Acknowledgments: The study was supported by National Social Science Foundation of China, Project no. 20AAWW004.
Abstract: Herzen is always presented primarily as a revolutionary aristocrat and admirer of Western Europe. However, Herzen quickly became disillusioned with the prospects for the development of European civilization, and this was understood and felt by some of his astute contemporaries. Literary critic N. N. Strakhov wrote a voluminous article “Herzen”, in which he proved that Herzen went from a desperate nihilist to an adherent of Russian cultural traditions. The author examines Strakhov’s article, analyzes the course of his reflections, dwells on the philosophical and worldview features in the works of Herzen, which the critic highlights. The article shows that Strakhov defines Herzen as the first literary man who began the struggle against the West. According to the author of the article, this statement is not only a typical case of anti-Westernism by the nationalist Strakhov, but also the starting point of self-reflection in Russian culture in the second half of the 19th century. The article also discusses in detail the impact of Strakhov’s article on criticism and academic science.
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