Remember that vain, silly-old man Karmazinov from Dostoevsky's Demons? Well, now we're going to read a novel by the REAL Karmazionv: Ivan Turgenev. This book is called Rudin and it is Ivan's first book. During the last discussion I mentioned how there isn't one beautiful sentence in all of Demons and that it took 120 pages before Doy even referenced nature, weather, seasons, setting, etc. Check out the first lines of Rudin:
It was a quiet summer morning. The sun was already fairly high in a clear sky; but the fields still glistened with dew, from newly awakened hollows rose a fragrant freshness and in the wood-land, still damp and unrustling, there could be heard the gay sound of early birdsong. On the summit of a gentle hill...
Unlike Tolstoy and Doy, Turg was not religious. He was a nihilist...and is most known for his book Fathers and Sons...the nihilist manifesto at the time. I find it interesting/telling that a man who didn't believe in God could find nature so fascinating, beautiful, and worthy of writing about...compared to his more spiritual, literary-contemporaries. He remained a bachelor all his life. (And he wrote frequently about love). I, personally, like him better than Tolstoy and Doy, and believe he is under-appreciated when Russian literature is discussed.
He spoke spanish and was a huge fan of don quixote and Hamlet. A theme with Turg throughout his work is the "superfluous man" which I've read he begins to work out in this first book. Other themes are lost love and lost youth.
Another famous book of his called "A Sportsman Sketches" has been said to have played a major part in the emancipation of the serfs. (Jake Barnes in the Sun Also Rises was also reading this book at one point while he was hammered). The book also contains some of the best descriptions of nature I have ever read. Some of his other books, Diary of a Superfluous Man, Spring Torrents, First Love are some of the best novels I ever read....and a similarity amongst all of them is that the last few pages of each blew me out of the water with some powerful, soul-shaking insights and truth. We'll see if he does it again.
I'm looking forward to seeing where Turg got his start and where he came from with his first novel. See everybody in a month.