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The birth of a nihilist

  • Patrick Waddington

Abstract

Turgenev was in Russia from the June of 1858 until the spring of the following year. During the first part of this period he largely lost touch with Pauline, mourned the passing of his English bitch Diana, suffered almost every ailment commonly known to man, and celebrated one of the most terrible anniversaries of his life: his fortieth birthday. What he called the ‘blue devils’ became his dominant mood. And yet he managed to distil his sufferings into A Nest of the Gentry which, ironically, brought him fame and contentment such as he had rarely known. His correspondence with Pauline was revived; he followed her progress through the British provinces as Verdi’s Lady Macbeth; and he discussed with her the possibility of staging the real Macbeth at Courtavenel in the summer — he playing the role of Banquo’s ghost, so as not to speak. Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra and Julius Caesar were also subjects for diverting debate with the poet Fet, who was translating them into Russian lines of syntactical complexity and had Turgenev on all fours with laughter at his inability to render ‘O, break! O, break!’ What might Thackeray have said to that?

Keywords

Stone Column Syntactical Complexity Magic Lantern Marriageable Party Russian Line 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

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Copyright information

© Patrick Waddington 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick Waddington
    • 1
  1. 1.Victoria University of WellingtonNew Zealand

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