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Encyclopedia > Petrashevsky Circle

The Petrashevsky Circle was a literary discussion group organized by Mikhail Vasilevich Petrashevsky (1819-1867). Like the Lovers of Literature group founded earlier in the century, the purpose of the circle was to discuss Western philosophy (specifically Hegel and others) and literature which was officially banned by the government of Nicholas I. Nicholas, worried that the revolutions of 1848 would spread to Russia, mistook the largely harmless group (which included the famous novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky) for a subversive revolutionary organization. He closed the circle in 1849 and arrested its members.

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