What Is to Be Done?

What Is to Be Done No work in modern literature with the possible exception of Uncle Tom s Cabin can compete with What Is to Be Done in its effect on human lives and its power to make history For Chernyshevsky s novel

  • Title: What Is to Be Done?
  • Author: Nikolai Chernyshevsky Michael R. Katz
  • ISBN: 9780801495472
  • Page: 429
  • Format: Paperback
  • No work in modern literature, with the possible exception of Uncle Tom s Cabin, can compete with What Is to Be Done in its effect on human lives and its power to make history For Chernyshevsky s novel, far than Marx s Capital, supplied the emotional dynamic that eventually went to make the Russian Revolution Joseph Frank, The Southern ReviewAlmost from the momen No work in modern literature, with the possible exception of Uncle Tom s Cabin, can compete with What Is to Be Done in its effect on human lives and its power to make history For Chernyshevsky s novel, far than Marx s Capital, supplied the emotional dynamic that eventually went to make the Russian Revolution Joseph Frank, The Southern ReviewAlmost from the moment of its publication in 1863, Nikolai Chernyshevsky s novel, What Is to Be Done , had a profound impact on the course of Russian literature and politics The idealized image it offered of dedicated and self sacrificing intellectuals transforming society by means of scientific knowledge served as a model of inspiration for Russia s revolutionary intelligentsia On the one hand, the novel s condemnation of moderate reform helped to bring about the irrevocable break between radical intellectuals and liberal reformers on the other, Chernyshevsky s socialist vision polarized conservatives opposition to institutional reform Lenin himself called Chernyshevsky the greatest and most talented representative of socialism before Marx and the controversy surrounding What Is to Be Done exacerbated the conflicts that eventually led to the Russian Revolution.Michael R Katz s readable and compelling translation is now the definitive unabridged English language version, brilliantly capturing the extraordinary qualities of the original William G Wagner has provided full annotations to Chernyshevsky s allusions and references and to the, sources of his ideas, and has appended a critical bibliography An introduction by Katz and Wagner places the novel in the context of nineteenth century Russian social, political, and intellectual history and literature, and explores its importance for several generations of Russian radicals.

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    About “Nikolai Chernyshevsky Michael R. Katz

    • Nikolai Chernyshevsky Michael R. Katz

      Nikolay Gavrilovich Chernyshevsky Russian was a Russian revolutionary democrat, materialist philosopher, critic, and socialist seen by some as a utopian socialist He was the leader of the revolutionary democratic movement of the 1860s, and an influence on Vladimir Lenin, Emma Goldman, and Serbian political writer and socialist Svetozar Markovi.The son of a priest, Chernyshevsky was born in Saratov in 1828, and stayed there till 1846 After graduating from Saint Petersburg University in 1850, he taught literature at a gymnasium in Saratov From 1853 to 1862, he lived in Saint Petersburg, and became the chief editor of Sovremennik Contemporary , in which he published his main literary reviews and his essays on philosophy.In 1862, he was arrested and confined in the Fortress of St Peter and Paul, where he wrote his famous novel What Is to Be Done The novel was an inspiration to many later Russian revolutionaries, who sought to emulate the novel s hero, who was wholly dedicated to the revolution, ascetic in his habits and ruthlessly disciplined, to the point of sleeping on a bed of nails and eating only meat in order to build strength for the Revolution Among those who took inspiration from the character was Lenin, who wrote a work of political theory of the same name, and who was ascetic in his personal life lifting weights, having little time for love, and so on In 1862, Chernyshevsky was sentenced to civil execution mock execution , followed by penal servitude 1864 72 , and by exile to Vilyuisk, Siberia 1872 83 He died at the age of 61.

    407 thoughts on “What Is to Be Done?

    • (I don't recall at this point which translation I read.)Written in in the few months the author spent in prison on false charges of instigating civil unrest, this political tract in novel form presents Chernyshevsky's views on materialism, communalism, and feminism.Chernyshevsky shows that only the respectful marriage of equal individuals can be successful. Both parties should be free to pursue happiness, even if it involves ending the marriage because they are no longer in love. Women ought to [...]

    • Dear Reader, the criticism of this novel is that it is poorly written. I can assure you this is not the case. Chernyshevsky - indeed once a dear friend of mine (we spent some time together in the Fortress of Peter and Paul) - with a few initial "striking scenes" comes right out and admits he's not trying to win you over with plot. Plot is grossly overrated anyhow; most modern "authors" would be well served to learn that lesson (and why must a plot have this silly, redundant arc to it? You've see [...]

    • This is a rather peculiar book, which I enjoyed quite a lot. It was written in 1863, while its author, Nikolai Chernyshevsky, was in prison for opposing serfdom. Chernyshevsky, who spent a number of years in prison and died in forced exile in Siberia, was considered one of the most radical men of his time, one of the 'new men' of the 1860s, who opposed themselves to the 'men of the '40s' such as Dostoevsky and Turgenyev. 'What Is to Be Done?' was for a long time considered the exemplary radical [...]

    • This one's going to be on my mind for awhile!! It'll take a long time to unpack all of the ideas & topics of discussion. I must re-read an unabridged version! Chernyshevsky is not a fiction writer, this is his only fictional work. And he succeeds unabashadly! His political background seeps into the story whenever necessary and only to enhance the story he's telling.I went into this novel blindly knowing nothing of the plot or themes. I think blindness makes the ending more powerful. I recomm [...]

    • Απόσπασμα από τη σελ. 387: «Ό,τι σου δείξαμε, δεν θα έχει σύντομα την πλήρη ανάπτυξή που διαπίστωσες τώρα. Θα περάσουν πολλές γενιές μέχρι να πραγματοποιηθεί αυτό απ’ το οποίο τώρα παίρνεις μια πρώτη γεύση. Όχι, το «πολλές γενιές» δεν είναι ακριβές: η δουλειά μου τώρα προχωράε [...]

    • This is the middle book in an important Russian literary and philisophical argument. The first was Turgenev's Fathers and Sons, and the third was Dostoevsky's Notes From Underground. All that stuff Dostoevsky is talking about in Notes - advantage motivating action, the crystal palace, etc. - comes from What is to be Done. Chernyshevsky thought Turgenev treated nihilism unfairly in Fathers and Sons, so he portrayed nihilism in another manner. Dostoevsky then destroyed Chernyshevsky's vision of an [...]

    • If you want to understand the underpinnings of modern Russia and its recent history, you have to understand Nikolai Chernyshevsky. Lenin for one credits "What is to be done" as the most influential book in the development of his social conscious, and without him no doubt the world would be a very different place than it is today. A must read.

    • That was wonderful. Indeed, I want to read this book again even after I have just read it. Is there there a better way to rate a book?

    • Поглощая очередной талмуд Радзинского, мама не удержалась от комментария: «И тут этот Чернышевский! Говорят, настольная книга революционеров. Надо будет перечитать, а то у меня со школы кроме довольно банального сюжета о Верочке-швее в голове ничего не задержалось». Пару н [...]

    • "What a pity that at the present hour there are still more than ten antediluvians for every new man! It is very natural, however. An antediluvian world can have only an antediluvian population."A new society requires a new anthropological type, new personalities with new virtues, thoughts and values: this should be a truism for those seeking social change but in fact it's rarely given any thought. This love story about the Nihilist counterculture in 1860s Russia attacks the problem, as young wom [...]

    • Per me � un libro speciale. Non per i meriti letterari o per lo stile, ma per la storia di questo rapporto uomo-donna basilare per la societ�, per il modo di vedere l'organizzazione del lavoro, attuali utopie che non vediamo realizzarsi neppure ora. Nessuna indagine psicologica (cos� non si rischiano toppate ;-) che toglierebbero freschezza al racconto, apprendiamo i fatti in maniera quasi oggettiva. E lo scrittore ci bacchetta pure nella buffa prefazione ed epilogo. Vera � una donna mod [...]

    • Un triunghi amoros se rezolvă elegant și cu mărinimie, eroi ai lumii noi plini de calități, înțelepciune și materialism frumos înțeles. Practica a fost rea, teoria putea fi așa frumoasă.

    • I’ve always thought that stories carry much more power in the minds of men than cardboard tomes full of equations. “What Is To Be Done,” juxtaposed against “The Communist Manifesto”; “Atlas Shrugged” against “Wealth of Nations”. It is said that “What Is To Be Done” is the book that radicalized Vladimir Lenin. Let that sink in for a moment; a simple (if long) novel about a young girl who wants find peace and a measure of prosperity and independence in Tsarist Russia is respo [...]

    • Книга достаточно интересная. После ее прочтения я стала лучше понимать настроение людей перед революцией 1917 года. И если бы я жила в то время, то, думаю, что я сама была бы однозначным ее сторонником.Чернышевский подробно описывает то, как он видит устройство послереволюцио [...]

    • I was expecting a lot from What is to be Done? naturally because of the buzz this book caused around its time. I can put it down finally with only mixed feelings about it. I suppose the book struck a chord loudly with those of its time, and as much as we present day "readers with penetrating eyes" wish to be struck with the same impact I believe we can only pretend to be so. If a book is not written for you and only you, there's only so much you can take away from it. I don't resolve to pretend [...]

    • I started reading this novel to figure out why Dostoyevsky distastes it. (It is said that Dostoyevsky was enraged by Chernyshevsky's "utilitarianism" and his depiction of his Russian Utopia.) First of all, I had to look up words like "materialism" and "utilitarianism" dozens of times to just get the gist of. Big words like these confuse me so much. As assisting as the notes of the annotator were, they were as confusing. There are so many explanations that - as an un-perspicacious and unlearned r [...]

    • Написано и вправду очень специфически, но свой шарм есть.Также наверное стоит прочитать как исторический документ, потому что чувствуется, что на последующие поколения революционеров книга оказала большое влияние.

    • Привет, читатель! Ну ты и дурачок! Ладно, читай давай, не отвлекаю.Кстати, дурачок, ты что, не догадался, что тут все не так, каким кажется на первый взгляд?

    • I read it without knowing what it was about - ignoring the plot. I read it because other books drew me to it, more recently Crime and Punishment. It seems, fortunately, that the author does not want to pay too much attention to the plot. As the book (I read) says it, the ‘Aesopian’ style makes the plot just a means to the author’s intentions. On the surface the plot is simple, but when you think about it, it is precisely because of the different hidden messages. Anyway, I read it because I [...]

    • I've noticed quite a few positive reviews on What Is to be Done, which might give people who are interested in Russian literature the idea that this could be an interesting book to read. It is anything but. Now, for a historian this is an important source, because Chernyshevsky's ideas and especially the character of Rakhmetov have influenced Russian ideas on revolution, social change and what we now call Russian Nihilism more than any other piece of writing. However, Chernyshevsky's style is te [...]

    • Соглашусь со следующим мнением одного из читателей романа Чернышевского: "Я заявляю: недопустимо называть примитивным и бездарным "Что делать". Под его влиянием сотни людей делались революционерами. Могло ли это быть, если бы Чернышевский писал бездарно и примитивно? Он, н [...]

    • Interesting and tedious at the same time! Also, sad and funny. Chernechevsky's self-conscious narrator is enjoyable. He teases the reader by revealing the plot at different points. His being in conversation as we read is enjoyable. He is a feminist and his ideal relationships between men and women are still something to dream about--mutual respect, mutually important aspirations, a combination of selfishness and selflessness. His cooperative workplace, owned and managed by the workers is somethi [...]

    • Libro molto innovativo soprattutto per la concezione della donna, della libertà femminile, anche se il personaggio, l'aspetto psicologico, di Vera viene presentato attraverso i sogni. Molto interessante la fondazione di una fabbrica a cui partecipano tutte le operaie. Il benessere psico-fisico e l'eguaglianza economica sono fondamentali.

    • I simply love the author and his book. Like Plato except interesting and vividly necessary, whatever that means! It seems reading the author has got into my system and I can't put him away. This is a book that I cannot shelve.

    • Тот случай когда идеи важнее содержания. Очень помогает знать эпоху, во время которой писалась книга, и при каких условиях. Можно почитать критические статьи/анализ романа и этого будет достаточно.

    • Çernişevski'nin hapiste kurnaz bir dille yazdığı 'Nasıl Yapmalı' kitabı hayli tartışılmış bir kitap. Hatta rivayet odur ki kitaba karşı bir eleştiri yazmaktansa, toplumsal meselelere bu kadar naif çözümler sunmaya kalktığı için 'Yer Altından Notlar'ı yazarak yanıt verir Dostoyevski. Kimileri ise Çernişevski'nin kitabı Turgenyev'in Babalar ve Oğulları'na yanıt olarak yazdığını söylüyor. Neyse kitabın yazıldığı dönem serflerin bağımsızlığını kazan [...]

    • Intended as an answer to Herzen's Who is to Blame?, Chernyshevsky's ponderous novel, What is to Be Done will test the patience of any modern reader. Its historical value is well known. Lenin thought much of it. Beyond this, the modern reader will likely view it as a work that might have been written by Jane Austin if she had read Karl Marx.d were Russian. Combine the novel of manners with a socialist blueprint and you get a special creation of tedium. As if you couldn't guess that, right? Heroin [...]

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