THE Socialist and Revolutionary movement in Russia could not fail to attract the attention of Western Europe. It is only natural, therefore, that in every European language a somewhat extensive literature should be found upon this subject. The object of some of these works is simply to relate facts; others seek to penetrate deeper, so as to discover the cause of the movement in question. I take no account of an entire branch of this literature, the novels, the romances, and the narratives, in which the authors, endeavouring to reproduce in an agreeable form the events and the types of the Nihilist world, strive to excite the imagination of the reader.
It must be confessed that, for the most part, this literature has not the slightest value. The authors know nothing of the facts related by them, having taken them at second or third hand, without the possibility of verifying the authenticity of the sources from which they derive their ideas; they do not even know the country of which they speak, the information published in the European languages being very scanty; and finally, they have not the least knowledge of the men who have played such prominent and important parts in that great drama,