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Item 515 - Ivan Turgenev Catalog 444 (Jan 2015)

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Description


Highly influential Russian author (1818-1883) whose 1862 novel Fathers and Sons remains one of the pillars of nineteenth-century literature. ALS in French, signed “Ivan Tourgueneff,” one page, 5.25 x 8.25, personal Bougival letterhead, November 20, 1879. Letter to French author and journalist Paul Lacroix. In full (translated): “I have received your letter while at the countryside where I will leave from in only a week to go back to Paris—(50 Rue Donai). I will leave for Russia around December 15. I will be very happy to do the small service that you are asking me—and it will give me the occasion to be acquainted with an eminent writer, whose works I have read with great pleasure and whose love for my country has been known to me for a long time. I will have the honor to immediately inform you of my return to Paris.” A letter penned on the reverse in Lacroix’s hand forwards the letter, reading, in part (translated): “I did what you wished for, before researching, because I could not find the address of M. T. The attached letter will let you know that I finally have it and that I have succeeded. When writing him I made the point to name you…so that you already have your entry in the mind of our famous novelist. It is done.” In fine condition, with central vertical and horizontal folds.

The recipient, Lacroix, wrote under the pseudonym ‘P. L. Jacob, bibliophile,’ or ‘Bibliophile Jacob,’ producing several historical romances as well as serious historical studies, including one on the life and times of Tsar Nicholas I. Turgenev’s love of Russia is a theme throughout his oeuvre, with works such as Rudin and Fathers and Sons embodying the ideals of his generation, and A Nest of the Gentry filled nostalgia for the irretrievable past and with love for the Russian countryside. A rare and exceedingly desirable letter from late in his life, when he was recognized as a dominant force in Russian literature, surpassing even Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA.

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