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Lectures on Russian Literature Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenef, Tolstoy   By: (1855-1942)

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[ Transcriber's Note: Every effort has been made to replicate this text as faithfully as possible, including inconsistencies in spelling and hyphenation; changes (corrections of spelling and punctuation) made to the original text are listed at the end of this file. ]






NEW YORK & LONDON: G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS, The Knickerbocker Press. 1889.

Copyright, 1889,

By Ivan Panin.




The translations given in this volume, with the exception of the storm scene from Tolstoy in the First Lecture, are my own.

The reader will please bear in mind that these Lectures, printed here exactly as delivered, were written with a view to addressing the ear as well as the eye, otherwise the book would have been entirely different from what it now is.

When delivering the Sixth Lecture, I read extracts from Tolstoy's "My Religion" and "What to Do," illustrating every position of his I there commend; but for reasons it is needless to state, I omit them in the book. I can only hope that the reader will all the more readily go to the books themselves.

I. P.

Grafton, Mass., 1 July, 1889.



I. Introductory 1

II. Pushkin 44

III. Gogol 76

IV. Turgenef 115

V. Tolstoy the Artist 154

VI. Tolstoy the Preacher 190



1. I have chosen the four writers mentioned on the programme not so much because they are the four greatest names of Russian literature as because they best represent the point of view from which these lectures are to be delivered. For what Nature is to God, that is Literature unto the Soul. God ever strives to reveal himself in Nature through its manifold changes and developing forms. And the human soul ever strives to reveal itself in literature through its manifold changes and developing forms. But while to see the goal of the never resting creativeness of God is not yet given unto man, it is given unto mortal eyes to behold the promised land from Pisgah, toward which the soul ever strives, and which, let us hope, it ever is approaching. For the soul ever strives onward and upward, and whether the struggle be called progress of species, looking for the ideal, or union with God, the thing is the same. It is of this journey of the soul heavenward that literature is the record, and the various chases of literary development in every nation are only so many mile posts on the road.

2. In its childhood the human soul only exists; it can hardly yet be said to live; but soon it becomes conscious of its existence, and the first cry it utters is that of joy. Youth is ever cheerful, and in its cheer it sings. Youth sings to the stars in the sky, to the pale moon and to the red moon, to the maiden's cheeks and to the maiden's fan; youth sings to the flower, to the bee, to the bird, and even to the mouse. And what is true of the individual is equally true of the race. The earliest voices in the literature of any nation are those of song. In Greece Homer, like his favorite cicada, chirps right gladly, and in England Chaucer and Shakespeare are first of all bards. In France and Germany it is even difficult to find the separate prominent singers, for there the whole nation, whatever hath articulate voice in it, takes to singing with its troubadours and minnesingers... Continue reading book >>

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