Biography of Ivan Turgenev:
(1818-1883) Russian writer. Ivan Turgenev was a recognized 19th-century novelist, playwright and poet, though he was not as famous as his contemporaries, Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Despite the fact that his works are not as popular or as well-read as those of Tolstoy
and Dostoevsky, he made a valuable contribution to 19th century Russian literature.
Ivan Turgenev Birth & Childhood:
Ivan Turgenev was born on November 9, 1818, in Oryol, the Ukraine region of Russia. His family was wealthy, but his mother was tyrannical and abusive. He attended normal school, then studied in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Berlin.
Ivan Turgenev Death:
Ivan Turgenev died on September 3, 1883 in Bougival, France, which is near Paris. He was buried in Volkoff Cemetery, in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Ivan Turgenev Marriage/Relationships:
Ivan Turgenev had affairs with several servants, which produced an illegitimate daughter. He never married, but he had a relationship with Pauline Garcia Viardot, a singer. He lived near Viardot and her husband for much of the rest of his life.
Ivan Turgenev Achievements:
Unlike his contemporaries, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
, Ivan Turgenev was not interested in religious matters. He focused on social issues. His most well-known works include: "Sportsman's Sketches" (1852), "Fathers and Sons" (1862), and "Virgin Soil." "Sportsman's Sketches," in particular brought him acclaim, and has been compared to Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin." Other works about Russian peasants included the short stories: "A Month in the Country" and "Khor and Kalinich."
Ivan Turgenev Occupations:
Ivan Turgenev worked for the Russian civil service until he experienced some writing success.
Ivan Turgenev Quotes:
"A nihilist is a man who does not bow to any authorities, who does not take any principle on trust, no matter with what respect that principle is surrounded."
- "Fathers and Sons"
"He's a splendid man, I tell you! Why, think of it! here is a man with ideals, and no nonsense about him; educated and from the people, simple, yet all there . . . What more do you want?"
- "Virgin Soil"
More Quotes from Ivan Turgenev:
"A bright spring day was fading into evening. High overhead in the clear heavens small rosy clouds seemed hardly to move across the sky but to be sinking into its depths of blue."
- "A House of Gentlefolk"
"Death is like a fisherman, who, having caught a fish in his net, leaves it in the water for a time; the fish continues to swim about, but all the while the net is round it, and the fishermen will snatch it out in his own good time."
- "On the Eve"
Ivan Turgenev More Biography:
Turgenev's major work, "Sportsman's Sketches," which is a short story cycle, is credited for revolutionizing the serfdom system in Russia. He freed his own serfs, and the book is said to have influenced Czar Alexander II to do the same. He was persecuted for his writings, and even was put under house arrest for more than a year.
After the poor reception of his book, "Father and Sons" (1862), Turgenev left Russia and lived in Germany, England, and France. He also developed a close friendship with Gustave Flaubert, to whom he once wrote: "On certain days I feel crushed by this burden. It seems to me that I have no more marrow in my bones, and I carry on like an old post horse, worn out but courageous."