Toward the end of his career as a brilliant novelist, Turgenev turned his pen to the essays that comprise these Literary Reminiscences. Here he discusses the character of creative writing, the attitude of the artist to his environment, and the transmutation of the artist's experience into a work of art. He offers, as well, brilliant studies of Pushkin, Gogol, Belinsky, Lermontov, and Krylov, and a penetrating account of his own difficulties in writing Fathers and Sons. There are also descriptions of travels through Italy, simply and beautifully written pieces on country life, and eyewitness accounts of the 1848 political riots in Paris. David Magarshack has provided a first-class translation and has written an introduction which explains and sets the scene for each of the essays. "The best possible introduction to the author a reader could ask for....Turgenev is an uninsistent, lyric meditator, who sees with a precise eye wherever he looks, and whether he is drawing a bead on a quail or escaping from a burning ship, always asks the uncomfortable questions of himself."—New York Herald-Tribune.
Ivan Turgenev (1818–1883), one of Russia's greatest nineteenth-century writers, is best known for his novel Fathers and Sons, his long story "Smoke," and A Sportsman's Sketches.