Smyrniw, Walter
January 1985
Modern Language Review;Jan1985, Vol. 80 Issue 1, p97
Academic Journal
Literary Criticism
This article focuses on the portrayal of emancipated women in the literature of Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev. The advent of feminine emancipation in Russia was precipitated by the writings of George Sand. Almost immediately after their appearance in France, Sand's novels were translated into Russian, serialized in journals, and published in book form. At the height of her popularity in Russia at the end of the 1830s and throughout the 1840s she inspired several Russian authors to dwell on problems pertaining to feminine inequality. The foremost representative of this trend was a woman writer, Yelena Adreyevna Gan. A prolific and a highly acclaimed author in her time, Yelena Gan often protested against the enslavement of women through marriage, deplored the abuses and grief that women bad to endure from cruel men, and advocated the need for women to attain intellectual and emotional freedom. As an astute observer of social and literary developments, Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev not only was aware of these promulgations of equal rights, but portrayed several emancipated women in his works. Some of Turgenev's heroines manifest quite overtly their involvement in feminine emancipation. But he also portrayed women whose emancipatory aspirations were less obvious, but certainly no less significant.


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