Synopses & Reviews
What makes a great writer? What should his attitude be to his own environment and to European culture? How should he transmute his own experience of life into a work of art? And how should he keep his integrity in face of censorship.
These and other vital questions bearing directly on the art of creative writing Ivan Turgenev considers in his immensely fascinating Literary Reminiscences, towards the end of his life and now translated for the first time into English. These Reminiscences contain several brilliant sketches of famous Russian writers; including Belinsky, Gogol, Krylov and Lermontov, as well as tantalizing glimpses of Pushkin. In addition, the book contains fragments of Turgenev's autobiography, each one of which is not only of biographical value but of outstanding psychological interest among them is his own account of A Fire at Sea'.
The Literary Reminiscences have been translated by David Magarshack, who has written an introduction filling in the of the various in the book and thus making it into one conservative and casily comprehensible whole. Edmund Wilson, in his long, full and characteristically stimulating prefatory Essay, combines literary criticism with an examination of Turgenev's extraordinary family and early environment.