First Love and The Diary of a Superfluous Man

fl By Ivan Turgenev.

These were two very good novellas; both permeated with melancholy and self analysis. The translation seemed a little old fashioned as it was 80-100years old by Constance Garnet. It may be worthwhile to read a more current translation just to see how they sit.

I think I enjoyed ‘First Love’ more as it was longer and had more breadth. The characters seemed to be fleshed out a little more – probably due to the novella’s length.

The two of them both asked deep questions and, as is usual with Turgenev, leave it up to the reader mostly to draw their own conclusions. The Superfluous man – was he unlucky or did he choose to be superfluous? Can human nature be changed and what are all the factors that influence it? Can form even be imposed on questions like this? With True Love – the story is like a dream as the central participants don’t have much of a beginning and then their lives and the story are cut short leaving you to ask – what was the point of that? Which is what Turgenev was hinting at. It is almost as though they never existed except as a story recounted by gentlemen having a drink years later. Turgenev is worth reading. I think I will need to work through his remaining novels and maybe reread Fathers and Sons.

Soundtrack: The Wild Nothing – Live in Dreams.

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