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Turgenev and Dostoyevsky

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Length: 2339 words (6.7 double-spaced pages)
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Turgenev and Dostoyevsky

Upon first meeting Turgenev in 1845, Dostoyevsky wrote to his elder brother Michael saying that "A few days ago the poet Turgenev returned from Paris and right away showed me such friendship and affection that Belinsky is persuaded he is in love with me. But what a man he is, brother! I almost fell in love with him myself. He is a poet, a man of talent, an aristocrat, handsome, wealthy, intelligent, cultured, twenty-five years old; I doubt that nature has refused him anything. And finally, his character is unstintingly straightforward, beautiful, formed in a good school." (Frank-Goldstein p. 37). While Turgenev liked to pull his friend's leg occasionally, there was never any large argument between them. When Dostoyevsky returned from Siberia years later, they resumed their friendship as if uninterrupted. However, this friendship was not without contradictions. In a letter written to Turgenev in 1863, Dostoyevsky lavishes praise of Turgenev's "Ghosts" with only minor criticism. Turgenev had promised his story "Ghosts" for publication in Dostoy...


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... idealistic liberal humanism of the 1840s Westernizers into shallow nihilistic opportunism, to become a murky reflection of the disturbing, amoral Nechayev whose revolutionary theory culminated in murder (Jones -Miller p.75). It is the generational gap, first promoted by his former friend Turgenev, which gives Dostoyevsky the opportunity to condemn the nihilists.

Dosotyevsky, The Devils

Turgenev, Fathers and Sons

Frank and Goldstein, Letters of Dostoyevsky

Jones and Miller, The Classic Russian Novel

Allen, The Essential Turgenev

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