By Robert K. Massie
The Pulitzer Prize–winning writer of Peter the nice, Nicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs returns with one other masterpiece of narrative biography, the intense tale of an imprecise younger German princess who traveled to Russia at fourteen and rose to develop into some of the most awesome, strong, and appealing girls in history.
Born right into a minor noble relatives, Catherine reworked herself into Empress of Russia via sheer choice. owning an excellent brain and an insatiable interest as a tender lady, she gobbled the works of Enlightenment philosophers and, whilst she reached the throne, tried to exploit their rules to steer her rule of the massive and backward Russian empire. She knew or corresponded with the preeminent old figures of her time: Voltaire, Diderot, Frederick the nice, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, Marie Antoinette, and, strangely, the yankee naval hero, John Paul Jones.
Reaching the throne fired by way of Enlightenment philosophy and made up our minds to develop into the embodiment of the “benevolent despot” idealized through Montesquieu, she discovered herself regularly contending with the deeply ingrained realities of Russian existence, together with serfdom. She endured, and for thirty-four years the govt., international coverage, cultural improvement, and welfare of the Russian humans have been in her arms. She handled family uprising, overseas wars, and the tidal wave of political swap and violence churned up through the French Revolution that swept throughout Europe. Her recognition depended fullyyt at the standpoint of the speaker. She was once praised through Voltaire because the equivalent of the best of classical philosophers; she used to be condemned via her enemies, quite often overseas, as “the Messalina of the north.”
Catherine’s relations, pals, ministers, generals, enthusiasts, and enemies—all are the following, vividly defined. those integrated her formidable, endlessly scheming mom; her vulnerable, bullying husband, Peter (who left her mendacity untouched beside him for 9 years after their marriage); her unsatisfied son and inheritor, Paul; her liked grandchildren; and her “favorites”—the parade of younger males from whom she sought companionship and the recapture of teen in addition to intercourse. the following, too, is the enormous determine of Gregory Potemkin, her most important lover and attainable husband, with whom she shared a passionate correspondence of affection and separation, through seventeen years of remarkable mutual achievement.
The tale is beautifully instructed. the entire precise traits that Robert okay. Massie dropped at Nicholas and Alexandra and Peter the Great are current the following: historic accuracy, intensity of realizing, felicity of favor, mastery of aspect, skill to shatter fantasy, and a unprecedented genius for locating and expressing the human drama in impressive lives.
History deals few tales richer in drama than that of Catherine the nice. during this ebook, this forever attention-grabbing lady is lower back to existence.
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Additional info for Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman
He contrasted the Greeks with the Romans: “We need only remember the evil sophism by which, in the Eumenides, Aeschylus (by no means an isolated example) proves of how much less consequence the mother is than the father, in order to recognize the insulting contempt with which Greek civilization on the whole looked down upon women. ”17 part iii. the system in the bismarck period Lotze’s student Carl Stumpf, the later eminent Berlin psychologist, offers a telling glimpse into his teacher’s lecture hall, where generations of students took notes: Lotze almost always had two large lectures (in earlier years even three) per semester, mostly one in the morning, one in the afternoon.
In physiology, he described middle-range mechanisms of instinct and drive. In psychology, he elucidated functions of perception, cognition, and will in terms of bodily movements and intentions, such as responsibility in crime or beneﬁcence. In aesthetics, he coined the concept of empathy for those emotions that we experience as we feel our way into a work of art. 13 During 1856 to 1864, with ﬁve textbooks in medicine and philosophy behind him, he composed The Microcosm – An Essay concerning Humans and Their Relation to the World, which met with tremendous public reception through Russian, Italian, English, and French editions from 1856 to the early 1900s.
Lotze remained cordial with but distant from his brother Robert, an apothecary. 12 A shy family man, he seldom ventured out and preferred to ﬁnd relief in his garden, where he loved to trim the fruit trees. Though infrequently seen at social functions, he and Ferdinande did host his favorite students on Tuesday evenings at a family dinner. Ferdinande died in 1875, and a niece took over his housekeeping. Depressed, he accepted a call to Berlin in 1880, where in 1881 he died at age sixty-four of pneumonia contracted 12 His mother’s request for the pension is found in BH.