Three Plays

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ISBN 9780571245543 Format Paperback
9780571245543
Paperback
Published 18/09/2008 Length 324 pages
324

About Book

Translated by Constance Garnett Three Plays by Turgenev includes A Month in the Country, A Provincial Lady and A Poor Gentleman.

Turgenev wrote A Month in the Country in France between 1848 and 1850. Published in 1855 and first staged in 1872 the plot revolves around Natalya Petrovna, the 29-year-old wife of older landowner Arkadi Islaev. Set in Islaev's country estate in the 1840s the play pivots around the character of Natalya and her pursuit of attention, first from Mikhailo Rakitin and then with handsome young Aleksei Belyaev, her son's tutor. Problems arise when Vera, her 17-year-old foster daughter, also falls in love with Aleksei. Exploring themes of love, jealousy, rivalry and ennui A Month in the Country is just one example of Turgenev's brilliance.

A Provincial Lady, written in 1851, was a comedy in one act. As Richard Freeborn wrote in 1994, 'Turgenev's comedy has often been called Chekhovian, even though it preceded Chekhov's mature work by more than forty years'.

A Poor Gentleman (1840s) was a two-act play whose themes were compared to the works of Nikolai Gogol, a writer that Turgenev greatly admired and was influenced by. It was for writing an obituary for Gogol that Turgenev found himself arrested and imprisoned for a month, having managed to publish the obituary despite its being banned by the censor.

Translated by Constance Garnett Three Plays by Turgenev includes A Month in the Country, A Provincial Lady and A Poor Gentleman.Turgenev wrote A Month in the Country in France between 1848 and 1850. Published in 1855 and first staged in 1872 the plot revolves around Natalya Petrovna, the 29-year-old wife of older landowner Arkadi Islaev. Set in Islaev's country estate in the 1840s the play pivots around the character of Natalya and her pursuit of attention, first from Mikhailo Rakitin and then with handsome young Aleksei Belyaev, her son's tutor. Problems arise when Vera, her 17-year-old foster daughter, also falls in love with Aleksei. Exploring themes of love, jealousy, rivalry and ennui A Month in the Country is just one example of Turgenev's brilliance. A Provincial Lady, written in 1851, was a comedy in one act. As Richard Freeborn wrote in 1994, 'Turgenev's comedy has often been called Chekhovian, even though it preceded Chekhov's mature work by more than forty years'. A Poor Gentleman (1840s) was a two-act play whose themes were compared to the works of Nikolai Gogol, a writer that Turgenev greatly admired and was influenced by. It was for writing an obituary for Gogol that Turgenev found himself arrested and imprisoned for a month, having managed to publish the obituary despite its being banned by the censor.
  • 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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