The Events of N.O. Lossky's "History of Russian Philosophy" and the Debate Around it in the 1950s

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The article presents the main stages of the N.O. Lossky's work on the book "History of Russian Philosophy", starting with the emergence of his interest in the works of Russian philosophers when writing an article for the journal "The Slavonic Review" about Vladimir Solovyov and his followers; preparing lecture courses on Russian philosophy for reading at foreign universities (including lectures on Slavic philosophy delivered at Stanford University in 1933) and ending with the publication of the book in the USA, England and France and his work on the future Russian edition. Particular attention is paid to the debate that arose after the publication of the book in America (1951) in the 50s and unfolds on the pages of American journals. The main claims of American critics (Sidney Hook, John Somerville, George L. Kline, etc.) to the content of the book are the uneven presentation of Russian philosophers’ teachings, the sketchiness and the absence of representatives of some schools of thought. N.O. Lossky's book also became the subject of discussion in the publications of the Russian émigré about Lossky's author's vision statement of the development of Russian philosophy and its specifics. As it follows from the correspondence of N.O. Lossky with D.I. Chizhevsky and with publisher A.S. Kagan, it was also planned to publish the book with additions in Spanish and German publishing houses. Up to and including 1956, N.O. Lossky continued to work on the Russian-language "History of Russian Philosophy", which was given to Russia for publication by his son Boris Nikolaevich Lossky only in the early 90s (it was published in 1994). New materials found in the Paris archive of N.O. Lossky (Lossky's text "Philosophy in Pre-Revolutionary Russia", S. Hook's review "They Looked to the West") complement the debate both about N.O. Lossky's "History of Russian Philosophy", and about the nature of Russian philosophy.

About the authors

Elena V. Serdyukova

Southern Federal University

Author for correspondence.
Candidate of Philosophy, Associate Professor, Director of the Institute of Philosophy and Social and Political Studies 105/42, Bolshaya Sadovaya street, Rostov-on-Don, 344006, Russian Federation


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