the guise of philosophy? Chernyshevsky docs not provide an answer to this question in his article. But since it is an extremely interesting one and since to find even a possible answer to it from our author would help to determine the latter's world outlook, we shall return to the article "The Anthropological Principle in Philosophy".

At the beginning of this article Chernyshevsky, analysing Jules Simon's idea that today political theories are created under the influence of the social struggle, says that there is nothing surprising about this because not only political theories, but even philosophical systems have always been created under the predominant influence of social relations, and that every philosopher has been a representative of one of political parties contending for predominance in the society of his day. Our author does not consider it necessary to point to thinkers who have made a special study of the philosophy of politics, because their affiliation to political parties is obvious. Hobbes was an absolutist, Locke was a Whig, Milton was a republican, Montesquieu was a liberal after the English taste, etc. He turns to the so-called philosophers proper and maintains that they were subject to the same influence. "Kant belonged to the party that wanted to 256 enthrone liberty in Germany in a revolutionary way, but abhorred terroristic methods. Fichte went a few steps farther; he was not afraid even of terroristic methods. Schelling was a representative of the party that was terrified by the revolution and sought tranquillity in mediaeval institutions, that wanted to restore in Germany the feudal state that had been destroyed by Napoleon I and the Prussian patriots, whose spokesman Fichte had been. Hegel was a moderate liberal, he was extremely conservative in his deductions; but he adopted revolutionary principles for the struggle against extreme reaction in the hope of preventing the development of the revolutionary spirit, which served him as a weapon for the purpose of overthrowing that which was old and too antiquated. Our point is not that these people held such convictions as private individuals, that would not be so very important, but that their philosophical systems were thoroughly permeated with the spirit of those political parties to which the authors of these systems belonged. To say that what is the case today was not always the case in the past, to say that only now have philosophers begun to build their systems under the influence of political convictions, is extremely naive...."^^*^^

Leaving aside the descriptions of individual philosophers given here, one thing only can be added to what Chernyshevsky has said here: the political struggle itself, which determined the direction of philosophical thought, was conducted not because of some abstract principles, but under the direct influence of the needs and aspirations of those sections of society to which the contending political parties belonged. But Chernyshevsky himself would not have disputed this. Below, in our description of his historical views, we shall see that he was able---occasionally, at least---to see clearly the influence of a thinker's class position on the development of his thought. In view of this we have the right to assume that he associated the present state of philosophy with the class position of the people who make a special study of it. In other words, it is most likely that Chernyshevsky established a causal connection between the extensive dissemination of philosophical ``illusionism'' at the present time and the decline of the social class whose ideologists are, for the most part, _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. VI, p. 180. In the article "The Origin of the Theory of the Beneficial Nature of the Struggle for Life'', which we shall discuss below, Chernyshevsky even establishes a connection between the development of naturalist theories and the development of social relations and aspirations. In the final years of the eighteenth and the first few decades of the nineteenth century most naturalists turned away from the theory of the mutability of species, "obeying the spirit of the times which sought to restore tradition''. The main opponent of the theory of transformism at that time, Cuvier, "was in natural science a representative of the trend of thought which Napoleon sought to make predominant in intellectual life and which gained dominion over it during the Restoration" (Works, Vol. X', Part 2, pp. 23 and 21).

257 the philosophers of our day. And if this is so, it emerges that our author understood the dependence of philosophical thought on social life far better than our present "critics of Marx'', who fail to see that the ideology of the proletariat cannot possibly merge into a single organic whole with philosophical doctrines borrowed from the ideology of the declining bourgeoisie. It is true that these ``critics'' themselves belong to the ``illusionists''.

How well Chernyshevsky understood the present sad state of philosophical thought may be seen from his preface to the third edition of "The Aesthetic Relation''. There, having expressed his regret at the fact the majority of naturalists today are repeating "Kant's metaphysical theory about the subjectivity of our knowledge'', he adds:

``When the naturalists stop talking such metaphysical nonsense they will become capable of working out, and probably will work out, on the basis of natural science, a system of conceptions that will be more exact and fuller than those expounded by Feuerbach. Meanwhile, the exposition of the scientific conceptions of the so-called fundamental problems of human inquiry made by Feuerbach remains the best."^^*^^

But when will the naturalists stop talking metaphysical nonsense? Evidently only when there is a change in the social relations under the influence of which the "educated classes" fear materialism as a philosophical truth which is quite incompatible with their social interests. Chernyshevsky himself realised that this would not be soon. This is why he preferred ``meanwhile'' to adhere to Feuerbach's viewpoint. And he was quite right in his way: by comparison with the various Machs, Avenariuses, Cliffords and Bergsons Feuerbach is still the representative of the most profound and the most contemporary philosophical theory--- i.e., the one which corresponds best to the present state of natural science. True, Feuerbach's philosophy was subjected to a subsequent and highly fruitful reshaping by Marx and Engels. In this respect in some of its parts it is already a "superseded stage" of philosophical development. But this aspect of the matter remained, as everything shows, unknown to our author. The blame for this must, of course, be placed not on him, but on the conditions in which he lived during the latter half of his life.

Let us return to the article "The Character of Human Knowledge'', however. In it Chernyshevsky asks: "But what is this system of transforming our knowledge of nature into a mirage with the aid of the mirages of scholastic syllogistics? Do the adherents of illusionism really regard it as a system of serious thought?" To this he replies that there are, of course, some cranks among the illusionists who take their allegedly philosophical system _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. X, Part 2, Section 1, p. 196.

__PRINTERS_P_257_COMMENT__ 17--0267 258 seriously. But in the majority of cases they themselves do not attach any serious significance to it. Their attitude to their own philosophical system could be expressed in roughly the following words: "Philosophical truth is philosophical truth and not any other kind. From the mundane point of view it is not truth; nor is it from the scientific point of view. That is to say, they love to indulge in fantasy. And they know that they are indulging in fantasy."^^*^^

This is beautifully apt. The serious representatives of " illusionism" do regard their own philosophical views in this way. But there are incomparably more ``cranks'', who take these views seriously, than Chernyshevsky thought. Who would say that our Bogdanovs, Valentinovs, Yushkeviches, Bermans and tutti frutti^^**^^ are not serious about what they imagine to be the most advanced philosophical truth of our time? We consider that they honestly believe what they say. And how many of them there are in Russia now, and not only in Russia! Yes, there are far more cranks in the world than even Chernyshevsky thought who, as we know, exaggerated the role of self-interest in human behaviour.

In parting with the ``illusionists'' Chernyshevsky formulateshis own view of the character of human knowledge: "Our knowledge is human knowledge. Man's cognitive powers are limited, as are all his powers. In this sense of the term, the character of our knowledge is determined by the character of our cognitive powers. If our sense organs were more perceptive, and if our mind were stronger, we would know more than we know now; and, of course, some of our present knowledge would be different if our knowledge were broader than it is now. In general, the broadening of knowledge is accompanied by a change in some of our former stock of knowledge. The history of science tells us that very much of our previous knowledge has changed because we know more now than we did before."^^***^^

But although very much of our previous knowledge has changed, its essential character remains unchanged in so far as it was factual knowledge. As an example Chernyshevsky takes the broadening of our knowledge of water.

Now we know thanks to the thermometer the exact temperature at which water boils and at which it freezes. People did not know this before. The extent of our knowledge of water has broadened. But in what sense has it changed? Only in the sense that it has become more definite than it was before, because formerly people knew only that water boils when it gets very hot and freezes when it gets cold. Later chemistry revealed to us that water is a compound of oxygen and hydrogen. This was not known before. _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., Section 4, p. 10.

^^**^^ [all sorts]

^^***^^ Ibid., pp. 10--11.

259 But water has not ceased to be water because we have learned of its chemical composition. And all the knowledge that people had of water before the discovery of its chemical composition remains true after that discovery as well. "The only change the new knowledge brought about in the old was that it added the definition of the composition of water,'' says Chernyshevsky.

It is in the nature of human beings to err. Therefore each of us---in everyday affairs, as in science---must be very careful and circumspect to avoid making blunders. Caution is necessary. But Chernyshevsky insists that there must be a limit to caution as well. "Reason tests everything,'' he says. "But every educated man possesses considerable knowledge which has already been tested by his reason, and has proved to be such that he cannot subject it to the slightest doubt while he remains a man of sound mind."^^*^^

We shall conclude our description of this article by pointing to the following remark made by our author in passing: " scholastics is chiefly dialectics".^^**^^ This remark is highly characteristic of a thinker in whose philosophical views the dialectical element was, as we have already said, insufficiently developed. One might think that in Chernyshevsky's opinion---and contrary to everything that he said about the dialectical method in the Essays on the Gogol Period of Russian Literature---dialectics amounted to simply playing with logical concepts. But if scholastics was in a certain sense---i.e., in the sense of the analysis of conceptsdialectics, it should not be forgotten that this dialectics was the "handmaid of theology" and precisely because of that would not and could not pronounce judgment on the main propositions on the basis of which it carried out its logical operations. Its dependent position frequently turned it into sophistry; but essentially--- as Hegel rightly remarked and as Chernyshevsky himself would seem to have thought when he was writing his Essays on the Gogol Period---il has nothing in common with sophistry, because it shows the inadequacy of the abstract rational definitions on the inevitable one-sidedness of which all sophistry rests.^^***^^ We shall _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 15.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 9.

^^***^^ Cf. Hegel: "Die Dialektik ist nun ferner nicht mit der Wossen Sophistik zu verwechseln, deren Wesen gerade darin besteht, einseitige und abstrakte Bestimmungen in ihrer Isolierung fur sich geltend zu machen, je nachdem solches das jedesmalige Interesse des Individuums und seiner besondern Lage mit sich bringt.... Die Dialektik ist von solchem Thun wesentlich verschieden, denn diese geht gerade darauf aus, die Dinge an und fur sich zu hetrachten, wobei sich sodann die Endlichkeit der einseitigen Verstandesbestimmungen ergiebt (G. Hegel, EmyklopSdie der phtlosophischen Wissenschaften, 1-er Theil, Berlin, 1843, S. 153). ["Further, dialectics is not to be confused with mere sophistry, the essence of which lies in the fact that it advances one-sided and abstract definitions in isolation, depending on which of these definitions is required at any given moment by the interests of the individual __NOTE__ Footnote cont. on page 260. __PRINTERS_P_259_COMMENT__ 17* 260 see shortly how unfavourably certain judgments by Ghernyshevsky himself were affected by this insufficiently attentive attitude of his to the nature of dialectics.

__NUMERIC_LVL3__ Chapter Seven __ALPHA_LVL3__ The Beneficial Nature of the Struggle for Life

As already mentioned above, on his return from exile Chernyshevsky wrote, inter alia, on the question of transformism. His article, signed "An old transformist" and entitled "'The Origin of the Theory of the Beneficial Nature of the Struggle for Life ( Preface to Certain Treatises on Botany and Zoology and the Sciences of Human Life)'', has no direct bearing on what he called philosophy proper, i.e., on "the theory of solving the most general questions of science, which are usually called metaphysical questions, for example, questions of the relationship between spirit and matter, the freedom of the human will, the immortality of the soul, etc."^^*^^ The author devoted it to a criticism of Darwin's theory, and we could invite specialists in biology to judge how effective this criticism is. But an article dealing with what might be called the philosophy of biology is bound to contain certain general philosophical concepts which are of considerable interest to more than biologists alone. Such concepts are to be found in the article in question by Chernyshevsky, and therefore we consider it worthy of examination in this chapter.

Chernyshevsky calls Darwin's theory the theory of the beneficial nature of the struggle for life and is extremely critical of it. This sharply negative attitude makes itself felt right at the beginning of the article. Chernyshevsky announces there that the theory in question has as its basis "a logically brilliant idea": harm does good. Since this idea, in Chernyshevsky's opinion, is quite absurd, the deductions which proceed from it are also absurd. "The theory of the beneficial nature of the struggle for life,'' says our author, "contradicts all the facts of each branch of science to which it is applied and, in particular, it contradicts most flagrantly all the facts of those branches of botany and zoology, for which it was devised and from which it has spread to the sciences of the human life.

``It contradicts the meaning of all human rational everyday toil and, in particular, it contradicts most flagrantly the _-_-_ __NOTE__ Footnote cont. from page 259. and his particular position.... Dialectics differs fundamentally from such doings, for it aims at examining things in themselves and for themselves (i.e., according to their own nature.---G. P.), in the course of which the finite nature of one-sided rational definitions is revealed."]

^^*^^ Works, Vol. VI, p. 193, note.

261 meaning of all the facts of agriculture, beginning with the early concern of savages to protect the animals tamed by them from hunger and other calamities and with their first efforts to loosen the soil for sowing with sharpened sticks."^^*^^

Basing his arguments on certain words from Darwin, Chernyshevsky maintains that the theory of the struggle for life was borrowed by the famous English naturalist from Malthus, who wrote his notorious book An Essay on the Principle of Population to please the upper classes of English society. Darwin, however, did not understand Malthus correctly. In his book Malthus endeavoured to prove that people's calamities are a consequence of their excessive reproduction. But it would never have occurred to Malthus to call the calamities which result from excessive reproduction beneficial. He regarded them as calamities and nothing else. In applying Malthus' idea to biology, however, Darwin assumed that the calamities caused among living organisms by their mutual struggle for existence become a source of blessing to them, i.e., of progress which consists of the improvement of their organisation. Darwin in general adhered to the manner of thinking, according to which calamities are considered blessings or, at least, sources of blessings. "Such a way of interpreting things is called optimistic,'' says Chernyshevsky. "In adhering to this manner of thinking and not admitting the possibility of a different one, Darwin was convinced that Malthus thought as he did about calamities, that he considered them blessings or sources of blessings. The calamities of which Malthus speaks---hunger, disease, fights over food caused by hunger, murders committed to satisfy hunger, death from hunger---are obviously not blessings in themselves for those who experience them; and since they are obviously not blessings, it followed, according to Darwin, that they should be considered sources of blessings. Thus it came about that in Darwin the calamities of which Malthus speaks are supposed to produce good results, and the root cause of these calamities, excessive reproduction, should be considered the root cause of all that is good in the history of organic beings, the source of the perfectionment of organisation, the force which has produced from unicellular organisms such flora as the rose, the lime and the oak, such fauna as the swallow, the swan and the eagle, the lion, the elephant and the gorilla. On the basis of this convenient interpretation of the idea borrowed from Malthus the theory of the beneficial nature of the struggle for life was formulated in Darwin's imagination."^^**^^ Darwin committed a grave scientific error in assuming that nature acts like a farmer who keeps the animals that have the qualities he requires and kills those that _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. X, Part 2 [Section 4, p. 16].

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 43.

262 do not. In fact, the farmer does not behave at all like nature: "whereas, for example, he axes the heads of the cows he is killing, he does not axe the heads of those he is keeping''. But what do we see in nature? "The most common form of natural selection is the extinction of superfluous creatures from a lack of food; is it only dying creatures who suffer from hunger in this case? No, all of them. Does the farmer behave thus with his herd? Would his herd improve, if he reduced reproduction by making all his animals starve? The animals that survived would grow weak and ill, the herd would deteriorate."^^*^^

Chernyshevsky calls Darwin's theory of the struggle for existence a theory worthy of Torquemada, and says that when rough, ignorant, bad boys torment a mouse they do not think that they are acting for the good of mice, but Darwin teaches them to think so: "Look, pray: the mice are running away from the boys; thanks to this they are developing speed and agility of movement, their muscles and power of breathing are developing, and their whole organisation is being improved. Yes, bad boys, cats, kites and owls are the benefactors of mice. Is this really the case?"^^**^^ Chernyshevsky says that this is by no means the case: the mice's organism is weakened by excessive running, just as it is weakened when the mice try to avoid their enemies by hiding in stuffy holes. And this deterioration of the organism, which increases from generation to generation, leads to degeneration. And since degeneration is an undisputed evil, natural selection is also an evil and not a blessing at all. The more organisms are changed by the operation of natural selection, the more they degenerate. If this selection were the predominant influence in the history of organic beings, there could be no improvement of organisation, and since there has been such an improvement, it is clear that there was some force or some combination of forces that opposed and outbalanced the operation of natural selection. Some of these forces were discovered by the transformists who preceded Darwin. More will be discovered with time. But regardless of the discoveries which have been or will be made in this respect, Chernyshevsky does not doubt that the forces which improve the structure of the organic being must be forces which promote "the good functioning of its organism and, if this being has the capacity for sensation, arouse in it by their operation a sense of physical and moral well-being, contentment with life and joy".^^***^^ Such is our author's final conclusion. In his opinion Darwin was splendid as a ``monographer'', but not as a theoretician of transformism. Among the theoreticians of transformism Chernyshevsky evidently gave pride of place to Lamarck, whose Philosophic zoologique _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 35.

^^**^^ Ibid., pp. 43--44.

^^***^^ Ibid., p. 46.

263 he calls a brilliant work.^^*^^ Among the criticisms which Chernyshevsky made of Darwin one of the most prominent was that Darwin did not know the doctrines of the transformists who preceded him, i.e., inter alia, of Lamarck himself.^^**^^

Here we are compelled, first and foremost, to make a factual correction. Darwin praises Lamarck's works highly in an historical note which precedes the introduction to his book on the origin of species. Here too he speaks of other of his predecessors. We do not have the first edition of this book at hand and therefore cannot check whether the note in question was in this edition. It is highly likely that it was not and that its absence explains Chernyshevsky's criticism that Darwin ignored the works of earlier transformists. But, in our opinion, the absence of this note in the first edition would not prove that before the publication of this edition, i.e., before November 1859, Darwin was unfamiliar with the works of Lamarck and at least a few other earlier transformists. True, in his note Darwin refers to "Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire's excellent history" (Histoire naturelle generate), dated 1859. But he does not say that it was only from here that he learned of Lamarck's ideas: he says merely that he borrowed information from it about the date when Lamarck's first work was published. This is, of course, not the same thing: one can know a writer's ideas well, without being aware of when his first work was actually published. But let us suppose that in working on his book Darwin remained completely ignorant of his predecessors. There is nothing good about this, of course; but one must be fair: a great many writers are, unfortunately, guilty of this. Thus, for example, Feuerbach himself, whom Chernyshevsky regarded so highly, had a poor knowledge of the history of materialism, i.e., of the very doctrine which he embraced after breaking with the absolute idealism of Hegel: he ridiculed "La Mettrie's pate aux truffes" in the very work in which his materialist views took the form closest to French materialism. Yet Chernyshevsky would hardly have accused his beloved teacher of being superficial on these grounds. And he would have been right, for no matter how regrettable such gaps in the knowledge of people studying broad theoretical questions may be, their presence does not exclude the possibility of a serious attitude towards the subject. Feuerbach's attitude was precisely this, and the same attitude was equally characteristic of Darwin, to whom Chernyshevsky is so unfair.

Chernyshevsky formulates the question of the importance of natural selection in the history of the development of animal and plant species differently from Darwin. It never occurred to Darwin to wonder whether or not the indisputable scientific fact of the _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 22.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 41.

264 struggle for life between living organisms should be regarded as an ``evil''. And he probably gave just as little thought to whether or not the consequences of this struggle should be regarded as a ``blessing''. For him the question was whether natural selection promotes or hinders the adaptation of animals to the conditions of their existence. And the only possible answer to the question formulated in this way was an affirmative one: yes, natural selection must inevitably promote such adaptation. Chernyshevsky's example of the mouse is most unconvincing. Of course, cases when the given natural conditions are in general totally unfavourable for the existence of a certain species are perfectly possible, even inevitable. It is then that what Chernyshevsky calls the degeneration and what it would perhaps be more correct to call the disappearance of this species begins. Darwin does not deny the possibility and inevitability of such cases. Yet when the natural conditions are not sufficiently unfavourable to lead to the disappearance of a whole species, but are intolerable for individual members, less adapted to them, it is obviously only the ones that are more adapted that survive. Is the process of this adaptation a process of the improvement of the species in question, i.e., will the organisation of the members belonging to it become more complex? Darwin says neither ``yes'' nor ``no'': for him everything here depends on the circumstances. The process by which parasites adapt to special conditions of their existence is more often a process in which their organisation is ``deteriorated'', i.e., simplified. So far conditions of life on earth have favoured the appearance of species with an increasingly ``improved'' organisation. But this indisputable fact does not change the essential content of Darwin's theory. The latter would remain essentially the same if conditions of life---say, for example, as a result of the increasing cooling of our planet---were unfavourable for complex organisms. Then the process of adaptation to the environment would be a process of the simplification of the organisation of living organisms. And nothing else. The concept of "the organism best adapted to the environment" is by no means identified by Darwin with the concept of "the most complex organism".

That Darwin exaggerated the role of natural selection in the development of species will hardly be disputed today. But, in criticising the English biologist, our author had a far more simplified picture of this role than Darwin himself. Chernyshevsky says that the most common form of natural selection is the extinction of superfluous organisms from lack of food. But Darwin did not think so. He said: "The amount of food for each species of course gives the extreme limit to which each can increase; but very frequently it is not the obtaining of food, but the serving as prey to other animals, which determines the average numbers 265 of a species."^^*^^ Had Chernyshevsky paid attention to these words of Darwin's, he would probably have regarded the importance of natural selection differently. Let us suppose that among the members of a given species who are subjected to constant attack by beasts of prey there have begun to appear some whose colouring was less noticeable to the enemy. These members would have more chance of escaping the clutches of their predators. They would survive, whereas those members whose colouring was more noticeable would perish. Heredity would transmit the favourable feature to the offspring of the surviving members and in this way there would come a time when all the members of the given species would have the colouring that promotes their survival. This case is not similar to Chernyshevsky's example of the mouse: here selection does not "axe the heads" of all the members of the species, and Darwin devotes considerable space in his theory to cases which are similar to the one quoted by us. Let us take another example. Wallace says that on the Island of Madeira many of the insects have completely or almost completely lost their wings, whereas insects of the same species on the continent of Europe still possess fully developed wings. Wallace explains this phenomenon by the fact that Madeira, like many oceanic islands in the temperate zone, often experiences sudden hurricanes, as a result of which insects which possess wings and, of course, use them for flying are in danger of being carried out to sea. "Thus,'' says Wallace, "over the years those which possessed short wings, or used their wings least, were conserved, and, consequently, a terrestrial species, which was apteral or possessed imperfect wings, was produced."^^**^^ Here again natural selection does not "axe the heads" of all the members of the given species, and here too it promotes their adaptation to the natural conditions of their existence. One might quote a whole multitude of such examples. And had Chernyshevsky paid attention to them, he would hardly have tried to vindicate his idea that Darwin's theory of the struggle for life "contradicts all the facts of those branches of botany and zoology, for which it was devised and from which it has spread to the sciences of the human life".

It is quite true that "the theory of the struggle for existence has spread to the sciences of the human life" by no means to the benefit of these sciences. And one might think that Chernyshevsky's obvious irritation with Darwin, which found expression, inter alia, in his remark that Darwin's theory is worthy _-_-_

^^*^^ L'origine des especes. Trad, par E. Barbier, p. 74. [Plekhanov is quoting from the French translation of Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. [We are quoting from the original, 6th Ed., London, John Murray, 1875, p. 53.]

^^**^^ Le Darwinisms, par Alfred Russel Wallace, Paris, 1891, pp. 138--39.

266 of Torquemada, is explained primarily by the harmful influence of so-called Darwinism on the development of the social sci- = ences.^^102^^ But Darwin must not be held responsible for the blunders of the Darwinists. His theory of the struggle for life can by no means serve as a justification of the "war of each against all" which has been propagated by certain Darwinist sociologists. Darwin believed that the development of social instincts was "extremely useful" for the survival of a species in its struggle for existence. Apply this idea of his to social relations, and you have something that is directly opposed to the extreme individualism which is the inevitable logical conclusion of the doctrines of Darwinist sociologists. Of course, Darwin himself had little understanding of social questions. This, as Engels remarked in his dispute with Diihring,^^*^^ explains the fact that he accepted Malthus' teaching on population without the slightest criticism. But his great intellect saved him from the extremes to which many of his followers succumbed. It is also true that Darwin might perhaps be taken for an ordinary Manchester man when, in discussing the life of human societies, he says: "There should be open competition for all men; and the most able should not be prevented by laws or customs from succeeding best and rearing the largest number of offspring."^^**^^ And everything indicates that he did in fact incline towards Manchesterism, which he appears to have regarded as an advanced social theory. This was a mistake; but this mistake says nothing against the method which Darwin used to study the phenomena of organic life. And it would be wrong for those who support the social war of each against all to quote his words on competition. There is competition and competition. The followers of Saint-Simon also supported competition, but it was precisely for the sake of competition that they demanded a radical change in property relations.

We do not consider it necessary to analyse further Chernyshevsky's view on Darwin's theory. After what has been said by us concerning this view, it will suffice to draw the reader's attention to Chernyshevsky's ironical attitude towards Darwin's optimism. He ascribes to Darwin the belief that all evil invariably leads to good. Against this optimism he sets his own idea that harm is always harmful and never beneficial. We shall encounter this idea again when examining Chernyshevsky's historical views. We shall then dwell on it longer and, among other things, attempt to solve the question of the extent to which it is compatible with Hegel's proposition---of which Chernyshevsky greatly approved, _-_-_

^^*^^ Herrn Eugen Diihrtngs Um.wiilzun.gder Wissenschaft, fifth edition, p. 60.

^^**^^ Collected Works, Vol. II. Translation into Russian by Sechenov, St. Petersburg, 1899, p. 420. [Plekhanov is quoting from the Russian translation of Charles Darwin's The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. We are quoting from the original, London, John Murray, 1887, p. 618.]

267 as we have seen above---that there is no abstract truth, that truth is always concrete and that everything depends on the circumstances of time and place. For the moment, however, we shall say that Chernyshevsky himself did not always reason according to the formula: "harm is always harmful; only good is good''. In the second dream of Vera Pavlovna he makes her mother, Maria Alexeyevna, say: "You just listen to what I tell you, Vera, my girl. You are educated, educated on the money I stole. You think about good, but if I hadn't been bad you wouldn't know what good is. See?"^^*^^ Hence it follows that evil too occasionally produces good results. And in this case Chernyshevsky is in full agreement with Maria Alexeyevna. Continuing her explanation with her daughter, Maria Alexeyevna repeats: "You see, she [she is referring to herself here in the third person.---G.P.I had bad thoughts, but out of them came good for someone: it was good for you, wasn't it? But it's not the same with other bad people."^^**^^ Here Chernyshevsky himself is speaking through Maria Alexeyevna. And if what he is saying is right---which it is---it follows here too that evil does not always have evil consequences. And this contradicts the abstract proposition in accordance with which Chernyshevsky criticised Darwin. Incidentally, we think it worth repeating that Darwin himself never connected the question of natural selection with arguments about good and evil. And rightly so, of course.

But whatever Chernyshevsky's errors in this individual case and whatever the general shortcomings characteristic of his method as a whole, he was nevertheless one of the finest thinkers who have appeared in our literature. The weak side of his philosophical views was the insufficient elaboration in them of the dialectical element, which was also the weak side of the system of his teacher Feuerbach. Chernyshevsky was not familiar with the philosophy of Marx and Engels which grew out of Feuerbach's philosophy. And since the philosophy of Marx and Engels was undoubtedly a great step forward by comparison with Feuerbach's system, it can be said that our author was, unfortunately, unaware of the latest developments in philosophical thought. But at the time they were known to only a few even in the West. And if one does not compare Chernyshevsky's views with those of Marx and Engels, if one contrasts them only with the views of, say, P. L. Lavrov and other of his more or less progressive contemporaries, one is bound to admit that Chernyshevsky was far ahead of them and that, when he retired from the scene, a period of decline began in our literature in respect of philosophy--- and, unfortunately, not of philosophy alone. One of the _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. IX, p. 113.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 114.

268 symptoms of this decline was subsequently the notorious subjectivism of Nikolai Mikhailovsky, whom many people quite seriously rank on a level with Chernyshevsky to this day. In fact, particularly in philosophy, Mikhailovsky was] a dwarf by comparison with the author of the article "The Anthropological Principle".

Chernyshevsky is known in our country as a publicist, and also as a literary historian, i.e., as the author of the Essays on the Gogol Period and articles on Lessing, but he is quite unknown as a philosopher. This is explained, firstly, by the fact that he wrote little on philosophy, and, secondly, by his manner of expounding his ideas. He wrote so simply and clearly that some of his readers naively refused precisely for this reason to regard that which he expounded in the article "The Anthropological Principle" as philosophy. This is not an assumption, but a fact, albeit a ridiculous one: such readers existed at that time. And here is proof. When an analysis of Lavrov's philosophy by Antonovich appeared in the 4th issue of the Sovremennik for 1861, Otechestvenniye Zapiski remarked scornfully: "No mental effort is needed to understand everything that Mr. Antonovich says. The clarity of this article amazed everyone.'' Quoting this remark by the journal which was polemicising with him, Chernyshevsky for his part wrote: "You have heard so often that philosophy is a puzzling subject. You have tried to read philosophical articles, like the works of Mr. Lavrov, and have understood nothing at all. And Mr. Lavrov was, in your opinion, a good philosopher. So your mind has constructed a syllogism like this: 'I do not understand philosophy; consequently, that which I can understand is not philosophy.'"^^*^^ By virtue of this syllogism not even those pages of Chernyshevsky which had the most direct bearing on philosophy were considered philosophical: they had too clear an exposition. It need hardly be added that there is still no end of "clever = readers"^^103^^ in our country who judge philosophical articles on the basis of the syllogism pointed out by Chernyshevsky. This reminds us of the anecdote about the man who was suffering from toothache and had the bad tooth extracted easily and quickly by a dentist in the capital. "What do I owe you?" asked the patient. "A ruble,'' replied the dentist. "A ruble!" exclaimed the man. "Our local dentist dragged me round his surgery for a whole hour trying to pull out a bad tooth, and he only took a quarter, but you extracted it straightaway and you want a ruble!" Chernyshevsky argued in vain with naive readers: "Whatever the subject discussed by a person whose way of thinking is obscure [a reference to Lavrov.---G.P.I, his speech will be obscure, puzzling. But in itself philosophy is perhaps not such _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. VIII, pp. 266--67.

269 a totally incomprehensible science."^^*^^ Naive readers did not believe this and still do not. To this day if you ask the average Russian ``intellectual'' whether Lavrov and Vladimir Solovyov were philosophers, you will immediately hear: of course, they were. And if you tell such an ``intellectual'' that Chernyshevsky was also a philosopher and a far more profound one than Lavrov and Solovyov, you will astound him greatly. Chernyshevsky's philosophy was not sufficiently obscure....

_-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 267.

[270] __NUMERIC_LVL2__ SECTION TWO __ALPHA_LVL2__ N. G. CHERNYSHEVSKY'S HISTORICAL VIEWS __NUMERIC_LVL3__ Chapter One __ALPHA_LVL3__ History and Natural Science

In examining Chernyshevsky's historical views it will be useful first of all to see how he regarded the state of historical research in his day. The following passage from his article on Granovsky gives a good indication of this:

``The more closely we examine the works which have been written up to the present on history, the more we realise that we have only an idea of what this science should be, and we can barely see as yet the first one-sided attempts to put this idea into practice. We shall not consider the reasons why practice is lagging so far behind theory in this case: that would take us too far from the subject; we would say only that, on the one hand, difficulty is presented by the scarcity and unprocessed nature of historical material for those elements of life which have so far been ignored. On the other hand, perhaps the most important obstacle is the narrow, abstract nature of the common view of human life. Anthropology is only just beginning to assert its supremacy over abstract moralising and one-sided psychology."^^*^^

Note that here too Chernyshevsky is striving to adopt the viewpoint of ``anthropology''. We already know that the philosophy of Feuerbach and Chernyshevsky, which proclaimed the " anthropological" principle, saw the same things in man as the natural sciences saw in him. Chernyshevsky wants history, in its turn, to regard man from the viewpoint of natural science. "Given the extraordinary importance which the natural side of human life plays in life and should acquire in history,'' he says, "it is understandable that the influence of the natural sciences on history must become immeasurably strong with time. At present very few historians sense this. Granovsky is one of them.'' In order to explain his view on the method of research of historical phenomena, Chernyshevsky points to Guizot who, he says, is superior to all other historians of our time. Guizot's lectures on the history of = civilisation^^104^^ suffered from the drawback that, apart from political history, they concentrated solely on the intellectual _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. II, p. 410.

271 life of the nation, and that not in its entirety. The programme of these lectures contains no mention of the material aspect of life. Guizot wishes to write a history of man's inner life and his relations with other people. He forgets about man's relation with nature. "But,'' says Chernyshevsky, "the springs of human life lie in nature, and the whole of life is fundamentally determined by relations with nature."^^*^^

Here Chernyshevsky would appear to be wrong in his criticism of Guizot. Guizot's lectures on the history of civilisation, to which Chernyshevsky refers, do in fact pay too little attention to the material aspect of the life of nations; but if Chernyshevsky had turned to other works by the same historian, for example, his Essais sur Vhistoire de France, he would have seen that Guizot by no means neglected the material aspect of the life of nations, but, quite the reverse, attributed predominant influence to it. Guizot said: "In order to understand political institutions, we must study the various strata existing in a society and their mutual relations. In order to understand these various social strata, we must know the nature and the relations of landed property."^^**^^

To study the nature and the relations of landed property is not to ignore the material aspect of social life. But here we must make a terminological reservation.

The expression "the material aspect of life" is used here by Chernyshevsky in a different sense from that in which we use it in speaking of Guizot's historical views. The agrarian system which exists in a given country characterises not people's relation to nature, but their own mutual relations within society. Whereas Chernyshevsky understands by the material aspect of life the relations which exist between man and nature. This is a very great and extremely fundamental difference. But we shall see shortly that our author's subsequent arguments relating to this subject eliminate this difference almost completely.

Why does Chernyshevsky attach such great importance to the question of the relation between man and nature? He explains this with a long quotation from Granovsky's Speech on the Present State and Significance of Universal History which was delivered at an official meeting of Moscow University on January 12, 1852. As this quotation is most important for a description of Chernyshevsky's view of interest to us here, we shall reproduce it in part at least.

Granovsky said: "The geographical surveys which we have mentioned are rarely linked organically with the exposition that follows. Having prefaced his work with a brief sketch of the country he is describing and its products, the historian turns _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibidem, note.

^^**^^ Essais, 2-e edition, Paris, 1860, pp. 75--76. For more detail on this see Chapter II of my book The Development of the Monlst View of = History.^^105^^

272 with a clear conscience to other, more familiar subjects, thinking that he has satisfied completely the modern requirements of science. As if the action of nature upon man were not constant, as if it did not change with each great step he takes along the path of education. We are still far from a knowledge of all the mysterious threads that bind a nation to the land on which it has grown up and from which it borrows not only the means of physical subsistence, but a considerable part of its moral qualities. The distribution of the products of nature over the surface of the globe is very closely linked with the fate of civil societies. A single plant sometimes conditions the whole life of a nation. The history of Ireland would undoubtedly have been different, if the potato were not the main food of its population. The same may be said about certain animals for other countries."^^*^^

Later in the speech there is a most important reference to an article by Academician Ber on the influence of external nature on the social relations of individual peoples and on the history of mankind. The very title of this article shows that Ber wished to examine the connection between man and nature primarily from the point of view of the influence of natural conditions on social relations. And Granovsky himself has exactly the same influence in mind, when he points out that the whole history of certain countries depends on their flora and fauna. True, he also speaks of certain mysterious threads "that bind a nation to the land" and even determine its moral propensities.

Here one might think that Granovsky recognises the direct influence of nature on mutual relations between people in society. Particularly because on one of the earlier pages he does not refuse to acknowledge as a deduction of natural science "the historical impotence of whole species which are not destined for the noblest forms of civil life".^^**^^ But Chernyshevsky, who was later, as we shall see below, a most resolute opponent of the theory of race, could hardly have inclined towards this theory in the slightest even at the time when he wrote his article on Granovsky, i.e., in 1856.^^***^^ It is most likely that Granovsky's speech appealed to him not because of its readiness to recognise the historical impotence of certain human species, but because of its insistence on the dependence of the social relations of nations on the natural conditions of their existence. And if this is so, Chernyshevsky's idea of the influence of nature on man is very close to our view _-_-_

^^*^^ This passage is on p. 34 of Volume I of Granovsky's Works, 1866 ed.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 33.

^^***^^ A year earlier, in a bibliographical note on N. Kalachev's «ApxHB HCTOpHKO-mpHflHHecKHX cnezieHHH» [Archive of Historico-juridical Information], he pointed to the falsity of "all teutonomanias, gallomanias, anglomanias, czechomanias, bulgaromanias" (Works, I, 428). From here it is, so to say, but a stone's throw to a negative attitude towards the whole theory of race.

273 on the same subject: natural conditions influence people, determining their mutual relations in society. This view was brilliantly formulated by Marx several years before Granovsky delivered his speech on the state and significance of universal history at Moscow University. "In production,'' wrote Marx in his brochure Wage Labour and Capital, "men enter into relation not only with nature. They produce only by cooperating in a certain way and mutually exchanging their activities. In order to produce, they enter into definite connections and relations with one another and only within these social connections and relations does their relation with nature, does production, take place."^^*^^ The mutual relations between people in the production process are determined by the state of the productive forces, which in their turn depend most closely on the natural conditions of existence of a given nation, i.e., on the geographical environment in which it lives. Such is the conclusion arrived at by science in its study of the question of the influence of nature on "social man''. This conclusion was evidently not fully clear to Granovsky. Chernyshevsky too, at the time when he began to apply the ``anthropological'' principle to history, was undoubtedly unclear about it in some important respects. But be that as it may, the logical development of the view of Granovsky and Chernyshevsky was bound to lead to the afore-mentioned deduction by Marx. And since Guizot for his part was nearing this deduction, although he by no means made it fully, Chernyshevsky was wrong to accuse him of disregarding the material aspect of life. But the important thing for us here is not whether Chernyshevsky was right or wrong in his view of Guizot, but that his right or wrong view of Guizot characterised his own historical views. This is why we shall return again to an examination of this view. For the moment, however, we stress once again the fact that in the name of his ``anthropological'' principle our author already at the very beginning of his literary activity demanded that historians pay close attention to the "material aspect of the life" of nations. The whole question of the subsequent development of his historical views is basically that of how he himself saw this aspect.

__NUMERIC_LVL3__ Chapter Two __ALPHA_LVL3__ Materialism in Chernyshevsky's Historical Views

In 1855 in a long critical article on the third and fourth issues of Leontiev's collection Propylaea very famous in its day, Chernyshevsky, challenging the opinion of Kutorga who considered farming the initial way of life of mankind, wrote:

_-_-_

^^*^^ See «HaeMHbiii ipyfl H KanHTaJi», HRJI. «npoJieTapiiaT», CTD. 20. fPlekhanov is quoting from the Russian translation of Marx's, = book.]^^108^^

18--0267

274

``The legends of all peoples testify that before they took up farming and became settled, they were nomadic and engaged in hunting and cattle-breeding. To confine ourselves to Greek legends and those relating specifically to Attica, we would point to the myth of Ceres and Triptolemus whom she taught farming---it is obvious that, according to the recollections of the Greeks, people originally lived in the poor and crude state of the savage hunters and they did not become acquainted with the prosperity of a settled, farming life until later. Such legends, common to all peoples, are fully borne out for the whole of the European section of Indo-European tribes by the studies of Grimm, which are rightly regarded as indisputably correct in their main conclusions. The same is proved directly by positive facts recorded in historical monuments: we do not know of a single people who, having once attained the farming stage, then fell into a state of savagery which does not know farming; on the contrary, in many of the European peoples authentic history has recorded almost from the very beginning the whole course of the spread of the farming way of life."^^*^^ European travellers in Africa have frequently met Negro tribes who, after being driven from their old place of settlement to a new geographical environment little suited to farming, abandoned the farming way of life and became shepherds or hunters. So Chernyshevsky is wrong in assuming that once having attained the farming stage, a people cannot move down to the lower stage. But he is quite right when he says that it is impossible to consider farming as the first step in the history of the development of productive forces. And he is also right in maintaining that the economic development of a society is the cause which gives rise to the development of its legal institutions. "In the case of sheep-keeping peoples, who are constantly moving from place to place,'' he says, "private landed property is inadequate, inconvenient and therefore unnecessary. In their case only the community (the tribe, clan, horde, ulusr yurta) guards the borders of its land, which is in the common use of all its members. Individuals do not have separate property. It is quite different with farming which makes private landed property a necessity. Therefore the connection of the land with tribal and later with state law originates from the nomadic state."^^**^^ Here we have a brilliant example of the decisive influence of the material aspect of the life of peoples on other aspects of this life. But it might be remarked, perhaps, that here Chernyshevsky is speaking only of the connection between ``economics'' and ``politics''. This is true, of course. Once this connection ha& been explained, however, the main features of what is called _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. I, p. 389.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 389. Cf. p. 428 of the same volume.

275 the social structure can be understood. And once the social structure has been understood as being the result of the economic development of society, it is easy to understand also the influence of ``economics'' on people's thoughts and feelings: for it has been recognised ever since the beginning of the nineteenth century that their thoughts and feelings are causally dependent on their social environment, i.e., on social relations. We have already seen that Chernyshevsky was able to explain the development of philosophical thought by the course of the political struggle, i.e., again by the development of the social environment. We also know from his article "The Anthropological Principle in Philosophy" that any given society and any given organic part of that society considers useful and just that which is useful to the society or its part. Chernyshevsky had only to apply this view consistently to the history of the ideological development of mankind to see clearly how this development is conditioned by the clash of human interests in society, i.e., by the ``economics'' of the given society. And Chernyshevsky did in fact see this clearly, at least in some cases. This is what he writes, for example, in a long bibliographical article on W. Reseller's The Principles of the National Economy, published in the fourth issue of the Sovremennik for 1861:

``Whatever group of people you like to take, its way of thinking; is shaped by notions (correct or incorrect, it makes no difference, as we have said) of its own interests. Let us begin with a classification of people by nationality. Most Frenchmen think that England is 'la perfide Albion' which destroyed Napoleon I out of hatred for French prosperity. Most Frenchmen believe that the Rhine is the natural and necessary frontier of France. They also believe that the annexation of Savoy and Nice is a splendid thing. Most Englishmen believe that Napoleon I wanted to destroy England, which had done nothing wrong, and that the struggle against him was waged by England solely for her own salvation. Most Germans regard the French claim to the Rhine frontier as unjust. Most Italians consider the seizure of Savoy and Nice from Italy most unjust. Whence such a difference of views? Simply from the conflicting nature of the interests (imaginary or false, of course, but considered real by the nation in question) of nations. Or take the classification of people according to economic status. The corn producers in every country think it right that other countries should allow the import of corn from their country free of duty, and equally right that the import of corn into their country should be banned. The producers of manufactured goods in each country think it right that foreign corn should be allowed into their country free of duty. The source of this contradiction is the same: self-interest. It is in the interest of the producer of corn that it should cost more. It is in the interest of the producer

18*

276 of manufactured goods that it should cost less. There would be little point in increasing the number of such examples---anyone can find thousands and tens of thousands of them himself."^^*^^

If each person always regards as good, indisputable and everlasting that which is of practical advantage to the group of people to which he belongs, the same "psychological law" should also be used, in Chernyshevsky's opinion, to explain the changing of schools in political economy. The writers of the Adam Smith school considered the forms of economic life; which determined the supremacy of the middle class very good and worthy of lasting forever. "The writers of this school represented the aspirations of the exchange or commercial estate in. the broad sense of the word: bankers, wholesalers, factory-owners and all industrialists in general. The present forms of economic organisation are advantageous for the commercial estate, more advantageous for it than all other forms; that is why the school that was its representative found that these forms were the best in theory; it is only natural that because such a trend prevailed many writers appeared who expressed the general idea even more forcefully and called these forms ever-lasting, absolute."^^**^^

When people who were representatives of the masses began to reflect upon questions of political economy, another economic school, which is called---for some unknown reason, as Chernyshevsky remarks---the Utopian school, appeared in the science. With the appearance of this school economists:who represented the interests of the middle class saw themselves in the position of conservatives. When they had challenged the mediaeval institutions which conflicted with the interests of the middle class,^^***^^ they had appealed to reason. But now it was the representatives of the masses who were appealing to reason in their turn, rightly accusing the representatives of the middle class of inconsistency. "Reason was an excellent weapon for the Adam Smith school against mediaeval institutions,'' says Chernyshevsky, "but this weapon could not be used for the struggle against the new opponents, because it passed into the latter's hands and defeated the followers of the Smith school, to whom it had once been so useful."^^****^^ Consequently the learned representatives of the middle class stopped referring to reason and began referring to history. Thus the historical school arose in political economy, one of the founders of which was Wilhelm Roscher.

Chernyshevsky maintains that this explanation of the history of economics is far more correct than the usual explanation with _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. VIII, p. 137.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 138.

^^***^^ Chernyshevsky~always uses the term estate when referring to social classes.

^^****^^ Ibid., p. 139.

277 the help of references to the greater or lesser amount of knowledge of this or that school. He remarks scornfully that this latter explanation is similar to the method used to mark pupils at examinations: the pupil has a good knowledge of this subject, a bad knowledge of that. "As if in fact,'' Chernyshevsky asks, "a| poor knowledge of history could prevent political economists from knowing that there existed other forms of economic life, different from the present ones, and as if this deprived such people of the possibility of feeling the need for new, more perfect forms, the possibility of admitting that the present forms were not absolute?"^^*^^ It is a matter not of information, but of the feelings of the thinker in question or the group of people which he represents. Fourier had no better a knowledge of history than Say, but he arrived at quite different conclusions. "No,'' concludes Chernyshevsky, "if a person likes the present he does not think of changes; if he dislikes the present, he does, regardless of whether he possesses historical knowledge or lacks it entirely."^^**^^

This is as clear as can be. It is not consciousness that determines being, but being that determines consciousness. This proposition, which forms the basis of Feuerbach's philosophy, is applied by Chernyshevsky to the explanation of the history of economics, political theory and even philosophy. Chernyshevsky sees that social being contains mutually conflicting elements; he also sees how the struggle of these mutually conflicting social elements produces and determines the mutual struggle of theoretical ideas. But this is not all. He sees not only that the development of any science is determined by the development of the corresponding category of social phenomena. He understands that the mutual class struggle is bound to leave a profound mark on the whole internal history of society. Here is interesting evidence of this.

In his Outlines of Political Economy, after explaining the laws of the "tripartite distribution of commodities" which exists in modern advanced countries and drawing a brief final conclusion from his explanations, he expresses the following extremely interesting view on the inner springs of modern European history: "We have seen that the interests of rent are opposed to the interests of profit and workers' wages together. The middle class and the common people have always been allies against the estate which receives rent. We have seen that the interest of profit is opposed to the interest of workers' wages. As soon as the estate of capitalists and (the estate) of workers in joint alliance gain the upper hand over the class which receives rent, the history of the country acquires _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 138.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 138.

278 as its main content the struggle between the middle estate and the people."^^*^^

Here our author's views coincide remarkably with the views of Marx and Engels. And this is not surprising. Chernyshevsky went through the same school as Marx and Engels: from Ilegel he turned to Feuerbach. But Marx and Engels subjected Feuerbach's philosophy to a radical reshaping, whereas Chernyshevsky remained throughout his life a follower of this philosophy in the form which it took in Feuerbach himself. It is to Feuerbach that the famous expression---which gave rise to a great deal of talk and indignation in its time: Der Mensch ist, was er isst (a person is what he eats)---belongs. We have quoted above some other propositions of Feuerbach's concerning the influence that a person's way of living has on his way of thinking. All these are perfectly materialist propositions. But in Feuerbach these propositions remained entirely undeveloped even in his doctrine of religion. Chernyshevsky applied Feuerbach's views to aesthetics and in this, as we shall see below, he achieved results that in a certain sense are most remarkable. But here, too, his conclusions were not quite satisfactory because the perfectly correct idea of the aesthetic development of mankind implies the preliminary elaboration of a general conception of history. As regards this general conception of history, Chernyshevsky succeeded in making only a few, if very correct, steps towards its elaboration. One may cite as examples of such steps the long quotations from his writings that we have just made. These quotations show clearly that Chernyshevsky succeeded in making brilliant use of the materialist ideas of his teacher. But the materialist ideas of his teacher suffered from abstractness where they touched upon human social relations. And this weak side of Feuerbach's ideas resulted in the fact that the historical views of his Russian pupil were not sufficiently logical and consistent. The main shortcoming of these historical views is that at almost every point in them materialism gives way to idealism, and vice versa, but the final victory goes to idealism.

We are well aware how Chernyshevsky explains history in cases "when he remains true to his materialist philosophy. Now let us see how he explains it when he adopts an idealist point of view.

__NUMERIC_LVL3__ Chapter Three __ALPHA_LVL3__ Idealism in Chernyshevsky's Historical Views

Here is what we read in his article on V. P. Botkin's wellknown book Letters about Spain (Sovremennik, 1857, Issue 2): "The division of a people into hostile castes is one of the _-_-_

^^*^^ Our italics. Works, Vol. VII, 415.

279 greatest obstacles to the improvement of its future; in Spain there is no such disastrous division, no irreconcilable enmity between the estates, every one of which would be prepared to sacrifice the most precious historical achievements if only it would harm another estate; in Spain the entire nation feels itself a single whole. This feature is so unusual among the peoples of Western Europe that it deserves the greatest attention and may in itself be considered an earnest of the country's happy future."^^*^^

This is not a slip of the pen, because, several pages further down in the same article, Chernyshevsky says: "The Spanish people have an indisputable advantage over most civilised nations in one, exceedingly important respect: the Spanish estates are not divided either by deep-rooted hatred or by substantially conflicting interests; they do not constitute castes inimical to one another, as is the case in many other West-European countries; on the contrary, in Spain all the estates can strive jointly for a common goal."^^**^^

In the same article Chernyshevsky states categorically: " Ignorance is the root of all evil in Spain'',^^***^^ and accordingly all his hopes for Spain's possible development in the future are pinned on the success of enlightenment in this country.

Any eighteenth-century ``Enlightener'' and any nineteenthcentury Utopian socialist would readily have subscribed to these views of his, just as any present-day Marxist would willingly subscribe to his ideas quoted above on the causal dependence of social thought on social life.

The Utopian socialists, and in part the eighteenth-century enlighteners also, did not close their eyes to the fact of the class struggle in civilised society. Nor did Chernyshevsky. But while noting the fact of the class struggle the Utopian socialists did not consider it possible to rely on it in order to carry out their programme. They believed, on the contrary, that the class struggle would be an obstacle to the implementation of their programme and that the latter could be carried out far more quickly and easily given the friendly cooperation of all social classes. Therefore they called upon all classes to unite in the name of future social reform.^^****^^ As we can see, in his remarks on the mutual _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. Ill, p. 38.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 44.

^^***^^ Ibid., p. 45.

^^****^^ Bourgin in his interesting book Fourier. Contribution a I elude du socialisms franfais, Paris, 1905, says that Fourier's system contains the theory of the class struggle (p. 596). But Bourgin is confusing recognition of the fact of the class struggle with an attitude to this fact. The Utopian socialists saw the fact of the class struggle, but did not see that "Der Widerspruch ist das Fortleitende" (contradiction leads forward), as Hegel said. They did not understand that the class struggle is the factor with the help of which all __NOTE__ Footnote cont. on page 280. 280 relation of the classes in Spain, Chernyshevsky comes very close to the viewpoint of the Utopian socialists.

In their Manifesto Marx and Engels give a most apt description of this viewpoint. "The Socialist and Communist systems properly so called, those of Saint-Simon, Fourier, Owen and others, spring into existence in the early undeveloped period, described above, of the struggle between proletariat and bourgeoisie. The founders of these systems see, indeed, the class antagonisms, as well as the action of the decomposing elements in the prevailing form of society. But the proletariat... offers to them the spectacle of a class without any historical initiative or any independent political = movement."^^107^^

It was because the Utopian socialists did not see any historical initiative in the proletariat, that they addressed themselves to all classes of the society of their day irrespectively. And it was because they addressed themselves to all classes of society, that in the propagation of their practical plans they pointed not to what disunited these classes, but to what might unite them. But since modern society is based on the antagonism of classes, the main efforts of the Utopian propagandists were, naturally, aimed at depicting the advantages of a future social order in which class antagonism would disappear, giving way to imiversal solidarity. In order to understand the advantages of this future social order, one need only reflect on the social laws discovered by a given social reformer. The Utopian socialists believed, as the Manifesto already quoted by us says, that once people understood their system, they could not "fail to see in it the best possible plan of the best possible state of = society".^^108^^ But if, in the case of the Utopian socialists, the whole future history of society amounted to the propagation and practical implementation of their reformist plans, they inevitably saw this history in an idealist light. C'est 1'opinion qui gouverne le monde (it is opinion that rules the world), said the French Enlighteners of the eighteenth century. The Utopian socialists readily repeated this proposition. Thus, for example, even Louis Blanc, whom the late Mikhailovsky was pleased to consider an "economic materialist'', wrote in his History of Ten Years: "The true history of our age lies in the history of its ideas. Diplomatic ruses, court intrigues, noisy debates, street righting---all this is nothing more than the agitation of societies (1'agitation des societes). Their life is not there. It is in the mysterious development of common aspirations, it lies in this quiet working out of doctrines preparing revolutions. For there is always a profound cause for all these events which, once they have happened, seem to us to have been _-_-_ __NOTE__ Footnote cont. from page 279. progress in the internal relations of a class-divided society is made. Only Blanqui understood the historical importance of the class struggle; but in this respect Blanqui's socialism is a transition to scientific socialism.

281 engendered by chance."^^*^^ In another passage he assures us that history is made by books (L'histoire est faite par des livres). In view of this it is not surprising that Utopian socialists took an idealist view of the entire future of contemporary society. They were convinced that the fate of that society would be decided by the ``views'' held by its members, i.e., the standpoint which they took with regard to the social reorganisation plan put forward by a particular reformer. They did not ask themselves why it was that the dominant views in that particular society were such and not others. That is why they were not eager for a further elaboration of those elements of a materialist interpretation of history with which their doctrines undoubtedly were replete. In fact, they were prone to look on mankind's past history as well from an idealist standpoint. For this reason, in their statements about that history we very often encounter the most undoubted and, it would seem, most obvious contradictions: facts which have apparently been interpreted in an entirely materialist sense are suddenly given an entirely idealist explanation; and, on the other hand, idealist interpretations are every now and. again upset by perfectly materialist eruptions. This lack of stability, this recurrent shift from materialism to idealism and from idealism to materialism, a shift perceptible to the modern reader but imperceptible to the author, make themselves felt also in the historical statements of Chernyshevsky, who in this respect is very reminiscent of the great Utopians of the West. In the final analysis he inclines like them, we repeat, to idealism.

This can be seen clearly from his interesting article "On theCauses of the Fall of Rome (an Imitation of Montesquieu)" published in the Sovremennik in 1861 (Issue 5). In it he vigorously attacks the very widespread opinion that the Roman Empire in the' West fell because of its inherent inability to develop further,, whereas the barbarians who put an end to its existence brought with them new seeds of progress. "Just think, what progress is and what a barbarian is!" Chernyshevsky exclaims. "Progress is based on intellectual development; its fundamental aspect lies precisely in the successes and spread of knowledge__ Mathematics develops, and this leads to the development of applied mechanics; the development of applied mechanics leads to the improvement of all manner of fabrications, crafts, etc.... Historical knowledge advances; this reduces the number of false notions that prevent people from organising their social life, which, therefore, becomes better organised than before. Finally, all intellectual labour develops man's intellectual powers, and the more people in a country who learn to read, who acquire the habit and love of _-_-_

^^*^^ Histoire de dix ans, t. Ill, Paris, 1844, p. 89.

282 reading books, the larger the number of people in it who are capable of running things properly, whatever they may be---which means that the course of all aspects of life in the country is improved. Consequently the main force behind progress is learning; the achievements of progress are proportionate to the amount and spread of knowledge. So this is what progress is: the result of knowledge. But what is a barbarian? A man who is still wallowing in the deepest ignorance; a man who is half-way between a wild beast and a human being with the rudiments of a developed mind.... What good is it to society, if institutions, good or bad, but nevertheless human ones, possessing something that is in the slightest degree rational, are replaced by the customs of animals?"^^*^^

No mention is made here either of the internal social relations in Rome, which accounted for its weakness and which were pointed out even by Guizot in the first article of his Essais sur Vhistoire de France, or of the forms of communal life to which the German barbarians owed their strength at the time of the fall of the Roman Empire in the West. Chernyshevsky even forgot the famous words of Pliny, which he himself quotes elsewhere: latifundia perdidere Italiam (latifundia were the undoing of Italy). In his "formula of progress'', as the phrase went in our country afterwards, there is no room for the internal relations in the country concerned. Everything is reduced to intellectual development. Chernyshevsky states emphatically that progress is based on intellectual development and that "its fundamental aspect lies precisely in the successes and development of knowledge''. It does not even occur to him that "the successes and development of knowledge" may depend on social relations, which in some cases are conducive to those successes and that development and in others hinder them. He depicts social relations as a mere corollary of the spread of certain views. We have just read this: "Historical knowledge advances; this reduces the number of false notions that prevent people from organising their social life, which, therefore, becomes better organised than before.'' This is very unlike what our author said in his article on Roscher's book. From what he said there it followed, moreover, that it is impossible, and indeed ridiculous, to judge scholars as if they were schoolboys, saying that a particular scholar was unfamiliar with a particular science and therefore came to hold erroneous views. It also followed from what he said there that what matters is not the amount of knowledge acquired by a particular scholar, but the interests of the group which he represents. In short, it followed from what he said there that social views are determined by social interests; and social thought, by social life. Now, it is the _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. VIII, p. 158.

283 other way round. Now it appears that social life is determined by social thought and that if a social system has certain shortcomings, it is because society, like a schoolboy, has studied poorly or little, and therefore has conceived erroneous notions. It would be hard to think of a more striking contradiction.

And it is interesting that the article "On the Fall of Rome" appeared in the fifth, and the article on Roscher's book in the fourth issue of the Sovremennik for 1861. So here it cannot be said that Chernyshevsky held different views at different times on the question of interest to us here. No. He held different views at one and the same time, and this is characteristic of him as a man who had not yet succeeded in reducing his historical views to a single principle and therefore, so to say, simultaneously adhered to materialism and idealism in his discussions on the course of history.

``It is said that a society found the established forms constricting,'' Chernyshevsky argues, later on, "which means that in the society there was a progressive force, there was the need for progress."^^*^^ To this it may be objected---and, of course, people who did not share Chernyshevsky's idealist view in this case did object---that the need for progress is one thing, and the presence in society of a force capable of satisfying this need is quite another. One must not confuse these two concepts, which are quite different in content: one of them is purely negative (the "need for progress" indicates merely the constricting nature of the existing forms), the other positive, for the presence in society of a progressive force capable of making the necessary change in the forms of 'Communal life assumes a certain level of intellectual, moral and political development of the class or classes which are affected by the unfavourable aspects of these forms. If these concepts were identical, human progress would be an extremely simple matter, and we would not encounter in history the sorry spectacle of societies which have collapsed under the heavy weight of forms of communal life which, for all their indisputable harmfulness, could not be abolished because there were no vital forces in the people capable of doing so. It goes without saying that we are not speaking here of forms harmful to all the classes of the society in question. Such forms abolish themselves, one might say. But more often than not it is other forms, unfavourable for the majority and very favourable for a privileged minority, which are particularly harmful for the further successes of the society. 'Such forms can be abolished only if the suffering majority possesses albeit the slightest ability to take independent political action. And it does not always possess this ability. This ability is by no means an inherent quality of the oppressed majority. It _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 160.

284 is itself created by the economics of the given society. It would seem that there was nothing more advantageous for the proletarians of Rome than to support the Gracchi draft laws. But they did not support them, nor could they have done so, because the social situation in which the economic development of Home placed them not only did not promote their political development, but, quite the reverse, constantly lowered its level. As for the upper classes, firstly, it would be absurd to expect from them political action contrary to their economic interests, and, secondly, they were themselves being more and more corrupted by the influence of another aspect of the same course of economic development which was creating the Roman proletariat and at the same time turning it into a bloodthirsty and obtuse mob. FinallyT things had come to such a pass that the Romans, those conquerors of the world, were unfit for military service, and the legionswere reinforced with the very barbarians who eventually put an end to the existence of the Empire which was half-dead already.^^*^^ Thus, contrary to Chernyshevsky's explanations, there is nothing accidental about the fall of Rome, for it was the natiiral end of an historico-social movement which had begun long before.

But Chernyshevsky takes an entirely different view of the question of the forces with the help of which the social need for progress could be met. In his opinion, such forces are always available wherever they are needed.

Their availability is ensured for any given society, firstly, by the laws of physiology. "The organism of the individual person lives out its life; but with each new-born person a new organism appears with new, fresh powers, and with each change of generation the powers of a nation are renewed.... Do not contradict physiology, please, do not say that there are nations which consist of people who are headless or without stomachs, or exclusively of old men, or exclusively of young people---for each _-_-_

^^*^^ Eduard Meyer is quite right in saying: "Erst als das Reich innerlicb bereits vollig zersetzt war, haben die Barbaren, die es selbst hereingerufen, denen es das Schwert in die Hand gegeben hatte, ihm die westlichen Provinzen entrissen" (Die wirtschajtliche Entwickelung des Altertums, Jena, 1895, S. 50). ["Only when the Empire was completely disintegrated internally, did the barbarians, whom it had called in itself and in whose hand it had put the sword, take the Western provinces away from it."] Cf. also pp. 52--63. On the same question see the short but interesting work by A. Secretan: La Depopulation de I'empire romain et les invasions germaniques, Lausanne, 1908. Cf. also Rodbertus, "Zur Geschichte der agrarischen Entwickelung Roms" (IlildebrandtsJahrbiicher fur Nationalokonomie, II; in Russian literature the question of the fall of the Roman Empire is examined by Prof. ]\. IleTpymeucKHii---«OiepKH 113 HciopuH cpeflneBeKOBoro o6ru;ecTDa H rocy^apcTBa», 113/iaHne Bxopoe, MocKua, 1908, cjp. 1-189 [D. Petrushevsky, Essays on theHistory of the Mediaeval Society and State, second edition, Moscow, 1908, pp. 1-189].

285 of these four phrases is equally absurd. What a desire to show oneself as a fool or a liar."^^*^^

Secondly, Chernyshevsky argues his point also with the help -of the following logical consideration. He asks by what power the forms of communal life which stand on the path of progress were created. To this question he replies confidently: by the power of society. And from this he concludes that since the amount of power in society does not decrease, society cannot become powerless over that over which it formerly had power: "Is it more difficult to destroy than to create? Think what you are saying: the masons who have built a house do not have the power to knock it down; the carpenter who has made a table or the blacksmith who has forged an anchor does not have the power to destroy it."^^**^^

But not all the forces which exist in a given society act in the same direction. History shows that the ``masons'', ``carpenters'', etc., who attempt to alter ``houses'', ``tables'', and so on, have to overcome the resistance of those social groups who are interested in the ``houses'' and ``tables'' retaining their former appearance. In other cases, i.e., when he was true to the materialist point of view, Chernyshevsky himself was fully aware of this fact and brought it out well. But the "imitation of Montesquieu" carried him away to the eighteenth-century point of view, and he began to reason like the most thorough-bred idealist.

Chernyshevsky's final conclusion is that the Ancient World was destroyed solely by the wave of unrest which seized all the nomads from the Rhine to the Amur. "It was no more nor less than the destruction of a country by a flood. There was no internal need for death. On the contrary, life was fresh, progress unceasing. The destruction of the Roman Empire was a geological catastrophe like the destruction of Herculaneum and Pompeii, like the destruction of the country over which the waters of the Zuider Zee now flow."^^***^^

It is usually considered that Chernyshevsky's article "On the Causes of the Fall of Rome" was aimed against Herzen who after the failure of the revolution of 1848--49 became disillusioned with Western Europe and looked primarily to Russia and its peasant commune for the implementation of socialism. In his recently published book on Herzen Mr. Ch. Vetrinsky says confidently that in Chernyshevsky's article one cannot fail to see Herzen in the imaginary opponent whom the author does not know whether to call a fool or a liar.^^****^^ Mr. Vetrinsky is not quite _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. VIII, p. 159.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 160.

^^***^^ Ibid., pp. 167--68.

^^****^^ H. BeipHHCKHH, «repuen», Cn6., 1908, cip. 355. [Ch. Vetrinsky, Herzen, St. Petersburg, 1908, p. 355.]

286 accurate in his description of Chernyshevsky's polemical device. The latter does not say that his imaginary opponent is either a fool or a liar. He merely advises him not to accept certain propositions which only a fool or a liar would accept__ This is also>

extremely caustic, of course; but this extreme causticity does not have the nature of a personal insult, which it acquires in Mr. Ch. Vetrinsky's account. In itself the assumption that Chernyshevsky is disputing Herzen in his article seems more than likely to us also.^^*^^ True, in view of the fact that in his article Chernyshevsky criticises boasting about Russia's uniqueness and exultation in it, one might think that he was attacking the Slavophils. But in this connection he makes a reservation which compels us to reject this idea. The reservation is as follows: "We are not speaking here of the Slavophils, of course: the Slavophils have eyes constructed in such a way that whatever rubbish they see in our country, our rubbish is excellent and eminently suitable for resuscitating dying Europe__We are not speaking of these people: they are few in number and there is no point in arguing with them, we are speaking not of eccentrics, but of people who reason in accordance with ordinary human sense."^^**^^ Hence it is clear that Chernyshevsky did not have such a poor opinion of his imaginary opponent as Mr. Vetrinsky ascribed to him. But this is by the way. The important point here is that, to quote Chernyshevsky, his "imaginary opponent" does not see anything in Russia,. apart from communal land tenure, which could usefully spread from us to the advanced countries and with which we could promote their resuscitation. This enables one to say with almost the utmost confidence that Chernyshevsky's article was aimed against Herzen's well-known view about Russia's attitude to the "old world''. Chernyshevsky firmly rejects this view: Europe has nothing to learn from us, "because it understands far better than we do, what new systems it needs, how to build them and by what means to introduce them. So we have absolutely nothing with which to resuscitate it".^^***^^

This was quite true, just as it was true that we have no grounds to boast about our uniqueness, which amounts to terrible backwardness. Chernyshevsky's fight against such boasting, regardless _-_-_

^^*^^ Herzen took the article "On the Fall of Rome" as referring to him, as did Ogarev who wrote about it in one of his letters: "it is shameful thus to sell Christ, i.e., truth and the cause, it is inadmissible. It is what Christians called a crime against the spirit" (see M. K. Lemke's article "The Case of N. G. Chernyshevsky'', Byloye, 1906, No. 3). One cannot agree with this on any account, of course. To object to the semi-Slavophilism of Herzen and Ogarev was by no means to "sin against the spirit''.

^^**^^ Works, Vol. VIII, p. 173.

^^***^^ Ibidem.

287 of whom it proceeded from, will always be to his credit. Herzen formed his view of Russia's attitude to the "old world" under thestrong influence of Slavophils and this view was wrong. But one can arrive at an erroneous view even when one employs a more or less correct method, just as a correct view may result from the employment of a more or less erroneous method. It is therefore fair to ask oneself how the method by which Herzen formed his erroneous view was related to the method which led Chernyshevsky to a completely justified repudiation and ridicule of that view.

We already have half the answer to this question: we have seen that in his argumentation of the causes of the fall of Rome Chernyshevsky adhered to a purely idealist method. And since weconsider this method erroneous in essence, we would say that although Chernyshevsky was right in his sharply negative attitude to Herzen's semi-Slavophil view of the fate awaiting Western Europe, this correct result was nevertheless obtained by him with the help of an erroneous method. But in that case what can be said of Herzen?

His train of thought was as follows: the Western peoples livein certain economic conditions; the Russian people in entirely different ones. In the West petty-bourgeois ownership prevails; the Russian people inclines towards communal ownership. Therefore the Western peoples are imbued with a petty-bourgeois spirit that is irreconcilably hostile to socialism, whereas the Russian peopleis probably the most anti-petty-bourgeois people in the world and as a result of this is perhaps more than all other peoples capable of realising the socialist ideal.

In this argument of Herzen's there were very many mistakes of fact and very many errors of logic. This is why they led him toerroneous results. But no matter how erroneous the results to which they led Herzen, one is bound to acknowledge that they were based in part on the true, although not sufficiently thoughtout idea that consciousness is determined by being. And in so far as Herzen adhered to this perfectly correct idea---we repeat, it was far from achieving complete clarity in him and far from being fully thought out---he was closer than Chernyshevsky to the materialist explanation of history which alone can reveal to us the true springs of social development.^^*^^

_-_-_

^^*^^ Herzen wrote that the fate of the West depended on whether the peoplewas successful or not in its struggle with the upper classes. "If the people is defeated, New China [England.---G.P.] and New Persia [France.---G.P.] will be inevitable. But if the people prevails, social revolution will be inevitable" (Kolokol, Nos. 40 and 41, April 15, 1859, article "J. S. Mill and his book On Liberty''). Such propositions cannot be refuted by references to ``physiology''. Here it is essential to appeal to social economy, which Chernyshevsky does not do in this case.

288 __NUMERIC_LVL3__ Chapter Four __ALPHA_LVL3__ The Course of Social Development

We have just seen that the article "On the Causes of the Fall of Rome" was aimed against semi-Slavophil boasting about Russia's uniqueness. It should now be added that it was also aimed against something else. In it Chernyshevsky was also attacking what he considered the unfounded and harmful optimism in the theories of West-European historians of the Guizot school. It is worth reminding the reader that the formal reason for the appearance -of the article in question was the publication in Mr. M. Stasyulevich's Russian translation of the first part of Guizot's Histoire de la civilisation en France depuis la chute de VEmpire Remain, etc. In challenging Herzen's view, Chernyshevsky also comes forward as a resolute opponent of historical optimism. Having expressed the firm conviction that the destruction of the Roman Empire was a "geological catastrophe" like the one which destroyed Herculaneum and Pompeii, he says:

``Similar cases of the destruction of objects and causes by external destructive forces, no matter how sound the cause or how full -of life the object, are encountered every day in private life and countless times in history, only in known history this destruction has never taken place on such a vast scale as in the destruction of the whole of the ancient civilised world. But do not talk about the rationality or beneficiality of these catastrophes. A horse kicks a man on the temple and the man dies. What rationality is there here, what inner causes of death? Lisbon was destroyed by an earthquake. Were the merits or defects of Portuguese civilisation responsible for this? A simoom rises, and a caravan in the Sahara desert is buried in the sand---do not argue that the camels and horses were bad, the people stupid, and the merchandise poor."^^*^^

In Guizot's historical optimism Chernyshevsky objected to the tendency to find that the conquerors are always right and the conquered are the guilty ones. Chernyshevsky calls this tendency trite and says that in practice it is not always like this: sometimes those who are right conquer and sometimes those who are guilty. He applies Schiller's lines in "The Feast of Victory" to history:

Gifts go where there is no merit,
Luck where it has not been earned.
See Patroclus dead and buried,
While Thersites has returned.

_-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. VIII, p. 168.

289

The German barbarians who destroyed the Roman Empire injthe West are regarded by Chernyshevsky as something in the nature of Thersites, at least until they abandoned their barbaric customs. He describes the social order established after the collapse of the Roman state as follows: "On the conquest of the Roman provinces each member of the tribe of conquerors plunders, robs and kills anyone he pleases, from the conquered population or from his own comrades, until someone kills him, and the leader chops off the heads of all who fall into his hands."^^*^^ From this plundering, which continued for several centuries, feudalism eventually emerged. But the feudal system was not progress either, compared with the social life which had existed in the Roman Empire. There was a certain degree of lawfulness in Rome, but feudalism was robbery elevated into a system, internecine strife subordinated to certain rules. Even feudalism, of course, was a step forward by comparison with the sixth and seventh centuries. But, according to Chernyshevsky, it was a step forward only in the sense that the old Italian robbers who would accept a ransom were better than the earlier robbers who killed without a ransom. When feudalism gave way to a centralised bureaucracy, which did not happen until the seventeenth century, what was established in the new Europe was the same form that had prevailed in Rome in the third century.

``So now talk about the beneficial influence of the conquest of the Roman provinces by the barbarians,'' Chernyshevsky concludes. "The beneficial nature of this event was simply that the advanced sections of the human race were cast into a deep abyss of savagery out of which they barely succeeded in rising to their former position after fourteen centuries of incredible efforts."^^**^^ These lines show that in the historical views of our author an extremely important role is ascribed to chance. One might say that the whole trend of West-European history throughout the fourteen centuries which followed the fall of the Roman Empire was determined, in his opinion, by a single colossal chance or, as he puts it in another passage, by a geological catastrophe: the invasion of the barbarians. The expression "geological catastrophe" calls to mind Cuvier who explained the fate of the world's flora and fauna by geological catastrophes. We already know that Chernyshevsky rejected Cuvier's theory and adhered to the viewpoint of transformism. So the question arises as to how transformism could exist in his historical views alongside his teaching on the chances and catastrophes which determined the historical fate of peoples for whole centuries.

_-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 169.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 171.

__PRINTERS_P_289_COMMENT__ 19---0267 290

In raising this question we do not wish to suggest that transformism is incompatible with the concept of catastrophes. If by catastrophes one means interruptions in gradual development--- the so-called leaps in nature or history---it would be unpardonable to forget that Hegel in his Logic proved the total inevitability of ``catastrophes'' in any logical theory of development. We have expressed our views on this subject on many occasions in other works and do not consider it necessary to return to it here. But if ``catastrophes'' are logically inevitable in any theory of development that is in any degree logical, this indisputable fact does not determine the extent to which any given theory that assigns a place to ``catastrophes'' may be regarded as logical. In asking how Chernyshevsky's transformism could exist alongside his teaching on ``catastrophes'', we wish to elucidate whether he was able to see ``catastrophes'' as one of the elements of development. This is one of the most important questions which arise in the examination of any given social or historical theory.

The answer to this question must be sought in Chernyshevsky's bibliographical note on another of Guizot's works, also dealing with the history of civilisation, but in the whole of Europe, not only in France. The Russian translation of this work appeared in 1861, and in the 9th issue of the Sovremennik for that year Chernyshevsky wrote his review of it.

In this note Guizot is described as a serious scholar who has made a profound study of the subjects which he discusses. If he has many incorrect ideas, Chernyshevsky nevertheless regards each of these ideas as worthy of careful examination. The chief feature and chief merit of Guizot's historical works is the fact that their author excludes an account of individual events from his plan and concentrates all his attention on a description of the general spirit of the events, institutions and ideas of each given age. The chief shortcoming of these works, however, in Chernyshevsky's eyes, is, as we already know, an excessive optimism in the evaluation of historical events.^^*^^ Guizot's excessive optimism was based on a one-sided idea of progress. Whatever Western Europe was in the thirteenth century, its position then was better than in the tenth century. The same may be said of the seventeenth century: the position of Europe then was better than 400 years earlier. Finally, the present time, whatever it may be, is still better than the seventeenth century. The fate of European mankind is slowly but surely improving. This is incontestable. But from this incontestable fact optimists like Guizot draw wrong conclusions.

The reason for the slow but sure improvement in the life of European mankind lies, according to Chernyshevsky, "in the _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. VI, p. 347.

291 nature of the European nations themselves, which, like all other nations, are not lacking in strivings for enlightenment, truth and all other good things".^^*^^ One of the good features of human nature is the inborn capacity and desire to work. It is all these good qualities of human nature which explain the gradual improvement of the destiny of mankind. "The masses work, and the arts of production are gradually perfected. They are endowed with a love of knowledge or, at least, curiosity, and enlightenment gradually develops; thanks to the development of agriculture, industry and abstract knowledge manners become more refined and customs, then later institutions as well, are improved; all this has a single cause---the inner striving of the masses to improve their material and moral life."^^**^^

But this inner striving of the masses to improve their life takes place in conditions---Chernyshevsky says: under the influence of forms---which do not always favour it. These conditions, according to our author, "proceed from quite different sources and are supported by quite different means''. As an example Chernyshevsky takes feudalism: "What did it have in common with industry and love of knowledge? It proceeded from conquest, its aim was the appropriation of the work of others, it was supported by force, and the feudal lords had no scholastic aspirations; they wanted to idle away all the time that was not taken up with wars, tournaments and similar occupations."^^***^^ Therefore one cannot say that feudalism was of benefit to work in any respect. If work achieved any results it was in spite of feudalism, not because of it. The same must be said of achievements in knowledge. If there were such achievements, they took place not because of feudalism, but in spite of it. This explains the slowness of progress; this explains the fact that civilisation remains unsatisfactory to this very day. Chernyshevsky says: "Civilisation found support in nothing but man's nature, and the people whose work and love of knowledge produced it were in an extremely difficult position, so that their activity was very weak and constantly exposed to obstacles which destroyed most of the little it had been able to produce. No sooner did it have some success in the towns of Upper Italy, than a horde of Germans descended upon it and the result of the struggle of the emperors with the popes was the subjection of the towns of Lombardy and Tuscany to the rule of the condottieri; no sooner did industry and science begin to flower in Southern France, than Innocent III directed the hordes of Northern France to these flourishing areas, preaching the _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 348.

^^**^^ Ibidem.

^^***^^ Ibidem.

__PRINTERS_P_291_COMMENT__ 19* 292 destruction of the Albigenses. One way or another, the same story was constantly repeated all over Western Europe."^^*^^

Although progress was made thanks to human nature and in spite of the forms under which it had to realise its aspirations, historians inclined to optimism attributed progress to these very forms, repeating the logical error expressed in the formula: post hoc, ergo propter hoc.^^**^^ They said: "Progress has taken place under this form, therefore it was produced by this form.'' Chernyshevsky remarks that, according to such logic, one would have to regard winter as the cause of the heat which is retained in dwellings in spite of the influence of the cold outside. And he finds that Guizot more than all other historians is guilty of this sin against logic: in him every important fact is invariably represented as promoting progress.^^***^^

Without touching upon the reasons with which Chernyshevsky explains Guizot's optimism, we shall try to analyse his own arguments.

First of all, we would point out that at the basis of all his arguments in this respect lies an idea contrary to that which we found in the article "The Anthropological Principle in Philosophy''. There he said that man is by nature neither good nor bad, but becomes good or bad depending on the circumstances. Now it appears that human nature aspires "to enlightenment, to truth, and to all that is good" and that it is constantly realising this aspiration in spite of circumstances which are unfavourable to it. What are these circumstances? The actions of people who kill their kin, rob them and interrupt their useful toil with all manner of violence. But if actions of this kind are explained in their turn by human nature, the description of human nature given here by Chernyshevsky is incomplete: it should then be said that in human nature there lies an aspiration not only to all that is good, but also to all that is bad. And having thus added to the description of human nature, we are inevitably faced with the question: why have the good aspirations inherent in this nature prevailed in some cases, and the bad ones in others? If we say---as our author says in the article "The Anthropological Principle in Philosophy"--- that everything here depended on the circumstances, this will be right. But then we are immediately faced with the question as to what sort of circumstances permitted the manifestation of the bad elements in human nature that led, for example, to the emergence of feudalism. Chernyshevsky's arguments contain no reply to this question; but they do contain remarks which give us grounds for thinking that he would hardly have agreed to attribute to human nature such bad actions as carnage, conquest, _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibidem.

^^**^^ [after it, therefore because of it]

^^***^^ Ibid., p. 349.

293 exploitation of tho work of others, etc. He maintains, as we have seen, that the forms of life under the unfavourable influence of which "progress is produced'', "proceed from quite different sources''. Where these sources come from remains unknown. But no matter where our author deduced them from, it is clear that he could have refused to deduce them from human nature only by abandoning the point of view which he defended in the article "The Anthropological Principle in Philosophy".

Let us go on. The forms under which progress takes place do not always favour it. Very well. What are these forms? Chernyshevsky points to feudalism. But feudalism is a complete and fairly complex set of social relations. Which aspect of these relations does Chernyshevsky have in mind? He dwells primarily on wars, robbery, conquest, etc. Let us too examine this aspect of feudal relations.

War determines the social order to a certain extent, of course, but before determining it, war itself is determined by this order. For this reason---and for this reason only---it has a different character at different stages of social development: savages fight among themselves differently from barbarian tribes, and barbarian tribes differently from civilised nations. The results of conquest are also different at the various stages of social development. When the Normans conquered England this produced certain results, and when the Germans conquered Alsace-Lorraine this produced quite different ones. The social consequences of conquest have always depended upon the social relations prevailing among the conquerors, on the one hand, and the conquered, on the other. As for feudalism itself, seen from the aspect of interest to us here, it must be remembered that the appearance of a special estate with the obligation to render military service presupposed a long process of social development which consisted of a change in property, mainly land, relations and a consequent change in the division of social labour.^^*^^ And this process took place on a certain economic basis which, for some strange reason, is entirely overlooked by our author. He says that, following their good aspiration, mediaeval people worked and that their work was hindered by such ``forms'' as feudalism. But let us suppose that there had been no feudalism or any other ``forms'' like it which were unfavourable to work. What would the social grouping have been like then? What ``forms'' would have developed under the influence of the unimpeded aspiration to work? Chernyshevsky would probably have replied that in that case this or that type of communal life would have flourished. But what would have been the limits of the communes developing under _-_-_

^^*^^ Cf. the above-mentioned work by D. Petrushevsky, Essays on the History of the Mediaeval Society and State, pp. 234-EG and 290--309.

294 such favourable circumstances? And are there not grounds for assuming that friction would have arisen between the communes? And if such grounds exist, are we not right in thinking that this friction would have led to wars, to the oppression of the weak by the strong, and to all the phenomena by the presence of which Chernyshevsky explained the slow development of civilisation?

In attributing to force an exaggerated role in the mediaeval history of West-European societies, Chernyshevsky was following the example of his teachers---the socialists of the Utopian period, who in turn followed the example of the French historians of the time of the Restoration.

These historians set great store upon the role of the class struggle in the development of European society. Guizot said that the whole history of France had been made by the struggle of classes.^^*^^ French historians of the period in question regarded the Great French Revolution also as a result of the struggle of the "third estate" against the secular and ecclesiastical aristocracy. Since they were the ideologists of the bourgeoisie, it was natural that all their sympathies should be on the side of the "third estate''. However inclined Guizot, for example, was to optimism, his optimism amounted essentially to the belief that the whole history of Europe from the time of the fall of the Roman Empire in the West had prepared in some way or other the triumph of the "third estate'', or---as Guizot put it more accurately---the middle classes. And in so far as these scholars regarded this history as a logical process, they saw in it a process preparing the triumph of the bourgeoisie. It should suffice to recall Augustin Thierry with his History of the Third Estate,^^**^^ excellent for its day. Having adopted the viewpoint of the middle classes, Augustin Thierry and other famous French historians of his day felt no sympathy for feudalism. And although they were quite prepared to admit the logic of its historical emergence, they studied it poorly and explained it primarily by conquest. Some of them, Guizot, for example, reconciled themselves very easily to the fact of conquest and readily expatiated on its beneficial consequences which, as already mentioned, were primarily that they had prepared the more or less remote triumph of the middle class. Others, for example, Augustin Thierry, showed a great, almost passionate antipathy for the fact of conquest. But, whatever the case, all of them explained the emergence of feudalism by conquest, unlike the bourgeois order the development of which they explained primarily by economic causes. From the point of view of modern economics, which has discovered the economic causes of the emergence of feudalism, this characteristic feature of the views of _-_-_

^^*^^ It is interesting that Chernyshevsky pays no attention to this aspect of Guizot's views.

^^**^^ [Essais sur l'histoire du tiers \'etat.]

295 French historians of the Restoration period should, of course, be regarded as the weak side of these views. But the Utopian socialists took a different view of the matter. They, on the contrary, regarded the weak side of the French historians' views as their strong side which provided them with new arguments against the existing social order: ownership, which was the result of conquest, lost the sacred appearance which the conservatives tried to give it. The Utopian socialists were, therefore, by no means inclined to remedy the said shortcoming in the views of the historians. Nor, as we have just seen, was Chernyshevsky. Like all the Utopian socialists, he attached an exaggerated importance to conquest. He did not see to what extent his view on ``forms'' like feudalism which were allegedly contrary to human nature was incompatible with what was said on the importance of history in Granovsky's speech, of which he thought so highly. The reader will remember that in this speech the historical fate of nations and even their social life are described as being causally dependent on features of geographical environment. And we have already noted that Chernyshevsky himself accepted the influence of this environment in the sense of assisting or impeding the economic development of society, as the main basis of its structure.

__NUMERIC_LVL3__ Chapter Five __ALPHA_LVL3__ Chernyshevsky and Marx

We have mentioned on more than one occasion that Chernyshevsky, like Marx, went through the school of Feuerbach. We have also said that whereas Chernyshevsky continued to adhere to Feuerbach's views, applying them to certain individual branches of knowledge, aesthetics, for example, Marx in collaboration with Engels subjected these views to a radical reshaping, particularly that aspect of them which had a bearing on history. It is interesting to compare the results at which Marx and Engels arrived in their explanation of history with the deductions which our author reached in the same field. Material for a most striking comparison is provided by Marx's long and extremely interesting review of Guizot's work Pourquoi la revolution cTAngleterre a-t-elle reussi? Discours sur Vhistoire de la revolution d'Angleterre, Paris, 1850, which appeared first in Marx's journal Neue Rheinische Zeitung^^109^^ and was reprinted by Mehring in the third volume of The Literary Legacy of Marx, Engels and Lassalle.

The main criticism which Marx makes of Guizot in this review is that the French scholar applies common phrases used in French parliamentary debates to the explanation of English history, ignoring the country's economic development and the course of the class struggle, determined by the latter, within English 296 society. Speaking of the influence of religious doctrines on the course of the English revolution, Guizot forgets that these doctrines were in close causal connection with the development of civic society. The expulsion of the Stuarts from England is also portrayed without being linked with even its closest economic causes, for example, the fears of the landed aristocracy for the lands which it had acquired as a result of the secularisation of church estates and which, of course, would have been taken away from it if Catholicism, which enjoyed the support of the Stuarts, had triumphed, etc.^^*^^ There is not a word in this review of Marx's about human nature, about the relation which certain forms of social life have to it: by the time to which the review belongs Marx evidently already adhered firmly to the principle which he expressed later in Capital and which was that acting on the external world in the production process, man at the same time changes his own = nature.^^111^^ In short, by 1850, when Marx wrote this review, he is already speaking as a materialist about Guizot, whereas Chernyshevsky in his notes written ten years later challenges the French historian's arguments with nothing but purely idealist views.

We would note in passing that Marx was not entirely correct in his attitude to Guizot. The latter is by no means as ignorant of the devices of the materialist explanation of historical events as one might think on the basis of Marx's review. Engels subsequently expressed a far more correct view of the French historians of the Restoration period. But even Marx's excessively strict attitude to Guizot in the said review is characteristic of him: it was simply the result of irritation at the sight of elements of idealism which undoubtedly occupied a considerable place in the historical views of the French historian. Chernyshevsky was also irritated with Guizot, but he was irritated not by the fact that Guizot remained an idealist in the final analysis but by the fact that this scholar's reasoning was not always sufficiently imbued with the type of idealism to which socialists of the Utopian period adhered and by virtue of which they did not explain history, but merely criticised or approved of this or that historical phenomenon.

Describing the dialectical method, Chernyshevsky said that in fact everything depends on the circumstances of place and time and that therefore the general, abstract propositions with the help of which people judged good and evil earlier (before Hegel) are unsatisfactory. Criticising Guizot's views, he himself begins to judge historical events from the viewpoint of these abstract propositions. But this is precisely the point: he rarely looked at history from the dialectical point of view.

_-_-_

^^*^^ Aus dem literarischen Nachlass von Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels und Ferdinand Lassalle, Dritter Band, Stuttgart, 1902, S. 412--13.^^110^^

297

Marx and Engels never denied the historical importance of the development of ideas in general, and of scientific concepts in particular. They firmly bore in mind, however, that it is not being which is determined by consciousness, but consciousness which is determined by being and that consequently it is not the history of ideologies which explains the history of society, but, quite the reverse, the history of society which explains the history of ideologies. Chernyshevsky also saw this quite clearly in certain cases. We are already familiar with some brilliant examples of this. But when he combined his individual historical views into a single whole, he seemed to forget entirely about his materialist views and made the development of being causally dependent on the development of consciousness. His most interesting passages in this respect are to be found in his review of Novitsky's book The Gradual Development of Ancient Philosophical Doctrines in Connection with the Development of Pagan Religions ( Sovremennik, 1860, No. 6, reprinted in the Collected Works).

In this review Chernyshevsky compares the history of mankind with military campaigns. In military campaigns there are usually stragglers whose numbers increase as the army and the General Staff push further and further forward. When the advance is rapid it sometimes happens that the bulk of the soldiers are left far behind. These stragglers take no part in the battles and are only a hindrance to their comrades at the front who bear the entire brunt of the struggle. But when their struggle ends in victory, when the enemy is subdued, and the victors are able to rest, the stragglers gradually catch up the advanced lines, and in the end the whole army is again united under its banners, as it was at the beginning of the campaign. The same thing is observed in mankind's intellectual advance also. At first all nations march in step: the Ancient Greeks at one time held the same conceptions as are characteristic of the Hottentots today. Then certain nations began to draw ahead, and others to lag behind. The Greeks described by Homer were already far in advance of the Troglodytes or Laestrygones. Later, there appeared the stragglers and the advanced among the Greeks as well. Thus, for example, by the time of Solon the Spartans were way behind the Athenians. Then a division appeared among the Athenians themselves. "The wisdom of Solon was intelligible to every Athenian,'' says Chernyshevsky, "whereas Socrates was regarded as a freethinker by the majority of his fellow countrymen."^^*^^ We find the same in later history. At first the entire mass of people who inhabited the provinces of the former Roman Empire in the West held the same view of things. "In the seventh or eighth century, the Popes differed from the least educated French or Irish peasants _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. VI, 265.

298 only in that they could remember more scriptural texts and prayers, but not in that they interpreted them differently.'' After a while the matter changed: "the difference in the material conditions of the estates created a difference in their intellectual life".^^*^^ The wealth of the church enabled theologians to become educated, the more gifted of whom set about revising the old conceptions. At the same time learning also advanced, developing a content which was intelligible only to the specialist and therefore not understood by the masses. These successes of learning "were based on the material resources at the command of the clergy and the middle estate; the burghers also participated in the production of the new poetry, which the common people, clinging to their old folklore and folk songs, did not understand: in the city guilds companies of meistersingers, masters of poetry, were formed; but this change was facilitated even more by the wealth of the feudal barons who had their court poets, the troubadours".^^**^^ But in the Middle Ages the gap between the advanced people and the masses was less than it became in modern times, when learning began to develop with amazing rapidity, while the vast majority of the population remained in a state of ignorance very similar to that in, say, the ninth or tenth century. Poetry developed among the educated estates with equal rapidity, whereas the masses still had nothing more than garbled scraps of the popular poetry of the Middle Ages. A similar attitude existed even among educated people. Chernyshevsky quotes the example of Shakespeare. "We see,'' he says, "that only a few English poets of the last century understood Shakespeare, and very few people among the educated public were able to appreciate him. The rest continued for a very long time to adhere to the pompous rhetoric or cold primness which belonged to a degree of poetical development far below that of Shakespeare's realism. The same thing took place, and is still taking place today everywhere, in all departments of intellectual life."^^***^^

To lag behind has always been the lot of the majority. And it continues to be today. But it does not follow from this that it always will be. The truth that has been won is so simple, so intelligible to everyone that it is far easier to accept than to discover it. And it will be accepted by the masses when it is brought to their notice.

Chernyshevsky sums up his view on the course of mankind's intellectual development as follows: "At the beginning, people of high intellectual development spring up from the ranks of the masses and, owing to their rapid advance, leave the masses farther and farther behind. But, on reaching very high degrees of _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 266.

^^**^^ Ibid., same page.

^^***^^ Ibid., p. 267.

299 development, the intellectual life of the advanced people assumes a character that becomes more and more intelligible to the common people, that corresponds more and more to the simple requirements of the masses. And in its relation to the intellectual life of the common people, the second, higher, half of historical intellectual life lies in a gradual reversion to that unity of popular life which existed at the very beginning, and was destroyed during the first half of the movement."^^*^^

According to Chernyshevsky, the truth that has been won corresponds to the requirements of the masses. What is this truth? It is obviously not the truth of mathematics or the natural sciences. The truth of mathematics and natural science bears no direct relation to the interests of the masses. And even if it did, a certain, more or less considerable special knowledge would be necessary in order to understand it. Chernyshevsky hints at a truth which concerns people's mutual relations in society. He believes that this truth has already been discovered by his West-European teachers---Feuerbach and the great representatives of Utopian socialism: Robert Owen, Fourier and others. Therefore he assumes that the second half of mankind's historical intellectual life has already begun or is about to begin, that higher half in the course of which truth will finally be revealed and spread among the masses, as a result of which the masses will draw closer in their conceptions to the most advanced people. The possibility of the masses mastering the finally revealed truth is guaranteed, firstly, by its simplicity and, secondly, by its correspondence to the interests of the masses. The same self-interest, by which people are usually guided in their actions, will make the masses not only master the truth, but also embody it in their social life. This is how Chernyshevsky sees the future course of social development. Consciousness determines being, and therefore there is no need to examine precisely what sort of social being can help the masses to master social truth and to what extent. This truth is so simple that anyone capable of the most elementary calculation will understand it. This view of the future course of social development is diametrically opposed to that which we find in the founders of scientific socialism. When Marx and Engels made their famous ``prognosis'', they appealed to the inner contradictions of capitalist society and showed that the necessary and inevitable development of these contradictions in capitalism would lead the overwhelming majority of producers to adopt new social ideals. Here the course of development of consciousness was regarded as a necessary consequence of a certain course of development of being. Chernyshevsky does not analyse the inner contradictions inherent in social being. He is content to note the fact that the _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 268.

300 Emacs-File-stamp: "/home/ysverdlov/leninist.biz/en/1980/GPSPW4PP/20061011/399.tx" __EMAIL__ webmaster@leninist.biz __OCR__ ABBYY 6 Professional (2006.10.13) __WHERE_PAGE_NUMBERS__ top __FOOTNOTE_MARKER_STYLE__ [*]+ __ENDNOTE_MARKER_STYLE__ [0-9]+ ``form'' of this being is at present unfavourable for the vast mass of the population everywhere. In his opinion this fact is enough to ensure that the masses will understand social truth. The extreme simplicity of this truth makes it intelligible to "common people" living under the most varied relations of production. Chernyshevsky saw the future course of development of being as a simple consequence of a certain achievement of consciousness. Marx and Engels regarded the question from the viewpoint of materialism. Chernyshevsky regarded the same question from the idealist viewpoint. The historical views of Marx and Engels were true to the materialist spirit of Feuerbachian philosophy. The historical views of Chernyshevsky were contrary to this spirit. Here it must be remembered, of course, that in his historical views Chernyshevsky's teacher was himself untrue to the main propositions of his philosophy, as Engels showed in his brochure Ludwig Feuerbach.

The excessively straightforward nature of Chernyshevsky's concept of progress is clearly evident in what he says about Shakespeare. It is true that only a very few educated Englishmen of the eighteenth century were able to appreciate the great merit of the brilliant dramatist's works and that the majority of the English public regarded him somewhat contemptuously. But the reason for this was not the majority's lack of knowledge. The fact is that whereas the greater part of the so-called educated public looked down on Shakespeare, the urban "common people'', who possessed less literary knowledge, of course, than the ``educated'' people of their day, felt great sympathy for him which was frequently expressed somewhat violently. The explanation of this fact lies in certain features of class psychology in English society of the eighteenth and also the seventeenth century. Since the time of the Restoration the English aristocracy had sought to assimilate the tastes of the brilliant French nobility, which were far removed from Shakespeare's coarse and sometimes downright ``vulgar'' realism. But it was for this realism that the "common people" loved him. As we can see, the history of the Englishmen's view of Shakespeare was actually far more complicated than Chernyshevsky thought, who had forgotten once again his own splendid words to the effect that the history of opinion should not be regarded from the examination viewpoint: that people knew one thing, but did not know another, etc.

The review described above shows us once again that in his historical arguments our author often moved from an idealist to a materialist viewpoint, and vice versa. The interpretation of history which it contains is imbued with the spirit of idealism. But when Chernyshevsky examines the individual historical phenomena which determine the achievements of mankind's intellectual life he frequently reasons as a materialist. 301 ``The difference in the material conditions of the estates created a difference in their intellectual life,'' he says. The achievements of mediaeval education were based, according to him, on the material resources at the disposal of the clergy, the middle estate and the feudal barons. Hence it follows that the development of thought was by no means the most profound cause of historical movement. On the contrary, it was itself determined by the economic development of society. Anyone can see that materialist views of this kind sharply contradict Chernyshevsky's historical idealism.

We already know that Chernyshevsky regarded feudalism as one of the ``forms'' which by their emergence and existence have hindered the advance of nations. This idealist view of feudalism is contradicted by his materialist view, to which we have just referred, that feudalism was a ``form'' which promoted the accumulation of knowledge and, consequently, the progressive advance of mankind. In order to remove this contradiction Chernyshevsky would have had to adhere consistently to either materialism or idealism. But such consistency was impossible for him as a representative of a transitional period in the development of the scientific interpretation of history: a period when materialism was already challenging idealism in this sphere, but when it was still far from victory and when idealism still had the last word.

We may be reminded that, as we have remarked, the reviews by Chernyshevsky which we have examined appeared after the historical views of Marx and Engels had been moulded into an harmonious whole. We are not forgetful of this. But we believe that this matter cannot be settled by mere reference to chronology. The main writings of Lassalle, also, did not appear until after the historical views of Marx and Engels had acquired an harmonious form, and yet, in ideological content, those writings, too, belong to the period of transition from historical idealism to historical materialism. The point is not when a particular work appeared but rather what was its content.

If in previous historical periods the advance of knowledge depended on the character of economic relations, in passing to our own period Chernyshevsky should have asked himself: What are its economic features that have led to the discovery of social truth and ensured the future realisation of the latter? But in order to ask himself that question, he should have broken resolutely with idealism and firmly adopted the materialist interpretation of history. We shall not reiterate that Chernyshevsky was still far from breaking with idealism and that his conception of the further trend of social development was completely idealist. We merely ask the reader to note that Chernyshevsky's historical idealism compelled him in his considerations of the future to give first place to the ``advanced'' people---to the intellectuals, as we 302 now call them---who were to disseminate the ultimately discovered social truth among the masses. The masses are allotted the role of straggling soldiers in an advancing army. Of course, no serious materialist will assert that the average "man in the street'', just because he is an ordinary person, i.e., "one of the masses'', knows as much as the average ``intellectual''. Of course, he knows less. But it is not a matter of the knowledge of the "man in the street'', but of his actions. People's actions are not always determined by their knowledge and are never determined only by their knowledge, but also---and chiefly---by their position, which is merely made clear and comprehensible by the knowledge they possess. Here again one has to remember the fundamental proposition of materialism in general, and of the materialist interpretation of history in particular: it is not being that is determined by consciousness but consciousness by being. The " consciousness" of a man from the ``intelligentsia'' is more highly developed than the consciousness of a man from the ``masses''. But the ``being'' of a man from the masses prescribes to him a far more definite method of action than that which the social position of the intellectual prescribes to the latter. That is why the materialist view of history allows one only in a certain and, moreover, very limited sense to speak of the backwardness of the man from the ``masses'', compared with the man from the ``intelligentsia''; in a certain sense the "man in the street" undoubtedly lags behind the " intellectual'', but in another sense he is undoubtedly in advance of him. And precisely because this is so, an adherent of the materialist interpretation of history, while by no means repeating the absurd attacks on the intelligentsia that are coming from the reactionary and syndicalist camp, would never agree to assign the intelligentsia the role of a demiurge of history, which is generally assigned to it by idealists. There are various kinds of aristocraticalness. Historical idealism is guilty of an "aristocraticalness of knowledge".

What in Chernyshevsky's historical views was a shortcoming resulting from the insufficient elaboration of Feuerbach's materialism, later became the basis of our subjectivism, which had nothing in common with materialism and vigorously opposed it not only in the field of history but also in the field of philosophy. The subjectivists boastfully called themselves continuers of the best traditions of the sixties. In reality, they continued only the weak aspects of the world outlook peculiar to that period. The strong aspects of the world outlook of the same period provided the foundation for the views of the materialist opponents of ``subjectivism''. On this basis it is not hard to answer the question of who, in fact, was most loyal to the best traditions of the sixties.

Speaking of the ``subjectivists'', we cannot help recalling their once frequent and verbose arguments on "the role of the individual 303 in history''. Were the ``subjectivists'' right in asserting that these arguments repeated and developed the views of our great " enlighteners"? Yes and no. The idealist view of history, as we have already seen, necessarily allots a dreadfully exaggerated role to "progressive individuals''. And in so far as Chernyshevsky, for example, adhered to this idealism, his view of the role of the individual in history was close to the ``subjectivist'' view. But we already know that his world outlook also contained the embryo of the materialist interpretation of history. And in so far as it did, Chernyshevsky's view of the subject of interest to us here was extremely far removed from the ``subjectivist'' view.

In Granovsky's Speech on the Present State and Significance of Universal History, which Chernyshevsky praised so unreservedly, the following words of Academician Ber are quoted: "The course of world history is determined by external physical conditions. The influence of individuals is trivial by comparison with them. They have almost always merely carried out that which was already prepared and was bound to take place in any case. The urge to establish something entirely new and unprepared remains unsuccessful or entails nothing but destruction."^^*^^ Granovsky says nothing against this view. Nor does Chernyshevsky in his article on Granovsky. But how does this view relate to the view of the supporters of the materialist interpretation of history? It is a hint at it, the first step of scientific thought in the direction in which Marx and Engels subsequently advanced so successfully. ``Individuals'' have indeed always carried out only that which was already prepared. Here Ber is right. But he makes a great mistake when he compares the influence of individuals with the influence of external physical conditions. The influence of the latter has rarely been direct. More often physical conditions have influenced history only indirectly, only through the agency of the social relations produced by them. Therefore the influence of individuals should have been compared not with the influence of external physical conditions, but with the influence of social relations. However, methodologically this comparison too runs the risk of being very inaccurate, because social relations are relations between people and not between metaphysical entities which may concern people but nevertheless seem to be opposed to them. In fact history is made by people, but they make it in one way and not in another, not because they consciously want to make it like that, but because their actions are"determined by conditions independent of their will. Among these conditions one must, of course, mention external physical conditions; but pride of place must be allotted to those production relations that arise on the basis of the given productive forces, which in their turn depend _-_-_

^^*^^ Granovsky, Works, pp. 34--35.

304 to a considerable extent on the geographical environment. Ber makes clear allusions to all this: he speaks, for example, of the influence of external nature on the social relations of individual nations. But what was correct in these clear allusions was properly developed only in the historical materialism of Marx and Engels.

In his work on Lessing Chernyshevsky formulates his view of the possible role of individuals in history as follows:

``The course of great world events is as inevitable and irreversible as the current of a great river: no cliff, no precipice can hold it back, to say nothing of artificially constructed dams: no force can span the Rhine or Volga with a dam, and the almighty river casts upon the shore with a single thrust all the piles and rubbish with which the audacious hand of the madman sought to obstruct its flow; the sole result of such a foolhardy policy is that the shore, which would have drunk of the river and bloomed as a verdant meadow, is lacerated and disfigured for a time by the wrath of the offended wave---but the river continues on its way, floods all precipices, bursts through mountain tops and reaches the ocean whither it flows. The occurrence of great world events does not depend on any man's will or on any individual. They take place in accordance with a law as immutable as the law of gravity or organic growth. But whether a world event takes place more quickly or more slowly, in this way or that---this depends on circumstances which cannot be foreseen and determined in advance. The most important of these circumstances is the emergence of strong individuals who by the nature of their activity lend this or that nature to the immutable trend of events, accelerate or retard its course, and by their predominant strength impart regularity to the chaotic agitation of the forces which have set the masses in motion."^^*^^

These thoughts require the addition of two remarks only.

Firstly, the emergence of strong individuals is also not accidental. It has long been noted that strong individuals often emerge in history at a time when there is a great demand for them. What is the reason for this? It is simply that strong individuals of this sort cannot find an application for their abilities in all types of social system. For example, no one would dispute the fact that the strong personality of Napoleon left an extremely profound imprint on a certain historical period. But special historical conditions were required in order that Napoleon's strength might develop fully. Had the ancien regime lasted thirty years longer, we do not know what Napoleon's life would have been. It is said that a few years before the revolution he wanted to go to Russia and serve in the Russian army. Obviously the _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. III, pp. 644--45.

305 career that awaited him there would under no circumstances have led him to rule the world. And Napoleon's marshals? In 1789 Ney, Murat and Soult were non-commissioned officers. Had the revolution not taken place, they might never have seen officers' epaulettes. In the same year, i.e., the year when the revolution broke out, Augereau was a simple teacher of fencing, Lannes a dyer, Gouvion Saint-Cyr an actor, Marmont a compositor, Junot a student of law, etc. All these people had great military talent. But the ancien regime would not have allowed this talent to develop; it is a fact that in the reign of Louis XV only one person who was not of noble birth reached the rank of lieutenant-general, and under Louis XVI a military career was even more difficult for people who were not of noble descent.^^*^^ Hence it follows that the social relations which exist at a given time in a given nation determine whether the way will be clear in a given sphere for a certain category of strong individuals. And since any given form of social relations is something quite logical, it is clear that the appearance of strong individuals in the arena of history has its own logic.

Secondly, it is true that, once having appeared in the historical arena, a strong individual accelerates the course of events by his activity. But here too it is obvious that the extent of the acceleration depends on the features of the social environment in which the strong individual acts.

With these reservations Chernyshevsky's view is perfectly acceptable to supporters of the modern materialist explanation of history. It does not require much perspicacity to see how far this view is from the teaching of our subjective sociologists. These gentlemen have the delightful habit of accusing Marx's " disciples" of renouncing the heritage of the sixties. But if one compares their jeremiads with what Ghernyshevsky says about the role of the individual in the passage just quoted, it will be clear that these jeremiads could be directed with equal justification---or rather, with the same complete lack of logical justification---at Ghernyshevsky, as they were directed at the Marxists. Here, as in all other respects, only the Marxists have remained true to the finest behests of our great ``enlighteners'' of the sixties.

__NUMERIC_LVL3__ Chapter Six __ALPHA_LVL3__ The Last Historical Works of Chernyshevsky

As already mentioned, on his return from Siberia Chernyshevsky engaged, inter alia, in the translation of Weber's Allgemeine Geschichte and supplied some of the volumes of his translation with _-_-_

^^*^^ For more about this see my article "On the Question of the Individual's Role in History" in the symposium Twenty = Years.^^112^^

20---0267

306 supplements which are most important for a description of his historical views. We shall examine some of them here.

All these supplements are devoted to the exposition of " scientific conceptions of certain questions of world history''. For very obvious reasons the supplement of the greatest interest to us is that which examines the elements which, in Chernyshevsky's opinion, promote progress.

For Chernyshevsky progress means the improvement of human concepts and customs. Therefore for him the question of the causes that give rise to progress is the same as the question as to what promotes the said improvement.

Chernyshevsky says that all the advantages that human life enjoys over the life of animals are the result of man's intellectual superiority. He therefore regards man's intellectual development as the principal force which elevates human life. Of course, intellectual power may and in fact frequently does produce harmful results; but it produces them, to quote Chernyshevsky, only under the influence of forces and circumstances which distort its inherent nature. "In itself, intellectual development tends to improve a man's conceptions of his duties towards other people,'' he says, "to make him more benevolent, to develop his conception of justice and honesty."^^*^^

This, as we can see, is the same view that Chernyshevsky expressed earlier in his notes on Guizot's books. There is no need to point out that the view according to which intellectual development is the main driving force of progress is an idealist view. Firmly entrenched in his idealist viewpoint, Chernyshevsky argues, most logically in his way, that, since every change in the life of a nation is the sum of the changes that have taken place in the lives of the individuals who make up the nation, in an examination of the circumstances which promote or hinder the improvement of a nation's intellectual and moral life we must ascertain what circumstances improve or mar the intellectual and moral qualities of the individual.

Political economy, which was the first of the social sciences to work out exact concepts of the conditions of progress, established as an indefeasible principle that only a man's voluntary actions produce good results, whereas everything a man does under external compulsion turns out to be very bad. Applying this truth to the question of what determines the success of material human labour we arrive at the conclusion that "all forms of forced labour are unproductive, and that material prosperity can be enjoyed only by a society in which the people till the land, make clothing and build houses, each being personally convinced that the work in which he is engaged is useful for him".^^**^^

_-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. X, Part 2, Section IV, p. 170.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 171.

307

Applying the same principle to the question of the acquisition and preservation of intellectual and moral riches, we arrive at the conclusion that "no external coercion can keep a man on a high intellectual or moral level if he himself does not wish to remain there".^^*^^

These conclusions, which Chernyshevsky supports with a number of pedagogical arguments, are not only of theoretical but also of practical importance in his eyes. Educated nations usually regard wild savages as children whose upbringing is to be directed forcibly to a certain noble aim. The educated estate in civilised nations regards the ignorant masses in their own country in the same way. Chernyshevsky objects to this view most forcefully. He says that even the rudest of savages are not children, but adults, exactly as we are. But even if we were to assume that this false comparison of savages and uneducated people with children were correct, we would still not have the slightest right to resort to coercion in the education of savages or "common people" because, as we already know, coercion never leads to anything good. "If we, the educated people of a given nation,'' says our author, "wish to benefit the mass of our fellow countrymen who have bad habits that are harmful to them, our duty is to acquaint them with good habits and to strive to make it possible for them to assimilate these good habits. It is totally useless to resort to coercion.... Scientists who want the government of any civilised country to take forcible measures in order to change the life of its nation are less enlightened than the rulers of the Turkish state."^^**^^

Here we shall make a comparison which, one might say, begs to be made. The General Rules of the International written by Marx open with the famous statement that "the emancipation of the working class must be conquered by the working = classes themselves".^^113^^ This is, if you like, the same idea that Chernyshevsky is defending here. But in formulating this idea Marx turns directly to the proletariat, whereas Chernyshevsky has in mind those more or less well-educated people who wish to engage in improving the lot of the working class. This radical difference is fully in keeping with the above-mentioned feature of Chernyshevsky's historical views, by virtue of which he saw the intellectuals as the real active detachment in history, whereas the mass of the "common people" reminded him of the stragglers in an army. We have already said that this feature has a close causal connection with the idealist nature of our author's historical views.

The question of coercion led him logically to the question of "the cases in which reason and conscience can justify conquest".^^***^^ _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 171.

^^**^^ Ibid., pp. 175--76.

^^***^^ Ibid., p. 176.

20*

308 Chernyshevsky says that all these cases come within the concept of self-defence. A stronger nation is always in a position to arrange its relations with a weaker one in such a way as to live in peace with it. The conquest of nations is always a violation of justice. But this applies to settled peoples. Chernyshevsky takes a different view of nomads. Some nomads are peaceful; conquest of them is wrong. But many nomads engage in plundering their neighbours; conquest of them is, justified by reason and conscience. Then the question arises as to whether the civilised conquerors have the right to force the conquered nomads to change their customs. Chernyshevsky replies that they have in so far as it is necessary to put a stop to plundering. The only trouble is that civilised conquerors usually think only of the benefit to themselves, and not of the benefit to the conquered. This is why they resort to coercion in the first place; but if they were to think of the benefit to the conquered, they would remember that good results are obtained not by coercion, but by gentleness and relaxation of coercion.

There exists a great deal of seemingly convincing historical evidence, however, that coercion has improved the habits of savages. What are we to think of this? Chernyshevsky replies: "The historian who is familiar with the laws of human nature can have no doubt that all stories of this kind are pure fiction. His task in relation to them is to explain how they arose, to find the source of the errors, or the motives for the deliberate lies that gave rise to them."^^*^^

The Enlighteners of the eighteenth century, like the Utopian socialists of the nineteenth, readily appealed to human nature in their historical discussions. But appealing to human nature, although it may sometimes be useful in an agitational sense, has never been beneficial to history as a science. If human nature is unchanging, it cannot explain anything in history, the process of which consists of constant change. If, however, human nature changes under the influence of historical changes, it is obvious that the latter cannot be explained by it. These general considerations are also perfectly applicable to Chernyshevsky's arguments outlined above. He says that all coercion leads to harmful consequences. But what nation is not guilty of coercion? The Slavophils once used to say that the Russian state, unlike the states of Western Europe, was founded on consent and not on conquest. But in all probability Chernyshevsky himself regarded this theory as nothing but pure fantasy. No nation has ever renounced the use of force in the numerous cases when it has promised to be of benefit to the nation in question. Yet the historical fate of nations is by no means identical. How is the difference to be explained? The same question may be put in respect of the _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 178.

309 inner development of each society. There is no nation in whose inner development coercion has not played a part. Yet the inner development of the different nations also varies. It is obviously not enough to look to coercion for an explanation of this. Finally, the very possibility of the misuse of power is created by conditions which cannot be explained by coercion. We have already said that at different stages of historical development the socalled art of warfare has a different character, which is determined in the final analysis by the economic relations of society. Chernyshevsky himself also expresses such views on occasion. Thus, for example, in his supplements to Volume IX of Weber, entitled On Differences in National Character Between Peoples, he points to the facts which, in his opinion, transformed the composition of the Roman army and in so doing reduced its strength, thereby preparing the fall of the Roman Empire. According to him, as the borders of the Roman state were extended, the people became increasingly divided into two classes: the majority of the citizens gave up military service, because the long military campaigns prevented them from leading a domestic life, and the minority abandoned a domestic life entirely and became professional soldiers. This caused profound changes in the political structure of Rome, which weakened its power of resistance, etc. Here military strength is made closely dependent on certain economic conditions. And Chernyshevsky emphasises this dependence. "Ever since historians have deemed it necessary to study political economy and to talk about division of labour, they themselves have been explaining in their books on the latter period of the Roman Republic and on the Roman Empire what economic forces caused the transformation of the army from one of citizen soldiers to one of professional soldiers, and later caused the replacement of Italian soldiers by natives of the less civilised regions and by foreign barbarians. Consequently it is high time to abandon the fantastic idea about the degeneration of the Romans and to say merely that the greater part of the soldiers who waged war unceasingly on the remote frontiers and lived there in fortified camps was no longer drawn from the Italian population. Thus, the fall of the Roman Empire and the conquest of Italy by the barbarians is sufficiently explained by this one fact of the change which the enormous conquests by the Romans had brought about in the composition of their army."^^*^^

Had Chernyshevsky consistently elaborated the idea expressed here, he would have had to renounce completely the idealist views expressed by him in the article---now familiar to us--- concerning the causes of the fall of Rome. But the fact is that he expresses such ideas only in passing and does not enlarge upon them. In expressing them, he does not find it at all necessary to _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. X, Part*2, Section IV, p. 143.

310 repudiate historical idealism, and this is not due to a predilection for idealism as a philosophical theory. Chernyshevsky's attitude to this theory was in general extremely negative. While expounding the idealist view of the course of historical development, he continues to regard himself as a consistent materialist. He is wrong. But the root of his error lies in one of the chief shortcomings of Feuerbach's materialist system. Marx expressed it rather aptly: "Feuerbach wants sensuous objects, really distinct from conceptual objects, but he does not conceive human activity itself as objective activity. In Das Wesen des Christenthums, he therefore regards the theoretical attitude as the only genuinely human attitude...."^^*^^ Like his teacher, Chernyshevsky concentrates his attention almost exclusively on the ``theoretical'' activity of mankind, and, as a result, intellectual development becomes for him the most basic cause of historical movement. Reading his argument about the harmful nature of coercion, one might think sometimes that he simply wants to give mankind some good advice. And, of course, he is not averse to giving such advice. But what he says about coercion is also of great theoretical importance for him. He sees coercion as a factor which distorts human nature. And we already know that for him human nature was the main instance to which he appealed in his explanation of history.

Human nature, like everything else, can be seen from various points of view. Chernyshevsky took a materialist view of it. But when he tried to apply his materialist interpretation of human nature to the explanation of history, in the vast majority of cases he arrived at idealist conclusions without realising it. Incidentally, the same thing had happened before to people who adhered to the materialism which we shall call pre-Marxian. The materialists of the eighteenth century were also idealists in history.

In his historical reasoning Chernyshevsky proceeds from the indisputably materialist idea that man is an animal whose organism is subject to definite laws of physiology. Physiology tells us that the normal functioning of the life of an animal demands the normal satisfaction of the requirements of its organism: "it differentiates strictly between the proper functioning of the organism and its malfunctioning; appetite and its result, the timely consumption of food in a quantity which corresponds to the needs of the organism, it places in the category of those facts of life which are of benefit to the organism; hunger and its results---in the category of facts which are harmful to the organism".^^**^^ And the same differentiation between the proper _-_-_

^^*^^ See his theses on Feuerbach written as early as the spring of 1845.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 217.

311 functioning and the malfunctioning of the organism is applied by Chernyshevsky to history. He condemns coercion as one of the factors which hinder the proper functioning of the human organism. But how can the proper functioning or malfunctioning of the human organism explain the fact of human progress? Like this.

``Physiology shows that if the human organisation has improved, and not deteriorated, compared with its original state, the functioning of the life of mankind has contained more elements which favoured the improvement of its organisation than those tending to deteriorate it. It is by this preponderance of circumstances favourable to the organism over those which are harmful to it that physiology explains man's progress from his primitive state to the comparatively very high development of his mental powers, when he was already able to make flints in order to acquire tools. Without doubt, during this progress people suffered a great deal from hunger, the harmful phenomena of external nature, poisonous insects and snakes, powerful beasts of prey, their own unreasoned actions and bad mutual relations. But however great the sum of these misfortunes, it was less than the sum of facts beneficial to the human organism. Otherwise man's organisation would not have improved, but deteriorated, and he would have undergone what is called in zoology a degradation, a lowering of organisation."^^*^^

This passage shows clearly how Chernyshevsky applied physiological arguments to the explanation of the facts of human progress. But in this passage these arguments are applied only to the period which might be called pre-historic or, to be more precise, pre-cultural in the strictest sense of the word, i.e., to the period which ended with man acquiring the ability to make himself stone tools. Here too Chernyshevsky continues to hold a materialist viewpoint, although here too his materialism displays a metaphysical nature. In fact, basing himself on the laws of physiology, Chernyshevsky reiterates an idea which we have encountered earlier---when examining his article on Darwin's theory---the idea that the harmful is always harmful and can never do good.^^**^^ These views, the theoretical weakness of which we revealed above, are closely related to historical idealism; but the inherent character of this idealism affects them only indirectly, and primarily from the methodological aspect. To understand how Chernyshevsky makes the transition from his physiological viewpoint to the point of historical idealism, one must take into consideration his idea that the "proper functioning" of the human organism led to the development of the brain, which _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 224.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 217 et seq.

312 increased man's mental powers and thereby accelerated the progress of his knowledge. Darwin says: "Man could not have attained his present dominant position in the world without the use of his hands, which are so admirably adapted to act in obedience to his will."^^*^^ The same idea was expressed by Helvetius. It is also found in Chernyshevsky. But in his case it immediately assumes a specific character. "It is said, and in all probability it is true,'' he remarks, "that the ability to pick up a piece of rock, or a club, and use it against an enemy enhanced people's security, made it possible for them to improve their material conditions of life, and, as a result of this improvement, to acquire more highly developed mental faculties."^^**^^ The ability to pick up a certain weapon increases man's security, makes it possible for him to satisfy his material needs better and thereby ensures the development of the organ of thought---the brain. The fact is that, due to certain specific features of the history of his ancestors, man's brain developed to a degree not attained by any other creatures similar to man. What exactly these specific features were remains unknown. But it is quite probable, in Chernyshevsky's opinion, that owing to some fortunate circumstance man's ancestors obtained greater security against their enemies than the other creatures that were similar or identical to them. "But by some means, owing to the influence of certain favourable circumstances of their lives, man's ancestors attained such a high degree of mental development that they became human. It is only from this period that the history of their life commences which gives rise to questions not of a general physiological nature, but relating specifically to human life."^^***^^ These latter questions are solved in the history of mankind by the development of the intellect and knowledge. "It is superior mentality that explains the whole of the subsequent progress of human life,'' says Chernyshevsky.^^****^^ Here we can see with remarkable clarity how Chernyshevsky, who manages somehow or other to adhere to a materialist point of view in his discussions of the human organism, immediately becomes an idealist as soon as it is a matter of the history of mankind.

His arguments run as follows. He begins with Feuerbach's proposition that man is what he eats. When the human organism is properly fed, when external conditions ensure its proper _-_-_

^^*^^ La descendance de I'homme, etc., Paris, 1881, p. 5. [Plekhanov is quoting from the French translation of Charles Darwin's The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. [We are quoting from the original, London, John Murray, 1887, p. 51.]

^^**^^ Works, Vol. X, Part 2, Section IV, p. 183.

^^***^^ Ibid., p. 182.

^^****^^ Ibid., pp. 182--83.

313 functioning, the power of the brain increases, and with this increase in the power of the brain man's capacity for mental development and the elaboration of correct concepts grows. And this capacity is the mainspring of historical progress. Thus, Chernyshevsky remains a consistent materialist as long as he does not leave the sphere of questions "of a general physiological nature''. And as soon as he is confronted with questions "relating specifically to human life'', his physiological materialism throws the door open to historical idealism. The example of Chernyshevsky shows, perhaps better than any other, of how little use materialism in the form which it had in Feuerbach was for the explanation of historical development.

We have already said on several occasions that the idealist nature of Chernyshevsky's historical views did not prevent him in the slightest from providing a materialist explanation of individual historical phenomena. And we would not have reiterated this here, had we not felt obliged to make a certain, most natural, to our mind, reservation. Anyone who would look in the works of our author for a materialist explanation of individual historical events, should beware of the mistake which is sometimes very easily made, as a result of a certain external similarity between Chernyshevsky's idealist devices and the devices of the materialist explanation of history.

The fact is that in keeping with the exaggerated importance which Chernyshevsky attached to human self-interest, he occasionally explains historical events also in terms of conscious calculation of benefit in cases where one should turn for an explanation of them to the forces of economic development, which are not subject to human control. At first glance such explanations by Chernyshevsky may sometimes suggest that in his historical theories he has adopted the viewpoint of modern materialism entirely. But careful inspection of the matter reveals the complete opposite. Anyone who sees in people's historical activity only the influence of conscious calculation, is still a pure idealist and still very far from an understanding of the power and significance of ``economics''. In fact its influence extends to such human actions and habits of different social classes where there cannot be the slightest question of conscious calculation. The major and most influential factors of economic development are still beyond the control of conscious calculation. All social relations, all moral customs and all mental inclinations are formed under the direct or indirect influence of these blind forces of economic development. Incidentally it is they which determine all the types of human self-interest, all the manifestations of human egoism. Consequently, one cannot spe"ak of the conscious calculation of benefit as the mainspring of social development. Such a view of history contradicts the teaching of modern 314 materialism. It reveals the main feature of historical idealism: the belief that "opinion rules the world".^^*^^

Chernyshevsky adhered to this view throughout his life. That is why we place him among the representatives of historical idealism. And anyone who is familiar with his writings will hardly fail to admit that there have been few writers in the history of world literature whose historical idealism was as strongly pronounced as Chernyshevsky's. But it is interesting that it is in Chernyshevsky, who objected to Guizot's optimism, that historical idealism in its turn assumed an original touch of optimism. This is most clear from his discussions of the historical role of coercion. Coercion, as we know, is most harmful to the tribes and peoples against whom it is used. But it does not harm them alone: it is equally harmful to the people who use it. History shows, according to Chernyshevsky, that those nations who thought to benefit from harming mankind were quite wrong in their calculations. "Aggressive peoples have always ended up by being destroyed and enslaved themselves."^^**^^

We might ask whether there is much hope that the English, 'for example, who settled in Australia after wiping out the blackskinned aborigines almost entirely, "will be destroyed and enslaved themselves''. We consider that for the time being these Englishmen face no threat of destruction or enslavement. And if they ever should experience the fate of destroyed and enslaved peoples, their misfortune would hardly have any connection with the unjust actions which they permitted themselves in respect of the Australian aborigines. This is so obvious that there is no need to expand on it. It follows from Chernyshevsky that in history vice is always punished as it deserves. In reality, however, the historical facts known to us do not at all warrant this view, which may be comforting but is certainly naive. The only question of interest to us is how it came to be held by our author. This question can be answered by reference to the period in which Chernyshevsky lived. It was a period of social upsurge, a period which had a moral need, so to say, for such views as would bolster faith in the inevitable defeat of evil.

In Chernyshevsky's works written on his return from Siberia one also encounters some remarkably apt comments imbued with the spirit of the materialist explanation of history. The reader will find many such comments, for example, in the supplement to Volume VII of Weber (On Races), Volume VIII (On the Classification of People by Language) and, finally, and particularly, in the supplement already quoted by us to Volume IX (On Differences in National Character Between Peoples).

_-_-_

^^*^^ Anyone who is familiar with R. Owen's views will know that he too attributed an exaggerated importance to the calculation of benefit.

^^**^^ Works, Vol. VI, 233.

[315] __NUMERIC_LVL2__ SECTION THREE __ALPHA_LVL2__ N. G. CHERNYSHEVSKY'S LITERARY VIEWS __NUMERIC_LVL3__ Chapter One __ALPHA_LVL3__ The Significance of Literature and Art

The intellectual progress of mankind is, in Chernyshevsky's opinion, the mainspring of historical progress. Literature is the expression of the intellectual life of nations. Therefore one might, perhaps, expect Chernyshevsky to ascribe to literature the main role in the history of civilisation. In fact he does not. The main role in the history of civilisation is assigned by him not to literature, but to science. Concerning the latter he says: "Working quietly and slowly, it creates everything; the knowledge produced by it provides the foundation for all the concepts and then all the activity of mankind, gives direction to all mankind's aspirations and strength to all its capabilities."^^*^^ Not so with literature. Its role in the historical process has never been entirely without importance, but it has almost always been a secondary one.

``Thus, for example,'' says Chernyshevsky, "in the ancient world we do not find a single period in which historical progress took place predominantly under the influence of literature. In spite of the Greeks' passion for poetry, the course of their life was conditioned not by literary influences, but by religious, tribal and military aspirations and, subsequently, also by political and economic questions. Literature, like art, was the finest adornment, but only an adornment, not the mainspring, not the prime motive force of their life. Roman life was developed by military and political struggle and by the juridical relations that were taking shape; for the Romans literature was merely a noble relaxation from political activity. In Italy's splendid age, when it had Dante, Ariosto and Tasso, it was again not literature that served as the fundamental element of life, but the struggle of political parties and economic relations: these interests, and not the influence of Dante, decided the fate of his country both during his lifetime and after it. In England, which boasts the greatest poet of the Christian world and more first-class writers than one could _-_-_

^^*^^ See his work: "Lessing, His Age, His Life and His Work'', Works, Vol. Ill, p. 585.

316 perhaps find in the literature of the rest of Europe taken together--- in England the fate of the nation has never depended on literature, but has been determined by religious, political and economic .relations, parliamentary debates and newspaper polemics: socalled literature as such has in fact always exerted only a secondary influence on the historical development of this country. And this has been the position of literature almost always, among almost all historical peoples."^^*^^

Ghernyshevsky knows of only a very few cases which are an exception to the general rule outlined by him. Among these few cases one of the most important is German literature of the second half of the eighteenth and the early years of the nineteenth century. "From the beginning of Lessing's activity to the death of Schiller ... for fifty years, the development of one of the greatest European nations, the future of the countries from the Baltic to the Mediterranean, from the Rhine to the Oder, was determined by a literary movement. The role of all other social forces and ^events in its national development must be considered insignificant by comparison with the influence of literature. Nothing at that time assisted its beneficial effect on the fate of the German nation; on the contrary, almost all other relations and conditions on which life depends did not favour the country's development. Literature alone led it on, fighting against countless obstacles."^^**^^

Chernyshevsky evidently attached the same exceptional importance to the role of Russian literature since the Gogol period. Before Gogol Russian literature was still in what one might call the preparatory periods of its development: each preceding period was of importance for it not so much because of the indisputable merit of the literary phenomena which marked it, as because of the fact that it prepared the following period. In order to explain this idea of his, it should suffice to show how he saw the relationship of the Pushkin period of our literature to the Gogol period. He regarded Pushkin in exactly the same way as Belinsky did in the final period of his activity. He thought very highly of Pushkin's poetry, but considered it predominantly poetry of form. The perfecting of form was the historical task which fell to the lot of the Pushkin period of our literature. When this task had been solved, a new period began in our literature, marked by the fact that the main concern became content, and not form as before. This period is associated with the name of Gogol. During the Gogol period our literature began to become what it was supposed to be, i.e., the expression of national consciousness. It continued to develop in the same direction later, when under the influence of Gogol the so-called naturalist school emerged in our country. _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 586.

^^**^^ Ibid., pp. 586--87.

317 Chernyshevsky thought most highly of this new trend in our literature. But it by no means satisfied him entirely. In his Essays on the Gogol Period of Russian Literature he makes the following reservation:

``In order not to give rise to the misunderstanding that we are extolling the new over the old excessively, we would say here that the present period of Russian literature too, in spite of all its intrinsic merits, is of fundamental importance, for the most part, simply because it is a preparation for the future development of our literature. So great is our belief in a better future that we say without hesitation even of Gogol: we shall have writers who will be as superior to him as he has become to his predecessors. The question is only how soon this time will come. How splendid it would be if our generation were to see this better future."^^*^^

In maintaining that literature should be the expression of social consciousness, Ghernyshevsky is voicing an idea which came to us from Germany and played a great role in our literary criticism from the time of Nadezhdin and Belinsky. But with him it immediately assumes the rational nature characteristic of all periods of ``enlightenment''. In fact there is no literature which has not served as the expression of the consciousness of the society or that section of society which engendered it. Even in periods when the so-called theory of art for art's sake reigns supreme and when artists appear to turn their back on everything that bears the slightest relation to social interests, literature does not cease to express the tastes, views and aspirations of the ruling class in that society. The fact that the theory in question acquires predominance in it merely proves that the ruling class or, at least, that section of it to which the artists are addressing themselves, is completely indifferent to the great social questions. But this indifference too is merely a type of social (or class, or group) mood, i.e., consciousness. In this sense there can be no doubt that our literature of the Pushkin or even of the Karamzin period expressed our social consciousness. But, according to Chernyshevsky, it begins to express it only in the Gogol period. Only then do our artists, according to him, stop concerning themselves exclusively with the form of their works and begin to attach importance to their content. This would seem to be incorrect, because nobody could say that Pushkin was indifferent to the content of his Yevgeny Onegin, for example. But between Yevgeny Onegin, on the one hand, and The Inspector General or Dead Souls, on the other, there is a tremendous difference in the artist's attitude to the phenomena portrayed. Pushkin is not averse to reproving his characters for their shallowness, narrow-mindedness, egoism, etc., typical of high society; but his Onegin does not _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. II, p. 172, note.

318 contain even a hint of the total rejection of the social life portrayed by him which one finds, albeit without the author's knowledge, in the above-mentioned works by Gogol. And it is this element of rejection of the old social order that Chernyshevsky calls the source of social consciousness. If he expected in future, as we have just seen, the appearance of writers who would become as superior to Gogol as Gogol was to his predecessors, this was for him tantamount to the conviction that with time our great artists would excel the author of Dead Souls by far in the consciousness of their negative attitude to obsolete social and family customs. The main duty of the literary critic was, in his eyes, to spread this consciousness among artists. The more this consciousness was spread among Russian artists, the more our literature would mature for the great role which, according to Chernyshevsky, it was to play in the transition period of that time.

Subsequently Pisarev ascribed to Chernyshevsky the intention of destroying aesthetics. He was wrong. How far Chernyshevsky was from such an intention can be seen from the following passage from his article on Aristotle's Poetics published in 1854 in Ordynsky's Russian translation (Otechestvenniye Zapiski, 1854, No. 9). "Aesthetics is a lifeless science! We do not say that there are no sciences more alive than it is; but it would be a good thing for us to think of these sciences. No, we praise other sciences that are of far less lively interest. Aesthetics is a barren science! In reply to this we would ask: do we still remember Lessing, Goethe and Schiller, or have they lost the right to be remembered by us since we became acquainted with Thackeray? Do we recognise the merits of German poetry of the latter half of the last century?"^^*^^

In asking the critics of aesthetics ironically whether we recognise the merits of German poetry of the latter half of the eighteenth century, Chernyshevsky is, as it were, reminding us that there are periods when literature plays a great social role. But German literature of the period in question was not at all indifferent to aesthetic questions. On the contrary, it concerned itself with them a great deal at that time and for this reason alone it was able to perform successfully the great role which fell to it. It must not be forgotten that Chernyshevsky considered Lessing the finest figure in German literature of this period: "All the most important of the subsequent German writers, even Schiller, even Goethe himself at the height of his activity, were his disciples."^^**^^ And Lessing was mainly a theoretician of literature and art; the sphere in which he did most was that of aesthetics.

Chernyshevsky says that if poetry, literature and art are regarded as subjects of great importance, general questions of the _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. I, pp. 28--29.

^^**^^ Works, Vol. Ill, p. 589.

319 theory of literature too should be of extreme interest. "In short,'' he adds, "we think that the whole dispute against aesthetics is based on a misunderstanding, on a mistaken conception of the nature of aesthetics and of theoretical science in general."^^*^^

Chernyshevsky asks the reader: "Who, in your opinion, stands higher---Pushkin or Gogol?" According to him, the answer to this question depends on one's concept of the essence and significance of art. These concepts acquire a correct form already in the works of Aristotle and Plato. This is why Chernyshevsky considers it necessary to acquaint the reader with the aesthetic theories of these thinkers. As a firm opponent of philosophical idealism our author could not, of course, sympathise with the philosophy of Plato as a whole. But this did not prevent him from sympathising most warmly with the viewpoint from which the great Greek idealist regarded art.

Chernyshevsky says: "He looked upon science and art, as upon everything else, not from the scientific or artistic point of view, but from the social and moral point of view. Man does not exist for art or science (as many of the great philosophers, including Aristotle, thought); science and art must serve for the good of mankind."^^**^^

This point of view should, according to our author, have led Plato to a negative view of art which in his time was almost exclusively a pastime, a beautiful and noble one, but nevertheless a pastime for people who had nothing else to do but admire more or less voluptuous paintings or statues and revel in more or less voluptuous verse. For Plato the question of art was decided precisely by the fact that art was nothing more than a pastime. And when Plato saw it as a simple pastime he did not malign it. As proof of this Chernyshevsky refers to "one of the most serious of the poets'', Schiller, who, of course, was not hostile to art. In Schiller's opinion Kant was quite right in calling art play (das Spiel), because a man is fully a man only when he is playing.

Chernyshevsky considers Plato's polemic against art excessively harsh; but he finds much that is true in it. "And it would be easy to show,'' he remarks, "that many of his stern strictures are still true today in respect of modern art."^^***^^ One need hardly add that to a very high degree this fact explains his warm sympathy for Plato's stern strictures.

Plato criticised art for being useless to man. Our author is just as ready as Plato to censure art which is useless to man. In his opinion, the idea that art should not be useful, that it exists for its own sake, is just as strange as the idea of "wealth for wealth's sake'', "science for science's sake'', etc. "All human activity must _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. I, p. 28.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 31.

^^***^^ Ibid., p. 32.

320 serve mankind if it is not to remain a useless and idle occupation. Wealth exists in order that man may benefit from it; science exists in order to be man's guide; art, too, must serve some useful purpose and not fruitless pleasure."^^*^^

What then is the benefit which art brings man?

It is usually said that aesthetic enjoyment softens man's heart and elevates his soul. Chernyshevsky regards this idea as correct, but he does not wish to deduce any great significance of art from it. He agrees, of course, that when a man leaves an art gallery or theatre he feels kinder and better, at least for the short time that the aesthetic impressions he has received are still fresh; but he reminds us that a man who has had a good meal is kinder than a hungry man. Thus, in this respect there is no difference between the influence of art and the influence which the satisfaction of man's physical requirements has upon him. "The beneficial influence of art as art (irrespective of the content of a particular work),'' says Chernyshevsky, "lies almost, exclusively in the fact that art is a pleasant thing; all other pleasant occupations, relatfons, and objects upon which a 'good mood' depends, possess the same beneficial quality. A healthy man is much less selfish, much more benevolent than a sick one, who is always more or less irritable and cross. A good house also inclines a man to benevolence more than a damp, dingy and bleak one does. A man of untroubled mind (i.e., who is not in an unpleasant position) is more affable than a man of troubled mind, etc."^^**^^ Careful inspection of the matter shows that the benefit bestowed by art as one of the sources of pleasure, although indisputable, is nevertheless trivial compared with the benefit bestowed by other favourable relations and conditions of life. And it is not in this that the great significance of art lies. It lies in the fact that art spreads a large amount of information among the mass of people who take the slightest interest in it; that it familiarises them with the concepts worked out by science. In saying this, Chernyshevsky has in mind poetry, which he calls the most serious of the arts because, according to him, the other arts do very little in this respect. Without a doubt very few writers of fiction set themselves the aim of spreading knowledge among their readers. But since, by virtue of their education, they are superior to the majority of their readers, the latter learn a great deal from their works. Chernyshevsky is convinced that even the poorest works of fiction extend considerably the knowledge of those who read them. "By 'entertaining' the reading public'', poetry promotes its intellectual development. This is why it acquires great significance in the eyes of the thinker. And this is why, contrary to _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 33.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 33.

321 Plato, it possesses this significance even when it shows no concern for it.

Thus, Chernyshevsky by no means seeks to destroy aesthetics. On the contrary, he bases himself on it to explain to artists the great significance of art, namely, that it spreads concepts that have been worked out by science. In other words, our author does not destroy aesthetics, but merely subjects its theory to a radical revision. After what we have heard from him about Plato's view of art, we will have no difficulty in understanding why he found it necessary and useful to refer to his "great teachers in the matter of aesthetic judgment"---Plato and Aristotle---to decide the question of who stands higher: Pushkin or Gogol. And we shall not be at all surprised by the following passage: "If the essence of art really lies in idealisation, as is claimed nowadays, if its aim is 'to create the sweet and sublime sensation of the beautiful', then there is no poet in Russian literature equal to the author of Poltava, Boris Godunov, The Bronze Horseman, The Stone Guest and all those innumerable exquisite poems. If, however, something else besides is demanded of art, then....'' Chernyshevsky interrupts his sentence with a bewildered question on behalf of the reader who is biased in favour of the old aesthetic concepts: "But what else besides this can constitute the essence and significance of art?"^^*^^ We know what constitutes them in Chernyshevsky's opinion, and we ourselves can complete the interrupted sentence: if the purpose of art is not only to create the sweet and sublime sensation of the beautiful, then The Inspector General and Dead Souls are higher than The Stone Guest and Poltava, and Gogol is higher than Pushkin, and writers who excel Gogol in the consciousness of their attitude to life will be even higher than Gogol. With regard to this view Mr. Skabichevsky wrote later in his History of Modern Russian Literature:

``This identifying of art and science and ascribing to art the auxiliary role of illustrating scientific, philosophical an'd publicistic enquiry was a fatal error which had the most serious consequences. First of all, it deprived criticism of the role which is most natural to it as the judge of artistic works and which criticism performed with such brilliant success in Belinsky's day.... But then the theory of the identity of science and art and the auxiliary role of the latter in relation to the former, assimilated by young and immature minds, was bound to lead gradually to the total rejection of art that we have seen in the publicists of the Russkoye Slovo,^^115^^ headed by Pisarev."^^**^^

Having ascribed to Chernyshevsky "the theory of the identity of science and art'', Mr. Skabichevsky asks in amazement: "in that _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 29.

^^**^^ Pp. 65--66.

21--0267

322 case what role is so-called creative imagination to play?"^^*^^ And one is bound to agree that "in that case" there was indeed no place for creative imagination. But "that case" was invented by Mr. Skabichevsky himself. Chernyshevsky by no means ``identifies'' art and science. As a person familiar with Hegel's aesthetics he, like Belinsky, understands perfectly that the scientist expounds his idea with the help of logical propositions, whereas the artist embodies it in images, i.e., has recourse to "creative imagination''. And Mr. Skabichevsky would not have made his mistake if he in his turn had been better acquainted with the philosophical sources from which Belinsky and Chernyshevsky drew their aesthetic views.

Let us take an example. The novel What Is To Be Done? devotes more than half its pages to propagating the same ideas as those expounded in the article "The Anthropological Principle in Philosophy''. But in the novel these ideas are embodied in images, whereas in the article they are argued with the help of logical propositions. It is clear, therefore, that when Chernyshevsky embarked upon the novel he had to turn to his creative imagination. We know that, in the opinion of many, Chernyshevsky revealed little creative power in his novel, but this is quite another question which does not concern us here and which, incidentally, is treated most superficially by the majority of readers: Chernyshevsky himself stated that he had no artistic talent whatever, and this was too readily believed. In fact his novel is not without a certain, albeit minor, artistic merit; it has a great deal of humour and observation; and, finally, it is imbued with such an ardent passion for truth that it makes very interesting reading to this day. One would need a great deal of prejudice based on the profoundly mistaken aesthetic theories, now so widespread in our country, to shrug one's shoulders contemptuously about this novel, as many present-day, even ``advanced'' readers do. But, we repeat, this is quite another question. There can be no doubt that in the novel Chernyshevsky draws on his creative power, and in the article on his logic. This is sufficient to show us how grossly Mr. Skabichevsky jwas mistaken,

j^'

But let us quote another example. In such works as The Death of Ivan Ilyich and The Master and the Worker Tolstoy undoubtedly wished to expound views at which he had arrived in his reflections on the "meaning of life''. But in expounding these views he, like Chernyshevsky in his novel, had recourse to his creative imagination, and not to this or tha't theoretical argument. Well, and what of it? Who would say that Tolstoy did not give rein to his creative _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 65.

323 power in these works? Who would refuse to place them among the finest works of art? Mr. Skabichevsky sees identity where there is not the slightest hint of it.

Mr. Skabichevsky's idea that Chernyshevsky's alleged error deprived criticism of the role which it had played in Belinsky's day is also most unsatisfactory because of its extreme vagueness. Belinsky was indeed "a judge of artistic works''. But Chernyshevsky's aesthetic theory as such by no means excludes judgment of them. It is true that the critics who adhered to it tended to forget the question of the artistic merit of the works which they were analysing and concentrated their attention mainly on the ideas in these works. It is also true that in Pisarev, for example, Chernyshevsky's aesthetic theory acquired a caricatured form. But this is explained by the social conditions of the day, for which Chernyshevsky was not, of course, responsible. In itself his aesthetic theory did not exclude interest in the aesthetic merit of artistic works. This should suffice to show how clumsy Mr. Skabichevsky was in his criticism of it.

One of the main distinguishing features of Chernyshevsky's aesthetic theory is the idea that "the beautiful" does not exhaust the content of art. He develops this idea in detail in his dissertation on "The Aesthetic Relation of Art to Reality" and returns to it several times in his Essays on the Gogol Period of Russian Literature.

``In every human action,'' he says there, "all the strivings of human nature take part, although only one of them may be primarily interested in the given action. Therefore, art, too, is produced not by an abstract striving for beauty (by the idea of the beautiful), but by the combined action of all the forces and capabilities of a living human being. And as the need for truth, love and improvement of life, for example, is much stronger in human life than the striving for beauty, art not only always serves to some degree as the expression of these needs (and not only of the idea of the beautiful), but its products (the products of human life, this must not be forgotten) are nearly always created under the overwhelming influence of the need for truth (theoretical or practical), love and improvement of life; so that, in conformity with the natural law of human activity, the striving for beauty is the servant of these and the other strong needs of human nature. This is how all artistic creations that are remarkable for their merit were produced. Strivings that are divorced from real life are impotent; therefore, even if at times the striving for beauty tried to act in an abstract way (severing its connection with the other strivings of human nature), it could not produce anything remarkable even in the artistic respect either. History knows of no works of art that were produced solely by the idea of the beautiful. Even if there are, or have been, such works, they fail to attract the __PRINTERS_P_323_COMMENT__ 21* 324 attention of contemporaries and are forgotten by history as works that are too weak, even in the artistic respect."^^*^^

This idea of Ghernyshevsky's is also correct, although it suffers from being somewhat abstract. History does indeed know of no works of art that expressed only the idea of the beautiful. This, incidentally, also disproves the notion that the Pushkin period of our literature is characterised by the striving of poetry for perfection of form alone. But this is not the point. The task of scientific aesthetics is not confined to noting the fact that art always expresses not only the ``idea'' of the beautiful, but also other human strivings (for truth, love, etc.). Its task is primarily to reveal how man's other strivings are expressed in his conception of the beautiful and how they, themselves altering in the process of social development, also alter the ``idea'' of the beautiful. Thus, for example, the idea of the beautiful in the Middle Ages, embodied, say, in the image of the Madonna, was itself formed under the influence of the ideals prevalent among the clergy which, as w« know, played a most important role in society at that time. In the age of the Renaissance the ``idea'' of the beautiful, embodied in the same image, acquires a completely different character, because it then expresses the strivings of new social strata with quite different ideals. This is now common knowledge. And Chernyshevsky undoubtedly had this fact in mind when he defined the beautiful as ``life'' in his dissertation. He wrote: "beautiful is that being in which we see life as it should be according to our conceptions.''~^^**^^ But if this is true---and it is perfectly true---what does it mean? That art, on the one hand, embodies our idea of the beautiful, and, on the other, even primarily, as Chernyshevsky maintains, expresses our strivings for truth, goodness, improvement of life, etc.? No, more often it is quite the reverse. Our concept of the beautiful is itself imbued with these strivings and itself expresses them. This is why one should not break down into separate elements something that is in fact a kind of organic whole. But Chernyshevsky, by virtue of the rationality characteristic of all ``enlighteners'', sometimes breaks down this organic whole into its separate component elements.^^***^^ In so doing he _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. II, pp. 213--14.

^^**^^ Works, Vol. X, Part 2, p. 88.

^^***^^ The 17th thesis of his "The Aesthetic Relation of Art to Reality" reads: "Reproduction of life is the general characteristic feature of art and constitutes its essence. Works of art often have another purpose, viz., to explain life; they also frequently have the purpose of pronouncing judgment on the phenomena of life" (Works, Vol. X, Part 2, Section I, p. 164). But the whole question is how this judgment is pronounced and in what form this explanation is given: in the form of artistic images or in the form of abstract propositions. No matter how correct this or that abstract proposition may be it bears no relation to the sphere of art. This has been well explained in our literature by Belinsky.

325 makes a theoretical mistake. And this theoretical mistake could and occasionally did give his criticism a one-sided appearance. If a work of art expresses certain moral or practical strivings, as well as the idea of the beautiful---and, therefore, independently of it, the critic has the right to concentrate his attention mainly on these strivings, leaving aside the question of the extent to which they have received artistic expression in the work in question. When criticism acts in this way, it necessarily assumes a moralising character. In our country it has often been guilty of this in the person of D. I. Pisarev, among others. By an irony of fate Mr. Skabichevsky himself has occasionally committed the same offence. This usually happens to criticism in periods of ``enlightenment'' which are characterised by a predominance of rationality. One must say in its defence that during such periods rationality is characteristic not only of critics but even of artists.^^*^^

That there was occasionally too much rationality in Chernyshevsky's judgments on works of art is beyond question. And when we read his praise of Plato's strictures concerning art, we see before us an ``enlightener'' of a particular age, who is naturally inclined to sympathise with the attitude to art found in the representatives of all other ages of ``enlightenment''.^^**^^ In fact Chernyshevsky's assessment of Greek art at the time of Plato was not entirely fair. Although Greek art of the fourth century no longer expresses the manly civic ideal that^inspired Polyclitus and Phidias, Chernyshevsky is overstating the case in saying that the artists of that time produced nothing but more or less voluptuous pictures, verses and statues.

Nor can we agree with Chernyshevsky when he rejects KanJ's idea, adopted by Schiller, that art is play. For Chernyshevsky the concept of ``play'' was tantamount to the concept oi a simple pastime. But this is not quite the case. In fact play becomes a simple pastime under certain conditions only. It is not only man who ``plays'', animals also ``play''. Spencer was quite right in saying that, for example, the play of beasts of prey consists of pretending to hunt and fight. This means that in the case of animals the content of their play is determined by the activity which enables them to exist. The same is seen in the case of children. As Spencer quite rightly remarked, children's games are nothing more than theatrical performances of various types _-_-_

^^*^^ David said of himself: "je n'aime ni je ne sens le merveilleux: je ne puis marcher a 1'aise qu'avec le secours d'un fait reel" (Delecluze, L. David, son ecole et son temps. Paris, 1895, p. 338). ["I do not like and do not feel the marvellous: I can proceed comfortably only with the help of a real fact."] (Cf. the symposium Twenty Years, p. 145 et seq.). This is most characteristic of a French ``Enlightener'' of the eighteenth century, such as David was.

^^**^^ The fact that Socrates' disciple,[Plato, showed himself to be a typical ``enlightener'' in his views on art can hardly require any justification.

326 of adult activity. This is particularly evident in the games of young savages. In short, play is the child of labour, as W. Wundt so aptly put it in his Ethics.^^*^^ And because it is the child of labour, it is by no means always a simple pastime. It becomes this only in the case of those social classes or strata which live without working and which are therefore idle even in their ``activity''. However, even in these cases play is to some extent a natural "child of labour'', because the existence in society of a class or stratum which indulges in idleness is possible only given certain production relations.

If, as Chernyshevsky says, the essential characteristic of art is the reproduction of life, art should certainly be recognised as akin to play which also reproduces life not only in the case of man, but also in the case of animals. The reproduction of life in play or in art is of great sociological importance. By reproducing their life in creations of art, people educate themselves for their social life, adjust themselves to it. The different social classes have different needs, they live different lives; therefore their aesthetic tastes are also different. Classes which indulge in idleness express the emptiness of their life in their works of art as well. Their art is in fact no more than a simple pastime; but it is a simple pastime not because it is a reproduction of life which is just like play, but merely because it reproduces an empty life. The point is not the ``play'', but what is the content of the play.

The view of art as play, supplemented by the view of play as a "child of labour'', sheds a very bright light on the essence and history of art. It makes it possible for the first time to view them from a materialist standpoint. We know that, at the very beginning of his literary activity, Chernyshevsky made an attempt, which was most successful in its way, at applying Feuerbach's materialist philosophy to aesthetics. We have devoted a special work to describing this attempt.^^**^^ So we shall merely say here that although it was most successful in its way, that attempt was affected, just as Chernyshevsky's views on history, by the main shortcoming of Feuerbach's philosophy: insufficient elaboration of its historical or, to be more exact, dialectical aspect. And it is precisely because this aspect was not elaborated in the philosophy assimilated by him that Chernyshevsky could overlook the great importance of the concept of play for a materialist interpretation of art.

But in Chernyshevsky's aesthetics, again as in his historical views, we find many seeds of a perfectly correct understanding of the subject. See, for example, how well he explains the _-_-_

^^*^^ Cf. our article "More about the Art of Primitive Peoples" in the symposium A Critique of Our Critics, pp. = 380--99.~^^116^^

^^**^^ Cf. the article "Chernyshevsky's Aesthetic Theory" in the symposium Twenty = Years.^^11^^*

327 dependence of the concept of beauty on the conditions of life of the different social classes. We shall quote in full the relevant passage from his dissertation which is brilliant in the full sense of the word:

``Among the common people, the 'good life', 'life as it should be', means having enough to eat, living in a good house, and having enough sleep. But at the same time the peasant's conception of life always contains the concept---work: it is impossible to live without work; indeed, life would be dull without it. As a consequence of a life of sufficiency, accompanied by hard but not exhausting work, the [peasant lad or.---G.P.] peasant maiden will have a very fresh complexion and rosy cheeks---the first attribute of beauty according to the conceptions of the common people. Working hard, and therefore being sturdily built, the peasant girl, if she gets enough to eat, will be buxom---this too is an essential attribute of the village beauty: rural people regard the 'ethereal' society beauty as decidedly'plain', and are even disgusted by her, because they are accustomed to regard ' skinniness' as the result of illness or of a `sad lot'. Work, however, does not allow one to get fat: if a peasant girl is fat, it is regarded as a kind of malady, they say she is 'flabby', and the people regard obesity as a defect. The village beauty cannot have small hands and feet, because she works hard---and these attributes of beauty are not mentioned in our songs. In short, injthe descriptions of feminine beauty in our folk songs you will not find a single attribute of beauty that does not express robust health and a balanced constitution, which are always the result of a life of sufficiency and constant real, hard, but not exhausting, work. The society beauty is entirely different. For a number of generations her ancestors'have lived without performing physical work. In a life of idleness, little blood flows to the limbs. With every new generation the muscles of the arms and legs grow feebler, the bones become thinner. An inevitable consequence of all this is small hands and feet---they are the symptoms of the only kind of life the upper classes of society think possible---life without physical work. If a society lady has big hands and feet, it is regarded either as a defect, or as a sign that she does not come from a good, ancient family. For the same reason, the society beauty must have small ears. Migraine, as is known, is an interesting malady, and not without good reason. As a consequence of idleness, all the blood remains in the middle organs and runs to the brain. Even without that, the nervous system is strained as a result of the general weakening of the constitution. The inevitable consequences of this are prolonged headaches and various kinds of nervous disorders. Be that as it may, even sickness is interesting, almost enviable when it is a consequence of the mode of life that we like. True, good health can never lose its value for a man, for even in 328 a life of sufficiency and luxury, bad health is a drawback. Hence, rosy cheeks and the freshness of good health are still attractive for society people also; but sickliness, frailty, lassitude and languor also have the virtue of beauty in their eyes as long as they seem to be the consequence of a life of idleness and luxury. Pallid cheeks, languor and sickliness have yet another significance for society people: peasants seek rest and tranquility, but people who belong to educated society, who do not suffer from material want and physical fatigue, but often suffer from ennui resulting from idleness and the absence of material cares, seek the 'thrills, excitement and passions' which lend colour, diversity and attraction to an otherwise dull and colourless society life. But thrills and ardent passions soon wear a person out. How can one fail to be charmed by a beauty's languor and paleness when they are a sign that she has lived a 'fast life'?"^^*^^

People's concepts of beauty are expressed in works of art. The concepts of beauty in different social classes are, as we have seen, very different, occasionally even conflicting. The class which rules at a given time in society, rules in literature and the arts also. It introduces its views and concepts into them. But in a developing society different classes rule at different times. Moreover, every given class has its own history: it develops, achieves prosperity and supremacy and, finally, falls into decline. In accordance with this its literary views and its aesthetic concepts also change. Therefore we encounter different aesthetic concepts in history: the concepts and views which are dominant in one period become obsolete in another. Chernyshevsky realised that people's aesthetic concepts are determined in the last instance by their economic life. This testifies to the great perspicacity of his view. In order to give his aesthetic theory a firm materialist foundation, he should have studied in greater detail the causal connection discovered by him between aesthetics and economics and traced this connection at least through the main phases of the historical development of mankind. By so doing he would have brought about a revolution in aesthetic theory. But, firstly, the method which he employed in his research was insufficiently elaborated for such a theoretical undertaking. And, secondly,'as an " enlightener" he was interested not so much in theory itself as in certain of its deductions which have a direct bearing on everyday practice. Therefore, after taking an extremely penetrating look at the question of the relationship of consciousness to being in the field of aesthetics, he immediately turns away from this theoretical question and hastens to give his reader some sensible, practical advice. He says:

_-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. X, Part 2, Section I, pp. 89--90.

329

``We like a fresh and heightened colour,
The sign of youthful vigour;
But far more than it we prefer
A melancholy pallor.
"

``But while a liking for pale, sickly beauty is a sign of artificially corrupted taste, every truly educated man feels that true lifeis the life of the heart and mind. It leaves its impress on the expression of the face, most clearly in the eyes, and therefore,, facial expression, of which little mention is made in folk songs, acquires enormous significance in the conception of beauty that prevails among educated people; and it often happens that a person looks beautiful to us only because he has beautiful, expressiveeyes!"^^*^^

This is also true. But this true statement concerns not so much aesthetics as it is, depending on the economic position of the different classes, as aesthetics as it should be in the case of " educated people''. Concern for what should be predominates in Chernyshevsky's dissertation over theoretical interest in why what is is sometimes quite different from what should be. This explains the apparently strange fact that in the dissertation of this materialist one finds fewer truly materialist observations on the history of art than, for example, in the Aesthetics of the absolute idealist Hegel.^^**^^

But let us return to the article on Aristotle's Poetics. It constitutes an addition, as it were, to Chernyshevsky's study on "the aesthetic relation of art to reality''. In his opinion, Aristotle is less exalted in his demands on art than Plato; his concepts of the significance of music and poetry are not as edifying as Plato's, and are even---as we explained above in passing, when discussing Chernyshevsky's attitude to Hegelian dialectics---somewhat petty. Our author does not agree with Aristotle when the latter explains the origin of art by man's striving to imitate. He approves very much of Aristotle's view on the relationship between poetry and philosophy, however. He says: "In Aristotle's opinion, poetry, which depicts human life from the general point of view, presenting not its casual and insignificant details, but what is essential and] characteristic in life, has very much philosophical merit. He thinks that, in this respect, it is even far superior to history, which must indiscriminately describe the important and unimportant, the essential and characteristic, as well as casual facts which have no intrinsic importance. Poetry is also far superior to history _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 90.

^^**^^ Cf. Hegel's remarks on the history of Dutch painting, with which any modern dialectical materialist can agree almost unreservedly (Aesthetik, 1-er Band, S. 217, 218; B. II, S. 217--23). His Aesthetics contain many such remarks here and there.

330 because it presents everything in its inner connection, whereas history presents everything without any inner connection; it relates in chronological order diverse facts that have nothing in common with one another."^^*^^

As we know, Lessing too approved of this view of Aristotle's and for the very same reason: it provided the theoretical possibility of imposing upon poetry the requirement so dear to both ``enlighteners'' that it should "explain life" or---to put it more precisely---pronounce ``judgment'' on life. In fact, of course, Aristotle's view could be explained in the purely theoretical sense which Hegel ascribed to it in his Aesthetics and which we most often find in Belinsky's reflections on the subject. But Chernyshevsky, like Lessing, interprets it in the practical way beloved by ``enlighteners''.^^**^^

As an ``enlightener'' concerned mainly with practical deductions and therefore not very inclined to make a thorough investigation of tlfe theoretical basis of such deductions, Chernyshevsky is by no means always historically fair to the aesthetic theories that he refutes.

Chernyshevsky, like Lessing, did not like the "theoreticians of the pseudo-classical school" for reasons which are perfectly obvious---and, in the case of Lessing, well explained by F. Mehring in his famous book Lessings-Legende---but the examination of which would cause us to digress too far here. He occasionally accuses these theoreticians of crimes they have never actually committed, which he himself could have seen easily by paying a little more attention to the historical aspect of the aesthetic ' questions that occupied him. Here is a striking example. In Plato and Aristotle the fine arts are called the imitative arts. In this connection Chernyshevsky finds it necessary to stress that the ``imitation'' about which these philosophers speak has very little in common with the "imitation of nature" which the pseudo-classical school saw as the essence of art. "Does Plato, and particularly Aristotle, the teacher of all the Batteuxes, Boileausand Horaces,'' he says, "not regard art as the imitation of nature, the term we are all accustomed to use when speaking of the imitation theory? No, both Plato and Aristotle regard not nature, but human life as the true content of art, and of poetry in particular. To them belongs the great honour of thinking about the main content of art that which since their time has been expressed by Lessing alone and which all their followers could not understand. In _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. I, pp. 36--37.

^^**^^ Here it may perhaps be relevant to recall the following reservation by Chernyshevsky with regard to history: "But Aristotle'sj opinion of history requires explanation. It is applicable only to that form of history that was known in his day---it was not history in the proper sense, but the writing of chronicles" (Works,. Vol. I, p. 37).

331 Aristotle's Poetics there is not a word about nature: he speaks of people, of their actions, of what happens to people, as the things which poetry imitates. The word 'nature' could have been adopted in poetics only in the heyday of flabby and false descriptive poetry ... and didactic poetry which is inseparable from it---kinds which Aristotle banished from poetry. The imitation of nature is alien to true poetry, the chief subject of which is---man. ' Nature'jcomes to the forefront only inlandscape painting, and the phrase 'imitating nature' was first heard from the lips of the painter."^^*^^

Chernyshevsky goes on to explain, quoting Pliny, the circumstances in which this phrase was first uttered: when Lysippus asked thejpainter Eupompus which of the great artists one should imitate, the latter replied that it was not artists but nature itself that should be imitated. From these words our author rightly concludes that living reality in general and not nature in the narrow sense of the word should serve as the artist's model. But the fact is that the words "imitating nature" were interpreted in the same sense by the "theoreticians of the pseudo-classical school" also. As evidence of this we shall quote Boileau whom Chernyshevsky mentions as one of the writers who allegedly forgot about man. In Book Three of his Art poetique Boileau gives the following advice to writers:

Que la nature done soit votre etude unique,
Auteurs, qui pretendez aux honneurs du comique.
Quiconque voit bien I'homme, et, d'un esprit profond,
De tant de coeurs caches a penetre le fond;
Qui salt bien ce que c'est qu'un prodigue, un avare,
Un honnete homme, un fat, un jalouz, un bizarre,
Sur une scene heureuse il peut les etaler,
Et les faire a nos yeux vivre, agir et parler.
Presentez-en partout les images naives;
Que chacun y soit peint des couleurs les plus vives.
La nature, feconde en bizarres portraits,
Dans chaque ame est marquee a de differents traits,
Un geste la decouvre, un rien la fait paraitre;
Mais tout esprit n'a pas des yeux pour la connaitre.^^**^^

_-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. I, pp. 38--39.

^^**^^ [You, then, that would the comic laurels wear,
To study nature be your only care.
Whoe'er knows man, and by a curious art
Discerns the hidden secrets of the heart;
He who observes, and naturally can paint
The jealous fool, the fawning sycophant,
A sober wit, an enterprising ass,
A humorous Otter, or a Hudibras,---
May safely in those noble lusts engage,
And make them act and speak upon the stage. __NOTE__ Footnote cont. on page 332. 332

It is perfectly clear that by ``nature'' Boileau means man here. And this is equally clear from the following passage:

Aux depens du bon sens gardez de plaisanter: Jamais de la nature il ne faut s'ecarter. Contemplez de quel air un pere dans Terence Vient d'un fils amoureux gourmander r imprudence; De quel air cet amant ecoute ses leqons, Et court chez sa maitresse oublier ses chansons. Ce n'est pas un portrait, une image semblable, C'est un amant, un fils, un pere veritable.^^*^^

When Boileau said that on no account should one shun nature, he obviously meant that human nature should be portrayed as faithfully as possible. Boileau quotes Terence as an example; but Terence is worthy of imitation, in his opinion, a& an artist who brilliantly reproduced human nature: the father, the son, the lover, etc. The seventeenth century could not have preferred the portrayal of nature to that of human life. It was far too interested in the latter. Human life claimed nearly all it& attention, and even the landscape painting of this century put nature into the background. The attention of the landscape painter in France did not turn from man to nature until the end of the 1820s; and this change meant in fact not that artists began to be more interested in nature than in man, but that they were now interested in other aspects of man's spiritual life for which they _-_-_ __NOTE__ Footnote cont. from page 331.
Strive to be natural in all you write,
And paint with colours that may please the sight.
Nature in various figures does abound,
And in each mind are different humors found;
A glance, a touch, discovers to the wise,
But every man has not discerning eyes.]

^^*^^ [Your action still should reason's rules obey...
The passions must to nature be confined...
Observe how Terence does his evil shun.
A careful father chides his amorous son;
Then see that son whom no advice can move,
Forget those orders, and pursue his love!
'Tis not a well-drawn picture we discover,
'Tis a true son, a father, and a lover.

Albert S. Cook, The Art of Poetry.
The Poetical Treatises of Horace,
Vida, and Boileau
, Boston, USA, 1892,
pp. 205, 207--08.]

333 had had little interest before.^^*^^ But,we repeat, for Chernyshevsky, as an ``enlightener'', these historical details were of no particular importance. The important thing for him was the deduction, of enormous practical significance in his eyes, that "it would be more correct to call art the reproduction of reality (to use a modern term for the word 'imitation', which does not satisfactorily convey the meaning of the Greek mimesis) than to think that art realises in its works our idea of perfect beauty, which allegedly does not exist in reality".^^**^^ Developing this idea, Chernyshevsky argues that it is wrong to think that by recognising the reproduction of human life as the supreme principle of art we compel art to make crude and vulgar copies of reality and to renounce all idealisation. Chernyshevsky recognises idealisation, but he gives his own definition to this concept. Idealisation that consists in the so-called ennobling of the objects and characters depicted is tantamount to artificiality, pomposity and hypocrisy: "the only idealisation that is needed is the exclusion from poetical works of details, no matter of what kind, that are not essential for the purpose of obtaining a full picture''. And this is, of course, perfectly right.

Leaving aside, as already analysed by us elsewhere, the other aesthetic views expressed by Chernyshevsky on Aristotle's Poetics and repeated by him in his dissertation, we shall examine one further point only. Chernyshevsky mentions that Aristotle considered writers of tragedy superior to Homer and believed that the latter's poems were far less artistic in form than,.the tragedies of Sophocles and Euripides. Our author agrees entirely with the Greek philosopher's view and, for his part, considers it necessary to supplement it with a single remark: he finds that the tragedies of Sophocles and Euripides are incomparably more artistic than Homer's poems not only in form, but also in content. And he asks whether it is not time for us to follow Aristotle's example and look at Shakespeare without false obsequiousness. He believes that it was natural for Lessing to place the great English dramatist above all the poets who had existed on earth; but today, when there is no longer any need to protest against overzealous imitation of French pseudo-classical writers and when we have Lessing, Goethe, Schiller and Byron, a critical attitude towards Shakespeare is perfectly permissible. "Does not Goethe think that Hamlet needs revision? And perhaps Schiller did not reveal indiscriminate taste in revising Racine's Phedre as well as Shakespeare's Macbeth. We are impartial towards the distant _-_-_

^^*^^ See the articles on the French landscape in the collection Histoire du paysage en France, Paris, 1908; ibidem, L. Rosenthal's lectures: "Le paysage au temps du romantisme'', and Charles Saunter's article "Jean-Franjois Millet''. Cf. also Fromentin: Les maitres d'autrefois. Belgique---Hollande. 8-e edit., Paris, 1896, p. 271 et seq.

^^**^^ Works, Vol. I, p. 39.

334 past; why, then, should we hesitate so long in recognising the recent past as an age of the higher development of poetry than the preceding one? Does not its development keep pace with the development of education and of life?"^^*^^

It goes without saying that one can and should adopt a critical attitude to Shakespeare, just as one can and should adopt the same attitude to Goethe and Tolstoy, for example, or Hegel and Spinoza. But whether one can place Lessing and Schiller or Byron above Shakespeare is another question. We are not able to examine it here, but we shall nevertheless permit ourselves to say that as a dramatist Shakespeare is far superior to the writers mentioned by Chernyshevsky. Impartiality is, of course, essential in all literary judgments; but it does not oblige us to accept the idea that the successes of poetry always keep pace with the successes of life and education. This is far from being the case. As artists Corneille and Racine are incomparably superior to Voltaire, yet French education and French life in the eighteenth century were far in advance of French education and life in the preceding century. Or---to take an example which would have seemed more convincing to Chernyshevsky as a firm opponent of the French pseudo-classical school---is it not obvious that in Shakespeare's age the English theatre was incomparably better than in the eighteenth century? Yet English education and life made great progress in the interval between these two periods. The " enlighteners" of all countries were most inclined to think that the successes of enlightenment (``education'') were always directly proportional to the successes of all other aspects of the intellectual and social life of nations. This is not the case. In fact the historical movement of mankind is a process in which the successes of one aspect not only do not presuppose the proportional successes of all the other aspects, but sometimes actually cause the backwardness or even the decline of some of them. Thus, for example, the colossal development of West-European economic life, which determined the mutual relation between the class of producers and the class of appropriators of social wealth, led in the second half of the nineteenth century to the spiritual decline of the bourgeoisie and of all the arts and sciences in which the moral concepts and social aspirations of this class are expressed. In the France of the late eighteenth century the bourgeoisie was still a fflass full of intellectual and moral energy; but this fact did not prevent the poetry created by it at that time from deteriorating by comparison with what it was earlier when social life was less developed. Poetry, in general, does not get along well with rationality, and rationality is very often an inevitable consequence and reliable index of the successes of education. But considerations of this kind were quite alien to Chernyshevsky, as a typical ``enlightener''.

_-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 43.

335 __NUMERIC_LVL3__ Chapter Two __ALPHA_LVL3__ Belinsky, Chernyshevsky and Pisarev

We have said elsewhere that if Belinsky was the father of our ``enlighteners'', Chernyshevsky is their greatest representative.^^*^^ To make this clear, we must first remind the reader in what sense we regard Belinsky as the father of our ``enlighteners''.

During the period of his famous "reconciliation with reality" he set himself the task of understanding it as the product of a certain course of historical development. He held the view at that time that an ideal which was not justified by the course of development of ``reality'', i.e., which was divorced from reality, was a kind of subjective whim not worthy of either attention or interest. His "reconciliation with reality" merely meant contempt for such an ideal. Subsequently, after he had condemned his article on the Battle of Borodino as unworthy of an honest writer, he continued to remain faithful to the spirit of Hegel's philosophy and was displeased not with the basic propositions in this article, but with its deductions. "The idea which I attempted to develop in the article on Glinka's book Essays on the Battle of Borodino" he wrote, "is basically correct.'' But he now believed that he had not made proper use of this correct basis. "I should also havedeveloped the idea of negation as an historical right, the first, sacred one without which mankind would have turned into a stagnant and stinking morass.'' Hegel, insofar as he remained true to his dialectics, recognised fully "the historical right of negation''. This is very clear from his lectures on the history of philosophy, in which he speaks of negators such as Socrates with such firm approval. But in Hegel---again insofar as he did not betray his dialectical method---the negation of any given ``reality'' is the logical product of the latter's own dialectical development, i.e., the development of the internal contradictions inherent in this reality. In order to substantiate the "idea of negation" in Russia, it was necessary to discover and show the way in which the historical development of the social relations which constituted the given Russian ``reality'' should by its own inner logic lead with time to the negation of the ``reality'' in question, i.e., to its replacement by a new ``reality'' which corresponded more or less to the ideals of advanced personalities. The terrible backwardness of our social life at that time made it impossible for Belinsky to solve this extremely important theoretical task. And since he could not, with his moral constitution, live in peace with ``reality'', since his peace with it was merely a truce, he was forced to try and substantiate his "idea of _-_-_

^^*^^ Twenty Years, 3rd edition, p. 260.

336 negation" in another, quite un-dialectical way: he sought to deduce it from the abstract concept of the human personality which he thought it necessary to free "from the foul fetters of irrationalreality, the opinion of the rabble, and the tradition of barbaric times''. But insofar as he sought support in this abstract concept, he turned from a dialectician into an ``enlightener''.

As we see in every period of ``enlightenment'' with which we are familiar, in their criticism of the relations of their day enlighteners usually proceeded from this or that abstract principle.

From the socio-political point of view this new trend in Belinsky's thought---his search for support in the abstract concept of the personality---led him to Utopian socialism, and from the point of view of literature to the rehabilitation of Schiller, whom he now declared to be mankind's noble advocate. But he had not passed through the Hegel school in vain: he retained forever an aversion for "far-fetched idealism that stands on stilts and waves a cardboard sword like a painted actor''. Whereas in his youth, in the early period of his enthusiasm for Schiller, Belinsky admired his Robbers, he now had nothing but contempt for writers who following the example of Marlinsky "set about portraying Karl Moors in a Circassian felt cloak or Lears and Childe Harolds in civil servant uniform''. By the beginning of 1844, in the article "Russian Literature in 1843'', he notes with satisfaction that now "both large and small talents, both mediocrities and the completely untalented---all are striving to portray real, not imaginary people, but since real people live on earth and in society, and not in the air, not in the clouds, where only phantoms live, the writers of our day are naturally portraying society as well as people. Society is also something real, and not imaginary, therefore its essence is made up not only of costumes and hair-styles but also of customs, habits, concepts, relations, etc."^^*^^ In the following years of his life Belinsky, whose intellectual development was proceeding in the same direction as that of WestEuropean philosophical thought, turned from Hegel to Feuerbach. This is particularly obvious in his article "A Look at Russian Literature in 1846'', where he expounds some of the basic propositions of Feuerbach's philosophy. In the same article he says in full accordance with his new philosophical convictions: "If we were asked what is the distinguishing feature of contemporary Russian literature, we would answer: its increasingly close contact with life, with reality, its gradual approach to maturity and manhood."^^**^^ In the literary review of the following year, written just before his death, he defines the state and tasks of our literature as follows:

_-_-_

^^*^^ V. G. Belinsky, Works, Moscow, 1880, Part 8, p. 63.

^^**^^ Ibid., pp. 9-10,

337

``Our literature was the fruit of conscious thought; it emerged as an innovation, it began as imitation. Yet it did not stop there, but strove constantly for originality, national character, from being rhetorical it strove to become natural. It is this striving, marked by considerable and constant successes, that constitutes the meaning and spirit of our literature's history. And we would say, without a moment's hesitation, that in no other Russian writer has this striving been so successful as in Gogol. This could happen only through art turning exclusively to reality, apart from all ideals. For this it was necessary to concentrate attention fully on the crowd, the masses, to portray ordinary people and not only pleasant exceptions to the general rule, which always tempt poets to idealise and which bear an alien imprint. This is Gogol's great service.... By this he changed the view of art itself completely. The old and decrepit definition of poetry as ' embellished nature'can be applied, by stretching a point, to the works of all Russian poets; but it is impossible to apply it to the works of Gogol. They require a different interpretation of art---art as the reproduction of reality in all its truth. Here it is a matter of types, and here the ideal is understood not as embellishment (that is, falsehood), but as the relations with one another in which the author places the types created by him, in keeping with the idea which he wishes to develop in his work."^^*^^

Chernyshevsky agreed without reservation with everything that Belinsky said in this passage, and these ideas of Belinsky's provided the basis for his views on the general tasks of Russian literature and its state in the various periods of its development. The author of the Essays on the Gogol Period of Russian Literature was perfectly entitled to regard himself as the continuer oiBelinsky's cause. When Turgenev and other educated "people of the forties" asserted that the preaching of Chernyshevsky and those who shared his views was a betrayal of the behests of Belinsky's criticism, they overlooked the fact that even the "impetuous Vissarion" in the latter period of his life often expressed himself in the spirit of this preaching. Their opinion was not totally wrong, however. They were right in the sense that Chernyshevsky and those who shared his views occasionally made deductions from Belinsky's ``enlightened'' ideas which for all their logical correctness would hardly have appealed to Belinsky who throughout his life retained in his views a great deal of what Pisarev christened later "the shell of Hegelianism".

What exactly is the ``reality'' of which Belinsky speaks in the passages quoted by us from his annual reviews of Russian literature? Does this concept of it coincide with the concept of the ``reality'' with which he had become ``reconciled''?

_-_-_

^^*^^ Belinsky, Works, ibid., pp. 344--45.

__PRINTERS_P_337_COMMENT__ 22---0267 338

Noting with satisfaction that our journals were talking of reality more than anything else, Belinsky remarked: "The concept of reality is an entirely new one."^^*^^ Chernyshevsky quotes this remark in Chapter Seven of his Essays on the Gogol Period and finds it perfectly correct. He says that the concept of reality "was denned and entered science quite recently, namely, since the time when the obscure allusions of transcendental philosophy, which recognised truth only in concrete realisation, were explained by modern thinkers".^^**^^ And he considers it necessary to set forth this new and simple, but extremely fruitful view of reality in detail.

``There were times,'' he says, "when the dreams of the imagination were placed far higher than that which life represents, and when the power of the imagination was considered boundless. But modern thinkers examined this question more carefully and arrived at results that are the direct opposite of earlier opinions which have shown themselves to be quite incapable of withstanding criticism. The power of our imagination is extremely limited, and its creations are very pale and weak by comparison with reality. The most vivid imagination is overwhelmed by the idea of the millions of miles that separate the earth from the sun, of the incredible speed of light and electricity; the most ideal figures of Raphael were portraits of real people; the most hideous creations of mythology and popular superstition were far more similar to the animals around us than the monsters discovered by naturalists;' it has been proved by history and careful observation of modern life that real people, who are by no means inveterate scoundrels or virtuous angels, commit crimes which are far more terrible and perform feats which are far more noble than anything that has been invented by poets. The imagination had to submit to reality; and moreover: it was forced to realise that its imaginary creations were only copies of the phenomena of reality."^^***^^

This is exactly the same thing that he says in his dissertation. He goes on to explain that the phenomena of reality are extremely diverse. It contains much that suits man's requirements and much that conflicts with them.

Formerly, when people scorned reality they thought it was very easy to refashion it according to their fantastic dreams. Then they saw that this was not so. Man is very weak. All his strength depends on knowledge of real life and on the ability to make use of the laws of nature for his own ends. Acting in conformity with these laws and with the characteristics of his own nature, man can gradually change reality and adapt it to his strivings. Otherwise he achieves nothing. Yet not all man's _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 33.

^^**^^ N. G. Chernyshevsky, Works, Vol. II, p. 205.

^^***^^ Ibid., p. 205.

339 strivings conform to the laws of nature. Some of them violate these laws. And man has in fact no need to realise such strivings: would bring him nothing but dissatisfaction and suffering. Everything that contravenes the laws of nature, in general, and human nature, in particular, is harmful and painful for man. Therefore morally healthy people have no strivings that contravene these laws. Such strivings are cherished only by people who submit to idle fantasies. "Lasting enjoyment is afforded to man by reality alone; only desires based on reality are of serious importance; success may be expected only from hopes evoked by reality, and only from those deeds which are accomplished with the help of the forces and circumstances offered by reality."^^*^^

Such was the new concept of ``reality''. Chernyshevsky had Feuerbach in mind when he said that it had been formed by modern thinkers from the obscure allusions of transcendental philosophy. And he expounded Feuerbach's concept of reality quite correctly. Feuerbach said that sensuousness or reality is identical with truth, i.e., that the object in its true sense is given only by sensation. Speculative philosophy supposed that conceptions of objects based only on sense experience do not correspond to the real nature of the objects and must be verified with the aid of pure thought, i.e., thought not based on sense experience. Feuerbach decisively rejected this idealistic view. He asserted that conceptions of objects based on our sense experience fully correspond to the nature of these objects. The only trouble is that our imagination frequently distorts these conceptions, which, therefore, come into contradiction with our sense experience. Philosophy should drive out from our conceptions the fantastic element that distorts them; it should bring them into accord with sense experience. It must return mankind to a contemplation of real objects undistorted by fancy, such as prevailed in ancient Greece. And insofar as mankind passes to such contemplation, it returns to itself, because people who submit to figments of the imagination can themselves be only imaginary and not real beings. In the words of Feuerbach, the essence of man is sensuousness, i.e., reality, and not imagination or abstraction. The task of philosophy and science in general is to restore reality to its rightful place. But if that is so, it follows of itself that the tasks of aesthetics as a branch of science are also to restore reality to its rightful place and combat the imaginary element in man's notions. It was on this conclusion from Feuerbach's philosophy that Chernyshevsky's aesthetic views were based; it constituted the main idea of his dissertation. And there is no doubt that Belinsky had the same conclusion in mind when, in his last _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 206.

22*

340 but one annual review of literature, he described the concept of ``reality'' as a new one.

One must do full justice to both Belinsky and Chernyshevsky: the conclusion which they drew from Feuerbach's philosophy was perfectly correct. But how did it relate to the "obscure allusions of transcendental philosophy"?

In Hegel only the ``rational'' was recognised as ``real''. In Feuerbach only the ``real'' is ``rational''. At first glance it would seem that both thinkers are saying the same thing, but then it is strange that Chernyshevsky sees merely an obscure allusion in Hegel's idea which he finds perfectly clear when he encounters it in Feuerbach. But the point is as follows.

Hegel's ``reason'' is nothing other than the law of objective development. Hegel regards this law through the prism of idealism. This prism occasionally distorts the true correlation of phenomena considerably---turns it upside-down, to use Marx's expression; but for all this Hegel regarded as the criterion of the rationality of subjective strivings the correspondence of these strivings to the logical course of the objective development of society. Herein lies the great strength of his philosophy, which Belinsky sensed instinctively when he turned away from the ''abstract ideal" to "rational reality''. When Feuerbach demanded from the investigator an attentive attitude to sensuousness freed from fantastic inventions, he was merely translating into the language of materialism Hegel's essentially correct and extremely profound idea. And when this profound idea of Hegel's, translated by Feuerbach into the language of materialism, was later properly elaborated by Marx, it became the basis of the materialist explanation of history. But in Feuerbach himself and his immediate followers, including Belinsky and Ghernyshevsky, the translation' of this idea of Hegel's into the language of materialism was very abbreviated; in them this idea was not elaborated. And in its unelaborated form it became, in spite of its materialist essence, the source of an idealist attitude to phenomena. This took place because the demand which Feuerbach made on investigators had a dual nature: firstly, it ordered them to adopt an attentive attitude to reality, and, secondly, for the sake of this very attentive attitude, it strongly recommended them to fight energetically against fantastic inventions. Suppose that an investigator by virtue of the given circumstances of time and place concentrates his attention mainly on fighting fantastic inventions, and you have not a theoretician trying to find the materialist basis of phenomena, but an ``enlightener'' carrying on a war against obsolete prejudices in the name of his subjective reason. The circumstances of time and place necessary for this were present in Russia both at the time when Belinsky, after failing to substantiate his idea of negation, was compelled to content himself with struggling 341 against reality in the name of the abstract rights of the individual, and---even more so---at the time when Chernyshevsky's world outlook was developing. Therefore Belinsky in the final period of his literary activity, and Chernyshevsky from its very beginning, had publicistic and to a large extent also literary views which were imbued with the idealism characteristic of " enlighteners''. And in this sense Belinsky was perfectly right when he called his "concept of reality" anew one in the review of literature quoted above. It really was new by comparison with what the self-same Belinsky understood by reality when he wrote his article on the Battle of Borodino. Then this word meant for him the sum total of the social relations that existed in Russia, and he felt obliged to pay homage to these relations for the simple reason that he had not been able to discover the inner contradictions inherent in them. Now for Belinsky, and after him for Chernyshevsky also, the concept of reality no longer coincided with the concept of the sum total of what exists: we have already heard from Chernyshevsky that what exists is frequently the product of an imagination that is wrongly directed and out of touch with reality. Thus, in their case, insofar as they were ``enlighteners'', attention to reality meant primarily attention to what can and should exist when people free themselves from fantastic inventions and begin to obey the laws of their own nature. And if, notwithstanding this, both Belinsky and Chernyshevsky persistently recommend fiction to give an accurate portrayal of that which exists, they do so in the firm conviction that the more accurately fiction portrays the mutual relations between people, the more quickly people will see the abnormality of these relations and the more quickly they will be able to improve them in accordance with the requirements of their own nature, i. e., to be more precise, in accordance with the instructions of the subjective reason of ``enlighteners''. It is, therefore, not surprising that both Chernyshevsky and Belinsky considered that the prime task of literary criticism should be to explain to people what was abnormal in their mutual relations portrayed by fiction. Elsewhere in a description of Belinsky's views in the latter period of his literary activity we stressed that in fact he became an ``enlightener'' only when he abandoned the viewpoint of dialectics, which did not cease to attract him to the end of his life. In the same place we pointed out how successfully Belinsky sometimes provided a dialectical explanation of literary phenomena.^^*^^ We draw attention to this again here because we do not wish a one-sided interpretation to be given to what we have said about Belinsky. We repeat: Belinsky had a very strong dialectical streak, stronger _-_-_

^^*^^ Cf. the end of our article "The Literary Views of V. G. Belinsky" in the symposium Twenty Years.

342 than even Feuerbach, and even in the latter period of his activity he by no means always reasoned like an| ``enlightener''. But when he went over to the viewpoint of an ``enlightener'', he expressed with his customary talent the views which were later developed consistently by our criticism of the sixties, i.e., mainly by Chernyshevsky and Dobrolyubov. This is why we called him the father of our ``enlighteners''.

In describing and developing his ``new'' concept of reality, Belinsky expressed himself as an ``enlightener''; all that remained for Chernyshevsky was to proceed further in the same direction. In order to show how consistently Chernyshevsky adhered to this course and how faithful he was to the ``enlightened'' behest of his great predecessor, we shall quote his view of Schiller, which we have taken from his bibliographical note on Schiller's works in a translation by Russian poets (Sovremennik, 1857, No. 1).

He says there: "His poetry will never die---this is no Southey or Herbel. People who pride themselves on being positive, whereas in fact they have only hard hearts, on their knowledge of life, whereas they have acquired only knowledge of petty intrigues, occasionally speak condescendingly of Schiller as an idealist and dreamer, and occasionally even dare to suggest that he possessed more sentimentality than talent. All this may be right in relation to some of the poets who are considered in our country to belong to the same trend as Schiller, but not in relation to Schiller himself. He himself describes the nature of his poetry in the Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man^^*^^,expounding his ideas on the essential significance of poetry in general.This work was written in 1795, in the period of the French wars on the outcome of which depended not only the political independence or subjection of Germany, but also the solution of questions concerning the internal life of the German peoples. In it Schiller sought to show that the way to the solution of social questions was through aesthetic activity. In his opinion, the moral rebirth of man was essential in order to change existing relations for the better: their organisation could be improved only when the human heart was ennobled. Aesthetic activity was to be the means for such a rebirth. It was to confer a noble and firm mood on intellectual life. The rigorous principles of spiritual nobility frighten people when they are expounded by strict science. Art instils in man imperceptibly concepts the value of which he refuses to appreciate when they appear to him without poetic attire. Poetry brings a better reality by its ideals: by instilling noble impulses in the youth, it prepares him for noble practical activity.

``Such is Schiller's poetry indeed. It is by no means sentimentalism, or the play of dreaming fantasy: the pathos of this poetry _-_-_

^^*^^ [Briefe \"uber die asthetische Erziehung des Menschen.

343 is its ardent sympathy for all that is noble and strong in man."^^*^^

Poetry is to be the means of people's moral rebirth. Poetic attire is necessary in order to instil in people concepts the value of which they would not be able to appreciate if they saw them without poetic attire. This is Chernyshevsky's main idea. He evaluates Schiller from this point of view. Schiller is dear to him as a man who strove for people's moral education by means of artistic works. The most interesting words in the passage quoted are "Poetry brings a better reality by its ideals''. Here the new concept of reality characteristic of the enlighteners is expressed with particular clarity. A better reality is created by an ideal. This view is diametrically opposed to the one that ideals influence reality only when they express the objective tendencies of its development. Poetry instils noble impulses in youths and thereby prepares them for noble activity. Criticism in its turn helps poetry to do this and thereby becomes what was sometimes called publicistic criticism in our country.

Everyone knows that the criticism of the sixties, the criticism of Dobrolyubov, for example, often developed into publicistics. Hence, in speaking of Chernyshevsky, we shall not so much [ present proofs of this thought as illustrations of it. In 1858 Chernyshevsky's article "The Russian at a Rendezvous. Reflections on Turgenev's Story Asya" appeared in the review section of the Athenaeum, No. 3. This article is one of the most brilliant examples of publicistic criticism. Very little, almost nothing, is said in the article about the story itself, which Chernyshevsky calls "practically the only good new story''. The author merely draws attention to the scene in which the hero of the story makes his declaration of love to Asya, and, in connection with this scene, he indulges in ``reflections''. The reader will recall, of course, that at the critical moment Turgenev's hero turned coward and went back on his word. It is this circumstance that caused Chernyshevsky to ``reflect''. He notes that indecision and cowardice are the distinctive features not only of this hero, but of most of the heroes of our best literary works. He recalls Rudin, Beltov, and the tutor of Nekrasov's = Sasha,^^118^^ and sees the same features in all of them. He does not blame the authors of the novels on this account since they were only recording what is encountered at every turn in real life. There is no manliness in Russian people, therefore the characters in the novels have none either. And Russian people have no manliness because they are not in the habit of taking part in public affairs. "When we go into society, we see around us people in uniforms and civilian morning or evening dress; these people are five and a half or six feet tall, and sometimes even more; they grow or shave the hair on their cheeks, above _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. Ill, p. 5.

344 their upper lip and on their chin; and we imagine we are looking at men. This is a total error, an optical illusion, an hallucination, nothing more. Without acquiring the habit of independent participation in civil affairs, without acquiring the feelings of a citizen, the male child grows up and becomes middle-aged, and then an elderly being of the masculine gender, but he does not become a man or, at any rate, not a man of noble character."^^*^^ Among humane, educated people, the absence of noble manliness strikes one still more than among ignorant people, because the humane, educated man likes to talk about important matters. He talks with enthusiasm and eloquence, but only until it becomes a matter of passing from words to deeds. "So long as there is no question of action, but merely the need to fill up empty hours, an empty mind, or an empty heart, with talk and dreams, the hero is very glib; but once it is a matter of expressing his feelings plainly and precisely,! the majority of the heroes immediately begin to waver and feel tongue-tied. A few, the most courageous, somehow contrive = to^^1^^ muster their forces and stammer something that provides a vague idea of their thoughts. But just attempt to take their wishes at face value and say to them: 'You want so-and-so; we're very glad; 'begin to do something about it and you'll have our support'---if such a remark is made one half of the very brave heroes faints, the other begins to reproach you gruffly for putting them in an awkward position; they begin to say that they did not expect such proposals from you, that they are quite at a loss and cannot think properly because it is not possible to do so at a moment's notice and, moreover, that they are honest people, and not only honest but very mild, and they do not want to cause you any unpleasantness, and that, in general, it is not possible, really, to trouble oneself about all that is said merely from having nothing to do, and that it is best not to undertake anything at all, because everything involves trouble and inconvenience, and at present no good can come of it, because, as already said, they never for a moment expected, or anticipated, and so on and so forth."^^**^^.

One can say that the portrait is painted with a master's hand. However, the master was not a literary critic, but a publicist. And the following ``reflections'' of our author on Turgenev's story also belong to a publicist. The event portrayed by-Turgenev makes him remember that everything depends entirely on the circumstances and that what we see as a person's guilt is in fact his misfortune, which requires help in eliminating the circumstances that gave rise to it. "What is needed is not punishment of the individual, but changing of the conditions of _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. I, pp. 97--98.

^^**^^ Ibid., pp. 90--91.

345 life for a whole estate.'' The hero of the story Asya is not only not a fool, but an intelligent man who has experienced and seen a great deal in life. If he, nevertheless, behaves very stupidly, this is the fault of two circumstances, one of which conditions the other: "He was not accustomed to understand anything great and vital, because his life was too petty and callous, all the relations and affairs to which he was accustomed were petty and callous. That is the first. The second is that he quails, retreats weakly before anything that demands bold decision and noble risk, again because life has accustomed him to dreary pettiness in all things."^^*^^ In order to change human character it is essential to change the conditions under the influence of which it is formed. This correct idea, which occupied such an important place in the teaching of the French Enlighteners of the eighteenth century, and later of the Utopian socialists of the nineteenth, logically invites the question: what will be the nature and the origin of the causes which are to change for the better the circumstances that determine human character? Marx answered this question by pointing to the economic development of society and in so doing produced a revolution in social science. Chernyshevsky who, like all Utopian socialists, does not usually concern himself with this question, nevertheless comes very close to it in the article "The Russian at a Rendezvous''. Indeed, if the vast majority of our ``humane'' and ``educated'' people are exactly like the hero of Turgenev's story; if they all behave stupidly and indecisively, because they are not capable of intelligent and decisive action, it would seem to follow that it is both pointless and improvident to summon them to such action: if one is to take an interest in them, the conditions on which their type of character depends must be changed for the better. Chernyshevsky himself feels that this is so; but he does not want to acknowledge that it cannot be otherwise. He says, "We still do not wish to say to ourselves: at the present time they are not capable of understanding their position; not. capable of acting sensibly and yet generously--- only their children and grandchildren, brought up with different concepts and habits, will be able to act like honest, sensible citizens ... no, we still want to assume that they are capable of understanding what is happening around them and to them...."^^**^^

What does this mean? Why does Chernyshevsky not want to acknowledge a conclusion the theoretical correctness of which he did not dispute? This also depended on the ``circumstances'', that is, on the combination of ``circumstances'' that characterised the years immediately preceding the abolition of serfdom in our country.

_-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 97.

^^**^^ Ibid., pp. 100--01.

346

In the hero of Asya Chernyshevsky saw a typical representative of the educated section of our nobility. He did not have, and indeed could not have had, any estate prejudice in favour of the nobility. "We do not have the honour of being his relatives,'' he says about the hero of Asya, alluding to his own lack of noble origin, "there has even existed animosity between our families, because his family despised all those dear to us."^^*^^ But he admits to having certain cultural prejudices in favour of the nobility; he thinks---"an empty dream, but one that we find irresistible'', he remarks---that the nobleman portrayed in Turgenev's story has performed some services to our society, that he is the representative of our enlightenment. Therefore Chernyshevsky still wishes "our hero and his confreres" well and wants to give them some good advice. A radical change in their historical position is being prepared, and what becomes of them will depend on their own will. "Your happiness or unhappiness for ever more depends on whether you will understand the demand of the age, whether you will be able to make use of the position in which you are now placed,'' says Ghernyshevsky, addressing himself to "these estimable people".^^**^^ As for the demands of the age, they consisted, to his mind, in making concessions to the peasantry. Chernyshevsky exhorts the ``estimable'' gentlemen with this quotation from the Gospel: "Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing" (Matt., ch. V, verses 25 and 26).^^***^^

It is self-evident that every theoretical conclusion concerning the capacity of a given social class or stratum for definite practical action always requires a certain degree of verification by experience, and that, consequently, it can be considered true a priori only within certain, more or less broad limits. Thus, for example, it was possible with absolute certainty to foretell that even the most educated section of the nobility would refuse to sacrifice their interests for the sake of the peasants. Such a prediction in no way required practical verification. But when It was necessary to determine to what extent the educated nobility were capable of making concessions to the peasantry in their own interests, then no one could say in advance with absolute certainty: they will not go in that direction beyond such-and-such a limit. Here it was always possible to assume that under certain circumstances the educated nobility would go a little further, _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 100.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 101.

^^***^^ Ibid., p. 102.

347 after arriving at a somewhat more correct understanding of its own interests. Being practical, as Chernyshevsky was in this case, he not only could but had to endeavour to persuade the nobility that certain concessions to the freed peasantsjwere required in its own interests. Thus, what might have seemed to constitute a contradiction in his article---the demand for a judicious and resolute step on the part of people whose incapacity for decision and wisdom is here admitted and explained as a necessary product of circumstances---was actually no contradiction at all. Such imaginary contradictions can also be found in the political practice of people who take their stand on the firm ground of the materialist explanation of history. However, here it is necessary to make a very essential reservation. When a materialist applies his theoretical conclusions in practice with a certain amount of caution, he can nevertheless guarantee that his conclusions contain a certain element of the most indisputable certainty. And this is because, when he says: "everything depends on circumstances'', he knows from what side one must expect the appearance of the new circumstances that will change the will of people in the direction he desires; he knows quite well that, in the final analysis, they are to be expected from the side of ``economics'', and that the truer his analysis of the socio-economic life of society, the more trustworthy his prediction concerning the future development of society. Not so with the idealist, who is convinced that "opinions rule the world''. If ``opinions'' are the basic cause of social movement, then the circumstances on which the further development of society depends are linked chiefly to the conscious activity of people, while the possibility of any practical influence on this activity is dependent on the greater or lesser ability of people to think logically and master the new truths discovered by philosophy or science. But this ability itself depends on circumstances. Thus, the idealist who recognises the materialist truth that the character and also, of course, the views of man depend on circumstances, finds himself in a vicious circle: views depend on circumstances, circumstances on views. The thought of the ``enlightener'' in theory has never broken out of this vicious circle. In practice the contradiction was usually solved by a strong appeal to all thinking people, irrespective of the circumstances under which such people were living and acting. What we are now saying may appear unnecessary and for that reason a boring digression. But in point of fact this digression was essential. It will help us to understand the nature of the publicistic criticism of the sixties.

Since the hopes of the ``enlightener'' are pinned on the intellect and good will of thinking people, i. e., in effect on the " enlighteners" themselves, it is obvious that critics desiring to support these people will demand from fiction above all an exact 348 depiction of social life with all its pros and cons, with its ``positive'' and ``negative'' phenomena. Only an exact portrayal of all aspects of life can furnish an ``enlightener'' with the factual data needed by him for passing judgment on that life. But this is not all. We know that the criticism of the sixties demanded from fiction a more attentive attitude to the ``negative'' than to the ``positive'' aspects of life. It supported its demand by the argument that ``negative'' phenomena predominate over ``positive'' ones in our social life. This argument was, of course, correct in itself. Yet it did not explain anything at all. ``Negative'' phenomena predominated over ``positive'' ones in our country in the seventies, as well as in the sixties; yet our Narodniks were no longer content with portrayal of the negative aspects of our social life and believed that artists should portray the positive aspects as well. At least this applied to artists who aimed at portraying the life of the people, the so-called Narodnik belle-lettrists. Many readers of the seventies preferred N. Zlatovratsky to N. Uspensky simply because, to their mind, Zlatovratsky gave considerable space in his works to what the Narodniks considered the pleasant phenomena in peasant life (to portrayal of the peasant's communal instincts), whereas N. Uspensky dwelt more on the distressing phenomena (on portrayal of the individualism developing in the peasantry). Therefore both the readers and the ``advanced'' critics of the seventies were, as we shall now see from a very striking example, unfair to our fiction of the preceding decade that concerned itself with the life of the people. They believed that this fiction not only did not respect the people, but actually despised it. This was not so. There was an obvious misunderstanding here. But this misunderstanding is extremely characteristic and we must reveal its psychological cause!

If the Narodniks of the seventies demanded that fiction portray the pleasant phenomena of peasant life, this, one might say, borrowing from the language of the Scriptures, was the fount of materialist wisdom. The Narodniks already realised---very vaguely, but nevertheless they did realise, or at least were beginning to do so---that the world was ruled only by those opinions which expressed the objective course of the development of this world. It is this that explains the Narodniks' intense interest in the ``pleasant'' phenomena of peasant life. They hoped to find in these phenomena an objective guarantee of the future victory of their ideals. And that is why they were distressed by N. Uspensky, who showed them that this objective guarantee was by no means as reliable as they would have liked to think. But the ``enlightener'' of the sixties did not look for any objective guarantees of the victory of his ideal: for him the power of truth, the abstract correctness of ``opinion'' was a perfectly adequate guarantee of this victory. And the more mercilessly the fiction of his day revealed the defects 349 of the life and character of the people, the more readily he applauded it, because he saw in it more indications of what was to be rectified by him, the ``enlightener''. This feature of " enlightened" psychology was reflected in criticism as well.

In 1861 a volume of N. V. Uspensky's stories was published which Chernyshevsky reviewed in the article "7s This Not the Beginning of a Change?" in the November issue of the Sovremennik for that year. He praised N. V. Uspensky's stories for the fact that they did not "embellish popular customs and concepts''. According to him, Turgenev and Grigorovich were guilty of such embellishment in their stories dealing with the life of the people. He compared the attitude of these two writers to the people with Gogol's attitude to Akaky = Akakiyevich.~^^119^^ Gogol does not mention his hero's defects, because he regards these defects as totally irremediable. "Akaky Akakiyevich was a silly idiot.... But to tell the whole truth about Akaky Akakiyevich is pointless and shameless.... He can do nothing for himself, so let us incline others in his favour.... But if we tell others everything about him that could be told, their sympathy for him will be weakened by knowledge of his defects. Let us keep silent about his defects."^^*^^ Grigorovich, Turgenev and all their followers had precisely the same attitude to the people. In their writings the people appeared in the form of an Akaky Akakiyevich whom one can only pity and whom it would be cruel to blame. They speak only of his misfortunes: "See how meek and mild he is, how silently he endures insults and suffering! How he denies himself everything to which man is entitled! What modest desires he has! What meagre resources would suffice to satisfy and hearten this downtrodden being, that looks at us with such reverence, that is so ready to swell with infinite gratitude to us for the slightest help, for the least attention, for a single kind word from us! Read the stories of peasant life by Mr. Grigorovich and Mr. Turgenev and all their imitators---they reek of Akaky Akakiyevich's'greatcoat'."^^**^^ All this was extremely noble. But it was of no use at all to the people. It was of use only to us who delighted in the awareness of our own goodness. In the person of N. V. Uspensky Ghernyshevsky welcomed the appearance of a new stratum of educated Russians whose attitude to the people was different from the sentimental and condescending attitude of the gentry. Chernyshevsky expected a great deal from this stratum, in general, and from the literature which it might create, in particular. This literature would regard the peasant as soberly as it did people of other rank and station. Chernyshevsky tries to persuade his readers that this is as it should be. "Let us forget,'' he says, "who belongs to _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. VIII, p. 342.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 342.

350 high society, who is a merchant or petty bourgeois, who a peasant, let us consider everyone as simply people and judge everyone in accordance with human psychology, not permitting ourselves to conceal the truth from ourselves for the sake of peasant rank."^^*^^ ,

Chernyshevsky admits that N. Uspensky "represented the Russian common man as a duffer" who finds it hard to put together two separate thoughts in his head. "But what peasant can surpass ours in speed of understanding?" he asks. "Everyone says the same thing about the German peasant, and the French peasant, the English peasant is perhaps rated even lower still. French peasants have earned a world-wide reputation for terrible sluggishness of mind. Italian peasants are famed for their total indifference to the Italian cause."^^**^^ But there is no need to talk about the peasants: for them, to quote Chernyshevsky, "it is natural to play a savage role in history'', for they have not yet "emerged from the historical period from which Homer's poems, the Edda and our bogatyr = songs^^120^^ have survived".^^***^^ The vast majority of people of all estates and all countries lives by routine and displays extreme slow-wittedness as soon as it moves out of its circle of customary ideas: "After any argument ask any of the arguers whether his opponents said intelligent things, and whether they were quick to understand and respond to his ideas. In only one case in a thousand a person will tell you that his opinions were challenged intelligently, sensibly. In the remaining cases, therefore, it is one of two things: either the people with whom the person questioned was arguing were really slow-witted, or he himself is slow-witted. And this dilemma embraces the whole thousand, with the exception of one case."^^****^^

Here we find the same view of the masses as stragglers in a field army, which we examined in detail in a preceding section. Real participation in the movement is taken only by the thinking minority---the intelligentsia, to use the modern term--- for whom it is essential to know all the defects characteristic of the masses, in order to remove these defects with time. Chernyshevsky was wrong in thinking that there was nothing arrogant in such an attitude to the masses. It undoubtedly contained its own very strong element of arrogance, which is, incidentally, quite inevitable for all those who adhere to the viewpoint of historical idealism.

_-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p 345.

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 356.

^^***^^ Ibid., p. 356. We offer these words for the enlightened attention of Mr. Ivanov-Razumnik, who considers Chernyshevsky one of the fathers of Russian Narodism.

^^****^^ Ibid., p. 356.

351

But, be that as it may, it is extremely interesting that one of the most eminent critics of the following decade, Mr. Skabichevsky whom we quoted above, disagreed fundamentally with Chernyshevsky in his appreciation of N. Uspensky's stories. Mr. Skabichevsky finds that they show the people in an incredibly ugly light. "The downtroddenness, obtuseness, and absence of ar.y human likeness in the heroes of N. Uspensky stupefies one,'' he says, "when one reads his sketches. One sees people who are guided in their lives by nothing but coarse, bestial sensuality, who aspire to nothing but making a kopeck or spending it in a tavern; and even in these aspirations they do something incredibly stupid at every step."^^*^^

This comment by Mr. Skabichevsky---like many, many other comments by him---is quite incorrect. N. Uspensky's works are not void of a certain exaggeration. This is true. But it is a long way from this to the view of the peasants ascribed to him by Mr. Skabichevsky. We would ask him, for example, whether the peasant mother portrayed by N. Uspensky in the story The Old Woman is really so stupid, coarse and animal-like.^^**^^ We would ask him whether the woman in the story Katerina is really " incredibly ugly".^^***^^ It is surprising that Mr. Skabichevsky did not notice some of the remarkable and truly excellent scenes in the long story Sasha.^^****^^ N. Uspensky does not hold the same place in our literature as Teniers and Ostade (according to P. V. Annenkov) in the history of Dutch painting, of course. Firstly, he was not their equal in talent, and, secondly, he had an entirely different attitude to the reality which he portrayed. He was a typical representative of the age of the sixties, who concerned himself with portraying the life of the people. He certainly did not aim at ridiculing the Russian peasant in his works. That he felt a strong sympathy for him in his own way can easily be seen by anyone who takes the trouble to read his works carefully. But he sympathised with the people in his own way, i.e., asan" enlightener'', i.e., as a man who felt no need to idealise the backward masses. If he saw ugly features in the peasant character, he conveyed them in his picture without any hesitation, ascribing them to the ``circumstances'' of which Chernyshevsky so often speaks. "It is obvious,'' he says in his Notes of a Country Farmer, "that the peasant, brought up in slavery, could not suddenly become free in the true meaning of the word; as soon as the mist and fumes of serfdom had dispersed, we saw our peasant disfigured ... the peasant is poor as before---and he will need a long, long time to recover after the collapse of serfdom.... And how is he to _-_-_

^^*^^ Skabichevsky, op. cit., p. 227.

^^**^^ N. V. Uspensky, Works, Moscow, 1881, Vol. I.

^^***^^ Ibid., Vol. II.

^^****^^ Ibid.. Vol. I, pp. 417, 512.

352 recover? Starting from scratch is a very tricky business."^^*^^ To express such an opinion is by no means to mock the people. But this opinion could not be acceptable to the Narodnik---or the " subjectivist'', who was tainted with all the prejudices of the Narodniks---who was firmly convinced that the peasant was starting not "from scratch'', but from the commune which was waiting only for a beneficial stimulus from the people-loving intelligentsia to begin developing rapidly in the direction of the socialist ideal. N. Uspensky, however, would express himself even more emphatically. For example, he wrote: "Nothing is to be expected from the present-day peasants who not so long ago were the victims of serfdom: they will not be resurrected!... It is unlikely that medicine will ever cure atrophy, because the disease is based on organic damage...."^^**^^ It was very difficult for the "people of the seventies" to agree with this. It was chiefly this that gave rise to the unfavourable attitude of the critics of that period towards N. V. Uspensky.

The reader will perhaps ask: but was it easy for Chernyshevsky himself to agree with N. V. Uspensky's completely hopeless view of "the present-day peasants'', since Ghernyshevsky evidently considered possible at that time a broad movement of the people who were dissatisfied with the conditions of the abolition of serfdom. To this we reply that, obviously, this would not have been easy for him if he had considered himself bound to agree unconditionally with N. V. Uspensky. But that is precisely the point---he did not agree unconditionally with him. He considered N. V. Uspensky's essays quite truthful; but he did not draw a hopeless conclusion from them. He said: "Routine dominates the ordinary course of life of common people; and among the plain folk, as in all other estates, the routine is just as dull and banal as in all other estates. Mr. Uspensky's merit is that he had the courage to depict for us, without concealment or adornment, the routine thoughts and actions, feelings and customs of plain people. The picture is not at all attractive: at every step nonsense and dirt, pettiness and dullness.

``But do not be in a hurry to draw conclusions from this regarding the validity or non-validity of your hopes, if you wish to alleviate the lot of the people; or of your misgivings^ if you have so far been concerned about the dullness and inertia of the people. Take the commonest, most colourless, weak-willed, shallow person: no matter how drab and petty the life he leads, it has in it moments of a totally different shade, moments of energetic efforts, courageous decisions. The same is also encountered in the history of every nation."^^***^^

_-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. II, p. 201.

^^**^^ Ibid., Vol. II, p. 202.

^^***^^ N. G. Chornyshevsky, Works, Vol. VIII, p. 357,

353

The circumstances, on which everything depends in the last resort, may take such a turn that even an apathetic mass will become capable of vigorous effort and courageous decision. While waiting for the moment when the circumstances take a favourable turn, one must study the backward masses attentively. The initiative in taking courageous decisions will never come from the mass of the populace; but one has to know the character of the people making up this mass "in order to know in what way initiative may stimulate them".^^*^^ And the more accurately fiction represents the character of the mass of the people, the more it will facilitate the task of those who, under favourable circumstances, will have to take the initiative in making great decisions.

We shall now ask the reader to recall that in one of the theses of his dissertation Ghernyshevsky, emphasising the portrayal of life as the chief characteristic of art, adds: "works of art often have another significance---they explain life; often they also provide a verdict on the phenomena of life''. What we have quoted, if only from one article "Is This Not the Beginning of a Change?'', shows clearly to what extent literary criticism in the person of Chernyshevsky was inclined to value the portrayal of life chiefly as material for interpreting it and judging it (for passing a verdict on the phenomena of life). The same tendency of Chernyshevsky's manifests itself definitely in all his other literary articles. Here is what he says, for example, in a review of a collection of poetry by A. N. Pleshcheyev (Sovremennik, 1861, No. 3).^^121^^

He recalls with displeasure the time when our critics treated Pleshcheyev with scorn and even ill-will. "It seems monstrous now,'' he says. "Surely the noble sentiments and noble ideas which breathed from every page of Mr. Pleshcheyev's booklet were not so commonplace in the Russian poetry of the time as to be dismissed with scorn. When, indeed, is such a thing possible and permissible?" According to him, Pleshcheyev had no great poetic talent, and his aspirations and hopes were quite vague. But he did possess great sincerity, and as for expressing his hopes with greater precision, he could not do so for reasons beyond his control. Finally, none of us are so highly and impeccably developed that we can dismiss asuseless a sincere voice defending, albeit in general outline, the better side of human nature. "There are many quite ordinary ideas and inherently human feelings,'' our author concludes, "which nevertheless have to be constantly mentioned so that they are not forgotten. This is necessary everywhere, to say nothing of our undeveloped society. Poets of such a noble and pure trend as that of Mr. Pleshcheyev will always be useful for social education and will find a way to young hearts. It would be hard _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 346.

23--0267

354 to find a better application of the poetic qualities which he possesses."^^*^^

Poetry should educate people for a better future, it should arouse in them energy and faith in their own powers. This was Chernyshevsky's view. It is, therefore, not surprising that, as he himself says, he reread with special pleasure in Pleshcheyev's booklet the splendid hymn which begins with the famous words:

Forward, my friends, to lofty exploits
Unfearing and with heads held high!
The dawn of holiest redemption
I've seen already in the sky!

Such poetry could not fail to appeal to the ``enlighteners''. As we know, their liking for it evoked the ridicule of those who considered themselves to be connoisseurs of artistic works. We would appear to be entering again an age of disdain for the feelings which are expressed, inter alia, in Pleshcheyev's hymn.

We do not consider it superfluous, therefore, to say a few words in connection with the accusations made by the supporters of pure art against the ``enlightenment'' tendencies in our literary criticism. The supporters of pure art maintained---and, it appears, are not averse to repeating today---that our ``enlighteners'' neglected man's spiritual interests and put the interests of the stomach before all else. This, as we have already said elsewhere, is simply an absurd untruth. The ``enlighteners'' thought that art, by promoting the dissemination of rational ideas in society, would be primarily of intellectual benefit to mankind. And it was this benefit that they valued above all. Material benefit was in their eyes the simple result of people's intellectual development: as we know, it is not so easy for a pike to swallow a carp when the carp is not ``dozing''. In order to hasten the time of the carps' awakening, the ``enlighteners'' were ready to make any self-sacrifice, yet they were accused of valuing only "kitchen pots''. This absurd untruth could have been expressed only by people who felt a more or less vague fear that the contents'of their own kitchen pots would not be so tasty and abundant when the awakened carps began to take their own measures against the exploits of the pikes. This was so in Chernyshevsky's time; and^it remains the case today. The people who ridicule civic themes in poetry today are usually---we do not say always; there are exceptions produced by mere thoughtlessness---clothing the most vulgar exploitatory urges in ``superhuman'' attire.

In saying this, we certainly do not wish, however, to deny that the principles underlying the literary criticism of the sixties and elaborated primarily by Chemyshevsky could, if taken to the _-_-_

^^*^^ Ibid., p. 121.

355 extreme, lead to very one-sided conclusions. The criticism of the sixties often reached such conclusions in the person of D. I. Pisarev. But, firstly, one should not hold Chemyshevsky responsible for Pisarev; and, secondly, even Pisarev was very far from the pure rubbish which was ascribed to him frequently by his " aesthetic" opponents.

Concluding the first of his two articles entitled "Pushkin and Belinsky'', which caused such a stir, Pisarev said: "While disagreeing with Belinsky in his assessment of individual facts and noting in him an unwarranted credulity and excessively strong impressionability, we are nevertheless far closer than our opponents to his basic ideas."^^*^^

. At the beginning of the second of these articles he repeated: "The criticism of Belinsky, the criticism of Dobrolyubov and the criticism of the Russkoye Slovo represent the development of one and the same idea which is increasingly being cleansed each year of all extraneous admixtures."^^**^^

Which of Belinsky's "basic ideas" and which "extraneous admixtures" did he have in mind here? In order to answer this, it is necessary to provide a small piece of historical information.

In his article on Derzhavin Belinsky said: "The task of true aesthetics is not to decide what art should be, but to define what it is. In other words: aesthetics should not discuss art as something presupposed, as a kind of ideal which can be realised only in accordance with its theory. No, it should examine art as a subject which existed long before it and to the existence of which it owes its own existence.'' This was a truly brilliant idea, quite worthy of a person who had been brought up on Hegelian dialectics. However, an idea is one thing, and its realisation is quite another. To solve the task which Belinsky assigned to aesthetics, it was necessary to analyse thoroughly the connection between art and social life and to explain the latter from a scientific, i.e., a materialist point of view. And Hegel himself could not do this. After ironically taking leave of the Hegelian cap, Belinsky began to depart in his literary judgments from the golden rule expressed by him in his article on Derzhavin; he began occasionally to discuss not so much what art is as what it should be. In short: he began to talk like an ``enlightener'' sometimes. And in this respect Chemyshevsky was the most brilliant continuer of his cause. As an ``enlightener'' Chemyshevsky was interested far less in the theory of art than in the practical conclusions that could be drawn from this theory. But Feuerbach's philosophy, to his mind, made it possible to reconcile practice with theory; to place practical considerations as to what art should be on the _-_-_

^^*^^ D. I. Pisajev, Works, Vol. V, p. 63. .

^^**^^ Ibid., p. 66.

__PRINTERS_P_355_COMMENT__ 23* 356 firm foundation of a theory which revealed its true essence. The practical task of aesthetics is to rehabilitate reality. This proposition, which was substantiated by Chernyshevsky with the help of Feuerbach's philosophy, guided him in all his critical assessments. This proposition in itself---i.e., if one ignores the purely theoretical task which Belinsky had once assigned to aesthetics--- contains absolutely nothing erroneous. But having once accepted this proposition, one might, without sinning against logic, ask oneself: is it aesthetics, i.e., the science of the beautiful, that is necessary for the rehabilitation of reality? Could not the same aim be attained with the help of other sciences, natural science, for example? And is aesthetics possible as a science?

It was to these questions that D. I. Pisarev devoted himself. And, as we know, he did not solve them in favour of aesthetics. He announced that the existence of aesthetics as a science was impossible and that if Chernyshevsky had devoted his dissertation to aesthetics, he had done so "only in order to destroy it radically and sober up once and for all those people who are taken in by philosophising and parasitic philistinism".^^*^^

Against the possibility of aesthetics as a science Pisarev advanced the following argument, which he regarded as indisputable. "Aesthetics, or the science of the beautiful, has the rational right to exist only if the beautiful has an independent significance, irrespective of the endless diversity of personal tastes. If, however, the beautiful is only that which pleases us, and if, consequently, all the different concepts of beauty are equally legitimate, then aesthetics dissolves into ashes. Each person develops his own aesthetics, and, consequently, a general aesthetics which reduces personal tastes to a compulsory unity becomes impossible. The author of 'The Aesthetic Relation' leads his readers to presely this conclusion, although he does not express it quite openly."^^**^^ This argument really would seem indisputable to an idealist. If art by its works merely reminds us of what interests us in life; if a person regards as beautiful that in which he sees life as he understands it, the conclusion that the concept of the beautiful depends in the final analysis only on personal tastes, the endless variety of which makes it impossible to examine them from a scientific point of view, i.e., from the viewpoint of the logic of their development, seems perfectly legitimate to the idealist. Pisarev, who was arguing in this instance as a pureblooded idealist, overlooked the fact that Chernyshevsky had set himself the aim of applying the materialist philosophy of Feuerbach to aesthetics. And for the materialist, insofar as he remains a materialist and does not make any concessions to _-_-_

^^*^^ D. I. Pisarev, Works, St. Petersburg, 1894, Vol. IV, p. 499.

^^**^^ Ibid., same page.

357 idealism in his views, ``opinion'' is not the most profound cause of the changes that take place in social life. Change and diversity of ``opinions'' are themselves determined by certain changes in it. And this makes it possible to examine the development of opinions from the viewpoint of logic also. For all the diversity of human opinions in general, it would be wrong to say that each person has his own special world outlook and his own distinctive views of all social phenomena. No, at any given time the people of a given class have---within certain limits---the same world outlook and, again within certain limits, the same view of social phenomena. And if even within a given class at a given period there is a dissimilarity of opinions, if within this class one finds different shades of a world outlook or the struggle of an old world outlook with a new one, this fact, by no means rare in history, does not prevent us from regarding the development of opinions from the viewpoint of science, i.e., logic, i.e., necessity. People's consciousness is determined by their being, and their opinions are determined by their social relations. Recognising, as a follower of materialist philosophy, the causal dependence of consciousness on being, Chernyshevsky argues in his dissertation that the idea of the ''good life'', the idea of life as it should be, which forms the basis of the concept of the beautiful, changes in accordance with people's class position in society. In so doing he not only does not destroy aesthetics as a science, but, quite the reverse, puts it on a firm materialist footing and outlines in general, at least, where one must look for a solution of the task that Belinsky assigned people interested in the theory of aesthetics. True, Chernyshevsky outlined the solution of this task only in a most general way and did not return to it again in his literary criticism, being engaged in a struggle with "fantastic dreams" on behalf of ``reality''. In his literary criticism he was an ``enlightener'' to the very core or, as Pisarev put it, referring to the French ``Enlighteners'' of the eighteenth century, a populariser of negative doctrines. Here too, as in his historical arguments, he abandoned materialism in favour of the idealist point of view. Pisarev, who wished to defend and develop his views further, saw in him the ``enlightener'' only, i.e., the idealist only. And therefore he could not see in his dissertation anything but the destruction of aesthetics. He did not suspect, and could not have done so, that Chernyshevsky's view of the aesthetic relation of art to reality contained a materialist aspect, which supports the possibility of aesthetics as a science. If anyone had pointed this out to him, he would probably have said, with a contemptuous shrug of the shoulders, that in this case Chernyshevsky had not yet managed to get rid of the shell of Hegelianism, just as Belinsky did not in his time either.^^*^^

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^^*^^ See the article "Pushkin and Belinsky'', Works, Vol. V, pp. 78--79.

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Pisarev undoubtedly developed the views of both Chernyshevsky and Belinsky further; but he developed the aspect of them that was most guilty of idealism. Here is an example.

We already know that in his views on the life of society Chernyshevsky readily adopted the standpoint of human nature. But since human nature explains nothing in social phenomena, Chernyshevsky, who held a materialist view of human nature, was usually compelled to move onto idealist ground and argue according to the principle that "opinion rules the world''. And when he argued in accordance with this idealist principle, he no longer remembered that the consciousness of social man is determined by his being, and he found it necessary to insist that all people were totally alike in their nature. In his article on the works of N. V. Uspensky he quotes a scene in which Uspensky makes the serf girl Alyona Gerasimovna carry on the following conversation with the clerk Semyon Petrovich:

``'Well, that's inside people, Semyon Petrovich?.

``'Different things. It depends what they eat: one man eats chaff, so there is chaff inside him. They say there was once a shoemaker who had a leather sole with chips of kindling wood inside him when they opened him up.'

``'What a dreadful thing! Tell me, please, do civilians and soldiers have the same things inside them?'

``'Well, on that point, Alyona Gerasimovna, I will give you a full report. First, it must be said nothing is the same.'

``The clerk sat down by the girl and began his explanation."^^*^^

Chernyshevsky for his part argues in the same article that "people have the same things inside them'', and, as we have already seen, invites his readers to forget who belongs to high society, who is a merchant and who a peasant, and to judge everyone in accordance with human psychology.

Pisarev takes up this invitation willingly, but draws the following conclusion from it:

``Instead of preaching with the voice of one crying in the wilderness about questions of popular spirit and civic life, on which belles lettres, possessing great tact, keep quiet, our criticism would do very well to pay a little more attention to questions common to all mankind, questions of personal morality and everyday relationships. The elucidation of these questions is » matter of necessity to everyone; these questions have been obscured and confused by a lot of old rubbish, which it would do no harm to push aside, so that each and every one might look at God's world and at good people with unprejudiced eyes."^^**^^

This is pure ``Pisarevism'', the distinguishing feature of which is that questions of "personal morality" are of incomparably _-_-_

^^*^^ Works, Vol. VIII, p. 34G.

^^**^^ D. I. Pisarev, Works, Vol. I, p. 347.

359 greater interest to it than those of "civic life''. ``Pisarevism'' is sometimes regarded as an intellectual trend which has nothing whatever in common with the trend of Chernyshevsky and Dobrolyubov. This is a great mistake.^^*^^ In fact it is no more than a series of perfectly correct, although very extreme conclusions from certain incorrect premises which Chernyshevsky advanced in cases when he was betrayed by his insufficiently elaborated materialism---or, if you like, when he betrayed this materialism--- and adopted an idealist viewpoint without realising it. Pisarev possessed tremendous literary talent. But for all the enjoyment that the unprejudiced reader derives from the literary brilliance of Pisarev's articles, it must be admitted that ``Pisarevism'' was a sort of reductio ad absurdum of the idealism of our ``enlighteners''.

This is best seen from his attitude to the question of how the poet differs from the thinker.

Belinsky said: "Every poetic work is the fruit of a powerful idea that dominates the poet. If we were to assume that this idea is merely the result of the activity of his intellect, we would thereby destroy not only art, but the very possibility of art. Indeed, who would not be able to become a poet through need, advantage or caprice, if all one had to do was think up an idea and squeeze it into a thought-up form? No, this is not how poets by nature and calling work! The work of a man who is not a poet by nature---although the idea thought up by him may be profound, true, even sacred---will be trivial, false, artificial, ugly, dead, and will not convince anyone, but rather disappoint everybody in the idea expressed by it, however true that idea may be! Yet this is how the masses understand art, and this is what they demand of poets! Think up a nice idea for them in your spare time, then set it in a flight of imagination, like a diamond in sold. And that's that!"

_-_-_

^^*^^ As usual, the record for expressing erroneous views on the history pf our thought belongs to our historian of modern Russian literature Mr. Skabichevsky. He represents ``Pisarevism'' as sensualism, very similar to the sensualism of the eighteenth century. "Just as in France in the Regency period the Versailles dandies, the marquises and viscounts strutted around parading their new ideas,avidly reading Voltaire and the Encyclopaedists and finding in their works a complete justification of their own frivolous behaviour which led them to extreme ruin, and later to the guillotine---we also see something similar in our country in the sixties, with the difference that Voltaire has been replaced by Feuerbach and Buchner, and the Encyclopaedists by Buckle, Lewes, Vogt, Moleschott, and so on. In precisely the same way, many sons of the gentry declared themselves to be new people and expressed their newness in quotations from favourite authors, the ostentatious rejection of the so-called 'authorities', contempt for the customs and decencies of high society, and total indulgence in all manner of lust and caprice.'' (Op. cit., p. 88.) It goes without saying that the former inveterate critic of Otechestvenniye Zapiski has not the faintest idea how close Chernyshevsky's materialist philosophy was to "the sensualism of the eighteenth century''. But it is pointless to argue with him. We draw attention to his mistake merely to show how the history of our literature should not be written.

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This argument is merely a new version of his main theme which says quite rightly that the artist thinks in images and not in syllogisms. But Pisarev, who maintains that he is merely developing Belinsky's basic ideas further, sees in this distinction between the poet and the thinker only "a very rich tribute to the aesthetic mysticism that draws a sharp dividing line between poets and ordinary mortals".^^*^^ He finds Belinsky deeply tainted with aesthetic mysticism which, according to him, even Dobrolyubov did notescape entirely. But he thinks that one touch of sober criticism would be enough to disperse this "mystical haze''. It follows from his reasoning that any intelligent person who takes the trouble to acquire a certain technical proficiency, can become a poet, as he can become a critic or "a master of belles lettres in general''. He actually says this: "Any man to whom intelligent ideas occur, who can retain and elaborate these ideas in his head, and who by means of exercise has become a master of belles lettres---any such man, I say, can, if he so wishes, become a poet, that is, create works that will affect readers in exactly the same way as works created by real, licensed poets."^^**^^ That this is not so, that not every intelligent person can become a poet, is self-evident and does not require any proof. But why, in expressing this mistaken idea, did Pisarev think that he was merely developing Belinsky's "basic idea" further? Because Belinsky himself sometimes regarded art from the abstract viewpoint of the ``enlightener''. He said, for example, that "Shakespeare conveys everything through poetry, but what he conveys by no means belongs to poetry alone''. This gave grounds for thinking that there is a kind of special sphere which belongs exclusively to poetry and can be contrasted with other spheres which do not belong to poetry but may be "conveyed through poetry''. This is precisely what Pisarev thought, when he assured his readers that any intelligent person could become a poet. He evidently meant that although not every intelligent person could become a master in the sphere of poetry as such, this did not matter because, having made himself a master of belles lettres, an intelligent person was capable of "conveying through poetry" a great deal. If in so doing he does not display any great power in the sphere of poetry as such, the only people who may reproach him for this are philistines brought up on the old aesthetic concepts or ``semi-aestheticians'' such as Belinsky who have not^yet cast off the "shell of Hegelianism''. In developing and arguing this idea with his customary ardour and talent, Pisarev had apparent grounds for thinking that he was being perfectly loyal to Belinsky's criticism. In fact, however, we repeat, he was loyal only to the weak aspects of this criticism, only to those of its shortcomings _-_-_

^^*^^ D. I. Pisarev, Works, Vol. V, p. 75.

^^**^^ D. I. Pisarev, Works, Vol. V, p. 78.

361 which were the result of the insufficient elaboration of certain of its propositions. Thus, the logical error made by Belinsky in his analysis of the theory of pure art gave birth to what Pisarev saw as the last word in the doctrine of negation.

If Belinsky had not betrayed his own theory in the heat of polemic; if he had remembered that the content of poetry is the same as the content of philosophy, and that the only difference between the poet and the thinker is that one thinks in images and the other in syllogisms, he would have seen the whole question of the theory of "pure art" in a completely different light. He would then have said that there is no special sphere of poetry; that poetry is always a reflection of social life, and that poetry that wishes to remain ``pure'' reflects only the social indifferentism of the social stratum which has created it. And if he had gone further and tried to find out what produces this indifferentism, he would have seen that at different historical periods it is produced by extremely diverse and even directly opposed causes, but that they are all rooted in social relations and have nothing whatever to do with the essence of art, or with its ``laws'' and techniques. In order to elucidate all this Belinsky would have had to apply materialist dialectics consistently to the study of the aesthetic development of mankind. But in the conditions obtaining in Russia at that time he could not do this, in spite of all his genius. Therefore, we find only elements of the materialist view of art in his writings. Unable to develop these materialist elements properly, in his dispute with the champions of pure art he made use willy-nilly of a weapon which is usually to be found in the arsenal of the ``enlighteners''. But the only arguments usually found in their arsenal are purely idealist ones. And it was these idealist arguments, whose main crime was their abstractness, that formed the basis of Pisarev's arguments which, when taken to their logical conclusion, ``destroyed'' aesthetics. We have said above that one must not hold Chernyshevsky responsible for Pisarev. And we repeat this now with respect to Belinsky: he too must not be blamed for the amendments that Pisarev made to his literary views. But we shall go even further and say that Pisarev himself was not to blame if he sometimes went to the point of absurdity (we say ``sometimes'', for he too did not always ``destroy'' aesthetics); the blame for this lies in the inconsistency of the idealist view of art, which does indeed lead either to the "mystical haze" of the theoreticians of "pure art" or to the conclusions of the ``enlighteners'' that are more or less " destructive" for aesthetics. One word more. Precisely because Pisarev carried certain idealist premises of our ``enlighteners'' of the sixties to the point of absurdity, he was the father of our notorious " subjective" method. In the article "The Process of Life" written in connection with Karl Vogt's Physiologische Briefe, he said:

"The natural sciences are not the same as history, not at all the 362 same, although Buckle seeks to reduce them to a common denominator. In history it is entirely a question of the views, the humane personality of the writer himself; in the natural sciences it is entirely a question of facts__History is the interpretation of an event from the personal viewpoint of the author; any political party can have its own history of the world and does in fact have it, although, of course, not all these histories are recorded, just as every philosophical school has its own philosophical vocabulary. History is and always will be the theoretical justification of certain practical convictions which have been formed in the course of life and which have their own positive significance in the present. This cannot be said of the natural sciences, of course; nature does not care what you think about it; if you are wrong it will bruise or crush you, like the wheel of a huge machine which you have approached too closely while it was working at full speed."^^*^^

Substitute the word ``sociology'' for the word ``history'' in this passage and you have a theoretical substantiation of the notorious ``subjective'' method. In contrasting history with natural science Pisarev repeated the same theoretical error that led him to the "destruction of aesthetics''. He overlooked the fact that consciousness is determined by being and that if history is and always will be the theoretical justification of certain practical convictions, practical convictions do not appear out of thin air, but are conditioned by certain social relations, the development of which is as natural as the development of animal and plant species. This theoretical error has provided the basis for all the alleged sociological wisdom of our subjectivists led by N. Mikhailovsky. Mr. Skabichevsky, as is his custom, did not notice this and therefore, while condemning Pisarev's ``destructive'' exploits in the sphere of aesthetics, he enthusiastically welcomed Mikhailovsky's " subjective" discoveries. "His articles on Spencer, Darwin and sociology in] general,'' he says, "are not only of publicistic importance, but are a great contribution to science, and if they were to be translated into a foreign language they would quickly bring their author European fame."^^**^^

Some of Mikhailovsky's sociological articles have now been translated into French and, if we are not mistaken, also into German. Presumably, however, they will not bring him European- fame. But it is very possible that they will earn praise from this or that European thinker who is going "back to Kant!" out of hatred for Marxism. Contrary to the opinion of our latest historian of literature, there can be nothing flattering in this praise. But most worthy of note is the irony of history which makes a theoretical _-_-_

^^*^^ [D. I. Pisarev, Works, = Vol, I], p. 311.

^^**^^ Op. cit., p. 120.

363 weapon of reaction out of what was an innocent theoretical mistake in a more or less progressive utopianism.

In conclusion we consider it necessary to make the following, most important, to our mind, reservation.

If the "people of the sixties" regarded fiction through the eyes of ``enlighteners'', i.e., demanded from it primarily "verdicts on the phenomena of life'', this does not mean that they lacked artistic feeling. This cannot be said, at least, of their most outstanding and most brilliant representatives, Chernyshevsky, Dobrolyubov and Pisarev. In the works of each of them---and occasionally precisely where they go furthest in their rationality---one can find the most indisputable proof of the refinement of their literary taste. Let us take Pisarev as an example. In the very article in which he reaches, one might say, Herculean pillars of rationality, he makes the following comment in passing: "The Reef, a novel which is below all critici