#13 Virgin Soil – Ivan Turgenev


Virgin Soil


Ivan Turgenev


Historical Fiction, Political Fiction, Romance







Title (Original)


Year of Publication



Virgin Soil - Ivan Turgenev

Short Description & Notes

Virgin Soil’s central theme is the failure of the Populists, a revolutionary and pacifist movement that sought to “go to the people” and led thousands of young Russians to the villages in an attempt to influence the peasants. The Russian aristocracy and its politics are satirized through the character of Sipiágin. The failure of the Populist movement is revealed through the character of Nedjánov and the love story is performed by Marianna, Nedjànov and Solómin. The unique manner by which Turgenev describes each of the characters allows us to create our own opinions and to change them as the story develops. He gives us many wonderful passages by which we can learn a bit more about the Russia countryside, the Russian way of living and their unique culture.

“Turgenev was the most liberal-spirited and unqualifiedly humane of all the great nineteenth-century Russian novelists, and in Virgin Soil, his biggest and most ambitious work, he sought to balance his deep affection for his country and his people with his growing apprehensions about what their future held in store. At the heart of the book is the story of a young man and a young woman, torn between love and politics, who struggle to make headway against the complacency of the powerful, the inarticulate misery of the powerless, and the stifling conventions of provincial life. This rich and complex book, at once a love story, a devastating, and bitterly funny social satire, and, perhaps most movingly of all, a heartfelt celebration of the immense beauty of the Russian countryside, is a tragic masterpiece in which one of the world’s finest novelists confronts the enduring question of the place of happiness in a political world.” – Goodreads: Virgin Soil

Remarkable Quotes

“A tristeza que o dominava era devida à sensação que se apodera geralmente de uma pessoa antes de qualquer mudança de lugar, um sentimento experimentado por todas as pessoas sonhadoras e desconhecido dos temperamentos enérgicos, sanguíneos que sempre se alegram com qualquer interrupção na vida que destrua a rotina.”

“Embora não seja um facto bem conhecido, os russos são os maiores mentirosos de toda a Terra. Mas não há nada que respeitem tanto como a verdade, não há nada com que simpatizem mais.”

Fun Facts

This is the last and longest novel written by Ivan Turgenev. This author lived most of his life outside his country of origin and in this book we may testify sometimes his frustration with Russia and its weaknesses.

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