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Rudin by Ivan Turgenev
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Rudin (1856)

by Ivan Turgenev

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Just as with Steve McQueen in 'The Great Escape', we have to wait until a quarter of the story has been told before we meet Rudin, the eponymous protagonist and all-round flawed hero. But the scene is completely stolen by the supporting cast; you finish the book almost wondering if Rudin had been necessary to begin with. ( )
  soylentgreen23 | Aug 20, 2017 |
Turgenev’s first novel, Rudin, is another ‘superfluous man’ story, with Rudin representing a “man of the 1840’s”, sensing change was necessary, but having difficulty fitting in and being a productive member of society. Rudin rejects the outright nihilism and misogyny in Pigasov (who perhaps represents a “man of the 1860’s, and a cruder version of Bazarov), but is a failure because he cannot live up to the philosophies he studies and talks so eruditely about. The love interests and Pigasov are somewhat interesting, but the novel is not fully developed enough to recommend to anyone other than a hardcore Turgenev fan.

Quotes:
On regret:
“There’s no harder thing in the world than being aware of your own recent stupidity.”

And this one, actually quoting Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin:
“Whoe’er has felt will feel alarmed
By phantoms of the days long gone…
There are not fascinations left for him,
Already the serpent of remembering,
The pangs of conscience will be gnawing him…”

On transience:
“’I remember a Scandinavian legend,’ he said in conclusion. ‘A king is sitting with his warriors in a long, dark hall, around a fire. It takes place at night, in winter. Suddenly a small bird flies in through one open door and out at another. The king remarks that the little bird is like a man in this world: it flew out of the darkness and back into the darkness again, and did not stay long in the warmth and light…’Oh, king,’ the eldest warrior objects, ‘the little bird will not lose itself in the dark but will find its nest.’ It is just like our life on earth that is so fleeting and insignificant; but everything great on earth is accomplished only by men. For man the awareness of being the instrument of these higher powers must take the place of all other joys: in death itself man will find his life, his nest…’” ( )
2 vote gbill | Oct 14, 2016 |
One of the few intense books i have enjoyed. ( )
  Praj05 | Apr 5, 2013 |
2329 Rudin A Novel, by Ivan Turgenev translated from the Russian by Constance Garnett (read 29 Sep 1990) In view of my enthusiastic enjoyment of Home of the Gentry, I expected to like this book. However I found it stiff and not too exciting. Dmitri Rudin is 35, and declares his love for Natalya, a 17-year-old. Her mother forbids the match. Rudin says "we must submit," to Natalya's dismay. Natalya eventually marries Sergei Volintsev--and Rudin wanders about, and dies on a Paris barricade in 1849. This book was a disappointment after my enjoyment of Home of the Gentry. ( )
  Schmerguls | May 28, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140443045, Paperback)

Turgenev is an author who no longer belongs to Russia only. During the last fifteen years of his life he won for himself the reading public, first in France, then in Germany and America, and finally in England. In his funeral oration the spokesman of the most artistic and critical of European nations, Ernest Renan, hailed him as one of the greatest writers of our times: 'The Master, whose exquisite works have charmed our century, stand more than any other man as the incarnation of the whole race,' because 'a whole world lived in him and spoke through his mouth.' "Rudin" is the first of Turgenev's social novels, and is a sort of artistic introduction to those that follow, because it refers to the epoch anterior to that when the present social and political movements began. This epoch is being fast forgotten, and without his novel it would be difficult for us to fully realise it, but it is well worth studying, because we find in it the germ of future growths.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:08 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Turgenev's first novel (1857) established some of the author's favorite themes, including the fate of the intellectual but ineffective superfluous man," and the self-conscious woman now known to literature as the Turgenev maid." This intense love story reflects Russian society in the wake of the Crimean War, as well as the author's life. English translation by Constance Garnett.

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