I started to read Sarah Young’s Russian thought lecture 3: The Westernizers and concepts of the self, and decided it would be a good occasion to haul down my copy of Isaiah Berlin’s Russian Thinkers and read his “A Remarkable Decade” (about the Russian thinkers and writers of the 1840s) to get some background. I hit on a Herzen quote I like very much (on p. 126 of my copy):
We are great doctrinaires and raisonneurs. To this German capacity we add our own national . . . element, ruthless, fanatically dry: we are only too willing to cut off heads . . . With fearless step we march to the very limit, and go beyond it; never out of step with the dialectic, only with the truth . . .
Of course I wanted to see the original; I tried googling various words from it in Russian but come up dry, and I was hoping someone out there might know the source. (Also, has anyone seen Stoppard’s The Coast of Utopia? Is it worth the nine hours?)