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The First Russian Political Emigre
Notes from Beyond the Grave, or Apologia Pro Vita Mea

Vladimir Pecherin (author)
Michael R. Katz (author)
Michael R. Katz (author)
Natalia Pervukhina-Kamyshnikova (editor)
Publication date:
2nd April 2008

Author Biography

Michael R. Katz is C. V. Starr Professor of Russian Studies at Middlebury College, Vermont Natalia Pervukhina-Kamyshnikova is Professor of Russian at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville


This memoir by Vladimir Pecherin (or Petcherine) (1807-85) is a story of the life of a rebel against any form of despotism. Shortly after his appointment as Professor of Classics at Moscow University, Pecherin fled from Russia in 1836 to pursue radical politics in Europe. He was the first Russian political emigrant. In 1840, he suddenly and unexpectedly converted to Catholicism and entered the Redemptorist Order as a monk. After 20 years of service as a missionary, he parted ways with the Redemptorists and for the last 23 years of his life served as a chaplain at the Mater Hospital in Dublin. Pecherin wrote the memoir during his time in Dublin.His controversial memoir, poignantly critical of the Russian government and the Catholic Church of his time, was only published for the first time in Russia a hundred years after his death. It contains a vivid account of his adventures in Europe, mainly in Belgium, after leaving Russia, and his struggle against poverty. He was an exceptionally fine writer and talented poet.In this first translation of Pecherin's memoir into English the reader finds an engaging story of the individual who could have been a character in a novel by Dostoevsky, torn from his Russian soil.