Virgin SoilPaperback New York Review Books Classics
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- Publisher: NYRB Classics
- Format: Paperback | 368 pages
- Dimensions: 122mm x 201mm x 20mm | 408g
- Publication date: 1 September 2000
- Publication City/Country: New York
- ISBN 10: 0940322455
- ISBN 13: 9780940322455
- Edition statement: Revised ed.
- Sales rank: 339,394
Turgenev was the most liberal-spirited and unqualifiedly humane of all the great nineteenth-century Russian novelists, and in Virgin Soil, his biggest and most ambitious work, he sought to balance his deep affection for his country and his people with his growing apprehensions about what their future held in store. At the heart of the book is the story of a young man and a young woman, torn between love and politics, who struggle to make headway against the complacency of the powerful, the inarticulate misery of the powerless, and the stifling conventions of provincial life. This rich and complex book, at once a love story, a devastating, and bitterly funny social satire, and, perhaps most movingly of all, a heartfelt celebration of the immense beauty of the Russian countryside, is a tragic masterpiece in which one of the world's finest novelists confronts the enduring question of the place of happiness in a political world.
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Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev (1818-1883) was born into a wealthy family of the Russian landed gentry and educated in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Berlin. He made his name as a writer with A Sportsman's Sketches, an unvarnished picture of Russian country life that is said to have influenced Tsar Alexander II's decision to liberate the serfs. In later years, Turgenev lived in Europe, returning only rarely to his native country. He was the author of poems, stories, plays, and six novels, the most celebrated of which include Fathers and Sons, Rudin, and On the Eve.
Every class of society, every type of character, every degree of fortune, every phase of manners, passes through his hands; his imagination claims its property equally, in town and country, among rich and poor, among wise people and idiots, dilettanti and peasants, the tragic and the joyous, the probable and the grotesque. He has an eye for all our passions and a deeply sympathetic sense of the wonderful complexity of our souls.-- Henry James Turgenev's Russia is but a canvas on which the incomparable artist of humanity lays his colours and his forms in the great light and free air of the world....All his creations, fortunate and unfortunate, oppressed and oppressors, are human beings, not strange beasts in a menagerie or damned souls knocking themselves out in the stuffy darkness of mystical contradictions. They are human beings, fit to live, fit to suffer, fit to struggle, fit to win, fit to lose, in the endless and inspiring game of pursuing from day to day the ever-receding future.-- Joseph Conrad