The woman question, which produced some of the best polemical writing of the nineteenth century, was an international phenomenon. In the 1850s, in Europe, essays on different sides of the question were written, published, translated, paraphrased, or reacted to, all in short order. Russia soon joined in the debate. The woman question, under different names, had existed previously in Russia, especially during the 1830s when some of the fiction published revealed women as victims of society. But, in the post-Crimean War period, what had been part of a more general preoccupation of Russian liberals, a striving toward general enlightenment, gave rise to a new civic sense of women's role in the general betterment of society and a debate on the education that would be necessary to fulfill that role.