Ivan Turgenev

Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev

1818 (Oryol, Russia) – 1883 (Paris)

Turgenev spent much of his life outside Russia, many compatriots straining to forgive him. Tolstoy challenged him to a duel and didn’t speak for 17 years; Dostoyevsky lampooned him in print. During his years in France, he ate, drank and discussed life and literature monthly with Zola, Daudet, Goncourt and his very close friend Flaubert; he also met Maupassant, James, Sand and Mérimée. He visited England often, staying with Tennyson (shooting grouse) and Eliot, and meeting Carlyle, Brown and Thackeray. He was wildly ambivalent about Wagner; while Tchaikovsky, too embarrassed to meet, hid on a train to avoid him.

Ivan Turgenev knew…