Turgenev and the Context of English Literature, 1850-1900

Turgenev and the Context of English Literature, 1850-1900

Turgenev and the Context of English Literature, 1850-1900

Turgenev and the Context of English Literature, 1850-1900


Turgenev and the Context of English Literature examines the cultural outlook in the Anglo-Saxon world in the second half of the nineteenth century by looking at the reception of Turgenev's work during the period. By analysing the timing and quality of the contemporary English translations of Turgenev's work, and his influence on the work of a number of writers including Henry James and George Gissing, Glyn Turton charts the development of contemporary cultural and moral attitudes.


Perhaps the most rewarding comparisons are those that writers themselves have accepted or challenged their readers to make - those that spring from the ‘the shock of recognition’, where one has become conscious that an affinity exists between another and himself. Henry James felt this about Turgenev, Pound felt it about Propertius, Pushkin about Byron. To explore ‘influence’ here leads quickly into situation, and the reason why the example of one author should mean so much at a particular time and place to another. These are matters of inquiry which have their own clear justification.

(Gifford 1969: 73)

At almost every point, then, comparative literary studies lead over into, or presuppose, studies in cultural history and the history of ideas.

(Prawer 1973: 141)

So much has been written about Turgenev’s impact on the English-speaking world that any additional enquiry into the subject requires particular justification. My own debt to existing scholarship is considerable, and I must acknowledge at the outset the importance of Royal Gettmann’s Turgenev in England and America (1974) and Patrick Waddington’s Turgenev and England (1980). No one writing on Turgenev’s reputation in the West could avoid some reliance upon these two exemplary works of scholarship.

At the same time, the use which I have made of previous studies has been as ‘navigational aids’, directing me to areas of the subject which I believe have been inadequately explored. Gettmann’s work is a history of the critical reception of Turgenev in the West. It deals . . .

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