Turgenev: The Man, His Art and His Age

By Avrahm Yarmolinsky | Go to book overview

37
RECONCILIATION

One May day in 1878 Turgenev received a letter addressed in a handwriting which he had not seen for seventeen years. It was a note in which Tolstoy held out the olive branch. Having just passed through a moral crisis, and feeling himself, since seven times seven years had gone over his head, a new man, he desired reconciliation in a spirit of Christian good will with all whom he had offended or from whom he had suffered offense. He was certain, he wrote, that so kind a man as Turgenev had forestalled him in forgetting their old enmity, and he concluded by declaring his indebtedness to his senior for such fame as he had by then achieved.

This last statement was a gesture of exaggerated humility, and yet Turgenev had done more than Tolstoy perhaps realized to make him known in the West. As the self-appointed promoter of Russian letters abroad, he had interested himself particularly in pushing Tolstoy's work, in spite of his break with the author. When he was informed that the ParisTemps would welcome a contribution from him, he offered the daily a manuscript translation of Tolstoy's Sebastopol Tales, saying that he wasn't worthy to unloose the latchet of this writer's shoes.

Not that his admiration for Tolstoy was unqualified. When the first instalment of War and Peace appeared, he found it dry and dull, the product of a memory that fastened on small, irrelevant details, and full of petty psychologizing which was out of place in a work of epic proportions. The historical element in the novel he characterized as "charlatanry" and "hocus-pocus." By the time the third volume was out he was ready to concede that the book contained passages which would live as long as the Russian language and, indeed, that therewith Tolstoy had moved up to the first place among

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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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