My Past and Thoughts

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
My Past and Thoughts
My Past and Thoughts 1861 title page.jpg
Part 1, 1861
AuthorAlexander Hertzen
Original titleБылое и думы
CountryGreat Britain
Publication date
Media typePrint

My Past and Thoughts (Russian: Былое и думы, romanizedByloje i dumy) is an extensive autobiography by Alexander Hertzen, which he started in the early 1850s and continued to expand and revise throughout his later life. Serialized in Polyarnaya Zvezda, the book in its full form came out as a separate edition after its author's death. In Hertzen's lifetime the major parts of the book were translated into English (1855), German (1855) and French (1860-1862).[1] Providing the panoramic view on the social and political life in Russian Empire as well as the European West of the mid-19th century, this seminal, even if in many ways controversial work is considered to be the classic of Russian memoirist literature.[2][3]

Structure and publication[edit]

  • Part I. Chapters 1-7. "Childhood and University (1812—1834)". Hertzen's life in his father's house. First published in Polyarnaya Zvezda, 1856, Vol.2. The Supplement, "A. Polezhayev", first appeared in "Jail and Exile. From the Notes of Iskander ("Тюрьма и ссылка. Из записок Искандера"), London, 1854.
  • Part II. Chapters 8-18. "Imprisonment and Exile (1834—1838)". The court case and deportation. "Imprisonment and Exile. From the Notes of Iskander ("Тюрьма и ссылка. Из записок Искандера"), London, 1854.
  • Part III. Chapters 19-24. "Vladimir-on-Klyazma (1838—1839)". The story of his relationship with Natalya Zakharyina. Polyarnaya Zvezda, 1857, Vol.3[4]
  • Part IV. "Moscow, Petersburg and Novgorod (1840—1847)". On zapadnichestvo and slavyanofilstvo. Polyarnaya Zvezda: 1855 (Vol.1), 1858 (Vol.4), fragments in 1861 (Vol. 6) and 1862 (Vol. 7, part 2). Two chapters ("N.Kh. Ketcher" and "An 1844 Episode") were published posthumously.[5][6]
  • Part V. "Paris, Italy, Paris (1847—1852). Before and After the Revolution". Hertzen's first years abroad. Polyarnaya Zvezda: 1855 (Vols. I, IV), 1859 (Vol. V). What the author called his "most cherished part" of the book, "The Story of a Family Drama" was published posthumously.[7]
  • Part VI. "England (1852—1864)". On his life in London after his wife's death. Originally published in fragments, in 1859-1869, in Kolokol and Polyarnaya Zvezda (n all, 5 chapters have been published in full in Hertzen's lifetime).[8]
  • Part VII. "Russian Emigration". A set of sketches on Mikhail Bakunin, Vasily Kelsiyev and Vladimir Pecherin, among others. Published mostly posthumously ("The Posthumous Collection of A.I. Hertzen's Work, Geneva, 1870).[9]
  • Part VIII. (1865—1868). On Hertzen's European journeys. Polyarnaya Zvezda, 1869, Vol. VIII. (In some editions this is the final part of the book).[10]
  • Part IX. "Old Letters". Correspondence with Vissarion Belinsky, Pyotr Chaadayev, Timofey Granovsky and others.


  1. ^ Герцен А. И.: Биобиблиографическая справка // "Русские писатели". Биобиблиографический словарь. Том 1. А--Л. Под редакцией П. А. Николаева. М., "Просвещение", 1990
  2. ^ Mirsky, D. S. История русской литературы с древнейших времен до 1925 года / Пер. с англ. Р. Зерновой. — London: Overseas Publications Interchange Ltd, 1992. — С. 331—339.
  3. ^ Putintsev, V. А.И. Герцен и его «Былое и Думы
  4. ^ Commentaries to Part III. Герцен А.И. Былое и думы. Части 1 - 3. - М.: ГИХЛ, 1958.
  5. ^ Сборник посмертных статей А. И. Герцена", Женева, 1870, 2-е изд. - 1874 г.
  6. ^ Commentaries to Part IV.
  7. ^ Commentaries to Part V.
  8. ^ Commentaries to Part VI
  9. ^ Commentaries to Part VII
  10. ^ Commentaries to Part VIII