First Love by Ivan Turgenev

Sixteen year old Vladimir Petrovich has a new neighbour at his parents’ country estate – the beautiful and alluring Zinaida. With hormones racing what’s a boy to do but fall hopelessly in love? Love and passion is a tricky and complex business, though, and Vladimir must undergo some character development before he comes to grips with the very adult world of courtship. There are competitors in the pursuit. And there is a shattering revelation to come. Right up there as one of the best explorations of adolescence.

To deepen appreciation of Turgenev, turn to the life by Henri Troyat Turgenev (1990) (

Do also reach for Russian Thinkers (1979) by Isaiah Berlin ( which is to be recommended for many reasons, one of which is the treatment of Turgenev.

This novella was published by Turgenev ( in 1860.

Filmed in German as ‘Erste Liebe’ in 1970 and directed by Maximilan Schell ( Available on DVD at

112 pages in Penguin Classics paperback edition

First published 1860

ISBN 978-0140443356

Ivan Turgenev

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