The first major writing by Turgenev that gained him recognition. The stories in this collection were written based on Turgenev's own observations while hunting at his mother’s estate. This work exposed many injustices of serfdom and led to Turgenev’s house arrest and eventual abolishment of serfdom in Russia. A fine example of realist tradition in Russian literature. Read in English (unabridged).
Turgenev was an enthusiastic hunter; and it was his experiences in the woods of his native province that supplied the material for The Hunting Sketches. They are written from the point of view of a young nobleman who is surprised to find the qualities of intelligence and morality among the peasants who live on his family's estates. Turgenev wrote many novels on this theme to stress his sentiments against serfdom. In his famous novel, Fathers and Sons, he showed the conflict between the older generation, who respect tradition, and the youth, who are Nihilists, relying heavily on materialism, faith in science, and lack of respect for tradition and authority. "A nihilist is a man who does not bow to any authorities, who does not take any principle on trust, no matter with what respect that principle is surrounded."
From The Hunting Sketches:
"Often the most insignificant things produce more effect on people than the most important"
"In people who are constantly and intensely preoccupied with one idea, or one emotion, there is something in common, a kind of external resemblance in manner, however different may be their qualities, their abilities, their position in society, and their education"
"It is always like that; those who can only just keep themselves afloat are the ones to drag others under"
"The lower your station, the more reserved must be your behaviour, or else you disgrace yourself directly"
About The Author
Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev 1818-1883, a Russian novelist, short story writer, and playwright. His short story collection entitled The Hunting Sketches, is a milestone of Russian Realism, and his novel Fathers and Sons is regarded as one of the major works of 19th-century fiction. Turgenev studied literature, philosophy and philology at the Universities of Moscow, St Petersburg and Berlin and in 1879 received honorary doctorate from the University of Oxford. Turgenev's artistic purity made him a favourite of like-minded novelists of the next generation, such as Henry James and Joseph Conrad.
"If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin"
"I agree with no one's opinion. I have some of my own"
"Every man's happiness is built on the unhappiness of another"
Even hunt saboteurs will enjoy the story, in this all-too-brief taste of one of Russia's greatest writers, about Lejeune, a French drummer boy retreating from Moscow with Napoleon's not so Grande Armée. Captured by villagers and all but drowned under river ice, he is rescued by a passing nobleman out hunting. On one condition. Lejeune must teach his daughter to play the piano . . . Now read on.
Sue Arnold, The Guardian (UK)
"Often, the most insignificant things produce more effect on people than the most important." Turgenev expresses his own view through these words of the young nobleman who meets landowner Radilov while shooting gamebirds on his family estate. The impact of the sketches is in the significance with which Turgenev freights simple detail, such as the fly Radilov observes on his dead wife’s eye. Bollinger’s engaging Russian intonation enhances this richly detailed creation of the daily lives of both landowners and serfs on country estates.
Rachel Redford, The Observer, UK