Ivan Turgenev



Turgenev's Timeline


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By Patrick Imialek

1818 (birth) - On October 28th, Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev is born in Oryol, Russia (present-day Ukraine) to Sergie Nikolaevich, a colonel in the Imperial Russian cavalry, and Varvara Petrovna Lutovinova, a wealthy heiress six years her husband's senior.

1822 to 1823 (ages 4 to 5) - The Turgenev family tours Europe.

1833 (age 15) - Turgenev enters Moscow University after spending a summer in dacha near Moscow, which would go on to provide the setting for First Love.

1834 (age 16) - Turgenev transfers to St. Petersburg University. His father dies on October 30th.

1838 to 1841 (ages 20 to 23) - Turgenev studies at Berlin University and travels in Germany and Italy. While on his travels he is on a steamer that catches fire and rumours spread in Russia that he acted cowardly. This incident forms the basis for A Fire at Sea. During these years Turgenev develops friendships with Mikhail Bakunin, Alexander Herzen, Timofey Granovsky and Nikolai Stankevich.

1842 (age 24) - On April 26th, a family serf gives birth to Turgenev's illegitimate daughter, the only child he will have in his life. Turgenev writes his master's dissertation but fails to obtain a professorship at St. Petersburg University.

1843 (age 25) - Turgenev enters the Ministry of Interior. He meets Vissarion Belinsky and writes the long poem Parasha, which brings him literary fame. It is also this year that he meets the celebrated singer Pauline Viardot-Garcia, with whom he will have a lifelong affair.

1844 (age 26) - Turgenev's first short story, Adrei Kolosov, is published.

1845 (age 27) - Turgenev resigns from the Ministry of Interior. He also meets Fyodor Dostoevsky, his ideological and literary rival.

1847 to 1850 (ages 29 to 32) - Khor and Kalinych, the first story from A Sportsman's Sketches, is published in 1847 in the journal The Contemporary. During these years, Turgenev lives in Paris or at Courtavenel, the country house of the Viardots. In 1850, The Diary of a Superfluous Man is published, and Turgenev also completes his only major play, A Month in the Country. The same year, on November 16th, Turgenev's mother dies and he inherits the family estate.

1852 (age 34) - A Sportsman's Sketches is published in full. On April 16th, Turgenev is arrested for his obituary to Gogol, which the Russian government deems idolatrous.

1855 (age 37) - Turgenev meets Leo Tolstoy.

1856 (age 38) - Rudin, Turgenev's first novel, is published in the journal The Contemporary. Turgenev travels widely, visiting Berlin, Paris and London.

1859 (age 41) - House of Gentlefolk is published.

1860 (age 42) - On the Eve and First Love are published. From August to September Turgenev travels to Ventor, Isle of Wight, and Bournemouth. It is this year that he conceives the figure of Bazarov from Fathers and Sons.

1861 (age 43) - Turgenev quarrels with Leo Tolstoy, which leads to their being estranged for 17 years.

1862 (age 44) - Turgenev's masterpiece Fathers and Sons is published.

1863 (age 45) - Taking up permament residence in Baden-Baden, close to the Viardots, Turgenev begins his long-term absence from Russia.

1867 (age 49) - Turgenev's anti-Slavic, pro-Western Smoke is published, which leads to a serious quarrel between him and the Panslavic Fyodor Dostoevsky.

1870 (age 52) - King Lear of the Steppes is published. Turgenev is driven from Baden-Baden by the Franco-Prussian War and chooses to reside in London for the time being.

1871 (age 53) - Turgenev moves to Paris and resides mostly in Bougival. Gustave Flaubert, Emile Zola, Henry James, Edmond de Goncourt and George Sand are amongst his friends.

1872 (age 54) - The Torrents of Spring is published.

1877 (age 59) - Virgin Soil is published.

1878 (age 60) - Turgenev and Leo Tolstoy reconcile.

1879 (age 61) - Turgenev visits Russia and is given a very warm reception. On June 18th, he is awarded an honorary doctorate of civil law by Oxford University.

1880 (age 62) - The Pushkin monument in Moscow is unveiled on June 7th. Turgenev delivers a speech that is greeted coolly by the crowd and his critics. The following day, on June 8th, Fyodor Dostoevsky delivers the famous speech which leads to a public, but not private, reconciliation between him and Turgenev.

1883 (age 64) - On September 3rd, Turgenev dies in Bougival after a long battle with cancer of the spine. He is buried at Volkovo cemetery in St. Petersburg on September 27th.

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