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The Cynosure

  Michael Bakunin
  William Godwin
  Emma Goldman
  Peter Kropotkin
  Errico Malatesta
  Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
  Elisée Reclus
  Max Stirner
  Murray Bookchin
  Noam Chomsky
  Bright but Lesser Lights
  Cold Off The Presses
  Anarchist History
  Worldwide Movements
  First International
  Paris Commune
  Haymarket Massacre
  Spanish Civil War
  Art and Anarchy
  Education and Anarchy
  Anarchist Poets


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splendour of the Court. Bakunin would have come into direct contact with his beloved Czar. Fortunately, he had contrived to hanger his father and to arouse the jealousy of the Director of Artillery. Adoration of his monarch had not saved him from rebelling against both parent and superior officer. As a punishment for his dual office of petty treason he was given a commission in the line. He was doomed to spend his days in a miserable peasant village far away from any centre of civilization. A hut was assigned to him for his new quarters. Here he took up his abode. He declined to accept the implied disgrace as a discipline. His military duties spent whole days in complete isolation. At last, his commanding officer ordered him to resign his appointment. He sent in his papers and returned to Moscow, a civilian. He had "worked" his discharge and was free of the military atmosphere.

In the great Russian capital, reduced by Peter the Great as Rome was by Constantine, only to become even more eternal, Bakunin was received into a circle of young savants. Its members were situated similarly to himself. Owing to the wisdom of the Russian statesmen and police authorities, this circle was engrossed in German philosophy. It was keen, especially on Hegel, who had been for several years the recognised leader of philosophy in German. His recent death at the age of sixty one, had given fresh life to his thought among these Moscow students. Entire nights were spent discussing, paragraph by paragraph, the volume of his "Logic," "Ethics," ""Encyclopedia," etc. The most insignificant pamphlets which appeared in Berlin were obtained and read eagerly. In a few days they were torn and tattered and preserved in honoured pieces. Members of the circle would have nothing to do with one another for weeks after a disagreement respecting the definition of "the intercepting mind" or "the absolute personality" and its autonomous existence.

The system of Hegel was both the negation and the culmination of the philosophy of Kant, who flourished from 1724 to 1804. Hegel's youth had been contemporary with Kant's old age, and the period during which Kant developed his own critical philosophy of his life. In Hegel, the Kantian dualisms of phenomena and nuomena or nuomenon disappear. Hegel identifies the rational with the real and the real with the rational. He made idealism imminent in the experience and logic imminent in history. After his death his disciples split into two schools; a right and a left wing who were bitterly opposed to each other. The leaders of the left wing, the positive, original, vigorous, and ultimately only important group were Strauss and Feuerbach.

Feuerbach was born the year Kant died. He lived till after the Paris Commune and the triumph of Thiers. Bakunin survived him only four years. George Eliot translated into English his famous work in which he classified the ideas of God, the future


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