Nikolai Gavrilovich Chernyshevsky (1828-1889), educator, critic and revolutionary, was the son of a priest. He was born in Saratov, Russia, in 1828. After graduating from a theological seminary in 1846, he enrolled in the University of St. Petersburg. Here he spent four years during a period which may be described as perhaps the worst in the reactionary reign of Nicholas I. It was then that his social and political views took shape - largely under the influence of the revolution of 1848 in Europe. He became a confirmed socialist, determined to devote himself to the cause of the emancipation of his people. Lenin wrote in 1901 of the powerful influence of "Chernyshevsky who knew how to bring up real revolutionaries even by censored articles." His influence rapidly grew and spread, particularly among the intellectual revolutionary-minded commoners. Each article of his was eagerly read and distributed in handwritten copies. Before long the authorities decided to cut short his activities, which, they realized, were highly dangerous to the tsarist regime. In the summer of 1862, Chernyshevsky was arrested and flung into a dungeon in the Fortress of Peter and Paul. In the fortress he produced his major work, the novel What Is To Be Done? which profoundly influenced the Russian public. After two years in the fortress, Chernyshevsky was sent to a penal camp in Siberia. It was only in 1883 that he was permitted to leave Siberia. He went to Astrakhan, where he lived for six years under police surveillance. In 1889 he returned to his native Saratov, where he died the same year.
Used availability for Nikolai Chernyshevsky's Selected Philosophical Essays
June 2002 : USA Paperback