Under Western Eyes

by Joseph Conrad

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Kirylo Sidorovich Razumov, a university student in St. Petersburg, is intelligent and patriotic. His mother has died and his father never public acknowledged his illegitimate son but financially supports him. Although Razumov rejects revolutionary ideas and causes, his life takes a turn when he learns that a fellow student, Victor Haldin, has assassinated a high-ranking official in the Tsarist government. Turning Haldin in and then recruited as a spy, Razumov becomes entangled with the revolutionaries in Switzerland. When they learn of his betrayal and punish him, he is left disabled and returns to life in a small Russian town.

Victor Haldin is a committed revolutionary who kills a government minister of state with a bomb. After Razumov betrays him, the Crown forces execute him.

Nathalie Haldin, Victor’s sister, lives in Geneva. She befriends Razumov, whose love for her leads him to confess. She later returns to Russia to work in social services.

Peter Ivanovitch is a Russian dissident refugee. In Geneva, he is the companion of Madame de S—— and the leader of the revolutionary cell.

Madame de S——, a Russian revolutionary in exile, hosts salons that are the social and cultural heart of the Geneva group.

Prince K——, Razumov’s father, secretly supports him. From his influential government position, he is instrumental in Haldin’s apprehension.

Tekla, a revolutionary in Geneva, is Peter Ivanovitch’s secretary. Her compassion leads her to care for the disabled Razumov.

Nikita is a violent anarchist in the Geneva group. He leads the attack on Razumov. Despite his reputation for killing police, it turns out he is actually an informer.

Laspara is a left-wing journalist who allegedly conspires with the revolutionaries.

Mad Cap Costia is a wealthy student who decides to help Razumo because of his reputation.

General T—— is the state official to whom Razumov informs on Haldin when he decides to turn him in to the police.

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