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The Europeans

Narrated by: Cameron Stewart
Length: 23 hrs and 3 mins
Categories: History, European
4 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Summary

From the best-selling author of Natasha's Dance, The Europeans is a richly enthralling, panoramic cultural history of 19th-century Europe, told through the intertwined lives of three remarkable people: a great singer, Pauline Viardot, a great writer, Ivan Turgenev, and a great connoisseur, Pauline's husband, Louis. Their passionate, ambitious lives were bound up with an astonishing array of writers, composers and painters all trying to make their way through the exciting, prosperous and genuinely pan-European culture that came about as a result of huge economic and technological change. This culture - through trains, telegraphs and printing - allowed artists of all kinds to exchange ideas and make a living, shuttling back and forth across the whole continent, from the British Isles to Imperial Russia, as they exploited a new cosmopolitan age. 

The Europeans is Orlando Figes' masterpiece. Surprising, beautifully written, it describes huge changes through intimate details, little-known stories and through the lens of Turgenev and the Viardots' touching, strange love triangle. Events which we now see as central to European high culture are made completely fresh, allowing the reader to revel in the sheer precariousness with which the great salons, premieres and best sellers came into existence. 

©2019 Orlando Figes (P)2019 Audible, Ltd

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great historian, brilliant concept, verbose result

Figes is a fantastic historian and I enjoyed his books about Russia immensely. I can see how timely it is to write about the creation of a European artistic consciousness at the time when Britain has decided to throw it away. But this book is slightly too discursive and a tighter biography of Turgenev and his circle would have worked better. However, this book is still far better than most contemporary history so four stars.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant Thanks


Thank you so much. What a tour 'de force read so perfectly. How extraordinary that these artists were so close to each other.

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Don’t bother

I bought this to have while travelling. I love the book but is is hefty Sadly the reader is stilted and robotic, stress in the wrong place on sentences. I gave up after a few minutes

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A brilliant cultural history of 19th century Europ

the lives of 3 cultural personalities tell the story of European culture 1820 to 1900