Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev was born in 1818 in the province of Oryol. In 1827 he entered St Petersburg University where he studied philosophy. When he was nineteen he published his first poems and went to the University of Berlin. After two years he returned to Russia and took his degree at the University of Moscow. After 1856 he lived mostly abroad, and he became the first Russian writer to gain a wide reputation in Europe. He wrote many novels, plays, short stories and novellas, of which First Love (1860) is the most famous. He died in Paris in 1883.Peter Carson learned Russian during National Service in the Navy at the Joint Services School for Linguistics, Crail and London, and at home - his mother's family left Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution. His working life has been spent on the editorial side of London publishing.Rosamund Bartlett lectures in Russian and music at the University of Durham. The author of Wagner and Russia (1995), Literary Russia: A Guide (with Anna Benn, 1997) and Chekhov: Scenes from a Life (2004), she has edited a collection of essays about Shostakovich and published numerous articles on aspects of Russian cultural history. She has also completed new translations of a selection of Chekhov(1)s short stories, About Love and Other Stories (2004).Tatiana Tolstaya was born in Leningrad in 1951 to an aristocratic family that includes the writers Leo and Alexei Tolstoy. She has published, among other books, a novel, The Slynx, and a collection of short stories, White Walls.