The First Complete History of
Russian Philosophy in Any Language
V. V. Zenkovsky
Note by the Editors of the 1953 Edition
This two-volume work, which represents the first complete history of Russian philosophy in any language, is the fruit of nearly forty years of research and reflection on the author’s part. When it was first published in Paris in 1948 and 1950, the Russian edition was widely acclaimed as the most readable, as well as the most reliable, history of Russian philosophic thought yet written.
This English translation, which incorporates the author’s latest revisions and additions, will take its place as a standard work, a source of fascinating information and illuminating insights, for every student of Russian intellectual history. Written in a clear and direct style, with a minimum of technical terminology, Professor Zenkovsky’s work traces the development of Russian philosophy from its beginnings, as a product of religious experience and theological speculation, through the long process of secularization, and the successive impacts of intellectual currents from Europe, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
The author, who is particularly well qualified for this task by virtue of his thorough knowledge of both Russian and Western cultural history, shows how these foreign intellectual currents were redirected and modified to fit the pattern, and satisfy the demands, of Russian historical experience.
The author’s sensitive yet dispassionate treatment of the views of Russian philosophers from Skovoroda and Radishchev in the eighteenth century to Nicholas Lossky, who is currently active, is based on an exhaustive study of sources which are generally unavailable in Western languages. His fresh and vigorous presentation of such widely misunderstood thinkers as Skovoroda, Chaadayev, Herzen and Leontyev is especially valuable, as is his discussion of the role of Marxism in the development of Russian thought, and his concise exposition of the philosophic views of such Marxists as Plekhanov, Bogdanov and Lenin.
Readers who are primarily interested in the broad proliferation of religious thought among recent Russian philosophers, will find a full treatment of the views of Vladimir Solovyov and his distinguished followers in the second volume of this richly rewarding book.
(The 1953 Editors)
See the other volume of this work by clicking here:
“A History of Russian Philosophy, Volume One” and “A History of Russian Philosophy, Volume Two” were published in websites of the Independent Lodge of Theosophists on 31 December 2022.
Vasily Vasilyevich Zenkovsky (photo) was born in Russia in 1881 and lived up to 1962. He left Russia in 1919.
* See other texts on Russia, Theosophy and Helena Blavatsky.
On 14 September 2016, after examining the state of the esoteric movement worldwide, a group of students decided to found the Independent Lodge of Theosophists. Two of the priorities adopted by the ILT are learning from the past and building a better future.
Helena Blavatsky (photo) wrote these revealing words: “Deserve, then desire”.