The value of “Hunter’s notes” in Russian literature
The artistic significance of Turgenev’s Hunter’s Notes is very great: there are many beautiful descriptions of the “endless” nature of the middle part of Russia – the nature whose beauty was first appreciated by Pushkin — a long series of types that are characteristic, purely folk, well-worn Russian life, and , at the same time, often marked by the features of “universal”. In the descriptions of nature, Turgenev was able to identify the most diverse moods, because the content of the story, usually, he responds and mood, the nature of the landscape, against which one or the other, a scene from human life.
The social significance of the “Notes” is no less great than the artistic one — in these living, truthful essays on the life of the Russian common people, contemporaries saw an eloquent call for the emancipation of the peasants. In this understanding of this work, his great political significance: they say, Emperor Alexander II himself told Turgenev that, after reading his “Notes”, he finally decided to free the peasants. Thus, the calm artistry, which deprived Turgenev’s “Notes” of journalistic passion and enthusiasm, only strengthened the impression that Russian life in this wonderful work appeared to be a deep, sad truth.
But, besides, “Notes” are also of great importance psychologically. Before us is a series of expert psychological analyzes in a field that, before Turgenev (and Grigorovich), was not interesting to anyone. Turgenev was one of the first to look deeply into the soul of a simple Russian person with sympathy, and there he found much instructive and interesting.
“Notes” are equally relevant to the Pushkin and Gogol schools. Pushkin borrowed from Turgenev an interest in Russian nature and Russian life, borrowed a calm-loving attitude to the whole world and the ability to paint life in all its manifestations widely and freely. But, on the other hand, the “Notes” strongly resemble both “Dead Souls”, and “Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka”, and “Mirgorod”. All these are produced valuable in everyday meaning, – all of them pursue the goal of depicting one or the other side of Russian life. Only Turgenev turned out to have more consciousness in assessing this life than Gogol, who had completely looked at “serfdom”.