Alexander Herzen

Kathleen Parthé (University of Rochester)
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Alexander Herzen [Aleksandr Gertsen or Gercen] was a Russian writer, political philosopher and investigative journalist, credited by both the Bolsheviks and their liberal opponents with advancing the cause of freedom in Russia. His best-known work,

Past and Thoughts

[Byloe i dumy], continues to be the most influential memoir from Russia’s remarkable nineteenth-century, and has been compared to the great novels of Russia’s “Golden Age”.

Herzen was born on April 6, 1812, the illegitimate son of Ivan Yakovlev, a well-connected Russian nobleman and retired guards officer, and Luiza Haag, a young German woman whom Yakovlev had met on an extended journey abroad. The boy was given the same made-up surname used a decade earlier for an illegitimate son from another of Yakovlev’s liaisons.

2855 words

Citation: Parthé, Kathleen. "Alexander Herzen". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 June 2019 [, accessed 22 February 2024.]

2113 Alexander Herzen 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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