In this thought-provoking book, an internationally acclaimed scholar writes about the passion for ideology among nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian intellectuals and about the development of sophisticated critiques of ideology by a continuing minority of Russian thinkers inspired by libertarian humanism. Aileen Kelly sets the conflict between utopian and anti-utopian traditions in Russian thought within the context of the shift in European thought away from faith in universal systems and "grand narratives" of progress toward an acceptance of the role of chance and contingency in nature and history.
In the current age, as we face the dilemma of how to prevent the erosion of faith in absolutes and final solutions from ending in moral nihilism, we have much to learn from the struggles, failures, and insights of Russian thinkers, Kelly says. Her essayssome of them tours de force that have appeared before as well as substantial new studies of Turgenev, Herzen, and the Signposts debateilluminate the insights of Russian intellectuals into the social and political consequences of ideas of such seminal Western thinkers as Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and Darwin.
Russian Literature and Thought Series