DiscussãoFans of Russian authors

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Out 8, 2006, 6:26 am

I have recently read Home of the Gentry, First Love, Spring Torrents and Fathers and Sons by Turgenev. I have enjoyed them all, particularly Spring Torrents. What other books by Turgenev would you recommend and how would you rate him compared to the likes of Tolstoy?

Dez 11, 2006, 6:25 am

My favourite Russian book so far is Smoke by Turgenev. It restored my faith in the 19th century 'lost-love' book. After reading sooo many ill-fated stories ending horribly like Anna Karenina (suicide) or Tess of the d'Urbervilles (death sentence), it was so refreshing to see a book portray it more realistically. Yes, some people kill themselves or someone else when their lives are torn asunder. But a lot more people adjust their expectations and get on with life.

Comparing to Tolstoy, he's not as wordy....his books are not Tomes like Tolstoy's are. As you can tell above, I find him less "high and mighty" or judgmental than Tolstoy (it's obvious in AK for example that Tolstoy does not approve of adultery, hence the horrible punishment he metes out to it's praciticioners)...he seems to come more from a working class background which in Russia back then would have made a lot of difference in how they look at life.

Dez 11, 2006, 8:13 am

Turgenev was actually from a relatively wealthy family, his father was a Colonel in the Russian cavalry, and they were landowners. He spent much of his life in Europe, especially Germany and France, and believed that Russia should be more westernised. This put him into conflict with Tolstoy and Dostoevsky who were 'slavophiles', and believed that Russia's future should find Russian solutions to domestic problems.
What seems incredible now is, that Russian critics of the time did not like Fathers and Sons.

Editado: Mar 10, 2007, 12:42 am

i was fortunate to find a set of all the turgenev prose works translated by constance garnett and my favorites are sportsman's sketches which is said to have led to the emancipation of the serfs, fathers and sons, and spring torrents. However, Rudin and On the Eve are worth reading also to get a sense of his political attitudes. he had an illegitimate daughter by a serf girl, and he had her raised in great comfort supervised by pauline viardot-garcia, the famous singer and his sometime mistress. there is a wonderful biography of turgenev by v.s.pritchett called the gentle barbarian. also, he (turgenevwas a great friend of flaubert.

Mar 10, 2007, 12:46 am

touchstones is screwing up. on the eve is not the seven daughters of eve, it's a novel by turgenev. so also is smoke i cant add more, because my turgenev books are in new york and i am in florida.

Mar 11, 2007, 1:31 am

My favourite is the Sketches from a Hunter's Album /sportsman's sketches (depending on the translation). If you havent read it yet, Fletch_lives, I really recommend it. It gives a fabulous glimpse of 19th Century rural Russia, better than Chekov's short stories, IMHO.
Unfortunately he didn't write that much.

Jul 31, 2008, 8:04 pm

Has anyone read the Rosemary Edmonds’ English translation of Sons and Fathers? I recently learned about the book and just came across a Folio Society edition of the book with her translation. But for I buy it I would like to know if her translation is good, or if I should like for a different translation. Thanks.

Ago 1, 2008, 2:59 am

In addition to the works mentioned so far, Turgenev's play A Month in the Country is well worth reading, and even better to see.

Set 13, 2010, 3:41 am

Another vote for Sketches from a Hunter's Album /sportsman's sketches

Set 13, 2010, 4:39 pm

I've always suggested Turgenev to people who want to start in Russian Literature, he gives you a great sense of the culture and the mindset but he does so in much fewer words. His books are concise and much easier to digest but are still incredibly moving and satisfying. I have several of his books but I know I'm still missing one or two, for example, I don't have Smoke, I've had a hard time finding it. I think On the Eve is one of my favorites, as well as Fathers and Sons but I have yet to read a Turgenev book that I didn't enjoy on some level. His relationship with Tolstoy was quite fascinating. I read a Tolstoy biography that talked about it quite a bit.

Out 25, 2010, 12:30 pm

There was a nice, fresh translation of a group of novellas by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 1968 that I highly recommend. The title is Three novellas: Punin and Baburin, the inn, the watch. No ISBN for some reason.

I have a complete works that is translated by Isabel Hapgood, lots of thou's and thee's unfortunately...but, it is a big set.

Editado: Jun 8, 2016, 5:54 pm

"Turgenev's play A Month in the Country is well worth reading, and even better to see."

Yes, I just read it and watched two productions (in Russian, on YouTube) and was very impressed. Seems to be generally considered his best play.

Jul 26, 2018, 9:38 am

On the other hand, I was not that impressed with Smoke:


Jul 27, 2019, 11:38 am

Dare I confess that I tend to find Turgenev - well, a bit bland...

Jul 28, 2019, 9:17 am

He is, he is! Except in the Sportsman's Sketches. He wasn't a born novelist. (And thanks for commenting; I was about to give up on making posts here, since it felt nobody ever saw them...)

Jul 28, 2019, 7:01 pm

>16 languagehat: I always find your reviews enlightening! Please do keep posting.

>15 kaggsy: I've read both Rudin and Fathers & Sons and liked them both. He is better is shorter works as the philosophy can bog down the characters. That said I found Fathers & Sons revelatory given the historical milieu.

Jul 29, 2019, 10:20 am

Agreed! Do keep posting here please!

And I quite liked Smoke, I confess, although it’s faded a little over time so I certainly wouldn’t class it as one of my great Russian reads. But I am certainly going to give Sketches a go - I have at least one copy somewhere...

Jul 31, 2019, 8:42 am

Oh, I'm not saying he's a bad novelist -- I've enjoyed all those novels. He's just (compared to Tolstoevsky) a bit bland...

And thanks for the encouragement; I'll keep posting here!

Jul 31, 2019, 11:57 am

Yeah, that’s it - Dosty and Tolstoy are never dull whatever else you might say about them (and I *have* had some issues with Tolstoy recently!) 🤣🤣🤣

Editado: Jan 12, 2021, 7:25 am

I'll add another vote to Sketches From a Hunter's Album. It was my introduction to Turgenev and, even after reading a number of other things, still find it my favorite. I think tomcatMurr is exactly right, it gives a vivid, wonderful feel for 19th century rural Russia.

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