Turgenev: The Man, His Art and His Age

By Avrahm Yarmolinsky | Go to book overview

9
BELINSKY'S DISCIPLE

It was during the second winter after Turgenev's return from Germany that he became acquainted with Belinsky. "Fierce Vissarion" had a maternal tenderness for fledgling talents. He greeted Parasha with an enthusiastic review. Its author, he wrote, was "the child of our time, carrying within his breast all its sorrows and problems." Turgenev spent the summer of 1844 as Belinsky's neighbor in a suburb of the capital, and the two became close friends.

They met almost daily. In the pungent twilight of the pine grove the tall, bulky figure might be seen marching beside the slight, stoop-shouldered one, or both would curl up on the moss to finger the dry needles and talk and talk. Turgenev was keyed up by the excited voice, the gestures of the small, fine hands. He was proud to be able to satisfy the hungry curiosity of his companion, who could learn the last word on German metaphysics only by report. Belinsky was a critic of letters, though obliquely also a critic of life. Turgenev, even if only the author of certain slight lyrics and a solider narrative in verse, was a literary aspirant. It is hard to imagine that they failed to talk shop. One must be a craftsman, of course; one must remember that literature is as autonomous as the other arts and, like them, the domain of spontaneity and freedom. And yet one must ask of every literary work to what extent it speaks for its age and what it contributes, however indirectly, to the solution of contemporary problems. Turgenev, as he watched his friend's features grow a pale blur in the dusk, adored his stern mind, felt himself poor, unworthy, unaccomplished, dreamed of turning a new leaf. Those were the days when he wanted each moment of his life to be "significant," as he admitted later, adding: "A daring and hardly sinless desire!"

-74-

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Turgenev: The Man, His Art and His Age
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Preface To The First Edition ix
  • Contents xi
  • Errata xiv
  • Illustrations xv
  • 1 - In Which a Russian Is Scratched 3
  • 2 - "Shades of The Prison-House" 9
  • 3 - "The American" 18
  • 4 - Adolescence 26
  • 5 - The Immaculately Conceived 33
  • 6 - "The Sphere Of The Ideal" 42
  • 7 - Love, Carnal And Spiritual 52
  • 8- The Poet 61
  • 9 - Belinsky's Disciple 74
  • 10 - November First, Eighteen Forty-Three 81
  • 11 - The Dark Lady 90
  • 12 - "I Am Chained To The Earth" 101
  • 13 - "Bonne Nuit, Maman" 110
  • 14 - The Crown of Martyrdom 120
  • 15 - The Turning Of the Road 128
  • 16 - "The Only Woman" 139
  • 17 - Folly's Due 154
  • 18- A Nest of Gentlefolk 164
  • 19 - On the Eve 173
  • 20 - The Nihilists 182
  • 21 - Freedom 191
  • 22 - Fathers and Children 200
  • 23 - Different Clay 210
  • 24 - "I Am a European" 221
  • 25 - "Dearest, Dearest . . ." 231
  • 26 - The Baden Nest 241
  • 27 - Smoke 250
  • 28 - The Expatriate 258
  • 29 - Meek Pagan And 268
  • 30 - Thirty Devonshire Place 279
  • 31 - The French Home 291
  • 32 - Virgin Soil 302
  • 33 - A Marriage of Souls 314
  • 34 - Paris: Friends and Strangers 324
  • 35 - "Au Revoir in America!" 336
  • 36 - The Return Of the Native 347
  • 37 - Reconciliation 361
  • 38 - Phoenix Love 370
  • 39 - "Time to Take Leave" 380
  • Bibliographical Note 393
  • Chronology 396
  • Index 399
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