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First Love and Other Stories

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This collection brings together six of Turgenev's best-known `long' short stories, in which he turns his skills of psychological observation and black comedy to subjects as diverse as the tyranny of serfdom, love, and revenge on the Russian steppes. These stories all display the elegance and clarity of Turgenev's finest writing. This collection brings together six of Turgenev's best-known `long' short stories, in which he turns his skills of psychological observation and black comedy to subjects as diverse as the tyranny of serfdom, love, and revenge on the Russian steppes. These stories all display the elegance and clarity of Turgenev's finest writing.


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This collection brings together six of Turgenev's best-known `long' short stories, in which he turns his skills of psychological observation and black comedy to subjects as diverse as the tyranny of serfdom, love, and revenge on the Russian steppes. These stories all display the elegance and clarity of Turgenev's finest writing. This collection brings together six of Turgenev's best-known `long' short stories, in which he turns his skills of psychological observation and black comedy to subjects as diverse as the tyranny of serfdom, love, and revenge on the Russian steppes. These stories all display the elegance and clarity of Turgenev's finest writing.

30 review for First Love and Other Stories

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jan-Maat

    This collection consists of the stories Diary of a superfluous man, Mumu, Asya, First Love, King Lear of the steppes and The song of triumphant Love Asya and First Love I had read before, back when I was a teenager, the edition was a hardback bound in green - though that could have been a library binding I suppose, from a Russian publishing house. First Love I imagine is one of the stories that inspired Freud, it is a very nice story, but it is not the kind of the story that you can read the s This collection consists of the stories Diary of a superfluous man, Mumu, Asya, First Love, King Lear of the steppes and The song of triumphant Love Asya and First Love I had read before, back when I was a teenager, the edition was a hardback bound in green - though that could have been a library binding I suppose, from a Russian publishing house. First Love I imagine is one of the stories that inspired Freud, it is a very nice story, but it is not the kind of the story that you can read the same way twice. But you can enjoy it infinitely because of its artistry, Penelope Fitzgerald was a Turgenev fan and beyond his pessimism I can imagine that she was inspired by his concision, all of these stories are short and I felt the shorter they were the stronger they were, the longest story here - the King Lear retelling, was the weakest for me (view spoiler)[ The song of triumphant Love was unfinished and is, I assume, only in the collection as a filler (hide spoiler)] . He can manage to be concise because he is so focussed - in First Love we only learn about the narrator - and not that much about him, we don't know about the woman he loves or why there is a crowd of, rather unlikely, suitors around her. Somebody else probably has written that novel, but it is not the story that Turgenev is interested in. Turgenev is very deft in setting up his characters and bringing them together and that he is more interested in his main characters reactions and development following on from the events of the stories gives them an interest beyond the narratives themselves. I liked the liminality in Asya which featured an irregular family, their irregularity puts them on the edge of society, geographically we find them outside Russia, living in Germany where they have located themselves outside a town, always on the fringes but (view spoiler)[ and this is a spoiler- spoiler not a joke (view spoiler)[ but this liminality is ultimately self imposed - perhaps as a result of internalised self-hatred? (hide spoiler)] (hide spoiler)] . Something else that appealed to me was the sense of stories and authors in dialogue with each other. I suspect that Diary of a superfluous man inspired Tolstoy's death of Ivan Ilych, while it also draws on Evgeny Onegin for the central incident - fancy man from the big city drifts in, wows local girl but he is not interested in her. This is hardly a spoiler as the story is not about them, it is about the superfluous man. Here as with First Love and Asya we are dependent on the first person narrator, presumably more is going on, the narrator is limited and as unreliable as the rest of us, but all we have his his account. The difference between this man and Tolstoy's Ivan is sharp. Ivan is a vehicle for Tolstoy's religious conversion - 'prepare yourself for death oh you sinner'. Turgenev's man like the narrators in several of these stories is interested in his own past and if there is no-one else to tell his story to, he will tell it to himself. King Lear of the steppes I felt was shaking hands with Gogol, a story with layers of comedy - the central figure for the narrator is an epitome of Russianness, while that character proclaims his own Swedish ancestry far and wide. I wonder if all of Shakespeare's tragedies if transposed to a different setting could become comedies or tragicomedies?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Daniela

    “Oh, love isn't there to make us happy. I believe it exists to show us how much we can endure.” So wrote Herman Hesse, but it could’ve come from Turgenev’s pen. Ivan Sergeyvich Turgenev doesn’t believe in happy loves. He doesn’t even believe in being happy in love. Love is a disruptive force, an outlier, an anomaly. Romantic love is the primary suspect here, but filial love doesn’t escape unscathed. The best of these stories is First Love, a teenager’s retelling of how he fell in love for the fir “Oh, love isn't there to make us happy. I believe it exists to show us how much we can endure.” So wrote Herman Hesse, but it could’ve come from Turgenev’s pen. Ivan Sergeyvich Turgenev doesn’t believe in happy loves. He doesn’t even believe in being happy in love. Love is a disruptive force, an outlier, an anomaly. Romantic love is the primary suspect here, but filial love doesn’t escape unscathed. The best of these stories is First Love, a teenager’s retelling of how he fell in love for the first time, only to find out that the girl had entered an illicit relationship with his own father. Like a detective, the son spies on the couple, and it is from his perspective that we witness the ruin of the father, who used to be a self-possessed and strong man, and the downfall of the young woman, who was marked down as a married man’s mistress. The story concerns, in fact, the destruction of two people at the hands of love, and the severe disruption it imposed on the boy’s life. The son was studying for his exams when the girl and her mother arrived to the neighborhood, but his feelings left him precious little space for any sobering or rational thought. His old life was abandoned, and his new one began revolving only around one person and one single-minded feeling. The father, who from the onset was described as aloof and cold, was transformed into a raging mess of uncontrollable emotions. That is the message: love, especially romantic love, is dangerous because it is larger than us. We can’t control it, we can’t fight it; we can only just feel. Love doesn’t care whether we accept it or not, whether we gently go into that good night. It doesn’t matter; love takes us even if we go kicking and screaming. Like an out-of-body experience, love exerts a heavy weight that slowly but surely hollows us out. We put up with it not because we are happy, but because we are powerless. Turgenev’s personal life was marred by unhappy loves. First Love is said to be inspired by his own experiences, both as a son and as a lover. Famously, too, he spent half of his life in love with a married woman, Pauline Viardot, who never let go of her husband. Biographers still debate whether Turgenev and Pauline’s romantic friendship was consummated. We do know, however, that he never married. In his stories, life is a series of events, made up of little triumphs and mundane defeats; after all, most people do live ordinary lives. Life is a straight line that takes us from birth to death. The line can be shortened or lengthened, depending on how many setbacks we face and how often we succeed in overcoming them. But when we fall in love, the line riots; like the waves in a seismic monitor, rising up and down frenetically, as the ground beneath our feet shakes us into destruction.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Katie Lumsden

    A really great collection. I love Turgenev's writing and can't wait to read more by him. A really great collection. I love Turgenev's writing and can't wait to read more by him.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Helly

    I hereby announce myself in love with Russian authors 😊

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amena

    Absolutely superb stories! So good that I don't know which one would be my favourite. As it says on the back of the book, 'psychologically acute, subtly and sometimes bitterly comic, these six stories all display the elegance and ironic clarity of Turgenev's finest writing.' Next on the list, Father and Sons. Absolutely superb stories! So good that I don't know which one would be my favourite. As it says on the back of the book, 'psychologically acute, subtly and sometimes bitterly comic, these six stories all display the elegance and ironic clarity of Turgenev's finest writing.' Next on the list, Father and Sons.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    This is a very nice collection of short stories and a couple of novella length stories. Here are my ratings: The diary of a superfluous man - 2.5 Mumu - 5 Asya - 5 First love - 4 (read in 2011) King Lear of the steppes - 5 The song of triumphant love - 3.5 (a touch of the Arabian Nights) Mumu and Asya were the best in the collection.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bethan

    'The Diary of a Superfluous Man' sets the tone for classic Turgenev, whose stories and novels are so often about unrequited or disappointed love. I like this because so many novels go the opposite way, and it exists in life. 'Mumu' made me cry and I never or almost never cry at films or books. Commentary about loneliness and alienation, it is about a deaf and dumb servant and his dog. 'Asya' has a wonderful, wild and hurried atmosphere, like blackberries. 'First Love' is more mature, like a ripe p 'The Diary of a Superfluous Man' sets the tone for classic Turgenev, whose stories and novels are so often about unrequited or disappointed love. I like this because so many novels go the opposite way, and it exists in life. 'Mumu' made me cry and I never or almost never cry at films or books. Commentary about loneliness and alienation, it is about a deaf and dumb servant and his dog. 'Asya' has a wonderful, wild and hurried atmosphere, like blackberries. 'First Love' is more mature, like a ripe peach or mandarin but still a rich fruit. The character of Zinaida surrounded by her five suitors call to mind mythological stories but the character and what happens to her feels real and truthful. 'King Lear of the Steppes' – Grey and coarser but what a powerful protagonist, atmosphere and striking ending. I think it does the Shakespeare story justice, transplanted to contemporary Russia as it is. 'The Song of Triumphant Love' – Another beautiful artifice about difficult love and heavily symbolic, this time exotic and perfumed with an Italianate setting, a mysterious Malay servant, strange dreams, music and riches from travel.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    "O youth! youth! you have no concerns, you possess, as it were, all the treasures of the universe, even grief is a comfort to you, even sadness suits your looks, you are self-assured and bold, you say: 'Look, I'm the only one alive!' while the very days of your life run away and vanish without trace and without number and everything in you disappears like wax, like snow in the heat of the sun... And perhaps the entire secret of your charm consists not in the possibility of doing everything, but "O youth! youth! you have no concerns, you possess, as it were, all the treasures of the universe, even grief is a comfort to you, even sadness suits your looks, you are self-assured and bold, you say: 'Look, I'm the only one alive!' while the very days of your life run away and vanish without trace and without number and everything in you disappears like wax, like snow in the heat of the sun... And perhaps the entire secret of your charm consists not in the possibility of doing everything, but in the possibility of thinking you can do everything, perhaps it consists precisely in the fact that you wantonly scatter on the wind energies that you wouldn't know how to use for anything else, perhaps it consists in the fact that each one of us seriously regards himself as a spendthrift and seriously considers that he has the right to say: 'Oh, the things I could have done if only I hadn't wasted my time!'"

  9. 5 out of 5

    Shyam

    For one forfeit I had to sit beside her, both of us under the same silk scarf; I was supposed to tell her ‘my secret’. I remember how both our heads were suddenly plunged in a close, fragrant, almost transparent darkness, and how close to me in this darkness her eyes shone softly; and I remember the warm breath from her parted lips, the gleam of her teeth, and how her hair tickled and burnt me. I was silent. She smiled mysteriously and slyly, and finally whispered to me, ‘Well?’ But I only bl For one forfeit I had to sit beside her, both of us under the same silk scarf; I was supposed to tell her ‘my secret’. I remember how both our heads were suddenly plunged in a close, fragrant, almost transparent darkness, and how close to me in this darkness her eyes shone softly; and I remember the warm breath from her parted lips, the gleam of her teeth, and how her hair tickled and burnt me. I was silent. She smiled mysteriously and slyly, and finally whispered to me, ‘Well?’ But I only blushed and laughed and turned away, and could scarcely breathe. I remember that at that time the image of woman, the shadowy vision of feminine love, scarcely ever took definite shape in my mind: but in every thought, in every sensation, there lay hidden a half-conscious, shy, timid awareness of something new, inexpressibly sweet, feminine . . . This presentiment, this sense of expectancy, penetrate my whole being; I breathed it, it was in every drop of blood that flowed through my veins . . . __________ I could not concentrate. I could not do the simplest thing. For whole days I did nothing but think intensely about her . . . And in the meantime wasted my time in complete idleness . . . Oh, what could I not have done, if only I had not wasted my time. __________ ‘Well then, that’s agreed,’ he said, settling himself more deeply into his armchair and lighting a cigar. I was preparing for the University, but worked little and slowly. Nobody interfered with my freedom. I did what I liked . . . I have never seen anyone more exquisitely calm, more self-assured, or more imperious. But through the tears and the melancholy, inspired by the music of the verse or the beauty of the evening, there always rose upwards, like the grasses of early spring, shoots of happy feeling, of young and surging life. My rifle slipped to the grass; I forgot everything; my eyes devoured the graceful figure, the lovely neck, the beautiful arms, the slightly dishevelled fair hair under the white kerchief—and the half-closed, perceptive eyes, the lashes, the soft cheek beneath them . . . my heart leapt within me. 'Please make yourself at home! We are very simple here.’ ‘Too simple,’ I could not help thinking with disgust, as I took in her unsightly figure. Listen, you don’t know me yet. I am very strange . . . I like your face. I have a feeling that we shall be friends. And do you like me? . . . You do like me, don’t you? I felt very uncomfortable during this conversation. She was walking slowly along the path, holding a book in her hands. She did not notice me. I very nearly let her pass by, but suddenly collected myself, and coughed. She turned round, but did not stop. With her hand she pushed back the broad blue ribbon of her round straw hat, looked at me, smiled gently, and again turned her gaze to the book. I took off my cap and after shuffling a little walked away . . . I made as if to move towards Zinaida, but she did not even glance at me. She raised her book again, and walked away. I spent the whole of that evening and the following morning in a kind of dumb and frozen misery. I remember I tried to work and opened Kaidanov, but the broadly spaced lines and pages of the celebrated textbook flitted past my eyes in vain. Ten times over I read to myself the words ‘Julius Caesar was distinguished for military valour’, understood nothing, and threw the book aside. What then was my astonishment when, as she passed by me, her face wearing its former warm expression, she whispered quickly to me, ‘Come and see us at eight o’clock, do you hear? Don’t fail me.’ You see, young man, we are playing a game of forfeits. The princess has had to pay a forfeit and the winner, whoever draws the lucky ticket, will have the right to kiss her hand m do you understand what I have just said? Everything became blurred. This silent lightning, this controlled light, seemed to answer to the mute and secret fires which were blazing within me. To belong to oneself, that is the whole thing in life. From that day on my ‘passion’ began. Sometimes she flirted with me—and that would excite me, and I would melt. From that moment my real torment began. You should be studying, working—while you are young—instead of which, you are doing what? A lot of work you do! You’ve something else on your mind . . . Whatever is in your heart is written all over your face. Now it is your business to paint the picture, Sir Poet, only I want th torches to b red and very smoky, and I want the eyes of the Bacchantes to gleam under their wreaths, and the wreaths of flowers must be dark, and don’t forget the tiger skins and the goblets and the gold—lots of gold. 'And my friend Tonkosheyev, in his Spanish novel El Trovador . . .’ ‘Oh, is that the book with the question marks upside down?’ ‘Oh, you re going to have another argument about classicism and romanticism. ‘Let’s play a game instead.’ ‘Forfeits?’ ’No, forfeits are boring. Let’s play analogies.’ (Zinaida had invented this game herself. An object would be named, and everyone tried to compare it with something else. The person who thought of the best analogy won the prize.) she asked to the window. The sun had just set. Long red clouds stood high in the sky. ‘What are those clouds like?’ Asked Zinaida, and without waiting for our answer said: ‘I think they are like those purple sails on the golden ship in which Cleopatra sailed to meet Antony. Do you remember, Maidanov? You were telling me about it not long ago.’ All of us, like Polonius ni Hamlet, decided that the clouds reminded us of precisely those sails, and that none of us could find a better analogy. I shall put your hair in my locket and I shall wear it . . . this will perhaps comfort you a little . . . ‘I am not fond . . . a large company . . .’ I muttered without realising my eyes. ‘Oh, you prefer a tête-a-tête?’ I had started with the set purpose of giving myself up to gloomy reflections. But youth, the beauty of the day, the freshness of the air, the pleasure which comes from rapid walking, the delicious sensation of lying on the thick grass far away from everyone, alone—these proved too strong. ‘Give me your hand,’ she said, in the old caressing manner. ‘We haven’t had a gossip for a long time.’ ‘You don’t want me to love you—that’s what it is!’ I burst out gloomily, against my will. ’No. Love me, yes, but not as before.’ ‘Why, what am I to do?’ ‘Let us be friends—that’s what,’ Zinaida gave me the rose too smell. ‘Listen, I am, after all, much older than you, I really might be your aunt—oh, well, perhaps not aunt, but elder sister. And you . . .' Great Heavens! With what fresh force my love flamed up within me! 'Everywhere, gold, marble, crystal, silk,. Lights, jewels, flowers, burning incense, every extravagance of luxury.' ‘You like luxury?’ ‘Luxury is full of loveliness. I adore all that is lovely.’ ‘More than the beautiful?’ ’That sounds too clever—I don’t understand it. Don’t interrupt.’ My blood was on fire and whirling within me. There is so much within me that is dark, evil, wicked . . . And I was hers, utterly hers from head to foot, whenever she looked at me. What I had learned was too much for me to manage. In one swoop all my flowers were torn up by the roots and last about me—scattered, broken, trampled underfoot. Yes, this is it—this is love; this is passion; this is devotion. 'Really, I am not like that. I know that you have a low view of me.' ‘I?’ 'Yes, you, you . . .’ ‘I?’ I repeated painfully, and my heart began to quiver, as it always did under the spell of her irresistible, inexpressible fascination. ‘I? Believe me, that whatever you did, however much you made me suffer, I shall love you and adore you to the end of my days.’ I cannot even begin to convey the feelings with which I left her. I never wish to experience them again, but I should count it a misfortune never to have had them at all. The main thing is to live a normal life and not to be carried away. Otherwise, what’s the use? Wherever the wave may carry you, it will always turn out badly. Better a rock to stand on, so long as it’s on one’s own feet. I was utterly stunned. This, I admit, I did not expect. I realised that this image of her, this new image which had so suddenly arisen before me, would live in my memory forever.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Linda Collings

    I absolutely adored all of these stories. Sadly the last story was never finished so I couldn't give a full 5 stars. If you love Russian classic literature read this. I absolutely adored all of these stories. Sadly the last story was never finished so I couldn't give a full 5 stars. If you love Russian classic literature read this.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Wil

    Once again, Turgenev came through for me. After reading the first two short stories in this book, I was left with a sense of longing, of "sehnsucht" of olden times. I am surprised that I am so overcome by these romantic stories, and I mean romantic not only in the love stories themselves, but in the seductive descriptions, the quaint, charming settings; they remind me of stories that I used to read in my childhood. Turgenev likes to tell us how a person's character will change in the future: in a Once again, Turgenev came through for me. After reading the first two short stories in this book, I was left with a sense of longing, of "sehnsucht" of olden times. I am surprised that I am so overcome by these romantic stories, and I mean romantic not only in the love stories themselves, but in the seductive descriptions, the quaint, charming settings; they remind me of stories that I used to read in my childhood. Turgenev likes to tell us how a person's character will change in the future: in a future not covered by the story- perhaps as a device to further character development? To invite doubt in our feelings for the person? I don't know. In Spring Torrents, he begins by telling us how Sanin was filled by "taedium vitae, even though he has just had brilliant conversation in the company of agreeable women and educated men." Yet the rest of the story is filled by Sanin's zest for life, and how he discovered that zest very young. We can only assume that he lost it, and became this other person; this person we really don't get to know. My favourite quote of "First Love" is: "...and perhaps the whole secret of your enchantment lies not, indeed, in your power to do whatever you may will, but in your power to think that there is nothing you will not do".

  12. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    Funny, wry, and moving in all the right ways. Turgenev really knows how to tell a good story. Highly recommended, particularly if you liked Fathers and Sons or Sketches from a Hunter's Notebook and want something more from this oft-forgotten Russian great. Funny, wry, and moving in all the right ways. Turgenev really knows how to tell a good story. Highly recommended, particularly if you liked Fathers and Sons or Sketches from a Hunter's Notebook and want something more from this oft-forgotten Russian great.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Damion

    Turgenev was a powerful and introspective short story writer. First Love was probably the best short story I have ever read. It leaves a strong impression on you long after you have finished reading it. Excellent.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mark Hartzer

    I bought this back in January of 1980, which would have been during my final semester of undergraduate. I remember reading it and thinking these are some of the saddest stories I've ever read. 37 years later, still really sad. Great, descriptive writing with memorable, but sad stories. Not for everyone. I bought this back in January of 1980, which would have been during my final semester of undergraduate. I remember reading it and thinking these are some of the saddest stories I've ever read. 37 years later, still really sad. Great, descriptive writing with memorable, but sad stories. Not for everyone.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Keely

    I’ve been reading the stories within this book for the best part of three years now and it’s a bittersweet feeling to be finished. My copy is very well loved. I’ve taken it to so many places. It’s been with me during so many moments of my life. Turgenev is a master of his craft and if you want to see his best work it’s in here.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Davis

    A bit infantile and outdated. Three short stories, The plots of the two major stories are simply unreal. First Love A group of old bachelors sits together a host asks them to tell a story of their first love. One of the men – Vladimir Petrovich promises to write his story down and read it to the other at the next meeting. When that happens he tells them of when he was a 16 years old boy he fell in love with 21 years old young lady. He met her when his family moved to the country for a summer break A bit infantile and outdated. Three short stories, The plots of the two major stories are simply unreal. First Love A group of old bachelors sits together a host asks them to tell a story of their first love. One of the men – Vladimir Petrovich promises to write his story down and read it to the other at the next meeting. When that happens he tells them of when he was a 16 years old boy he fell in love with 21 years old young lady. He met her when his family moved to the country for a summer break. A neighbouring property was leased by a ruined princess and her daughter. The girl was a flirt and gathered a group of admirers, who visited her regularly in hope of getting her heart, but this was not to be. The narrator became her page. Not long after he learnt that the girl had fallen for his father. The mother of the boy found out and broke the holiday. Her husband was much younger and had married her for the money. In order not to become penniless again, he broke the arrangement with the girl. Later in the year, while riding horses with his father the boy learned that the girl lived in the same town in great poverty. His father was visiting her but later abandoned her. After some time married but soon after died while giving birth to her baby. A memorable quote from the book: O youth! Youth! You go your way heedless, uncaring – as if you owned all the treasures of the world; even grief elates you, even sorrow sits well upon your brow. You are sef-confident and insolent and you say, “I alone am alive – behold!” even while your own days fly past and vanish without trace and without number, and everything within you melts away like wax in the sun… like snow… and perhaps the whole secret of your enchantment lies not, indeed, in your power to do whatever you may will, but in your power to think that there is nothing you will not do: it is this that you scatter to the winds – gifts which you could never have used to any other purpose. Each of us feels most deeply convinced that he has been too prodigal of his gifts – that he has a right to cry ‘Oh, what could I not have done, if only I had not wasted my time’. Spring Torrents In the summer of 1840 twenty-three years old Dmitry Pavlovich Sanin was in Frankfurt on his way back to Russia from Italy. Intending to drink a glass of lemonade he entered a local patisserie, where he came across a young girl pleading to save her brother who was having a fit at the back of the shop. Sanin obliged and asked for some brushes to rub the boy, which at the end made the boy to recover. In the meantime, boy’s mother – Leonora Roselli arrived with an old faithful servant – Pantaleone, and all were very grateful to Sanin and begged him to stay with them. He obliged, especially that he was smitten by the girl named Gemma. He stayed with them the following day and missed his stagecoach, agreeing to stay with the family for the weekend. Soon he learnt that Gemma was engaged to Herr Karl Klueber, who was working in the local textiles shop. Herr Klueber organised a trip to the neighbouring town to provide entertainment for Emma and Sanin. During the lunch outside the restaurant a drunken soldier approached the company and drank to the beauty of Emma. Herr Klueber asked the company to move inside the restaurant. Sanin approached the solder and his company and reprimanded him for his insolence and demanded satisfaction. The following day they fought a duel with pistols. Sanin missed and in response the soldier shot into the air. He then apologised to Sanin. Emma decided to cut here engagement to Klueber, and Sanin proposed and was accepted. In order to secure the marriage, he decided to sell his property in Russia. By accident he met a colleague from school who was visiting Frankfurt and doing shopping for his very rich wife. He expressed an opinion that his wife would be interested in buying his property. Sanin left for Wiesbaden to see the woman. Within three days he got bewitched by her, broke off his engagement with Emma and followed the woman to Paris. Shortly after he was discarded and had to return back to Russia. During the next thirty years he remained unmarried and made some money. Finally, he decided to find out what happened to Emma and her family and went back to Frankfurt. There, he found out she married and moved to New York. He managed to get her address and wrote enquiring about her and waiting for the response. Sometime later he received a letter from Emma saying that she forgave him and was grateful that she did not married Klueber, as he made fortune but then became bankrupt and died in prison. She lived happy with her husband and had five children, four boys and one daughter. She enclosed a picture of her daughter, who looked like Emma all those years back. Saint returned happy to Russia and started selling all his possessions in order to move to the USA. A Fire at Sea A very brief description of Turgenev’s journey from Russia to Germany, taken up when he was 18 years old. Approaching Germany ship caught fire and changed his course towards shore, where life boats transported passengers ashore. The rescue was successful with a small loss of life. Turgenev was criticised for his behaviour when fire started and he promised a sailor a large amount of money for saving his life.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Maan Kawas

    Great short stories, captivating and engaging.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Sare

    Such clean writing. A real palate cleanser. The art is in the story telling, with macabre elements - somewhat like Poe, much sorrow, and painterly descriptions of the Russian countryside.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    Turgenev's 1860 novella, First Love. At age sixteen while living in the country, Vladimir meets 21 year-old Zinaida Alexandrovna Zasyekina, the daughter of a titled but very poor family living on the adjoining property. Zinaida is a beautiful and spirited young women and Vladimir falls hopelessly in love with her. Zinaida toys with him mercilessly, enticing him with hints of a deep and romantic affection and, alternatively, pushing him away and treating him with condescending, sisterly affection Turgenev's 1860 novella, First Love. At age sixteen while living in the country, Vladimir meets 21 year-old Zinaida Alexandrovna Zasyekina, the daughter of a titled but very poor family living on the adjoining property. Zinaida is a beautiful and spirited young women and Vladimir falls hopelessly in love with her. Zinaida toys with him mercilessly, enticing him with hints of a deep and romantic affection and, alternatively, pushing him away and treating him with condescending, sisterly affection. At one point, she even asks Vladimir to look after her twelve-year-old brother, emphasizing the their age difference and that Vladimir is still just a boy. Vladimir's frustration are the numerous suitors (older, wealthy) who come calling on Zinaida every evening. She plays them all off one another, but occasionally indicates that she favors Vladimir. On these occasions his heart swells and there is no joy greater than the joy felt by a young man in love for the first time. There is also no sadness greater than the sadness brought on by unrequited love. Vladimir learns of Zinaida's secret lover and is devastated.

  20. 4 out of 5

    K

    Notice the theme of "short stories about love." What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. The Secret Lives of People In Love. First Love and Other Stories. Did somebody just get dumped? ... The answer is yes. Yes I did. Notice the theme of "short stories about love." What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. The Secret Lives of People In Love. First Love and Other Stories. Did somebody just get dumped? ... The answer is yes. Yes I did.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Athena Matisse

    3.0 - 3.5 / 5 stars I didn't enjoy all these stories but they all offered something different. The Diary of a Superfluous Man: 3.5/5 Mumu: 3/5 Asya: low 3/5 First Love: 4/5 King Lear of the Steppes: low 3/5 The Song of Triumphant Love: 4/5 3.0 - 3.5 / 5 stars I didn't enjoy all these stories but they all offered something different. The Diary of a Superfluous Man: 3.5/5 Mumu: 3/5 Asya: low 3/5 First Love: 4/5 King Lear of the Steppes: low 3/5 The Song of Triumphant Love: 4/5

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anya Nielsen

    First Love and Other Stories by Ivan Turgenev translated by Isaiah Berlin First included in Everyman’s Library in 1994 Published by David Campbell Publisher UK ISBN 1-85715-191-7 Ivan Turgenev one of the greatest writers of our time, wrote several novellas of which First Love was published in 1860, Spring Torrents in 1872 and the essay A Fire at Sea in 1883. Oxford University bestowed an honorary doctorate on Turgenev in 1879. Do you remember what it’s like to be young and in love? First Love and Spr First Love and Other Stories by Ivan Turgenev translated by Isaiah Berlin First included in Everyman’s Library in 1994 Published by David Campbell Publisher UK ISBN 1-85715-191-7 Ivan Turgenev one of the greatest writers of our time, wrote several novellas of which First Love was published in 1860, Spring Torrents in 1872 and the essay A Fire at Sea in 1883. Oxford University bestowed an honorary doctorate on Turgenev in 1879. Do you remember what it’s like to be young and in love? First Love and Spring Torrents are considered two of the world’s highly renowned love stories. Turgenev shares with us the pain and glory of youthful infatuation in his simple, direct and tender style. After dinner while enjoying their snifters of cognac and cigars, three gentlemen decide to regale their first experience of love. The first two are short and not anything out of the ordinary but the third asks permission for the group to reconvene in a three days’ time so that he could relay a fuller account. First Love is his poignant story. The flush of youthful feelings have a beauty so alluring, the memory of which remains unchanged forever. Our protagonist was lucky to get a second chance to meet his first love when in full bloom. Some people would prefer to remember how our loved one was rather than how they became. So what is left that is fresher, richer and more dear to me—than the memories of those brief moments of my first love.’ *** Spring Torrents is highly autobiographical. The translator in his notes to the reader (p80) reveals his reason for taking on what has already been eminently translated by others— ‘it is my humble tribute to a great master.’ This story is essentially the recollection of Dmitry Pavlovich Sanin who falls deliriously in love for the very first time. Sanin like many of the gentry travelled extensively. On his way home to Russia from a sojourn in Italy, Sanin takes a short break in Frankfurt where he enters a patisserie. A string of probable and improbable events occur resulting in him staying in Frankfurt indefinitely, and we expect him never to return home to his estate in Russia. Until. . . *** A Fire at Sea is a short essay, a rebuttal Turgenev had to write and which he wrote towards the end of his life. It is the story about a fire that consumes a ship near the town of Traveműnde on which the young 19-year-old Turgenev travelled. Scurrilous accounts followed—of his bizarre behaviour and some say cowardice—'save me, I’m too young to die.’ A certain fellow traveller, Madame Panaeva of Moscow, said, ‘He tried to keep high the spirits of his panic-stricken companions with his strange act.’ ***

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ken Ryu

    Turgenev is one of the lesser known of the great 19th century Russian writers. One of his primary influences is Gogol. His themes are spirits, love, coming of age, death and spirituality. "First Love" is a brilliant piece. The story is told from the point of view of a man named Sergey reflecting on his first love when he was sixteen. He falls in love with his coquettish 21 year old neighbor, Princess Zanaida. The charming and flirtatious Zanaida has many suitors. Despite his age disadvantage, Se Turgenev is one of the lesser known of the great 19th century Russian writers. One of his primary influences is Gogol. His themes are spirits, love, coming of age, death and spirituality. "First Love" is a brilliant piece. The story is told from the point of view of a man named Sergey reflecting on his first love when he was sixteen. He falls in love with his coquettish 21 year old neighbor, Princess Zanaida. The charming and flirtatious Zanaida has many suitors. Despite his age disadvantage, Sergey includes himself as a contender for her time and affection. The young, naive Sergey is fooling himself. Zanaida is not above toying with the young boy and does not consider how devastated he will be when he discovers her platonic feelings for him. Zanaida has a secret lover. Only Sergey seems oblivious to the clues of the identity of the man in question. When he finally pieces together the answer, he is devastated and all his hopes and dreams of Zanaida come crashing down. The story is somber and regret-filled and shows Turgenev's talent for describing true love. His other tales include a heartbreaking story of a deaf and dumb peasant name Gerasim, titled "Mumu". Gerasim is a giant of a man and a symbol of honesty, loyalty and morality. When his romantic foray with another servant is dashed, his hope are restored when he discovers an abandoned puppy he names Mumu. They develop a deep bond that is mutually reciprocated. His other tales include ghost stories and love beyond the grave in "Clara Milich". Turgenev writes of love as more powerful than death. His stories reflect this theme and death and love are often deeply interwoven. Turgenev is a great story teller. His themes are powerful, universal and intense. His many spectral characters show Turgenev's belief in ghosts and that death does not necessarily end the deep connection between two beings. Their connection can continue on a wavelength that death cannot break. Turgenev stories are at once simple and deep. The stories can be enjoyed as well-told tales. Readers can also ponder the spiritual, mystical and meaning of life questions that Turgenev touches on. The two standouts in this collection are "First Love" and "Mumu".

  24. 4 out of 5

    Arnoldas Puodenas

    Beautiful stories of love that could not be. Turgenev is incredibly tender in this as always, rather than trying to describe what the characters feel he often says that if you have not felt this emotion then it cannot be known to you, and instead choses not to even attempt to describe it. These are the sort of feelings he is dealing with. First Love: A story about a young boy falling for an older neighbour girl. Turgenev deals with the thought process of the protagonist wonderfully, you are trul Beautiful stories of love that could not be. Turgenev is incredibly tender in this as always, rather than trying to describe what the characters feel he often says that if you have not felt this emotion then it cannot be known to you, and instead choses not to even attempt to describe it. These are the sort of feelings he is dealing with. First Love: A story about a young boy falling for an older neighbour girl. Turgenev deals with the thought process of the protagonist wonderfully, you are truly transformed and are a teenager again. The little hints and signs of love, the hidden meanings in conversation. All of this is here, but the conclusion isn't a happy one. To say more would spoil the story. It is wonderfully delivered and will make you think about the events which transpire for a long time after you are done reading. Love is shown to be something beautiful but at the same time so dangerous that it can be life ruining. Spring Torrents: The best story in this book. It's comedic yet serious, heartwarming yet heartbreaking. Sanin is a young man who is returning to Russia from travels in Italy, but in Frankfurt he saves a young boy who is having a seizure and in the event changes the course of his life. This is a story of perpetual growth in the possibility for a lifetime of happiness for Sanin, but the last 10 pages of the story once again completely derail the protagonists expectations of events. All that Sanin builds in Frankfurt he destroys in an afternoon, and decades later he has still not gotten over it. The last paragraph reveals that he never will, and that only mystery awaits him. Turgenev once again shows that love is the one of the highest aspirations in life, but at the same time can be damning if you let it slip from you. A Fire at Sea: A story of a few pages about the sinking of a ferry in the Baltic Sea. The narrator is a young man, and sees the event as something fun and exciting rather than horrifying. It's an interesting conclusion to the book, and deals with the spirit of youth wonderfully.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michael Percy

    There is something about Turgenev's work that distinguishes him from other famous Russian authors such as Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. His tone is masculine yet romantic in a forlorn way - maybe he had his unrequited love, married opera singer Pauline Viardot, in mind. It seems to convey a darker, Russian version of saudade. Hemingway said that for him, writing fiction was like boxing with Turgenev, Maupassant, and Stendhal. There are certainly some similarities in Hemingway's work. I am just getting There is something about Turgenev's work that distinguishes him from other famous Russian authors such as Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. His tone is masculine yet romantic in a forlorn way - maybe he had his unrequited love, married opera singer Pauline Viardot, in mind. It seems to convey a darker, Russian version of saudade. Hemingway said that for him, writing fiction was like boxing with Turgenev, Maupassant, and Stendhal. There are certainly some similarities in Hemingway's work. I am just getting in to War and Peace and I would compare Tolstoy to Virginia Woolf. That's how different the two famous Russian authors convey their stories. Both great authors, but very different in style. I enjoyed Turgenev's Sketches from a Hunter's Album (A Sportsman's Sketches), but I only knew of this book because Hemingway mentioned it in one of his non-fiction collections I have read. First Love and other stories is very different from either Sketches or Fathers and Sons. I have not read Torrents of Spring yet. (Hemingway's first novella had the same name.) I discovered this book because either Harold Bloom or Italo Calvino (I cannot remember which one) said that 'King Lear of the Steppes' was one of the greatest short stories (or is it long-form?) of all time. Each of the stories are brilliant. Each has a sense of gloom about them. Not in the annoying way, but in that untranslatable saudade way. Not gloom, but so close to life. Something akin to that feeling that you have when you remember a past hurt. You wouldn't go back to it - indeed, you had forgotten all about it until one day it just appears in front of you while you are watering the garden or doing the laundry. But there it is, and you feel sad for a moment, and then laugh, and then move on. But you remember the hurt, it just doesn't hurt so much anymore. (Unless of course you are on a complete downer, so don't do that.) There is something about Turgenev that makes his long-form hard to read. I didn't find this with Fathers and Sons so much, but I found the same thing with Sketches. When I reflect on the stories, every one of them was enjoyable, but all of them require a bit of effort. I don't know how to explain that effort, but I had the same experience with Thomas Mann's Death in Venice. When I look at the book now, it is tiny, but it took a while to get through, even though I thought it was brilliant and I have since watched the movie starring Dirk Bogarde a few times. This then sent me off to read Bogarde's work (which I find easy and enjoyable to read). Turgenev requires effort. In the way that going for a run requires effort. Once you have the miles in your legs, it is splendid. If you haven't run for years, it is almost impossible. I find that Turgenev requires a clear head and a commitment to read, but it is worth every effort. Just don't turn to Turgenev when you are looking for a light read. It's a bit like going for a sprint when you haven't run for years. Same difference.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    First Love Many themes and thoughts densely packed into a short story. Turgenev writes love convincingly and poignantly from his experience of an lifelong unrequited love of his own. A few passages I found particularly beautiful... "Oh the docile feelings, the soft sounds, the goodness and tranquility of a soul moved by love, the melting joy of love's first raptures - where are you, where have you gone?" 163 "A streak of firey light flashed in the sky: it was a falling star. 'Zinaida?'" 187 "It was First Love Many themes and thoughts densely packed into a short story. Turgenev writes love convincingly and poignantly from his experience of an lifelong unrequited love of his own. A few passages I found particularly beautiful... "Oh the docile feelings, the soft sounds, the goodness and tranquility of a soul moved by love, the melting joy of love's first raptures - where are you, where have you gone?" 163 "A streak of firey light flashed in the sky: it was a falling star. 'Zinaida?'" 187 "It was all finished now. All the flowers of my dreams had been torn up in one instant and lay around me, scattered and trampled on." 194 "I wouldn't want it ever to be repeated, but I would have considered myself unfortunate if I'd never experienced it." 196 "Yes, I thought, that's what love is, that's what passion is, that's what devotion is... And I was reminded of Lushin's words: 'Some people enjoy sacrificing themselves.'" 195 "Beware a woman's love, beware that happiness, that poison..." 200

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sunjay

    When I was but a young lad, I was more a fan of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, but Turgenev is the one I value most as I grow older. One needs to have experienced both the wine and its (at times) bitter after effects to fully appreciate Turgenev. This is a lovely collection of stories from the Russian master. Turgenev's characters feel the full bounty of love - its debilitating physical effects, its euphoria - and they also reckon with its withdrawal and the morning after. Highly recommended, but only When I was but a young lad, I was more a fan of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, but Turgenev is the one I value most as I grow older. One needs to have experienced both the wine and its (at times) bitter after effects to fully appreciate Turgenev. This is a lovely collection of stories from the Russian master. Turgenev's characters feel the full bounty of love - its debilitating physical effects, its euphoria - and they also reckon with its withdrawal and the morning after. Highly recommended, but only once you enter your thirties and forties :-)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chris Fluit

    I had a great time reading this collection of "love gone wrong" stories. I even came up with my own alternate titles for them. (Beware: Spoilers Ahead!) "I love her, but she loves someone else." "I love my dog, but the lady I work for wants me to kill it." "I love her, but I was too shy to tell her and now she's gone." "I love her, but she thinks I'm a child and had an affair with my dad instead." "Imagine if King Lear was a minor nobleman in Tsarist Russia." "I love my wife, but she's having er I had a great time reading this collection of "love gone wrong" stories. I even came up with my own alternate titles for them. (Beware: Spoilers Ahead!) "I love her, but she loves someone else." "I love my dog, but the lady I work for wants me to kill it." "I love her, but I was too shy to tell her and now she's gone." "I love her, but she thinks I'm a child and had an affair with my dad instead." "Imagine if King Lear was a minor nobleman in Tsarist Russia." "I love my wife, but she's having erotic dreams about my best friend."

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    Another 5 short stories by Turgenev. First Love and Region of Dead Calm are both much longer (>100 pages) the others short. First Love was Turgenev's own favourite story and he felt it represented accurate description of a first infatuation. I preferred the Region of Dead Calm, set in the Russian countryside where nothing ever happens - except duels, trysts, suicide. A great story ! Another 5 short stories by Turgenev. First Love and Region of Dead Calm are both much longer (>100 pages) the others short. First Love was Turgenev's own favourite story and he felt it represented accurate description of a first infatuation. I preferred the Region of Dead Calm, set in the Russian countryside where nothing ever happens - except duels, trysts, suicide. A great story !

  30. 4 out of 5

    Fabio

    If there is such thing as the Russian soul, it is definitely within these pages. This book set Turgenev in my mind as something of a third focal point to the the expansive philosophical insight of Tolstoy and the psychological dissections of Dostoyevsky.

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