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  • Print publication year: 1998
  • Online publication date: May 2006

12 - Novelistic technique

from Part 4 - Structures and readings

The power of the Russian nineteenth-century novel depends in part on earlier techniques of novel-writing which most Western novelists had abandoned. This study will concentrate on the particularly Russian relation between plotting and narration, though it must also reckon with the interplay between Russian and the Western novelistic practices in the nineteenth century. In the first Western book on the Russian novel (1881), Melchoir de Vogüé, the eloquent French diplomat, journalist, and gossip, says that for Turgenev the study “of our masters and the friendship and the advice of Mérimée offered precious help; to these literary associations he may have owed the intellectual discipline, the clarity, the precision, virtues which are so rare among the prose writers of his country.” This denial that Turgenev is a fully Russian novelist shows that Vogüé recognized something special about Turgenev, but it also led Western Europeans from the 1880s on to recognize that there was something special about most Russian novels.

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The Cambridge Companion to the Classic Russian Novel
  • Online ISBN: 9781139000246
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