The reception of Ivan Turgenev in the West in the XIX century

Dear teacher,

Twice I tried in vain to catch you at home and finally decided to write to you. I can not wait to tell you how deeply I admire how infinitely novel Virgin Soil, which you were good enough to send me.

This is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful books I've ever read, and it was particularly struck me with his calm and wise insight into the essence of things and people. You give us a taste of what is Russian people, his character, his natural qualities of the mind, and we live up to the last page, as it were in an atmosphere of Russia.

Thank you, dear teacher. I remain deeply and respectfully yours truly.

Letter from Guy de Maupassant Ivan Turgenev Paris, May 12, 1877.


Turgenev's house in France

Most of the books were created by Ivan Turgenev at home and, above all, a pretty heart-writer Spassky Lutovinovo. Native soil as it fueled his creativity, despite the seemingly unfavorable socio-political conditions, and in some ways in spite of them. "There is no happiness outside the country — said the writer — each putting down roots in their native land …"

Such a sincere statement does not contradict the fact that a considerable part of his life, Turgenev spent abroad, mostly in France. Patriotic feelings are inextricably linked with the passionate desire of good and better life for the people, did not leave the writer, neither Russia nor abroad. Well said about Paris and Bougival guest and admirer of Turgenev, the American writer Henry James. One of those conversations everlasting Turgenev, recalled an American, "was his own country, his hopes and fears for its future.

The received with great respect as "the, rather, as a" master "in the Parisian literary and artistic circles, Ivan Sergeyevich was particularly fond of social events close to him in the spirit of the writers. Initially, these meetings were called "lunch booed authors," then "five lunches" or "lunch Flaubert." Apart from Turgenev and Flaubert in these literary "rendezvous" participated Emile Zola, Edmond de Goncourt and Alphonse Daudet. "We sat at the table at seven o'clock in the evening, and at two o'clock in the morning meal is still going on — remember Daudet. — Flaubert and Zola were shooting jackets, Turgenev stretched on Divinil. We showed the door Garson … and talked about literature … We talked with an open mind, without flattery, without mutual admiration. "

In addition to these names in the extensive correspondence Turgenev's most frequently featured by Guy de Maupassant, George Sand, a young Anatole France.

The authority of the famous Russian writer huge. In 1878, held in Paris at the International Congress of Writers Turgenev was elected vice-chairman. Presides over this forum Victor Hugo.

Very calm and philosophical sensing his popularity, Turgenev did everything possible to make the best product of its Russian colleagues became known to French readers and French — Russian. The author of "Fathers and Sons" on the right is the first after the Russian culture in France and England.

In the second half of the XIX century, it was represented by Ivan Turgenev "face" of Russian literature in France and in England. Neither Russian writer did not cause so much attention criticism, newspapers and magazines, was not translate with such regularity as Turgenev. It can be argued that the serious development of Russian literature in France and England started with Turgenev.

Major Paris and London newspapers and magazines ("Revue de Deux Mondes," "Frezers Magazine" Dickensian "Hauskhold vedz", etc.) in the 1850's 60's regularly publish new translations of Turgenev. In 1858 he published a new, authorized translation into French of "Sketches", created a literary critic Henri-Hippolyte DeLavey. Translators were Turgenev P. Merimee (translated in 1863, "Fathers and Sons", a translation was edited by Turgenev), L. Viardot, Durand-Greville, E. de Pori, etc. Some translations into French were made by Turgenev.

Translators Turgenev in England in the XIX century were W. Ralston, C. Turner, E. Dilke and others Rolston and Turner made the first translation from Russian: Ralston in 1869, published his translation of the "Noble Nest", which was released under the name "Lisa '; Turner in 1877 published a translation of the novel "The day before". However, the full artistic works of Turgenev into English in the XIX century and has not been translated. This credit belongs to the famous English translator Constance Garnett, which has made a special contribution to the introduction of English reading public with Turgenev and became the turn of the XIX-XX centuries, the author of the classic and the best translation of Turgenev in English. K. Garnett has transferred all of the novels of the writer, his novels and short stories, as well as several plays and poems in prose.

Turgenev acquaintance with England took place ten years later than with France. First the writer came to England in 1857, Turgenev later repeatedly visited England and met with well-known English writers like Thomas Carlyle, George Eliot, A. Tennyson, received an honorary doctorate from Oxford University. In 1870, with the start of the Franco-Prussian War of Turgenev moved to London. In 1875 in Paris, the personal acquaintance with Turgenev, Henry James, who would become one of the most active promoters of creativity Russian writer in England, where the American writer went from the end of 1876

In the 1883 essay "Ivan Turgenev" published by Guy de Maupassant. This lively, emotional response to the death of the writer, which Maupassant was familiar and whose student called himself (when creating the story "Mademoiselle Cocotte" Maupassant borrowed a number of situations and motives of "Mumu" Turgenev.). During the life of Turgenev Maupassant dedicated to him his collection of short stories "restaurant Tellier," which he prefaced the inscription "Ivan Turgenev — a tribute to the deep affection and great admiration."

Ivan Turgenev I saw for the first time at the Gustave Flaubert.

The door opened. Entered giant. The big man with a silver head, as they would say in a fairy tale. He had long gray hair, bushy gray eyebrows and a big white beard, cast in silver, and in this sparkling white snow — good quiet person with a bit of strong features. It was the head Stream, flowing its waters, or, even more accurately, the head of the Eternal Father …

Sometimes, wanting to give expression to his thoughts precise French word, he stuttered, but always found it amazingly true … It is wonderfully told by telling the most insignificant fact of artistic value and the kind of entertaining, but his love is not so much for the higher mind, but for some touching naivety and ability to wonder around. And he, in fact, was incredibly naive, this brilliant novelist, traveled all over the world, who knew all the great men of his age, having read all that only people able to read and speak all the languages of Europe as freely as their mother …

It is possible that its extreme frankness and great innate goodness offended when confronted with rudeness, hypocrisy and depravity of human nature, while his mind in moments of solitary reflection at the desk, on the contrary helped him to comprehend the life and penetrate it to its very shameful caches, just as observed from the window of the street scene without taking part in them.

It was a simple man, kind and straight to the bone, he was charming, like no one betrayed, as it is now no longer know how to be, and loyal to his friends — dead and alive.

His literary opinions were the more value and significance that it does not simply express a judgment with the limited and specific point of view, which we all adhere to, but spent a kind of comparison between all the literatures of all peoples of the world that he knew thoroughly, thereby expanding, their field observations and comparing the two books that appeared at the two ends of the globe and written in different languages.

Despite his age and had almost finished writing career, he followed in the literature regarding the most modern and most advanced views, rejecting all the old forms of the novel, which was built on intrigue, drama and skillful combinations, requiring that give "life", but life — " pieces of life "without intrigue and adventure of rough …

This is not the place to analyze the work of this remarkable man, who remains one of the greatest geniuses of Russian literature. Along with the poet Pushkin, whom he passionately admired, along with the poet and novelist Gogol, Lermontov, he will always be one of those to whom Russia should be required deep and eternal gratitude: for he left it to the people something immortal and invaluable — their art, stunning works that precious and everlasting glory, which is above every other glory! People like him do for his country more than people like Prince Bismarck: they courted the love of noble minds in the world …

On the death of Turgenev responded prominent representatives of French culture: E. Renan, M. de Vogue, P. Bourget. However, shortly after the death of the great writer of his place in the French cultural consciousness as the representative of the "mysterious Russian soul" took Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Indicative in this respect, an entry in the "Diary" by E. de Goncourt on October 10, 1887, where he talks about his dispute with Flaubert over the works of Turgenev. Goncourt believed that the image lacks the barbaric Russian Turgenev, bright colors, that he failed to show the "primitive crudeness of his country." Flaubert insisted on the right image of Russian national character in Turgenev. "From that time on the novels of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and others, I think, proved that I was right <…>".

However, this change in attitude to Turgenev in France did not prevent M. de Vogue, in his famous book "Russian Romance" (1886) devote a separate chapter. In Turgenev Vogue saw the largest Russian writer "who managed to be Russian, not breaking with the West, a realist, leaves no worries about the form and strive for the ideal."

Following writers and literary critics c 1890s came a steady interest in Turgenev and the French academic environment. The famous Slavic Louis Leger included a section on Turgenev in his anthology "Russian Literature" (1892). Literary critic Emile Oman, the author of the critical-biographical sketch "Ivan Turgenev" (1906), believed that Turgenev helped turn in the cultural relations between Russia and Europe, thanks to that Turgenev "Russia has established itself as an inalienable place in the intellectual life of Europe".

Longer and more complex than in France, was the way Turgenev to the English reader. The trend towards cultural isolationism left a mark on the perception of Turgenev in England through most of XIX century. Condescending attitude of the British critics and most of the literary elite to new phenomena and trends in the European (including Russian) literature led to superficial perception of creativity Turgenev in England until nearly the end of the XIX century.

The first significant in terms of the essay "The works of Ivan Turgenev" in England was published in the "British Quarterly Review &#39;for 1869 (vol. 50, p. 423-447). Its author — a literary critic and translator Charles Turner spent many years in Russia, was a professor of English at the University of St. Petersburg, an excellent knowledge of Russian language. In 1890, he published his second book of Russian literature (the first "Sketches of Russian literature" was published in 1882 and covered the period from Lomonosov to Nekrasov) "Modern Russian novelists", which, along with the heads of Goncharov, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Korolenko and Garshin, became the head of Turgenev. Chapter provides an analytical overview of Russian art of the writer. Turner focuses on the novels of Turgenev, leaving in the shadow of "Notes of a Hunter" and "Poems in Prose." A significant part of the review — a characteristic of six novels by Russian writer ("Rudin", "Gentry", "eve", "Fathers and Sons", "smoke", "Virgin Soil") that in the aggregate, according to Turner, "give overall picture of the most critical moment of the history of modern Russia ". Turner notes that Turgenev — the only Russian writer who has acquired a pan-European fame. However, the success of the writer in Russia Turner explains that he is among the writers of his generation, was the most striking and consistent follower Pushkin tradition in Russian literature

However, the intensity of the following translation of the English translation of Turgenev was no less than their French counterparts (especially thanks to the selfless work of Constance Garnett). In any case, England was already by 1922 had a full collection of prose Turgenev, while in France it was not even in 1935

Different algorithm was Turgenev&#39;s perception of creativity in the two countries. In France, the peak of fame Turgenev was in the 1870s, and after his death (1883), his place of greatest representative of Russian literature in the minds of the French quickly occupied the others (particularly Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky.) In England, on the contrary, it is the 1880-90s was the peak of interest in the works of Turgenev, the pessimistic tone which, in some respects, the proximity to the felt in the years flourishing Impressionism did Russian writer in tune with the new ideological and artistic aspirations of late Victorian England.


See also: 

On the influence of Dostoevsky by Ryunosuke Akutagawa ("father" of the Japanese short story)

Nietzsche by Dostoevsky

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