Alexander Herzen (1812-1870) was born in Moscow. The son of a wealthy landowner, IA Yakovlev, and a native of Stuttgart (Germany), Louise Hague, he wore a name invented by my father (from the German Herz – heart). Huge impact on the young Herzen had the Decembrist uprising. In 1827, he along with his friend Nikolai Ogarev on the Sparrow Hills in Moscow has vowed to give lifelong struggle for the liberation of the people. In 1829-1833 he studied in physics and mathematics department of Moscow University. Around Herzen and Ogarev has developed a revolutionary circle of students. In July 1834 the members of this society were arrested in April 1835 Herzen as "bold volnolyubets, very dangerous for society" has been banished to Perm then to Vyatka under police surveillance.
At the end of 1837 was transferred to Vladimir. Returned from exile in 1840, but was soon exiled again, this time in Novgorod, for "spreading unfounded rumors" about the police. In the 1830s and after return from exile in 1842, Herzen wrote a number of important philosophical works and works of art. Antiserfdom pathos imbued his novel "The Thieving Magpie" and "Doctor Krupov." "Who is guilty?" (1841-1846) – one of the the first Russian social-psychological novels – was highly appreciated by VG Belinsky. Staunch opponent of autocracy and serfdom, Herzen, to better deal with it, he left in 1847 over the border, became a political immigrant. The great merit of Herzen – the organization of the free Russian press abroad. He let out revolutionary leaflets, brochures, and since 1855 published the anthology "Polar Star" and in 1857 together with Ogarev – the newspaper "The Bell". Herzen has created a remarkable work of My Past and Thoughts (1852-1868).
This memoir is not only a civil confession of the writer, but also artistic chronicle of social life and the revolutionary struggle in Russia and in Western Europe pa For four decades, from the Decembrists' uprising until the eve of the Paris Commune. The pamphlet "On the development of revolutionary ideas in Russia" (1851) Herzen first tied the great achievements of Russian literature of the XIX century with the growth libertarian ideas. The relations of literature with popular aspirations determined, according to Herzen, the consistent approval of pension realism. The article "Once again, Bazarov," published in the anthology "Polar Star" for 1869, included analysis of the positions of MA Antonovich and DI Pisarev, who gave a different interpretation of Turgenev's novel Fathers and Sons. In connection with the image of Herzen Bazarov raised the question of the role of different generations in the Russian liberation movement. Defending the generation of noble revolutionaries Herzen considers himself among their followers, and in revolutionary plebeian followers saw the common struggle for liberation. Recognizing the individual differences of its people generation of revolutionary youth raznochinskoy Herzen stressed the need to unite all patriots and democrats for a decisive struggle against dictatorship.