41 Facts About Alexander Herzen


Yakovlev supposedly gave his son the surname Alexander Herzen because he was a "child of his heart".


Alexander Herzen was first cousin to Count Sergei Lvovich Levitsky, considered the patriarch of Russian photography and one of Europe's most important early photographic pioneers, inventors and innovators.


Alexander Herzen was born in Moscow, shortly before Napoleon's invasion of Russia and brief occupation of the city.


Alexander Herzen was found guilty, and in 1835 banished to Vyatka, now Kirov, in north-eastern European Russia.


Alexander Herzen remained there until 1837, when the tsar's son, Grand Duke Alexander, accompanied by the poet Zhukovsky, visited the city and intervened on his behalf.


Alexander Herzen was allowed to leave Vyatka for Vladimir, where he was appointed editor of the city's official gazette.


In 1847, Alexander Herzen emigrated with his wife, mother and children, to Italy never to return to Russia.

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Alexander Herzen supported the revolutions of 1848, but was bitterly disillusioned with European socialist movements after their failure.


Alexander Herzen's wife carried on an affair with the German poet Georg Herwegh and died from tuberculosis in 1852.


That same year, Alexander Herzen left Geneva for London, where he settled for many years.


Alexander Herzen hired Malwida von Meysenbug to educate his daughters.


Soon Alexander Herzen began an affair with Ogarev's wife Natalia Tuchkova, daughter of the war hero general Tuchkov.


Alexander Herzen spent time in London organising with the International Workingmen's Association, becoming well acquainted with revolutionary circles including the likes of Bakunin and Marx.


In 1864, Alexander Herzen returned to Geneva and, after some time, went to Paris where he died in 1870 of tuberculosis complications.


Alexander Herzen promoted the ideas of Westernizer Vissarion Belinsky after his death in 1848.


Alexander Herzen was influenced by Voltaire, Schiller, Saint-Simon, Proudhon, and especially Hegel and Feuerbach.


Alexander Herzen left Russia permanently in 1847, but his newsletter Kolokol published in London from 1857 to 1867, was widely read.


Alexander Herzen combined key ideas of the French Revolution and German idealism.


Alexander Herzen disliked bourgeois or middle-class values, and sought authenticity among the peasantry.


Alexander Herzen fought for the emancipation of the Russian serfs, and after that took place in 1861 he escalated his demands regarding constitutional rights, common ownership of land, and government by the people.


Alexander Herzen was disillusioned with the Revolutions of 1848 but not disillusioned with revolutionary thought.


Alexander Herzen became critical of those 1848 revolutionaries who were "so revolted by the Reaction after 1848, so exasperated by everything European, that they hastened on to Kansas or California".


Alexander Herzen had always admired the French Revolution and broadly adopted its values.


Essentially, Alexander Herzen fought against the ruling elites in Europe, against Christian hypocrisy and for individual freedom and self-expression.


Alexander Herzen promoted both socialism and individualism and argued that the full flowering of the individual could best be realized in a socialist order.

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The year 1855 gave Herzen reason to be optimistic; Alexander II had ascended the throne and reforms seemed possible.


Alexander Herzen urged the Tsarist regime 'Onward, onward' towards reform in The Polar Star in 1856.


Yet by 1858, full serf emancipation had not been achieved and Alexander Herzen grew impatient with reform.


Alexander Herzen II granted serfs their freedom, the law courts were remodelled, trial by jury was established, and liberty was, to a great extent, conceded to the press.


Alexander Herzen drew criticism from both liberals who opposed violence and from radicals who thought Alexander Herzen was too soft.


Alexander Herzen feared a new revolutionary government would merely replace the dictatorship with another dictatorship.


Alexander Herzen briefly joined with other Russian liberals such as Kavelin to promote the peasant 'awakening' in Russia.


Alexander Herzen continued to use The Bell as an outlet to promote unity with all sections of the Russian society behind a demand for a national parliament.


Alexander Herzen opposed the aristocracy that ruled 19th century Russia and supported an agrarian collectivist model of social structure.


Alongside populism, Alexander Herzen is remembered for his rejection of corrupt government of any political persuasion and for his support for individual rights.


Alexander Herzen came to believe the complex questions of society could not be answered and that Russians must live for the moment and not a cause, essentially life is an end in itself.


Alexander Herzen found greater understanding by not committing himself to an extreme but rather lived impartially enabling him to equally criticise competing ideologies.


Alexander Herzen believed that grand doctrines ultimately result in enslavement, sacrifice and tyranny.


Alexander Herzen was a hero of the 20th-century philosopher Isaiah Berlin.


Berlin, like Alexander Herzen, believed that "the end of life is life itself" and that each life and each age should be regarded as its own end and not as a means to some future goal.


Alexander Herzen is the lead character in Tom Stoppard's 2002 trilogy of plays The Coast of Utopia.