Lesley Chamberlain is an independent scholar and novelist. She is the author of a number of critically acclaimed books, including Arc of Utopia: The Beautiful Story of the Russian Revolution (2017), The Philosopher Steamer: Lenin and the Exile of the Intelligentsia (2006), Motherland: A Philosophical History of Russia (2004) and Nietzsche in Turin (1996).
Too long dismissed as a cartoon reactionary villain, Sergei Uvarov emerges in the pages of Chamberlain's fascinating biography as a contradictory figure who, in the shadows cast by Europe's revolutionary upheavals, grappled with the apparently incompatible demands of internal stability and cultural progress. Essential reading for anyone interested in the history of Russia's tortured relationship with the West. * Dr Daniel Beer, Royal Holloway University, University of London, UK * A wise, nuanced, and admirably readable work of intellectual history, this book is indispensable for anyone wishing to understand the complexities and contradictions of Russian conservatism. * Dr Rachel Polonsky, University of Cambridge, UK * Lesley Chamberlain's portrait of Sergei Uvarov is a marvel of erudition and elegance. Her study of the 19th-century Tsarist minister of education reveals a complex and compelling figure whose life, which combined great power and even greater impotence, anticipates the tragic predicament of contemporary Russia and those who seek to reform it. * Prof Robert Zaretsky, University of Houston, USA *