assistant professor (Privaldocent) in the University of Moscow, a position which he did nothold for long, being of a character to which freedom of action was essential.Two subsequent years were spent in foreign travel, when he visited England. Upon hisreturn he was appointed a member of the committee of popular education.His activity as a lecturer dates from that appointment, and for the next four or five yearsSoloviev was engaged in lecturing on various philosophicalBIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE ixand literary topics, such as "the Science of Religion" and "the Literary Movement of theNineteenth Century." His most notable work, "The Criticism of Abstract Ideas," and hismemorable address in condemnation of capital punishment both belong to this period.In 1882, however, Soloviev relinquished the burden of a public career and gave up lecturingin order to devote himself wholly to literature and science. His restless and moodydisposition, aggravated by habits of personal negligence and asceticism, made fixity of allkinds irksome, and he became a wanderer, residing sometimes in Moscow, sometimes in St.Petersburg, roaming from one country estate to another seeking by change of scene andcompanionship to keep despondency at bay.Monasticism appealed strongly to Soloviev. The physical aspects of human existencearoused his contempt and aversion, and material comforts and pleasures were at all timesmatters of indifference to him. For months together he would lead the life of a recluse,cutting himself off entirely from the outside world. At such times he spent whole nights inwriting and meditation, depriving himself of sleep and nourishment. Unhappily, his bodywas not slow to retaliate and assert its right to consideration. The greatest of Russianphilosophers died on the thirty-first of July, 1900, at the premature age of forty-seven.x SOLOVIEVThe full scope of Soloviev's philosophy cannot be traced within the limits of a prefatorynote, but his life-work may be summed up in his own words as "a free inquiry into thefoundations of human knowledge, life, and activity." At the same time, a close study of hiswritings reveals him as an idealist, a theologian, and a mystic. His ideal was the Christianone of love and self-denial, of universal brotherhood as against Slavophilism. Of patriotismin the narrow sense he became the violent opponent, attacking the Slavophil writer,Danilevsky, with impassioned eloquence, though, on the other hand, he felt unable toaccept the doctrine of Tolstoy, which preaches the non-resistance of evil. To refute thatdoctrine, and emphasise the imminence of the struggle which he foresaw between East andWest, Soloviev wrote the " Three Discussions," which were published in 1899 and 1903.