IVAN SERGEEVICH TURGENEV (1818-1883)
a. Mother was arrogant and overbearing.
1. Once sent two peasants to Siberia for neglecting to bow to her.
2. Turgenev referred to mother's side of the family as a bunch of "Borgias."
3. Mother owned 5,000 serfs ("souls").
b. Father was poor but handsome.
1. Turgenevs derive from a Tartar khan named Turga.
2. Father had many affairs: "a mighty hunter before the Lord."
c. Young Ivan
1. French was his first language
2. Entered University of Moscow at 15, then transfers to St. Petersburg University
3. Extremely passive
4. Goes to Germany to study (1838)
a. On voyage there ship caught fire. Turgenev believed to have acted cowardly. Women on the ship were braver. This becomes a theme of his work: Woman's larger courage.
5. Like father
a. Turgenev had many affairs.
b. One fathered a daughter in 1842.
a. Joined Ministry of Interior (1843).
b. Key issue was serfdom.
2. Turgenev the Writer/Thinker
a. Slavophiles vs. Westernizers
1. Slavophiles sought to turn Russia away from Europe.
2. Westernizers saw Europe as progressive and advanced
3. Turgenev's sympathies were with the latter
b. Natural World
1. Nature can be beautiful, but it is mindless and brutal.
a. Image of peace and loveliness.
b. Field of carnage.
c. These contradictory images combine to create an ambivalent mood in his works
3. Nature often responds to and evokes the human feelings of his characters
1. "I like to look at the others shouting."
2. Microscopic view of people
3. Famous Works
a. A Sportsman's Sketches (A Hunter's Notebook)
1. Literary fame (1852)
2. First book to treat serfs as human beings.
3. "The Singers."
a. ex. of objective realism
4. Book is given credit for helping to change the atmosphere about serfs. In this light it is similar to Uncle Tom's Cabin.
b. "Hamlet and Don Quixote"
1. Mankind is divided into Hamlets and Don Quixotes.
2. Hamlet: skeptic, too much thought, cherishes own ego, finds nothing to value wholeheartedly.
3. Don Quixote: boundless faith and devotion to an ideal, man of action with single-mindedness, complete enthusiast.
4. Turgenev admired Don Quixote, but was himself more like Hamlet.
c. Fathers and Children (Fathers and Sons). 1862
a. They questioned accepted beliefs and opinions, worshiped science.
b. "What can be smashed should be smashed; what will stand the blow is good, what will fly to smithereens is rubbish; at any rate, hit out right and left--no harm will or can come of it"
c. Turgenev brought the term "nihilist" to fame
2. Initial idea came in chance meeting with doctor.
a. Saw doctor as a "type" that didn't exist in lit.