Returning to Turgenev after a long break I have reached the extraordinary Smoke (1867). This novel was badly received at the time and does not appear to have been much rehabilitated in the century and a half since its publication. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘herzen’
I happened to espy E.H. Carr’s book The Romantic Exiles (1933), which tells the story of the lives of certain 19thC Russian exiles, in my favourite second-hand bookshop in Gateway-of-Fleet, and was delighted to be able to buy it. My primary interest was in the private life of Alexander Herzen but the book turned out to be of much of wider interest.
I have been reading over the past few months Alexander Herzen’s My Past and Thoughts – or, more accurately, an abridgement of My Past and Thoughts. It is a book about which I could, and probably will, write at inordinate length. Herzen is a companion for life. But I wanted to start by attempting to explain why I like him so much, and then make some remarks about his life and the book. (more…)
In 1970 Isaiah Berlin delivered the Romanes Lecture in Oxford under the title ‘Fathers and Children – Turgenev and the Liberal Predicament’ ; the text is contained in the 1975 Penguin edition of Fathers and Sons. It is deeply fascinating not only for the insights which it gives into Turgenev, a man whom Berlin found deeply sympathetic, but because it states as clearly as possible (and things are rarely clear with Berlin!) his own political position at that particular point in time. (more…)
As a result of reading Alexander Herzen’s brilliant My Past and My Thoughts (about which I am still trying to start writing) I have embarked on a course of 19thC Russian literature to try and, very slowly, enlighten my dismal ignorance in this area. My first book was Nikolay Gogol’s novel Dead Souls. (more…)
A scanty month dominated by another bout of Depression. In fact a week of recovery at the beginning June has only punctuated an episode which began in May and from which I am far from recovered. The problem in writing about Depression is that it is miserably re-iterative, solipsistic and impossible to make interesting. Depression is a state of complete negativity – not feeling, not thinking, not doing and not being. It is absence and silence. So I will pass over it and note those few things of interest which have occurred this month. (more…)