SOLOVIEV, Vladimir.

Tri sily. Publichnoe chtenie. (Three Forces; A Public Reading.)

Moscow: M. Katkov, 1877 Stock Code: 86058
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The founder of modern Russian philosophy

Scarce first edition of the Russian philosopher, theologian, poet, pamphleteer, and literary critic Vladimir Soloviev's rousing lecture read to the Society of Amateurs of Russian Literature in April 1877. Mankind, he argues, is subject to three forces: the urge towards social unity, the urge towards individualism, and the urge to recognise God in other individuals and their societies.

"In the academic year 1876-7 Soloviev returned to teaching and worked on a second book, The Philosophical Principles of Integral Knowledge. Before the year was over, however, he resigned his academic post and moved to St Petersburg. In the light of his later career Soloviev's move can be seen as a step towards the lifestyle which suited him best, that of an independent scholar and publicist. Soloviev picked a good time to begin his publicistic career. Early in 1877 Russia declared war on the Ottoman empire in response to Turkish violence against Orthodox Christians in the Balkans. For the first time since the end of the Crimean War (1856), the Eastern Question returned to the centre stage of European politics and lent new urgency to the issue of Russia's historical mission Hitching religious philosophy to Russian messianism his thesis was as simple as it was bold. The world is dominated by two opposed, but equally flawed, religious principles: the Islamic or oriental principle of 'the inhuman God,' a formula justifying universal servitude, and the modern European principle of 'the godless human individual,' a formula validating 'universal egoism and anarchy.' The conflict between these principles can only end in a vicious circle. Fortunately for humanity there is a country, Russia, where East and West meet and transcend their spiritual division in a higher religious principle: bogochelovechestvo, the humanity of God. As history's 'third force' Russia is destined to blaze the path not just to Constantinople but to the universal, divine-human cultural synthesis of the future" (Valliere, p. 114).

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Octavo (222 x 150 mm), pp. 16. Original printed paper wrappers. Housed in a black cloth rounded-spine slipcase and chemise by the Chelsea Bindery.


Small circular library label to front wrapper, oval library stamp to blank portion of first and last leaves. Wrapper largely split along spine, but still holding, front wrapper and first leaf a little crumpled at head, with a short tear but no loss, trace of library label and shelfmark to front wrapper; a very good copy.


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