Ivan Turgenev  

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"Winter again. The snow is falling in flakes. Superfluous, superfluous. . . . That's a capital word I have hit on. The more deeply I probe into myself, the more intently I review all my past life, the more I am convinced of the strict truth of this expression. Superfluous--that's just it. To other people that term is not applicable, . . . People are bad, or good, clever, stupid, pleasant, and disagreeable; but superfluous . . . no. Understand me, though: the universe could get on without those people too . . . no doubt; but uselessness is not their prime characteristic, their most distinctive attribute, and when you speak of them, the word 'superfluous' is not the first to rise to your lips. But I . . . there's nothing else one can say about me; I'm superfluous and nothing more. A supernumerary, and that's all. Nature, apparently, did not reckon on my appearance, and consequently treated me as an unexpected and uninvited guest. A facetious gentleman, a great devotee of preference, said very happily about me that I was the forfeit my mother had paid at the game of life. I am speaking about myself calmly now, without any bitterness. . . . It's all over and done with!"--The Diary of a Superfluous Man (1850) by Ivan Turgenev

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Ivan Turgenev (1818 - 1883) was a Russian writer known for such novels as Fathers and Sons (1862). He popularized the concept of superfluous man in The Diary of a Superfluous Man (1850).

He also wrote short stories in the fantastique genre, such as "The Dream" and "Phantoms".



Turgenev wrote on themes similar to those found in the works of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, but he did not approve of the religious and moral preoccupations that his two great contemporaries brought to their artistic creation. Turgenev was closer in temperament to his friends Gustave Flaubert and Theodor Storm, the North German poet and master of the novella form who also often dwelt on memories of the past and evoked the beauty of nature. Turgenev's artistic purity made him a favorite of like-minded novelists of the next generation, such as Henry James and Joseph Conrad, both of whom greatly preferred Turgenev to Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. James, who wrote no fewer than five critical essays on Turgenev's work, claimed that "his merit of form is of the first order" (1873) and praised his "exquisite delicacy", which "makes too many of his rivals appear to hold us in comparison by violent means, and introduce us in comparison to vulgar things" (1896). The notoriously critical Vladimir Nabokov praised Turgenev's "plastic musical flowing prose", but criticized his "labored epilogues" and "banal handling of plots." Nabokov stated that Turgenev "is not a great writer, though a pleasant one", and ranked him fourth among nineteenth-century Russian prose writers, behind Tolstoy, Gogol, and Anton Chekhov but ahead of Dostoevsky.

List of works


  • 1857 - Rudin (Рудин); English translation: Rudin (1894)
  • 1859 - Dvoryanskoye Gnezdo (Дворянское гнездо); English translations: Home of the Gentry, A Nest of Gentlefolk, A Nest of Nobles
  • 1860 - Nakanune (Накануне); English translation: On the Eve
  • 1862 - Otzy i Deti (Отцы и дети); English translation: Fathers and Sons
  • 1867 - Dym (Дым); English translation: Smoke
  • 1877 - Nov (Новь); English translation: Virgin Soil

Selected shorter fiction

  • 1850 - Dnevnik Lishnego Cheloveka (Дневник лишнего человека); short story, English translation: The Diary of a Superfluous Man
  • 1852 - Zapiski Okhotnika (Записки охотника); collection of stories, English translations: A Sportsman's Sketches, The Hunter's Sketches
  • 1855 - Yakov Pasynkov (Яков Пасынков); novella
  • 1855 - Faust (Фауст); novella
  • 1858 - Asya (Aся); novella, English translation: Asya
  • 1860 - Pervaia Liubov (Первая любовь); novella, English translation: First Love
  • 1870 - Stepnoy Korol' Lir (Степной король Лир); novella, English translation: King Lear of the Steppes
  • 1872 - Veshnie Vody (Вешние воды); English translation: Torrents of Spring
  • 1881 - Pesn' Torzhestvuyushey Lyubvi (Песнь торжествующей любви); novella, English translation: The Song of Triumphant Love
  • 1883 - Klara Milich (Клара Милич); novella, English translation: The Mysterious Tales

Selected plays

  • 1843 - Neostorozhnost (Неосторожность); A Rash Thing to Do
  • 1847 - Gde Tonko Tam i Rvetsya (Где тонко, там и рвется)
  • 1849/1856 - Zavtrak u Predvoditelia (Завтрак у предводителя)
  • 1850/1851 - Razgovor na Bol'shoi Doroge (Разговор на большой дороге); A Conversation on the Highway
  • 1846/1852 - Bezdenezh'e (Безденежье)
  • 1851 - Provintsialka (Провинциалка); English translation: The Provincial Lady
  • 1857/1862 - Nakhlebnik (Нахлебник); English translation: The Hanger-On; Fortune's Fool; The Family Charge
  • 1855/1872 - Mesiats v Derevne (Месяц в деревне); English translation: A Month in the Country
  • 1882 - Vecher v Sorrento (Вечер в Сорренто); An Evening in Sorrento

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Ivan Turgenev" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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