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First Love Paperback – Dec 14 1978

4.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Revised ed. edition (Dec 14 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140443355
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140443356
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 0.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 100 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #228,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"I wanted them all, even those I'd already read."
—Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

"Small wonders."
Time Out London

"[F]irst-rate…astutely selected and attractively packaged…indisputably great works."
—Adam Begley, The New York Observer

"I’ve always been haunted by Bartleby, the proto-slacker. But it’s the handsomely minimalist cover of the Melville House edition that gets me here, one of many in the small publisher’s fine 'Art of the Novella' series."
The New Yorker

"The Art of the Novella series is sort of an anti-Kindle. What these singular, distinctive titles celebrate is book-ness. They're slim enough to be portable but showy enough to be conspicuously consumed—tiny little objects that demand to be loved for the commodities they are."
—KQED (NPR San Francisco)

"Some like it short, and if you're one of them, Melville House, an independent publisher based in Brooklyn, has a line of books for you... elegant-looking paperback editions ...a good read in a small package."
The Wall Street Journal --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev was born in 1818 in the Province of Orel, and suffered during his childhood from a tyrannical mother. After the family had moved to Moscow in 1827 he entered Petersburg University where he studied philosophy. When he was nineteen he published his first poems and, convinced that Europe contained the source of real knowledge, went to the University of Berlin. After two years he returned to Russia and took his degree at the University of Moscow. In 1843 he fell in love with Pauline Garcia-Viardot, a young Spanish singer, who influenced the rest of his life; he followed her on her singing tours in Europe and spent long periods in the French house of herself and her husband, both of whom accepted him as a family friend. He sent his daughter by a sempstress to be brought up among the Viardot children. After 1856 he lived mostly abroad, and he became the first Russian writer to gain a wide reputation in Europe; he was a well-known figure in Parisian literary circles, where his friends included Flaubert and the Goncourt brothers, and an honorary degree was conferred on him at Oxford. His series of six novels reflect a period of Russian life from 1830s to the 1870s: they are Rudin (1855), A House of Gentlefolk (1858), On the Eve (1859; a Penguin Classic), Fathers and Sons (1861), Smoke (1867) and Virgin Soil (1876). He also wrote plays, which include the comedy A Month in the Country; short stories and Sketches from a Hunter’s Album (a Penguin Classic); and literary essays and memoirs. He died in Paris in 1883 after being ill for a year, and was buried in Russia.

Isaiah Berlin, O.M., C.B.E., first President of Wolfson College, Oxford, from 1966 to 1975, is a Fellow of All Souls. He was a Fellow of New College from 1938 to 1950 and Professor of Social and Political Theory at Oxford from 1957 to 1967. He served as President of the British Academy of Arts and Letters. He holds honorary degrees from the universities of Brandies, Cambridge, Columbia, East Anglia, Glasgow, Harvard, Hull, Jerusalem, Liverpool, London and Tel Aviv. Sir Isaiah's work covers a wide variety of subjects, but most of his work has appeared in periodicals and symposia. Russian Thinkers is the first of four volumes edited by Henry Hardy which bring together for the first time all of Isaiah Berlin's major essays (excluding those already published in Four Essays on Liberty and Vico and Herder). Isaiah Berlin's other contributions to Russian studies include his translation of Ivan Turgenev's First Love (available from Penguin) and his Introduction to Alexander Herzen's memoirs, My Past and Thoughts. Sir Isaiah was awarded the Jerusalem Prize in 1979 for the expression in his writings of the idea of the freedom of the individual in society.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Turgenev creates prose so spare, yet so elegant you find yourself rereading entire paragraphs just to try to net some hidden agenda behind the simplicity. Turgenev's influence on Hemingway was probably never more brilliantly expressed than in these understated words from A Moveable Feast: "I had read all of Turgenev...(of Dostoevsky) frailty and madnesss...were there to know as you knew the landscapes and roads in Turgenev..."
This book is more than a simple love story between a young man and an older woman, though the idea of the shortness and depthlessness of young love is an important theme. There are also such themes as the dissolution and fall into poverty of the Russian nobility as seen in Zinaida and her mother, a former princess; the idea of 19th century Russia shrugging off the chains of serfdom and royal dominance is also explored in the vastly superior Fathers and Sons. Another noteworthy theme is alienation from parents and society in general; Vladimir Petrovich is dominated utterly by his menacing father and carking, gossipy mother. He grows to become a bachelor, rehashing his tragic story before a fireplace in an inn. Towards the end of the book, when Vladimir's father, who shares with Vladimir a strong affection for Zinaida, flogs the young girls arm with a riding crop, as well as the threat the father gives to one of Zinaida's numerous suitors, we are made to wonder exactly what part romantic relationships have in the alleviation or exacerbation of violent mental illness, or at least a violent and cold mindset.
This book, however deep and lovingly crafted, is a cipher next to Fathers and Sons. It's also a lot shorter; first time Turgenev readers might want to start here.
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Format: Paperback
Turgenev's novella, "First Love" is a compact, but intense, fiction whose realism blends with its literary allusions, dream-like qualities, and point of view to create a work of undeniable power. This is a novella which questions the boundaries between life and art, asking us all the while where love resides in self, family, and society.
"First Love" begins in a style reminiscent of Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales." Following a long dinner party, three men are in the middle of a calm conversation, when the unnamed host proposes that they all share the stories of their first loves. Two men's stories are quickly dismissed, leaving Vladimir Petrovich, a pensive middle aged man, who offers to give his story after having a chance to write it out. Vladimir's story concerns a summer when he was 16. Living in the country with a dissatisfied mother and an agonizingly Byronic father, Vladimir happens upon a dispossessed 21-year-old princess, Zinaida. From her shabby home, the beautiful and mysterious Zinaida commands a court of six men of varying ages and backgrounds - a poet, a doctor, a minor nobleman, a soldier, and Vladimir - each of whom is desperate to win her affection at any cost. For his own part, Vladimir attempts throughout the story to discover the roots of his own fascination with Zinaida.
Part of the appeal of "First Love" is its point of view. It is a true first person narrative - we only ever know Vladimir's experience - the effect is a realistic account of the infatuation, love, doubt, and inner turmoil of a young man told through the hindsight of age and experience.
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Format: Paperback
At the risk of not sounding manly, I must admit I love Russian literature! And, Turgenev is one of my favorites. I've also felt that he has never been fully appreciated to the degree he should be. When most people think of Russian literature obvisously authors like Dostoevsky (my favorite author), Tolstoy, and Chekhov come to mind but one rarely hears someone speak highly of Turgenev, or maybe it's merely the people whom I hang around with. "First Love" is so wonderfully written, it's so full of charm, wit, humor, and basic human emotions that as one goes on reading we almost relive our own first love experience. We think back to when we were young and how we felt when we had that crush on someone. How the whole world seemed different and exciting. Well, Turgenev managed to recapture those feelings we may have put aside. The story is about Vladimir Petrovichand he tells how he has fallen for Zinaida, the daughter of a Princess. He takes us along with him as he recalls his memories of what it was like when he first met her. And how he also was able to grow up and learn from this experience. I can't praise this book highly enough. A wonderful read!
Very good translation by Isaiah Berlin. If after reading this you want to read more by Turgenev try "A Month In The Country" and "Spring Torrents".
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Format: Paperback
I read this book one very, very cold winter's night in St.Petersburg, sitting at a sleazy 24-hour bar by the Gulf of Finland, where I was the only guest. I sat there drinking numerous beers, reading this novella - and was practically in tears by the time I had finished it. By then I'd gotten unreasonably buzzed, so I stumbled over to the barlady (who, needless to say, was called Natasha), and congratulated her on being Russian, for that meant that she'd been born in the same country where Turgenev wrote this lovely, tragic, wonderfully sentimental story. I felt stupid the next morning, but was still overwhelmed with the beauty of what I'd read. I am uncertain how much the setting I read this book in had to do with how much I liked it, and I wonder what it'd be like to read it now, sober, at home, but I suspect it of being pretty damn brilliant no matter where you read it. Well, maybe except if you're from California or something. At any rate - "First Love" rocks.
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