Part 8, Chapter 1 Summary
Almost two months have passed and the hot summer is nearly half over, but Sergey Ivanovitch is just getting ready to leave Moscow. A year ago he finished his book about the principles and forms of government in Europe and Russia (a six-year project), and several sections of it were talked about and written about enough that the public became aware of his theories. After making conscientious revisions, he published the book, distributed it to booksellers, and expected that it would create a revolution in social science—or at least make a “great stir” in the scientific world.
Sergey Ivanovitch studiously avoided talking about it unless asked or asking the booksellers how the book was being received, but he was straining with alertness to see what impression his book was making in the world and in literature. Weeks pass, however, and he could not detect the slightest impression. In general, society was interested in other things and was indifferent to his theories.
For two months, no one was even writing about Sergey Ivanovitch’s book; then someone wrote a humorous article which mentioned the book as the general subject of ridicule. Finally, three months after the book was published, a young, invalid man (“very bold as a writer, but extremely deficient in breeding and shy in personal relations”) wrote a review. Though Sergey Ivanovitch had no respect for the man, whom he had met once, he was prepared to read the article with respect. The article was awful.
The critic’s distorted interpretation was supported by quotes taken out of context, but he did it so adroitly that anyone who had not read the book (which was obviously nearly everyone) would believe the author had absolutely no knowledge of the subject. He did it so well that even Sergey Ivanovitch would have found it hard to disagree with him. Though he had spent six years meticulously researching every detail, Sergey Ivanovitch did not consider for a moment the faults and mistakes the critic pointed out; instead he...
(The entire section is 521 words.)