Turgenev: The Man, His Art and His Age

By Avrahm Yarmolinsky | Go to book overview

28
THE EXPATRIATE

"I understand very well that my remaining abroad hurts my literary work, hurts it so much that it may put an end to it; but this cannot be changed." Thus Turgenev, writing from Karlsruhe in 1869. And again, from Baden the same year: "Every day I see more clearly that torn away from one's native soil one cannot keep on writing. It is time for me to retire." And ten years later, from Paris: ". . . You can write well only if you live in a Russian village. There the air is thick with ideas. . . . Here you remember the past, and nothing alive and vital can come of it." He would sometimes take refuge from remorse or reproach behind his flaunted senility: it didn't matter in what part of the world a superannuated man chose his ingle-nook; of what importance was it if his silence began a little while before death sealed his lips forever? And then he would submit that if he had remained at home, it would have been another story. "I am ready to allow," he wrote in 1871, "that the talent Nature gave me has not lessened, but I have nothing to apply it to. The voice is there, but there aren't any songs to sing." Living abroad as he did, he had nothing, he complained, to write about. In the meantime, he went on writing.

After the publication of Smoke, his name appeared mostly under shorter pieces, either stories or sketches much in his early manner. He adjusted himself to what he felt to be expatriation not by turning to account the immediate experiences with which life abroad furnished him, but rather by drawing upon his recollection of experiences at home. A reminiscential strain is the hallmark of the greater part of the work of his last fifteen years. "The Brigadier" ( 1868) deals with matters of "thirty years ago"; the occurrences narrated in "Lieutenant Yergunov" ( 1868) "took place

-258-

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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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