On Saturday, June 10, Dr. Thomas Hodge presented “Ivan Turgenev: Russian Turmoil, Russian Nature” as a part of the Russian History Museum’s Second Saturday online lecture series.

Ivan Turgenev was one of Russia’s finest nature writers. In his short stories, essays, and novels, he deploys expert knowledge of hunting and the natural world to support liberal values amid social tumult in mid-nineteenth-century Russia.

In the lecture, Dr. Thomas Hodge explored the ways in which Turgenev’s works oppose serfdom, dramatize the rise of socialist materialism, and comment on the clash of science and art — all against the backdrop of peerless descriptions of nature. During his presentation and ensuing Q&A session, Hodge discussed Turgenev’s “The Hunter’s Sketches” and “Fathers and Sons,” literary censorship, types of hunting in Russia, serfdom in the Russian Empire, the influences of other writer’s on Turgenev and his work, and attitudes towards Turgenev’s literary legacy.

About the Speaker

Thomas Hodge is Professor of Russian and Chair of the Russian Department at Wellesley College, where he teaches literature and language courses and co-founded a humanities-and-science course on Lake Baikal that features fieldwork in Siberia. A specialist in nineteenth-century literature and culture, he is the author of A Double Garland (on Russian poetry and art-song) and has translated Sergei Aksakov’s classic Notes on FishingHis recent book, Hunting Nature: Ivan Turgenev and the Organic World, was published by Cornell University Press in 2020; the authorized Russian translation appeared with Academic Studies Press in 2022.