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Turgenev's povest' (or novella) Asya, of 1858, has a Rhineland setting. Asya, the illegitimate daughter of a Russian landowner, is travelling abroad with her half-brother. The narrator falls in love with her, but cannot bring himself to propose marriage until it is too late. Asya has gone. The narrative stance here struck by Turgenev - one of remorseful recollection - renders Asya one of his most poignant tales. It immediately occasioned a lively debate among contemporary Russian critics: over 'weak' as against 'positive' heroes, and the position of the intellectual vis a vis the people. At a more submerged level of the tale, the heroine's 'narrative' has until recently tended to be overlooked.
Bristol Classical Press
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