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Home of the Gentry (Penguin Classics) Paperback – June 30, 1970
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have thought for some time that the flaws of a masterpiece are its most endearing features. Turgenev appears to write spontaneously without reading what he has written just a... Read morePublished on December 5, 2013 by Adam B. Ritchie Jr.
Russian names are sometimes confusing but this story held my interest from start to fiinish,however I would not rush to read more by this authorPublished on July 9, 2013 by grace dow
As an avid reader of Russian fiction (in translation), I found the first 3/4 of this book to be exceptionally uneventful and uninteresting. Read morePublished on June 13, 2013 by Steve R. Marquardt
A very hard to find Turganev novel. Everyone should read him. One of the best Russian writers of all timePublished on December 20, 2012 by Tom Bloom
Already in his thirties, Lavretsky returns to his hometown of O... in Russia. He descends form a strange family of landed gentry. Read morePublished on July 21, 2009 by Guillermo Maynez