Page:The Novels of Ivan Turgenev (volume V).djvu/180

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A brief silence followed.

'I am of opinion, my dear sir,' began Potugin again, 'that we are not only indebted to civilisation for science, art, and law, but that even the very feeling for beauty and poetry is developed and strengthened under the influence of the same civilisation, and that the so-called popular, simple, unconscious creation is twaddling and rubbishy. Even in Homer there are traces of a refined and varied civilisation; love itself is enriched by it. The Slavophils would cheerfully hang me for such a heresy, if they were not such chicken-hearted creatures; but I will stick up for my own ideas all the same; and however much they press Madame Kohanovsky and "The swarm of bees at rest" upon me,—I can't stand the odour of that triple extrait de mougik Russe, as I don't belong to the highest society, which finds it absolutely necessary to assure itself from time to time that it has not turned quite French, and for whose exclusive benefit this literature еn cuir de Russie is manufactured. Try reading the raciest, most "popular" passages from the "Bees" to a common peasant—a real one; he 'll think you 're repeating him a new spell against fever or drunkenness. I repeat, without civilisation there 's not even poetry. If you want to get a clear idea of the poetic ideal of the uncivilised