An invitation to write a preface to Edward Garnett’s Turgenev: A Study in April 1917 gave Conrad a welcome opportunity to put on record both his love of the great novelist and his gratitude to a critic who had been a faithful supporter of his own work. In the essay, which takes the form of a personal letter to his old friend, Conrad celebrates A Sportsman’s Sketches as a chronicle of the first moral and intellectual stirrings of a country that now found itself on the brink of an historic transformation. With their ‘marvellous landscapes peopled by unforgettable figures’ (NLL 40), these acutely observed tales of rural Russian life, he declared, held the same universal appeal as ‘the Italians of Shakespeare’ (41). In illuminating Turgenev’s particular genius, Garnett’s study promised to contribute to the international recognition of a writer whose own compatriots, reactionary and revolutionary alike, had denied him the laurels to which he was entitled.
KeywordsPopular Culture Entertainment Venue Historic Transformation Universal Appeal Siamese Twin
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