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The first of Turgenev's social novels, "Rudin" was first translated by Constance Garnett into English in 1894. The main protagonist Dmitri Rudin is a representative of men of that time, being knowledgeable and enthusiastic about new ideas and the search for truth. As S. Stepniak states in his introduction to the text in 1894 Rudin's 'enthusiasm is contagious because it is sincere, and his eloquence is convincing because devotion to his ideals is an absorbing passion with him. He would die for them, and, what is more rare, he would not swerve a hair's-breadth from them for any worldly advantage, or for fear of any hardship.' Despite this Rudin's enthusiasms and attachments lack warmth and compassion. He views the world and its people through the books he has studied and at the first test to his strength of purpose he fails. Dmitri Rudin remains therefore a character full of contradictions but it is these contradictions that make him real and one of Turgenev's greatest achievements.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780571244515
ISBN-10: 0571244513
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 126mm x 21mm)
Pages: 292
Imprint: Faber & Faber
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publish Date: 17-Jul-2008
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - 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. 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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