Chernyshevskij was also a supporter of women's rights
. In the utopian society
of Что делать
, or [What is to be done?
), women have equal rights with men.
An example of Chernyshevskij's boundless optimism, from Chto delat' (tr. Michael R. Katz):
"Life's great happiness resides in my sister, the goddess," says the elder sister. "But you see that every kind of happiness exists here, whatever anyone desires. Everyone lives as he desires; each and every person has complete will, yes, free will.
"What we've shown you will not soon reach its full development in the form that you've just seen. Many generations will pass before everything which you can now forsee is to be fully realized. . . . Tell everyone that the future will be radiant and beautiful. Love it, strive toward it, work for it, bring it nearer, transfer into the present as much as you can from it. To the extent that you succeed in doing so, your life will be bright and good, rich in joy and pleasure. Strive toward it, work for it, bring it nearer, transfer into the present as much as you can from it.''
Dostoyevskij's Записки из подполъия (Zapiski iz podpol'ia, Notes from the Underground) was written as a response to Chto delat'. Dostoyevskij saw Chernyshevsky's utopian `Crystal Palace' as stripping humanity of its dignity and free will. Christianity was, to Dostoyevskij, infinitely preferable to socialist utopia. Unfortunately, the chapter of Zapiski iz podpol'ia that offerred Christianity as an alternative to socialism was heavily censored (it was viewed as blasphemy, given the depravity of Dostoyevskij's underground man, who offers the suggestion), and the manuscript does not survive.