St. Petersburg: N.P. Polyakova, 1869. Item #8
, II, 494 pp. 1 map (carefully restored). 8vo. Contemporary quarter-leather. Good condition.
Vassily Vasilievich Bervi-Flerovsky’s (1829-1918) main work was nicknamed the Russian Das Kapital; its description of Russian economic reality was thoroughly Marxist. In turn, it influenced Marx himself. He started to learn Russian in 1869 in order to read this book that had already been praised by Engels. Marx was planning to focus heavily on Russia in the third volume of Das Kapital (specifically, on Russian agrarian relations).
Marx commented later: “The work by Flerovskii is a real discovery for Europe. Russian optimism which has been put about on the continent even by so-called revolutionists, has been mercilessly exposed in this work. The virtues of the book are not diminished if I say that it is in several places not fully up to critical standards, from the purely scholarly point of view. This is a work of a serious observer, a dispassionate laborer, and an impartial critic, a powerful artist, etc...”
Flerovsky was praised widely and the impact he had in Russia was immense. He was one of the ideologues of the narodnichestvo (Populist) movement, living his life in “voluntary poverty” along with the peasants and lower classes of Russian society in order better to understand them. His economics and lifestyle earned him widespread support among students and the middle-classes. He was routinely compared to Tolstoy in the extent (though not the nature) of the influence both men exerted on the minds of the people.
Most of Flerovsky’s works were banned in Russia as he was an open revolutionary. Though the first edition of this book was banned, it sold so quickly that it was not possible to destroy the whole run; but the second edition, printed in 1872, was completely destroyed (2465 copies).
Svodny katalog russkoy nelegalnoy i zaprechennoy pechati XIX veka. 187.