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Twilight of Love: Travels with Turgenev
by Robert Dessaix

From Publishers Weekly
Dessaix, an Australian writer, scholar and radio presenter, may not be well known in America, but this enchanting memoir of his search for the soul of Russian writer Turgenev (1818-1883) could raise his profile. Growing up in Australia in the 1950s, Dessaix unaccountably fell in love with the Russian masters and ended up studying at Moscow University and teaching Russian language and literature. His passion for Turgenev developed over some 30 years. Feeling the urge to know his old friend better, Dessaix set out to visit Turgenev's various homes in Germany, France and Russia. Like other scholars, Dessaix was perplexed by the writer's love life; his passion for married opera singer Pauline Viardot led him into a lifelong triangle with her and her husband. As Dessaix admits, "[I]f I could find the right word for what Turgenev felt, perhaps the love my own life is rooted in would grow even more luxuriantly." While the problem of irrational love in a world of reason is the dominant theme, Dessaix's work explores much more: Russian theology, the experience of being far away and therefore barbarian in European eyes, the modern confusion of the erotic with the sexual, and of course, the problem of death.

Hardback, 2004, 273pages, very good condition

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