Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Sunday, April 3, 2011

"Vermolai and the Miller's Wife" by Ivan Turgenev

"Vermolai and the Miller's Wife"  by Ivan Turgenev (1865, 10 pages, translated by Constance Garnett)

Last June I read and posted on Ivan Turgenev's Diary of a Superfluous Mana work I greatly enjoyed.   Lately I have been getting very into short stories.    Frank O'Connor is his classic work on the short story, The Lonely Voice speaks in the most rhapsodic terms of the short stories of Turgenev (1818 to 1883).    Ford Madox Ford in his magisterial survey The March Literature mentions as early as page five the short stories of Turgenev as among the most beautiful literature of all time.

"Vermolai and the Miller's Wife" is a wonderful straight forward story about a Russian noble on a hunting trip with one of his men.    It is a celebration of nature, of hunting, of friendship,  of the pleasures of friendship, of the enjoyment of being outside in the Russian winter and in bonding with other men in conversations about women.

This is a great story and I cannot imagine anyone disliking it.

It was a bit shocking at first when the narrator of the story casually mentioned the serfs he owned as if to own another person was perfectly ordinary, and I guess it was at the time.  

Turgenev came from an incredibly wealthy Russian Family that owned over 5000 serfs over whom they had the power of life and death.

The story can be read online here.

I will be reading through the stories of Turgenev this year and posting on some of them-If you have a favorite please let me know.

Mel u


Deborah Lawrenson said...

A short novel rather than a short story: First Love is my favourite.

Have you read Twilight of Love: Travels with Turgenev by Robert Dessaix? I can highly recommend it. I love Dessaix's books, with their powerful understanding of literature and human nature.

Mel u said...

Deborah Lawrence-I will read First Love soon-I will for sure check out the book by Dessaix you recommended-thanks for this and your visit