A curious exchange between Anna Sergeyevna and Bazarov in Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons. Somehow, Anna’s crisp response chills the romance of walking and seeing and even naming flowers.

Last weekend we walked for a few hours, and with the use of a plant-spotting app, I saw and learned the names of two new wild flowers: Alpine Squill and Sun Spurge. A few weeks ago I learned that of another, inappropriately named, as far as I could sense, as Stinking Hellebore. It added to the delight of observing them, to know their names.

‘Let us go for a walk tomorrow morning,’ she said to him.  ‘I want you to teach me the Latin names of our field flowers and their characteristics.’

‘What do you want with Latin names?’ Bazarov asked.

‘System is needed in everything.’ she replied.


Source: Ivan Turgenev, Fathers and Sons, trans. Rosemary Edmonds (London: Penguin Books, 1975), p. 164

Image credit: OpenClipart-Vectors at pixabay


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