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“A Month In The Country”

By Ivan Turgenev

Jenna Miller, Natalie Pinkston and Omri Rosenzwieg

Turgenev’s Life:

Turgenev was born into an old and wealthy family at Oryol, Russia, in the area of Russia that would later become The Ukraine, on October 28, 1818. His father Sergei Nikolaevich Turgenev, the colonel of a cavalry regiment, died when he was sixteen, leaving Turgenev and his brother Nicholas to be brought up under the care of their abusive mother, Varvara Petrovna Lutovinova, who owned large estates and many serfs. After the normal schooling for a child of a gentleman's family, Turgenev studied for a year at the University of Moscow, then the University of St Petersburg focusing on the classics, Russian literature and philology. He was finally sent in 1838 to the University of Berlin to study philosophy (mostly Hegel) and history. Turgenev was impressed with the more modern society he witnessed in Western Europe, and went back home a "Westernizer", as opposed to a "Slavophile", believing that Russia could improve itself by imitating the West and abolishing outdated institutions such as serfdom.

A family serf read to him verses from the Rossiad of Kheraskov, a celebrated poet of the eighteenth century. Turgenev's early attempts in literature, poems and sketches, had indications of genius and were favorably spoken of by Belinsky, then the leading Russian critic. During the latter part of his life, Turgenev did not reside much in Russia; he lived either at Baden-Baden or Paris, often in proximity to the family of the celebrated singer Pauline Garcia-Viardot, with whom he had a life-long affair. Turgenev never married, although he had a daughter with one of his family's serfs. Tall and broad, Turgenev's personality was timid, restrained and soft-spoken. His closest literary friend was Gustave Flaubert. His relations with his other literary friends, Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky were often strained as the latter two were slavophils, clashing with Turgenev's ideas. His rocky friendship with Tolstoy in 1861 wrought such animosity that Tolstoy challenged Turgenev to a duel, afterwards apologizing. The two were silent with one another for 17 years. Dostoevsky parodied Turgenev in his 1872 novel, Demons through the character of the novelist, Karamazinov. In 1880, though at Dostoevsky's famous speech at the

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