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Home of the Gentry (Penguin Classics) Paperback – June 30, 1970


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (June 30, 1970)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140442243
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140442243
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Russian (translation)

About the Author

Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev was born in 1818 in the Province of Orel, and suffered during his childhood from a tyrannical mother. After the family had moved to Moscow in 1827 he entered Petersburg University where he studied philosophy. When he was nineteen he published his first poems and, convinced that Europe contained the source of real knowledge, went to the University of Berlin. After two years he returned to Russia and took his degree at the University of Moscow. In 1843 he fell in love with Pauline Garcia-Viardot, a young Spanish singer, who influenced the rest of his life; he followed her on her singing tours in Europe and spent long periods in the French house of herself and her husband, both of whom accepted him as a family friend. He sent his daughter by a sempstress to be brought up among the Viardot children. After 1856 he lived mostly abroad, and he became the first Russian writer to gain a wide reputation in Europe; he was a well-known figure in Parisian literary circles, where his friends included Flaubert and the Goncourt brothers, and an honorary degree was conferred on him at Oxford. His series of six novels reflect a period of Russian life from 1830s to the 1870s: they are Rudin (1855), A House of Gentlefolk (1858), On the Eve (1859; a Penguin Classic), Fathers and Sons (1861), Smoke (1867) and Virgin Soil (1876). He also wrote plays, which include the comedy A Month in the Country; short stories and Sketches from a Hunter’s Album (a Penguin Classic); and literary essays and memoirs. He died in Paris in 1883 after being ill for a year, and was buried in Russia.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By "sologub" on March 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
All congenitally melancholy souls will love this novel, where intense romantic and spiritual conflicts unfold in the dreamlike setting of a nineteenth century Russian estate. This is a beautifully written, extremely lyrical work...it will especially appeal to devotees of Romantic piano music. The final few paragraphs are unforgettable and heartbreaking. I consider Home of the Gentry to be the most quintessentially "Turgenevian" of all the author's works. I have read the novel many times, and I never tire of it. If you are new to nineteenth century Russian literature, this is a good work with which to start. The novel is not long, and most chapters are quite short. Each one stands like a perfect little jewel, and many passages will remain in your memory for a long time. Like most Russian novels of the period, Home of the Gentry is a novel of ideas. Your reading will be enhanced if you have some background in the cultural dynamics of the period and understand the intellectual caste to which the protagonist belongs - he is a "superfluous man," and his conflicted ideological stance relates directly to issues that were intensely debated in the 1840s. Although knowing something about this situation is helpful, I imagine that even those readers who have no prior knowledge of the period will enjoy the work immensely. If nothing else, Turgenev's elegiac portrayal of the Russian countryside is unrivaled....even Tolstoy cannot match Turgenev's affecting depictions of the land itself. Freeborn's translation reads smoothly, and there is a helpful introductory essay in this edition.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 19, 1997
Format: Paperback
Unlike his famous contemporaries Turgenev's writing is not heroic and it's not full of pathos.Home Of The Gentry is a sensitive 'quiet' novel, the characters are portreyed delicately with an impossible combination of cynicism and true love for humen nature. The touching love story is a reward for those who like smart observations and have a real passion for the truely romantic.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Flippy on February 16, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is the archetypal story of the 'homecoming'. Turgenev captures the pathos and longing of returning. Where Tolstoy is the master of the epic, the great renouncer of sex and lust, Russia's prophet, Turgenev is the poet of landscapes, emotions, quiet moods and unfulfilled love. When you read Tolstoy, you can feel his brooding presence in the pages of his stories; with Turgenev, it is a bit more solemn, modest and melancholic. He is the wistful Russia, a thinker, a romantic. When the large tempos of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky overtake you, turn to Turgenev and appreciate his brief glimpses of beauty. First Love, On The Eve and A Month in the Country are also equally rewarding.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. Wayne Swenson on October 2, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you enjoy Ivan Turgenev's storytelling, then this poignant novel is a must! One of Turgenev's more unsettling works, "Home of the Gentry" is a touching tale of life's harder side. The triumphs and travails of each character are described with poetic Turgenev flair. The mistakes and flaws of each character painfully haunt throughout this engrossing tale. I described this as one of Turgenev's more unsettling novels because of the endings to his life sketches for so many characters in the novel. Likewise, he wonderfully contrasts the difficulty of growing old, with the mistakes of your past front and center, against the yet unblemished grandeur of exuberant youth! He does it so well that I found it a bit personally unsettling. In short, this story powerfully resonates with the struggles of our own lives! A wonderful, feeling novel which I highly recommend. It is not, however, a classical fairy tale story! Nonetheless, it is arguably just as beautiful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
Turgenev's second novel is indeed closest to the ideal of pure Turgenev, certainly reminiscent of his dramatic work, depicting the lives of the gentry, Russian society and family relationships, while maintaining a humanistic stance towards the circumstances of the peasantry, all with a deep connection and love for the country and the landscape itself. It's even initially staged like one of Turgenev's dramas, each of the principal characters making their walk-on entrances at the Kalitin household, but Turgenev novelistically fills out the relevant background detail of a number of the characters with depth and precision.

It's at the Kalitin household that Lavretsky, on his way back home to his estate after the break up of his marriage in Europe, calls in on his relatives and falls in love with his cousin Liza Mikhaylovna. Liza is however being courted by an important but dull government official who Lavretsky feels is unworthy of the deeply religious young woman, but Lavretsky's own bad experiences in love and his uncertainty over the position of his ex-wife causes him to hesitate about whether he should declare his feelings to Liza.

For all the humanistic position of Tugenev's work, his superb evocation of the Russian landscape, the circumstances of its people and the gentrification of society towards the European model, Home of the Gentry is more than anything about affairs of the heart. "Another's heart is like a dark forest", the author muses here and perhaps only Chekhov really has the ability to delve there, but Turgenev brilliantly manages to identify how the conflicting emotions between a man and a woman drive one's actions more than any social conscience or lofty ideal, and is without peer in depicting those feelings with truth and beauty in his works (as opposed to Chekhov's darker cynicism). Magnificent.
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