Page:The Novels of Ivan Turgenev (volume V).djvu/11

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INTRODUCTION

with a contempt out of patience for the hereditary vice in the Slav blood. And this time the author cannot be accused of partisanship by any blunderer. 'A plague o' both your houses' is his message equally to the Bureaucrats and the Revolutionists. And so skilfully does he wield the thong, that every lash falls on the back of both parties. An exquisite piece of political satire is Smoke; for this reason alone it would stand unique among novels.

The success of Smoke was immediate and great; but the hue-and-cry that assailed it was even greater. The publication of the book marks the final rupture between Turgenev and the party of Young Russia. The younger generation never forgave him for drawing Gubaryov and Bambaev, Voroshilov and Madame Suhantchikov — types, indeed, in which all revolutionary or unorthodox parties are painfully rich. Or, perhaps, Turgenev was forgiven for it when he was in his grave, a spot where forgiveness flowers to a late perfection. And yet the fault was not Turgenev's. No, his last novel, Virgin Soil, bears splendid witness that it was Young Russia that was one-eyed.

Let the plain truth here be set down. Smoke

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