Turgenev I. A Sportsman's Notebook

Turgenev’s first literary masterpiece was an eloquent evocation of rural Russia in the mid-nineteenth century. A hunter wanders through steppe and forest in search of game, observing the beauty and vastness of the terrain, its pitiless climate, and the harsh lives of its inhabitants. He meets a varied collection of peasants, landlords, bailiffs, overseers, horse-dealers and merchants; he encounters eccentricity, nobility, brutality and cruelty; he witnesses feudal tyranny and the fatalistic submission of those tyrannized. Celebrated for the charm of its style and for deftness of characterization, A Sportsman’s Notebook was inspired not only by the nostalgia for his native land of a writer in exile, but by his commitment to social and political change in the Russia of the Tsars. It may well have influenced Alexander II’s momentous decision to emancipate the serfs in 1861.

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