Prose writer, essayist, memoirist, and political theorist
Born in Moscow, 6 April 1812. Also wrote under the pseudonyms Iskander and I. Nionskii.Educated at home; studied physics and mathematics at Moscow University, 1829-33; completed dissertation, "Analytical Exposition of Copernicus' Solar System", 1833 (silver medal). Joined a group of students to debate progressive ideas: arrested and charged with "dangerous free-thinking", 1834; exiled to clerical service in Perm, 1835, then to Viatka, 1835-37; transferred to Vladimir to serve in governor's office, 1837-39. Married: I) Natal'ia Aleksandrovna Zakhar'ina in 1838 (died 1852), eight children; (only eldest son and two daughters survived past infancy); z) Natal'ia Alekseevna Tuchkova-Ogareva (unofficial). Returned to Moscow to serve in clerical office of Ministry of Internal Affairs, 1839. Moved to St Petersburg to serve in same department, 1840. Exiled to Novgorod for "the spreading of baseless rumours", 1841. Served in Novgorod as councillor to governing body, 1841-42. Resigned and lived and wrote in Moscow, 1842-46. First critical essay published, 1836 (in Teleskop); subsequent works in Otechestvennye zapiski, 1839-46. Emigrated with his family in 1847; lived in Paris 1847-49, visited Italy, 1848. After participating in anti‐ government demonstrations in Paris, fled to Switzerland in 1849. Refused to obey Tsar Nicholas I's order to return in 1850 to Russia and became an exile. Naturalized in Switzerland, 1851. Took part in revolutionary propaganda, edited Poliarnaia zvezda and Kolokol. Lived in London, 1852-64; returned to Switzerland and continued literary and political activities, 1865-69. Died in Paris, 21 January 1870. Buried in Nice.
Sochineniia, 10 vols. Geneva, Basle, Lyon, 1875-79.
Polnoe sobranie sochinenii i pisem, 22 vols. Petrograd/ Leningrad, 1915-25.
Sobranie sochinenii, 30 vols. Moscow, 1954-66.
Sochineniia, 4 vols. Moscow, 1988.
"Kto vinovat?", Otechestvennye zapiski, 12 ( 1845); 4 ( 1846); as separate edition, St Petersburg, 1847; translated as Who is to Blame? A Novel in Two Parts, by Margaret Wettlin, Moscow, Progress, 1978; also translated by Michael R. Katz, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1984.
"Doktor Krupov", Sovremennik, 9 ( 1847); also in Prervannye rasskazy Iskandera [Interrupted Stories by Iskander], London, 1854.
"Soroka-vorovka", Sovremennik, 2 ( 1848); translated as The Thieving Magpie. A Story, by Avril Pyman, Moscow, Raduga, 1986.
"Povrezhdennyi" [Deranged Person], in Prervannye rasskazy Iskandera, London, 1854.
"Doktor, umiraiushchii i mertvye" [Doctor, the Dying, and the Dead], in Sbornik posmertnykh statei A.I. Gertsena. Geneva, 1870.
Vom Anderen Ufer. Hamburg, Hoffman and Kampe, 1850; S togo berega, London, 1855; translated as From the Other Shore, by Moura Budberg, London, Weidenfield and Nicolson, 1956; reprinted Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1979.
Le peuple russe et le socialisme. Lettre à Monsieur J. Michelet, Jercey, 1855; translated as The Russian People and Their Socialism. A Letter to M.J. Michelet, by V. Linton, London, 18 5 5; in Russian as Russkii narod i sotsializm, London, 1858; also translated as Open Letter to Jules Michelet, by Richard Wollheim, London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1956.
Pis'ma iz Frantsii i Italii. London, 1855; translated as Letters from France and Italy, 1847-1851, by Judith Zimmerman, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh Press, 1995.
Pis'ma k staromu tovarishchu. Sbornik posmertnykh statei Aleksandra Ivanovicha Gertsena [Letters to the Old Comrade]. 1867-69; Geneva, 1870; 2nd edition, 1874.
Eshche raz Bazarov [Bazarov Once More]. 1869.
Diletantizm v nauke [Dilettantism in Science]. 1842-43. Pis'ma ob izuchenii prirody [Letters on the Study of Nature]. 1845-46.