Twilight of Love
Travels with TurgenevAuthor: Robert Dessaix
Featured in the November, 2004 magazine
(A good read)
Add this book to your reading list
Alongside his friends Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, Turgenev was one of the three great men of the Russian novel's golden age. Fathers and Sons and A Hunter's Notes caused sensations when they were published; by depicting serfs as human beings, the latter was said to have persuaded the Tsar to free them.
Turgenev's private life was, perhaps, as remarkable as his public. For forty years he was passionately devoted to Pauline Viardot, a singer, following her and her husband around Europe. Yet it seems their relationship was chaste both had affairs with other people and at various states Turgenev lived amicably as part of the Viardot household. What, then, did Turgenev mean by the word love'?
Robert Dessaix has had his own forty-year relationship with Turgenev and his work, first as a student of Russian in both Melbourne and Moscow, then as a tutor, and now as an old friend. Dessaix has come to see Turgenev's life and work as illustrating a turning point in the history of love, as much as the history of Russia the moment the Romantic became the Modern, the moment love became sex, and sex became a commodity.
In a truly remarkable work of memoir, literary biography and travel writing a cultural and physical exploration Robert Dessaix has found the pulse that quickened Turgenev's age, and that has failed in ours.
... the book gives much food for thought about what we have both gained and lost in the 21st century.
Review by: Dina Ross
AwardsAward: Winner, Tasmanian Book Prize Year: 2007 Prize: Margaret Scott Prize
Classifications:Prize Winning Non Fiction, Prize Winning Australian, Biography Literary, Set in Australia, Prize Winning
Category:Non Fiction Biography