• E. H. Carr


It is unlikely that Bakunin would in any case have been content to remain much longer in the backwater of Florence. But the motive of the southward move was of a personal character. Paul and his wife Natalie—the unknown sister-in-law with whom Michael had corresponded so passionately from London —were travelling in Italy. They had visited Florence earlier in the year. In May 1865 they were staying at Sorrento; and here Michael and Antonia came to join them. But family ties were weakening. It was too late now, when Michael was past fifty and Paul well on in the forties, to recreate the raptures of childhood and youth. Michael no doubt continued to importune his brother about his share of the family estate. But common memories could not make up for the lack of common interests. The meeting brought no renewal of intimacy, but rather a realisation of indifference. It did, however, produce a passing effect. It momentarily turned Michael’s thoughts to the past; and a few days after Paul and Natalie had gone, he wrote to them that he had begun his memoirs. This burst of energy was as transitory as most of Michael’s literary projects. The one extant autobio-graphical fragment from his pen (which may or may not have been written at this time) does not carry him beyond the age of seventeen.1


National Family Unforeseen Event Secret Society Southward Move Common Memory 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1975

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  • E. H. Carr

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