Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev

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Ilya Repin : Ivan Turgenew
Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev Signature.svg

Iwan Sergejewitsch Turgenev (in Germany usually Turgenev , Russian Иван Сергеевич Тургенев , scientific transliteration Ivan Sergeevič Turgenev ; * 28 October July / 9 November  1818 greg. In Orjol , Russian Empire ; † 22 August July / 3 September  1883 greg. In Bougival near Paris ) was one of the most important Russian writers . He was one of the first to take up and address the everyday needs and fears of Russian society in Russian literature .


Spasskoje-Lutovinowo: Turgenev lived in this house as a child

Turgenev was born on November 9, 1818 in Oryol and grew up on his parents' estate Spasskoje-Lutowinowo in the Oryol governorate . He came from an old noble family, his father was an officer in the Russian army. His parents had several thousand serfs .

He spent his childhood mainly in Oryol, where he was tutored by private tutors. In 1827 his education was continued in a Moscow boarding school. The director of the institute, Krause, promoted Turgenew's turn to Central and Western European culture.

After graduating from school, he studied literature in Moscow in 1833/34 and in Saint Petersburg from 1834 to 1837 . From 1838 to 1841 he was studying abroad. Turgenev was very sociable. In Berlin he dealt in particular with the philosophy of Hegel under his pupil Karl Werder . It can be assumed that he came into contact with several Russian chemists in Berlin and Heidelberg - the novel Fathers and Sons has many connections to chemistry. It was during this time that he met Nikolai Stankewitsch and Mikhail Bakunin for the first time .

Some of Ivan Turgenev's poems appeared in print as early as 1838 . After his return to Russia, a brief interlude of about two years as a civil servant in Petersburg followed around 1841. After this experience, he decided to become a freelance writer . Then he returned to Oryol and released the serfs of his estate. His first work in narrative prose is the novella Andrej Kolossow ( Андрей Колосов ) published in 1844 . The Collection of Tales of a Hunter's Records , his first book publication in 1852, laid the foundation for his fame. In March 1852, however, he was arrested on the basis of an article A letter about Gogol and temporarily banished to his estate.

Ivan Turgenev, portrayed by Kirill Gorbunow in 1838

From 1855 Turgenev lived abroad with only short interruptions, especially in Germany and France , from where he dealt with the unrest in his home country. Above all, he traveled to his longtime lover, the mezzo-soprano Pauline Viardot (1821–1910), in Paris and only occasionally returned to Russia. During this time, he also had a permanent residence in Baden-Baden for seven years . His circle of friends included Gustave Flaubert , Prosper Mérimée , Berthold Auerbach , Paul Heyse , Gustav Freytag and Theodor Storm . Besides literature, Turgenev's interests included the game of chess . In 1861 he financed a tournament in the Café de la Régence , played a competition against Ignaz von Kolisch in 1862 and was one of the organizers of the international chess tournament in Baden-Baden in 1870.

In 1882 Turgenev fell ill with cancer . A liposarcoma in his right suprapubic region (above the pubic bone ) had to be removed in Paris in January 1883 , but a cure was not possible because metastases had formed in the spinal cord. In the last months of his life Turgenev suffered from considerable pain until he succumbed to his illness on September 3, 1883 in his house in Bougival near Paris. The body was taken to Saint Petersburg for an autopsy and buried there on September 27 in the Volkovo Cemetery.



Ivan Turgenev
Turgenew receives an honorary doctorate from the University of Oxford , 1879

Turgenev is considered one of the most important representatives of Russian realism . His work had a great influence on the development of "melancholy impressionism" in Western Europe . In the early years up to 1847 he mainly used poetry (e.g. the verse novella Parascha , 1843). From 1855 onwards he increasingly emerged as an author of dramas and comedies, which in their outwardly less dramatic developments anticipate features of Anton Chekhov's plays .

Turgenev's prose has a lyrical keynote that is particularly often devoted to descriptions of nature and emotional digressions . Starting from the language of Pushkin , he sought to expand it to include the expressiveness and artistic use of sentence melody. Turgenew was a master of character drawing, he lets his figures arise from many small and barely perceptible details.

The tale The Hunter's Record ( Записки охотника ) from 1852 was viewed by many as a denunciation of serfdom and a social charge; the focus is on very individual, rural figures. In his six novels Turgenev combined the fate of his heroes with the description of social, political and cultural currents in Russia from the 1850s to 1870s. In Fathers and Sons ( Отцы и дети ) (1862) he dealt with the issue of generation conflict ; In later works, such as Rauch ( Дым ) (1867), however, he tended more and more to polemics and satirical portrayals of contemporary conditions.

Turgenew is also one of the most important European novelists. His novels , which are characterized above all by the great variety in their description, are considered a high point of this genre in Russian literature. In his novels Turgenew prefers frame narratives and the often modified motif of love. In later years the supernatural and mysterious also flowed into his stories (e.g. Klara Militsch ( Клара Милич ) from 1882, in which a love that goes beyond death is portrayed).

In his literary work Turgenev was influenced by Goethe and especially by his Faust , so that he published a novel of the same name with Фауст in 1856. Further influences came from Charles Baudelaire , Giacomo Leopardi and - in the old work - Arthur Schopenhauer . As with almost all Russian writers of his generation, however, the most important point of reference, especially for his early work, was Alexander Pushkin .

Works (selection)

Turgenew in old age
Ivan Turgenev on the hunt, painting by Nikolai Dmitrijew-Orenburgski from 1879
Monument to Turgenev in Saint Petersburg



  • The duelist . ( Бретёр. ) 1846.
  • Diary of a superfluous person . ( Дневник лишнего человека. ) 1849.
  • Three encounters ( Три встречи ) 1851.
  • Hunter's Notes . ( Записки охотника. ) 1852.
  • Mumu . ( Муму. ) 1852.
  • Two friends ( Два приятеля .) 1853.
  • Still life ( Затишье .) 1854.
  • Jakow Passynkow . ( Яков Пасынков .) 1855.
  • Fist . ( Фауст. ) 1856.
  • An exchange of letters. ( Переписка .) 1856.
  • Asja . ( Ася. ) 1857.
  • First love . ( Первая любовь. ) 1860.
  • Ghosts . ( Призраки .) 1863.
  • The dog . ( Собака. ) 1866
  • The story of Lieutenant Yergunov . ( История лейтенанта Ергунова. ) 1867.
  • An unfortunate one . ( Несчастная .) 1868
  • A strange story ( Странная история ). 1869.
  • A king Lear of the steppe . ( Степной король Лир. ) 1870.
  • Spring waves . ( Вешние воды. ) 1872.
  • The clock . ( Часы. ) 1875.


  • The Temptations of St. Anthony ( Искушение святого Антония ). 1842.
  • Where it's thin ... it also tears ( Где тонко, там и рвётся ). 1848.
  • The Hagestolz ( Холостяк ). 1849.
  • The Provincial ( Провинциалка ). 1851.
  • A month in the country ( Месяц в деревне ). 1855.


  • Parasha. ( Параша. ) 1843.


  • Hamlet and Don Quixote. ( Гамлет и Дон-Кихот. ) 1860.
  • Poems in prose. ( Стихотворөния в прозе. ) 1882.

German-language editions

  • Klara Militsch. ( После смерти (Клара Милич). ) 1882. Dt. Klara Milič. Two novels . Translated and with an afterword by Dorothea Trottenberg . Dörlemann Verlag, Zurich 2006, ISBN 3-908777-22-4 .
  • All works . 12 volumes. Georg Müller Verlag, Munich / Leipzig 1911–1931; Continued in 1917 under the title Selected Writings by Propylaen Verlag, Berlin. Edited by Otto Buek (only volume 1) and Kurt Wildhagen . Translated by FM Balte, Fega Frisch, Ludwig Rubiner , August Scholz, S. Levine, R. v. Walter, Ida Orloff , Kurt Wildhagen a. a.
  • Visions / and other fantastic stories. Weimar 1914. Gutenberg eText
  • The clock. A novella. Erich Matthes, Leipzig 1925.
  • Fist. ( Фаүст. ) 1856. Ger. Fist. Two novels . Translated and with an afterword by Dorothea Trottenberg. Dörlemann Verlag , Zurich 2007, ISBN 978-3-908777-33-5 .


  • Letters from IS Turgéniew. First collection (1840–1883) . Edited by the “Society for the Support of Needy Writers and Scholars”. Translated from Russian and provided with notes by Heinrich Ruhe. FW v. Biedermann, Leipzig 1886.
  • Karl Ernst Laage : Theodor Storm and Iwan Turgenjew personal and literary relationships, influences, letters, pictures. Westholsteinische Verlagsanstalt Boyens & Co, Heide 1967. (Reprint Topos Verlag, Vaduz 1970).
  • Ivan Turgenev. Letters to Ludwig Pietsch . With an appendix: Ludwig Pietsch on Turgenev . Aufbau-Verlag, Berlin / Weimar 1968.


Turgenev's grave bust in the Volkovo Cemetery


  • Peter Brang: IS Turgenev. His life and his work. Otto Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1977, ISBN 3-447-01777-5 .
  • Ernst Borkowsky : Turgenev. Hofmann, Berlin 1903.
  • Juan Eduardo Zúñiga: Ivan S. Turgenev. A biography. (= Insel-TB. Volume 2744). Insel, Frankfurt am Main 2001, ISBN 3-458-34444-6 .
  • Horst-Jürgen Gerigk: Turgenev. An introduction for today's readers (= contributions to recent literary history. Volume 338). Universitätsverlag Winter, Heidelberg 2015, ISBN 978-3-8253-6428-1 .

Collective works

  • Peter Thiergen (Ed.): Ivan S. Turgenev. Life, work and effect. Contributions from the international conference on the occasion of the 175th birthday at Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg, 15. – 18. September 1993. (= Lectures and treatises on Slavic Studies. Volume 27). Sagner, Munich 1995, ISBN 3-87690-618-0 .

Individual representations

  • Peter Brang: Images and Mirages in Turgenev's Representation of National Characters. Destroying clichés or reinforcing trends? In: Ivan S. Turgenev. Life, work and effect. (= Lectures and treatises on Slavic Studies. Volume 27). Otto Sagner, Munich 1995, ISBN 3-87690-618-0 , pp. 1-25.
  • Ulrich Busch: Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoevskij, Tolstoj. On 19th century Russian literature. (= Forum Slavicum. Volume 12). Fink, Munich 1966.
  • Christoph Dolny: Literary functions of personal names in the novels and stories by IS Turgenev. (= Slavica Helvetica. Volume 51). Peter Lang, Bern a. a. 1996, ISBN 3-906756-28-9 .
  • Klaus Fischer: In Ivan Turgenev's footsteps in the spa town. "My life in Baden-Baden - over!". (= Tracks. Volume 9). German Schiller Society, Marbach am Neckar 1990.
  • Horst-Jürgen Gerigk : The Russians in America. Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Turgenev and Chekhov in their significance for American literature. Pressler, Hürtgenwald 1995, ISBN 3-87646-073-5 .
  • Paul Hacker: Studies on the Realism of IS Turgenev. (= Lectures and treatises on Slavic Studies. Volume 11). Sagner, Munich 1988, ISBN 3-87690-413-7 .
  • Harri Jünger: Turgenev - a brilliant mediator of national cultures. In: Soviet literature . H. 12, 1983.
  • Rolf-Dieter Kluge: Ivan S. Turgenev. Poetry between hope and renunciation. (= Sources and studies on Russian intellectual history. Volume 11). Wewel, Munich 1992, ISBN 3-87904-109-1 .
  • Walter Kosglich: The Poetic System of IS Turgenev's Dramas. Studies on a pragmatic drama analysis. (= Slavic articles. Volume 166). Sagner, Munich 1983, ISBN 3-87690-256-8 .
  • Walter Kosglich: From Realism to Symbolism. On the genesis and morphology of the symbolic language in the late works of IS Turgenev. (= Studies in Slavic literature and poetics. Volume 5). Rodopi, Amsterdam 1984, ISBN 90-6203-886-7 .
  • Hildegard Kottmann: Ivan Turgenev's stage work. (= European university publications; series 16; Slaw. Languages ​​and literatures. Volume 24). Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main a. a. 1984, ISBN 3-8204-7604-0 .
  • Otto Krätz: Iwan Turgenjew and the Russian chemists in Heidelberg. In: Chemistry in Our Time . VCH publishing company, June 1987.
  • Roland Krischke: Iwan S. Turgenjew in Heidelberg . Mitteldeutscher Verlag, Halle (Saale) 2014, ISBN 978-3-95462-235-1 .
  • Pëtr Kropotkin : Ideals and Reality in Russian Literature. Edited by Peter Urban. Diogenes Verlag, Zurich 2003, ISBN 3-257-06376-8 , pp. 137-167.
  • Karl Ernst Laage: Theodor Storm and Iwan Turgenjew. Personal and literary relationships. Influences, letters, pictures. Reprint of the edition Heide in Holstein, Westholstein. (= Writings of the Theodor Storm Society. Volume 16). Publisher Boyens, 1967. Topos-Verlag, Vaduz, Liechtenstein 1989, ISBN 3-289-00416-3 .
  • Sigrid MacLaughlin: Schopenhauer in Russia. On the literary reception at Turgenev. (= Opera Slavica, New Series. 3). Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1984, ISBN 3-447-02342-2 .
  • Michael Nierle: The description of nature and its functions in poetry and prose by IS Turgenev. Studies on the History of 19th Century Russian Literature. (= Eastern European Studies of the Universities of the State of Hesse, Series III. Volume 11). Gehlen, Bad Homburg u. a. 1969.
  • Anna Rothkoegel: Russian Faust and Hamlet. On the criticism of subjectivism and intertextuality in IS Turgenev. (= Lectures and treatises on Slavic Studies. Volume 35). Sagner, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-87690-683-0 .
  • Katharina Schütz: The Goethe picture of Turgeniev. (= Language and Poetry. Volume 75). Haupt, Stuttgart a. a. 1952.
  • Gregor Schwirtz: Thoughts on "Westernism" Ivan Turgenev. In: Erhard Hexelschneider (Ed.): Russia & Europe. Historical and cultural aspects of a problem of the century. Jena Forum for Education and Science, Leipzig 1995, ISBN 3-929994-44-5 , pp. 91–99.
  • Anton Seljak: "Vsegda pital i pitaju živoe sočuvstvie k evrejam" - ambivalences of the anti-Semitic discourse at IS Turgenev. In: Wolfgang Weitlaner (Ed.): Culture. Language. Economy. Contributions to the conference of the same name at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration 3. – 5. December 1999. (= Vienna Slavic Almanac, special volume. 54). Society for the Promotion of Slavic Studies, Vienna 2001, ISBN 3-87690-811-6 , pp. 115-134.
  • Anton Seljak: Ivan Turgenev's Economies. A writer's existence between aristocracy, artistry and commerce. (= Basel studies on the cultural history of Eastern Europe. Volume 6). Pano, Zurich 2004, ISBN 3-907576-65-9 .
  • Anton Seljak: Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Iwan Turgenev: Attempt on a love-hate relationship. In: German Dostoyevsky Society. Yearbook. 12, 2005, ISBN 3-9809877-1-X , pp. 85-111.
  • Anton Seljak, Andreas Guski: group picture with poet. Attempt on a missing Turgenev painting. In: Elisabeth von Erdmann u. a. (Ed.): Tusculum Slavicum. Festschrift for Peter Thiergen. (= Basel studies on the cultural history of Eastern Europe. Volume 14). Pano, Zurich 2005, ISBN 3-907576-87-X , pp. 677-689.
  • Anton Seljak, Andreas Guski: Portraits d'un chasseur: Tourguéniev et Nikolaï D. Dmitriev-Orenbourgsky. Essai sur un tableau disparu. (= Cahiers Ivan Tourguéniev, Pauline Viardot, Maria Malibran. 25). 2001/2008, ISBN 2-903597-04-9 , pp. 193-202.
  • Galina A. Time: Ivan Turgenev and German literature. His relationship with Goethe and his similarities with Berthold Auerbach, Theodor Fontane and Theodor Storm. (= Heidelberg publications on Slavic Studies; B, literary studies series. Volume 15). Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main a. a. 2000, ISBN 3-631-36878-X .
  • Reinhold Trautmann: Turgenev and Chekhov. A contribution to Russian intellectual life. (= The Humboldt Library. Volume 5). People and Book, Leipzig 1948.
  • Patrick Waddington: Turgenev and England. Macmillan, London 1980, ISBN 0-333-22072-2 .
  • Käthe Wiegand: IS Turgenev's attitude to Germanness. Reprint of the Leipzig 1939 edition (= publications by the Slavic Institute at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Berlin. Volume 24). Kraus Repr., Nendeln / Liechtenstein 1968.


The German tank officer Antonius John was honored in 1974 by the Soviet government and Academy of Sciences in Moscow and Orel for saving the museum with the estate of the Russian poet Ivan Turgenev in the tank battle around Kursk (1943; Citadel company ).

Web links

Commons : Ivan Turgenev  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Iwan Sergejewitsch Turgenew  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Leonard Schapiro: Turgenev: His Life and Times . Harvard University Press 1982, ISBN 0-674-91297-7 , p. 1.
  2. Fabrizio Zavatarelli: Ignaz Kolisch, the life and chess career . McFarland & Co., Jefferson 2015, OCLC 946542261 , p. 189.
  3. W. Ceelen, D. Creytens, L. Michel: The Cancer Diagnosis, Surgery and Cause of Death of Ivan Turgenev. In: Acta Chirurgica Belgica. 115.3, 2015, pp. 241–246.
  4. ^ Entry Antonius John in Who's Who , accessed on May 17, 2016.