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‘Strike out, right and left!’: a conceptual-historical analysis of 1860s Russian nihilism and its notion of negation
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Political, Historical, Religious and Cultural Studies (from 2013).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2284-3928
2019 (English)In: Studies in East European thought, ISSN 0925-9392, E-ISSN 1573-0948, Vol. 71, no 2, p. 73-97Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this essay is to synthesize as well as to analyze the conceptual evolution of 1860s Russian nihilism in general and its notion of negation in particular. The fictitious characters that traditionally have been informing the popular notion of “Russian nihilism” mainly refer to an antinihilistic genre. By analyzing nihilism also on the basis of primary sources, the antinihilistic notion of nihilism is nuanced, enabling a more comprehensive analysis of the movement’s different aspects. In some instances, Russian nihilism has been taken out of context and portrayed as a monolith; its pursuit of “negation” interpreted literally. In this essay, a dialectical relation emerges, between affirmation and negation on the one hand as well as between the nihilist “children” and their idealist “fathers” on the other. Despite its radical stance, nihilism consists of a reconciliation of opposites. Although nihilists fought for autonomy, revolution and a new society, the movement was ironically stuck in a continuous negation of its inspirers and forerunners.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2019. Vol. 71, no 2, p. 73-97
Keywords [en]
Bazarov, Cynicism, Dmitry Pisarev (1840–1868), Negation, Realism, Russian nihilism, Utopia, Šestidesjatniki (generation of the 1860s)
National Category
Cultural Studies History of Ideas
Research subject
Cultural studies; History of Ideas
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-71746DOI: 10.1007/s11212-019-09319-4ISI: 000471657000001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85062713367OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-71746DiVA, id: diva2:1302698
Available from: 2019-04-05 Created: 2019-04-05 Last updated: 2020-01-23Bibliographically approved

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Petrov, Kristian

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