Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 27 >> Tropical Forests to Twelfth Century >> Turgai


turgenief, entitled, russian, ivan, moscow, lived, novels, children, published and steppes

TURGAI, toor-gi • Russian Central Asia, a sparsely populated district lying south of the government of Orenburg, and north of the Aral Sea. Area, 169,832 square miles- Pop. 706,200. It is traversed in the west by the southern extremity of the Ural Mountains. The rest of the country is steppes inhabited by Kirghiz and their herds.

TURGgNIEF, Ivan Sergyeyevitch, Rus sian novelist: h. Orel on the O,ka. 9 Nov. 1818 (N. S.) ; d. Bougival, 3 Sept. 1883. He be longed to an old aristocratic family. One of his ancestors, Pyotr Turgenief, was executed on the Lebnoye Myesto in Moscow for at tempting to unmask the False Dmitri. An other, Yakof Turgenief, was the famous jester of Peter the Great, who suggested cutting off the patriarchal beards of the Boyars. Ivan's father, Sergyel Nikolayevitch, was a member of the Yelisavyetgrad regiment of cuirassiers serving at Orel, where he married Varvira Petrevna Lutvinova, and retired with the rank of colonel. In 1820 he took his wife and three sons to western Europe. At Bern, when about four years old, Ivan narrowly escaped the fate of the children that mocked Elijah: he was looking at the bears and if his father had not seized him by the leg in time he would have tumbled into the pit. On returning to Russia he was given the usual education of wealthy landowners. He always regretted that his native language was not included in the curriculum. What he learned of Russian poetry and legend came to him by the 'mouth of one of his mother's serfs who introduced him to the (Rossiad) the first Russian book he ever read. In 1828 the Turgeniefs removed to Moscow and Ivan entered the university when he was 16, but in 1835 he was trans ferred to the University of Saint Petersburg, where he finished his studies as Kandidat in the department of philology. He had already' felt the impulse to write, and he tells in his how in 1837, under the eye of Professor Pletnyef, he composed "one of the first fruits of his Muse, a fantastic drama in pentameters, entitled Steniya, and childishly imitative of Byron's (Manfred.' The pro fessor, without mentioning its author's name, read it in class and afterward meeting him in the street assured him that there was "some thing in him." This encouraged him so much that he took to Pletnyef some of his other verses, two of which were printed in the Soveremennik (Contemporary). One of them was entitled (The Old Oak) In 1838 he went to Berlin, under the illusion that real educa tion was to be obtained only abroad. There he spent about two years, studying philosophy, ancient languages and history. Hegel had a great influence on him. Thus he, as it were, cut himself off from Slavic influences and be came a westerner, which, as he himself said, he always remained. On returning to Russia, he went directly to Moscow, where lived his mother, a stern, autocratic and even violent woman. There are many dreadful stones of her cruel treatment of her serfs. He made the acquaintance of the leaders of the Slavophile movement — Aksalcof, Khomyakof and others, but he did not sympathize very cordially with them. In 1843 he published a narrative poem,