Keywords: Ivan Turgenev, social progress, civilisation, Westernisers, Slavophils, dynamics of design, family theme, social novel, epic novel, high society, new hero.
For citation:

Andreeva  V.  G. “Excited Snails”. Radicalism and apoliticalism in the novel “Smoke” by Ivan Turgenev // Two centuries of the Russian classics, 2020, vol. 2, № 4, pp. 228–249. (In Russ.) DOI

Author: Valeria G. Andreeva
Information about the author:

Valeria G. Andreeva, ORCID, DSc in Philology, Leading Researcher, A. M. Gorky institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25a, 121069, Moscow, Russia

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Received: September 11, 2020
Published: December 8, 2020
Issue: 2020 Volume 2 No. 4
Department: Russian literature XVIII and XIX centuries
Pages: 228-249
UDK: 821.161.1.09"19"

Abstract: The article is devoted to clarifying the problematics and genre originality of the novel “Smoke” by Ivan Turgenev, revealing the universal opposition behind the heroes’ external wars of words, particularly noticeable in the example of the opposition “life – deadness”. The author of the article argues that an important socio-political assessment of the heroes does not convey the entire intention of the writer, presenting the theory of the civilisational development of Russia. One of the main ideas in the civic novel “Smoke” is the idea of progress, which is considered both at the level of disputes between Westernisers and Slavophils, and at the level of ontological life foundations. In the fictional world of the novel, the denied positions of the Slavophils are greatly simplified, and the Westernisers’ views asserted in general are softened and corrected by figurative oppositions. The article demonstrates the connection between the idea of progress and the family theme, the role of the new hero-figure of the post-reform era in the fate of Russia. The novel “Smoke” is considered in the context of Ivan Turgenev's late creative work, his intertextualities with the stories “Ghosts”, “Enough”, its connection with the subsequent epic novel “Virgin soil are noted. Special attention is paid to the conflict between the creative hero and the environment, the high society, the path of the personality and the responsibility of a person for each of his actions. The characters of the central characters of the novel are considered, the change in the writer's intention is shown, gradually reducing the image of Sozont Potugin, whom Ivan Turgenev endowed with thoughts and beliefs dear to him.


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