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A Sportsman’s Sketches was a collection of short stories written by Ivan Turgenev in 1852. Known also as Sketches from a Hunter’s Album or The Hunting Sketches, the stories were Turgenev’s first major piece of writing and brought him instant recognition.
Based on his own observations riding around his family’s estate the stories explore the difficult lives of the peasants and the Russian system of serfdom. This system came into effect during the 11th century and required the dependency of the peasants on the state. Peasants’ mobility was severely restricted and it was made illegal for them to run away from the estates where they worked – they belonged, in essence, to the landowners who could move them to another estate under another landowner while retaining the serf’s personal property and family.
While there were many rebellions against serfdom it was only in 1861 that it was finally abolished and all serfs were freed by the Tsar, Alexander II. Turgenev’s A Sportsman’s Sketches influenced the Tsar’s decision to abolish the system of serfdom in Russia.
Volume One includes:
Khor and Kalinych
Yermolay and the Miller’s Wife
The District Doctor
My Neighbor Radilov
Kasyan from the Beautiful Lands
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