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Turgenev’s birth anniversary

28 October 2013

Ivan Turgenev (Иван Тургенев) was a Russian writer, a founder of the Russian realistic novel. He ranks as one of the greatest stylists in Russian literature. Today we celebrate his birth anniversary.

Turgenev was a key figure of the 19th century. He knew and often fought with almost every important figure in his homeland. He was also the first Russian author to establish a European reputation. Indeed, he travelled a lot and studied in many place throughout Russia and Europe, most notably the Universities of St. Petersburg and Berlin.

His short story collection Hunter’s Sketches (Записки охотника) is a milestone of Russian realism. Those stories appeared at frequent intervals during the middle of the 19th century. Once published together in book form, the short stories resonated through Russia and created a revulsion against the institution of serfdom. The sketches angered the government, and Turgenev was arrested because of his political views.

He was a severe critic of Russian society, and his novel Fathers and Sons (Отцы и дети) addressed problems such as the growing divide between the two generations of Russians and the nihilist movement. The novel is regarded as one of the major works of the 19th century. Turgenev died in 1883, and after a huge ceremony in Paris, his internment in St. Petersburg became an occasion for national mourning.

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