Dream Tales and Prose Poems

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ISBN 9780571245512 Format Paperback
9780571245512
Paperback
Published 18/09/2008 Length 330 pages
330

About Book

Young Muscovite bachelor Yakov Aratov lives in contented solitude, until the arrival in town of the dazzling actress Clara Militch:

'She was all fire, all passion, and all contradiction; revengeful and kind; magnanimous and vindictive; she believed in fate - and did not believe in God.'

Her beauty entrances him, beyond her tragic death; and soon, for the formerly level-headed rationalist Aratov, dreams, fever and the spirit world blend and merge together. These tales involve Turgenev's enthusiasm for spirituality, ghosts and premonitions, usually suppressed in his works but an intriguing counterpoint to the powerful naturalism of which he was master.

This volume contains Clara Militch, Phantoms, The Song of Triumphant Love, The Dream and Turgenev's marvellously realized Poems in Prose, which conclude with his famous avowal:

'In days of doubt, in days of dreary musings on our country's fate, thou alone art my stay and support, mighty, true, free Russian speech! But for thee, how not fall into despair, seeing all that is done at home? But who can think that such a tongue is not the gift of a great people!'

Constance Garnett's 1897 translation succeeds in capturing the subtleties and delicacy of Turgenev's own poetic prose.

Young Muscovite bachelor Yakov Aratov lives in contented solitude, until the arrival in town of the dazzling actress Clara Militch: 'She was all fire, all passion, and all contradiction; revengeful and kind; magnanimous and vindictive; she believed in fate - and did not believe in God.'Her beauty entrances him, beyond her tragic death; and soon, for the formerly level-headed rationalist Aratov, dreams, fever and the spirit world blend and merge together. These tales involve Turgenev's enthusiasm for spirituality, ghosts and premonitions, usually suppressed in his works but an intriguing counterpoint to the powerful naturalism of which he was master.This volume contains Clara Militch, Phantoms, The Song of Triumphant Love, The Dream and Turgenev's marvellously realized Poems in Prose, which conclude with his famous avowal: 'In days of doubt, in days of dreary musings on our country's fate, thou alone art my stay and support, mighty, true, free Russian speech! But for thee, how not fall into despair, seeing all that is done at home? But who can think that such a tongue is not the gift of a great people!'Constance Garnett's 1897 translation succeeds in capturing the subtleties and delicacy of Turgenev's own poetic prose.
  • About Ivan Turgenev

    Born in Orel in central Russia in 1818 Ivan Turgenev studied at the universities in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Berlin and worked briefly for the civil service before turning to writing. He wrote several novels that examined the social, political and philosophical issues of the time as well as many plays and short stories.

    Living mainly in Baden-Baden and Paris Turgenev was acquainted with a variety of influential writers and met Dickens and Trollope among others on his travels to England. He was widely perceived to be the first major Russian writer to achieve great success in Europe.

    Turgenev died in Paris in 1883.

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  • Translated By: Constance Garnett

    The subtitle of Richard Garnett's biography (reissued in Faber Finds) of his grandmother, Constance Garnett (1861-1946) is A Heroic Life. It couldn't be more apt. She remains the most prolific English translator of Russian literature: twelve volumes of Dostoevsky, five of Gogol, six of Herzen (his complete My Past and Thoughts), seventeen of Tchehov (her spelling), five of Tolstoy, eleven of Turgenev and so on. Many of these will be appearing in Faber Finds. In all she translated over sixty works. It is not, however, the sheer quantity that is to be celebrated, though that in itself is remarkable, it is more the enduring quality of her work. Of course there have been critics - translation is a peculiarly controversial subject, but there have been many more admirers. Tolstoy himself praised her. Of her Turgenev translations, Joseph Conrad said 'Turgeniev (sic) for me is Constance Garnett and Constance Garnett is Turgeniev'. Katherine Mansfield declared the lives of her generation of writers were transformed by Constance Garnett's translations, and H. E. Bates went so far as to say that modern English Literature itself could not have been what it is without her translations.

    This extraordinary achievement was accomplished despite poor health and poor eyesight, the latter being ruined by her labours on War and Peace ,a tragic if fitting sacrifice; hers indeed was A Heroic Life.

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