The rivalry between the ancient and the modern capital, between Moscow and Petersburg, was a constant feature of Russian history for two hundred years. The period of the eighteen-thirties was one of decided Muscovite ascendancy. While Moscow had arisen with renewed splendour and prestige from the ashes of the Napoleonic conflagration, the Decembrist insurrection had made Petersburg the citadel of reaction. Advanced thought transferred its headquarters to Moscow, where youth could still breathe and think with some slight vestige of freedom. The University of Moscow became a hive of intellectual activity. Students formed themselves into groups or, in the terminology of the day, “circles”, which soon extended their influence beyond the confines of the university itself, and created, in philosophy, in literature, and in politics, a new school of Russian thought. Two of these “circles” achieved eminence and are remembered. The first, to which Alexander Herzen and his friend Ogarev belonged, applied itself to politics and found its spiritual home among the early French socialists. The second, which came to be known as “the circle of Stankevich”, eschewed politics and sought the truth, less dangerously though not less daringly, in the pages of German poets and philosophers.
KeywordsHigh Summer Private Tutor Modern Capital Russian History German Poet
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.