Alexander Herzen was born in Moscow in 1812 and educated at Moscow University. He entered government service but was denounced for his democratic and westernizing ideas. After inheriting a fortune on his father’s death, he left Russia in 1847, never to return. He experienced the revolutions of 1848 in France and Italy, and settled in London in 1852, where his home became a mecca for Russian visitors and for an assortment of liberals and radicals. He wrote prolifically, embarking on the monumental and amorphous body of memoirs by which he is best known, the first two volumes of which appeared in 1861. He left London in 1865 to continue his activities as a radical publicist on the continent, and died in Paris in 1870.