Page:The Novels of Ivan Turgenev (volume V).djvu/16

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passion that kills, that degrades, that renders life despicable, as Turgenev himself says. Smoke is the finest example in literature of a subjective psychological study of passion rendered clearly and objectively in terms of French art. Its character, we will not say its superiority, lies in the extraordinary clearness with which the most obscure mental phenomena are analysed in relation to the ordinary values of daily life. At the precise point of psychological analysis where Tolstoi wanders and does not convince the reader, and at the precise point where Dostoievsky's analysis seems exaggerated and obscure, like a figure looming through the mist, Turgenev throws a ray of light from the outer to the inner world of man, and the two worlds are revealed in the natural depths of their connection. It is in fact difficult to find among the great modern artists men whose natural balance of intellect can be said to equalise their special genius. The Greeks alone present to the world a spectacle of a triumphant harmony in the critical and creative mind of man, and this is their great pre-eminence. But Smoke presents the curious feature of a novel (Slav in virtue of its modern