Flaubert and Turgenev - an examination of the parallels in their intellectual and literary development.
thesisposted on 19.11.2015 by Barbara J. Beaumont
In order to distinguish essays and pre-prints from academic theses, we have a separate category. These are often much longer text based documents than a paper.
This thesis sets out to show that the close intellectual affinity revealed in the correspondence between Flaubert and Turgenev has its roots and explanation in the parallels that can be established in their intellectual development as writers, in their literary aesthetic, and in the treatment of certain themes and ideas in their works. Questions of parallels in personality, temperament and literary aesthetic are dealt with in Chapter I. Chapters II, III and IV deal with the various forces that influenced the early development of the two writers; the common literary influences of Byron, Goethe, Shakespeare and Cervantes; the evolution of an attitude towards nature, and experience of love and the quest for happiness. Chapter V examines parallels in the political attitudes of Flaubert and Turgenev, as revealed in their works and correspondences. Chapter VI deals with the role and significance of dreams and the supernatural in the work of the two writers. Chapter VII examines their treatment of a common theme: the subject of the 'Temptation of Saint Anthony'. Chapters VIII and IX aim at a more wide-ranging view. The contribution of the elements mentioned above to the formation of a pessimistic philosophy on the part of Flaubert and Turgenev, and the expression of this view in their novels, is dealt with in Chapter VIII. Chapter IX explores the two writers' attitude to work as a possible means of alleviating a pessimistic view of life. The concluding chapter draws these threads together into an overall picture of the closeness of the experience and ideas of Flaubert and Turgenev concerning life and art.