Alongside his friends Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, Turgenev was one of the three great men of the Russian novel's golden age. Fathers and Sons and A Hunter's Notes caused sensations when they were published; by depicting serfs as human beings, the latter was said to have persuaded the Tsar to free them.
Turgenev's private life was, perhaps, as remarkable as his public. For forty years he was passionately devoted to Pauline Viardot, a singer, following her and her husband around Europe.
What, then, did Turgenev mean by the word love?
Robert Dessaix has had his own forty-year relationship with Turgenev and his work, as a student of Russian, as a tutor, and as an old friend. Dessaix has come to see Turgenev's life and work as illustrating a turning point in the history of love, as much as the history of Russia – the moment the Romantic became the Modern, the moment love became sex, and sex became a commodity.
In a truly remarkable work of memoir, literary biography and travel writing – a cultural and physical exploration – Robert Dessaix has found the pulse that quickened Turgenev's age, and that has failed in ours.
- Publication Date:
- 01 / 11 / 2005
- 129 x 198mm