- Project Runeberg -  Impressions of Russia /
152

(1889) [MARC] Author: Georg Brandes Translator: Samuel Coffin Eastman - Tema: Russia
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had a kindred idea of a novel and had talked it over
with each other. Turgenief published his novel first.
It is the one with the title “A Nest of Nobles.”[1]
Gontcharóf reads the novel, becomes furiously exasperated,
sees Turgenief on the street, and runs after
him shouting, “Stop, thief! stop, thief!” Even now,
when Turgenief’s name is mentioned in his presence, he
foams with rage.

It is evidently not easy to characterize the public to
which the Russian newspapers and periodicals address
themselves throughout the empire. It is too much
scattered; and it is far more difficult than in the world of
readers of other countries for it to gain an expression
and receive examination through “the voice of the
people.” Nevertheless, by many indications we can
conclude that it is docile in a high degree, unprejudiced,
and easily acted upon. The quality of a thorough
appropriation of that which is read ought to be weaker than
in the principal countries of Europe, but the capacity to
receive is, without doubt, greater. The enthusiasm of
the female sex is especially great.

In the provincial towns a caricature of this peculiarity
is very often met with. I saw a lady from Orel, “still
young,” bedecked and powdered, who passed as the
literary oracle of the town. She was an enthusiastic
admirer of Richepin, and quoted boldly : —

L’amour que je sens, l’amour qui me cuit,
Ce n’est pas l’amour chaste et platonique,
Sorbet à la neige, etc.


It was well meant, and in and for itself did not show
bad taste, but was exceedingly unbecoming. Another

[1] Also published with the English title “Lisa.”

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