Books: Russia's Master of Seeing

THE GENTLE BARBARIAN by V.S. PRITCHETT 243 pages. Random House. $10.

Dostoyevsky thought him a haughty poseur; the Goncourt brothers found him an amiable giant. He wrangled with Tolstoy, befriended Zola, intrigued Carlyle, enchanted Henry James. He was at once a hunter of game and celebrity, a well-traveled man of letters, and a provincial Russian. Ivan Turgenev's life is several lives, and by now several biographies should have recounted them. Yet, as Critic V.S. Pritchett notes, there has not been a definitive biography of Turgenev in any language.

Until now. This brisk, critical Life...

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