Swiss Interlude

  • E. H. Carr


There was a pause while Bakunin took stock of the situation and looked about him for new worlds to conquer. The momentary diffidence which he had felt on his first arrival in Berlin two and a half years before, overtook him again in Zürich. Everything west of Berlin and Dresden was strange and unfamiliar; and he knew nobody except Herwegh. Herwegh was no political leader or organiser and, for the moment, was absorbed in the preparations for his brilliant marriage. Bakunin lived alone, just outside Zürich, in a room that looked across the lake to the snow-clad mountains. He drank in the hitherto undreamed-of beauties of the Swiss landscape. He rowed with Herwegh on the lake, and they “dreamed and laughed and were sad together”; and he loved his companion “as brother loves sister”—not without a certain air of protective condescension towards the weaker nature. Early in February Bakunin climbed the Uetli-berg, where he found already in bloom the snowdrops and “little purple flowers that smell like hyacinth”; and he pressed three of the blossoms and sent them in his next letter to Premukhino. Philosophy was forgotten, and politics could wait.


Purple Flower Weak Nature Awful Knowledge Personal Grievance Swiss Authority 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1975

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  • E. H. Carr

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