By Nicolas Berdyaev
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His time. played by masonry in The beginning of the nineteenth century, the time of Alexander, is one of the most interesting periods in the Petersburg epoch of Russian history. It was a period of mystical currents of thought, of masonic lodges, of inter-confessional Christianity, of the Bible, of theocratic dreams, of the war for Society, of the Holy Alliance, the fatherland, of the Decembrists, of Pushkin and the flowering of Russian poetry. It was a period of Russian universalisrn, which had upon Russian spiritual culture in the 20 so determining an influence nineteenth century.
V. Odoevsky had already sharply criticized the West and accused its bourgeois life of being a desiccation of the spirit. who represented, so to speak, all conservative and official wrote of the decrepitude and decay of the West, but Slavophilism, Shevyrev had close connections with the Western thinker, F. Baader, whose mind faced towards the East. Among the classical Slavophils there was no complete rejection of the West; did not use such they 'decay in speaking of it; they were too good universalfor that.
The conflict mark of the German romantics. F. Schlegel spoke about France and West to Germany, in the same way as the England, which were the the West, including in it Germany too. But Slavophils spoke about all the same Ivan Kireevsky remarkable essay: in a and its relation enlightenment in Europe Russia "succeeded in formulating the typical of between Russia and Europe, and of Russian Slavophil conception this in spite history. to On the character enlightenment in marks of the difference of the wrongness of the The same opposition exists within Western Europe, for example, the antithesis between and godless civilization.