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First Love: Overview

Short story, 1860

Author(s):Brian Wilkie

Russian Novelist ( 1818 – 1883 )

Other Names Used: Turgenev, Ivan Sergeyevich; Turgenieff, Ivan; Turgenev, Ivan Sergeevich;

Source:Reference Guide to Short Fiction. Ed. Noelle Watson. Detroit: St. James Press.

From Literature Resource Center.

The seemingly ingenuous title of Turgenev’s novella Pervaia liubov ( First Love ) is actually ironic. It implies that the principal narrator, Volodia, has gone on to experience other loves, but apparently he has not, and his elegiac tone at both the beginning and the end of the story further implies that his early love was unique. Conversely, First Love implies that adolescent love is somehow special, but by the end of the story we see that love affects people of all ages in much the same way. Among those reduced to helplessness by love (or, more exactly, by romantic love, “being in” love) are Zinaida’s assortment of suitors, from the green Volodia to the middle-aged Dr. Lushin, Volodia’s father, Zinaida herself, even the 40-year-old Mark Antony (romantically assumed by the ignorant in the story to have been a youth when he loved Cleopatra). This story is not so much about “first” love as about romantic love. Ultimately, in fact, it is about something even broader. It is about vitality, what it means and feels like to be fully alive. Romantic love is important to the story primarily because people in love feel the life within and around them more intensely than others do.

This view of the story brings a number of its elements into sharper focus. For one thing, we see that the lyrical descriptions of nature—for which Turgenev is famous—are more than atmospheric mood music; nature also functions as an objective correlative to the young Volodia’s emerging sense that life can have aliveness, and experience can have intensity. Even before he meets Zinaida, he senses these new, “feminine” presences: “But through the tears and through the sorrow inspired by some melodious poem, or by the beauty of the evening, a joyous feeling of youthful and effervescent life sprang up like grass in spring” (translated by Harry Stevens, The Borzoi Turgenev). Later, correlating with the boy’s tense awareness of rivalry in his love and of dangerous glamour in Zinaida’s situation, the nightscape becomes portentous and uncanny: “suddenly everything grew profoundly still all around me…. Even the crickets ceased to chirrup among the trees…. I felt a strange agitation, as though I had been to keep an assignation and had been left waiting alone and had passed by another’s happiness.”

Among the more perishable essences in literature are the nuances of sexual desirability and, especially, of sexual charm. First Love depends heavily on our feeling Zinaida’s attractiveness, which consists in a combination of seductive__ness and imperiousness not necessarily in keeping with the tastes (male or female) of a later age. Probably the fascination in the mock-punishments and mock-beatings (with flowers, for example) that Zinaida metes out to her male worshipers is conditioned by a paradox of female imperiousness that, today, seems less sheerly paradoxical. Fortunately, however, in light of the main thrusts of the story, these beatings (the first time we see Zinaida she is delivering one of them) are part of a thematic counterpoint that loses none of its force with changing times; pain and violence continue to be as intelligible today as ever. Zinaida, the female focus of all the love vectors in the story, repeatedly gives and takes punishment, taking it most climactically in the brutal blow Volodia’s father deals her on the arm when he visits her in Moscow. Her kissing of the wound in this scene both confounds the watching Volodia and confirms for him the meaning, depth, and power of what he now recognizes as authentic love.

It is important that we not respond to this incident as mere brutality, any more than we should respond that way to the playful beatings Zinaida doles out earlier, or even the genuine pain she inflicts on Dr. Lushin when she forces him to laugh despite the shame and pain he feels when she pushes a pin hard into his skin. Nor is this a way of saying that love is sadomasochistic. The upshot, rather, is to define love as intensity of feeling—whether pleasurable or the opposite—and to contrast it as such with the various ways of being half-responsive and half-alive. The opening frame of the story—the clichéd situation of after-dinner storytelling, along with the utter banality of the first two men’s reminiscences—is one way of conveying this half-aliveness, as is the physical and moral shabbiness of Zinaida’s mother and home surroundings. The idle warnings given Volodia by the middle-aged—Dr. Lushin and Volodia’s father himself—about the dangers of romantic love (“that happiness, that poison”) amount to warning him away from life itself, which is exactly such an oxymoronic mixture of intensely vital feelings. Neither of the two older men is the worse person for being unable to take his own advice.

It is often remarked that Turgenev, characteristically, portrays romantic love as doomed to impermanence. The comment is exasperating, not only because such impermanence is an obvious fact of general human experience but, more importantly, because the comment misses the point and Turgenev’s tone. First Love, for example, is a sad story, even tragic, but its final effect is to affirm vitality, however painful. The dwelling on death in the last pages, including the painful story of the old woman who so tenaciously and illogically clings to a life that has been sheer misery, complements the dwelling on half-aliveness at the beginning: both front and end frames are chiaroscuro that lends brilliance and color to the explosiveness and wonder of life, which is most vividly realized through romantic love. After the blissful but painful experience of Zinaida’s farewell kiss, Volodia tells us, “I would never wish it to be repeated, but I would regard myself as unfortunate if I had never known it.” Looking back from middle age, he adds later, “what is left to me more fresh, more precious than the memory of that swiftly passed, vernal thunder of my morn?” The key fact is not that such vernal thunder has passed away but rather that it has existed.

eiffel_tower_black_and_whiteJoin our senior library member Bruce Haase
and write your memoir. Bruce is life long reader, he now writes memoire-based, creative non-fiction.
These are informal meetings ,
to support each other and organize your thoughts
for writing. Sharing is optional.
Meetings take place
five Tuesdays:
April 1, 15 & 29
and May 6 &20
1 p.m. — 3 p.m.
Please bring pen & paper
For more information contact Bruce Hasse
Or Lili Khalili
Union City Library 510-284-0629


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by | Thursday, April, 10, 2014 · 2:00 pm

Celebration of Nowruz 2014@ the Union City Library in the pictures

The special performance by the Ballet Afsaneh celebrates the New Year (spring equinox ) in Afghanistan, Iran, and Tajikistan. “Afsaneh” is a wonderful word, shared by the major languages group s of the Silk Road , meaning “legend” of “mythic story”.ImageTajikistan

Nowruz is celebrated by people from diverse ethnic communities and religious backgrounds for thousands of years along the Silk Road and now the days around the world.




Director of Ballet Afsaneh explained the origin of each dance.


During intermission members invited to see Haft-Seen table , which was set by Sudi Noroozi, Library member.Image

Home- made cookie served to the member, the cookie was made by the Library member Sudi Noroozi.

Sudi Noroozi /Library member

Sudi Noroozi /Library member

Teen Volunteers

Teen Volunteers

Ahmad Zia/ Library member played Afghan, Persian Music .

Ahmad Zia/ Library member played Afghan, Persian Music .

art is education

Spring 2014  Art is education 035




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Write Your Story @ the Union City Library

This program started in the fall of 2010. A longtime Friend of the Union City Library Suzanne Ortt asked us if we can have a program allow members to write their memoire. Out of that suggestion this program was started, leading by her. The program is offered in 5 sessions for each season. There is no registration required and member can attend as they feel and as long as they desired.

More than 40 members have attended average of 5 each meeting. Two of them have published a life story in the local newspaper, one member started her memoir and later in two years she published it. Others who were already writers –writing blogs and essay –came in to explore other possibilities. Most participants just want simply to record stories for family and friends.

Since January 2013 the facilitator of the group, Suzanne gives her place to Bruce Haase. Both of them with lively, thoughtful and encouraging way have created a friendly space for others to practice writing. They help participants to get started, finding form, telling their story, using fictional technique, expanding their writing skills, including sensory details and putting the story in a larger context.


The spring session starts Tuesday April 1, 2014.

Join our senior library member Bruce Haase

and write your memoir. Bruce is life ling reader, he now writes memoire-baed, creative non-fiction.

These are informal meetings ,

to support each other and organize your thoughts

for writing. Sharing is optional.

Meetings take place

five Tuesdays:

April 1, 15 & 29

and May 6 &20

1 p.m. — 3 p.m.

Please bring pen & paper

For more information contact Bruce Hasse


Or Lili Khalili

Union City Library 510-284-0629

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, Friends of the Library, Older Adults, Uncategorized, Union City Library

2014 Grant for Clean Water Community Projects

 Protecting Alameda county Creeks, Wetlands & the Bay

cleanwater2The Clean Water Program invites you to apply for a 2014 Community Stewardship Grant

The Clean Water Program is inviting grant applications for up to $5,000 to encourage grassroots community action that prevents stormwater pollution and enhances the health of local watersheds,creeks, and the San Francisco Bay. The 2014 grants focus on litter reduction projects in particular.


Teachers and Student Groups Youth Community GrouCleanwater1ps Homeowner Youth Organizations

Non-Profit Organizations

CleanwaterHomeowners Associations  Homeowner Environmental Groups


The Community Stewardship Grants provide funds for projects in Alameda County or within an Alameda County watershed that are aimed at stormwater pollution prevention and contain a community/public outreach element. Sample projects include (but are not limited to):

1-Litter reduction projects.

2-Outreach and education projects with a stormwater pollution prevention message such aslitter reduction, household hazardous waste disposal, integrated pest management, etc.

3-Development and distribution of outreach materials, e.g., videos, newsletters, websites,brochures, guidebooks, educational events, trainings, etc.

4-Art projects Creekside restoration/re-vegetation projects, creek cleanups and events

5-Stormwater detention projects such as rain gardens, cisterns and bioswales

6-Wildlife habitat projects


An application packet may be downloaded from the web after March 4, 2014 at or contact Amy Evans at the Alameda County Resource Conservation District(925) 371-0154 x 112 or

Applications must be submitted by email by April 10, 2014.

Photo courtesy of ACRCD and Golden Gate Audubon Society


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Aging Prevention and Care

FALLS PREVENTION Discussion Group @ the Union City Library

Wednesday March 12–starts at 1:30 p.m.

Did you Know:

Habits developed over a lifetime can put you at risk for a fall. There are many simple things you can do to reduce your risk of falling.

Please join us for a lively and informative discussion on ways to identify

what puts you or those you care about at risk for

injuries and how to reduce these risks.

Learn about . . .

Changing Behaviors

Nutrition & Medication Management

FitnessHome Safety Checklist

Alameda County Library & Alameda County Public Health Dept.

invite you to a Free Workshop

No reservations required.

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Filed under Events, Links, Older Adults, Reading, Uncategorized, Union City Library

Dear Google, You Should Have Talked to Me First

Originally posted on teach from the heart:

Dear Google,

I wish you’d talked to teachers like me before you made that $40 million investment in Renaissance Learning.

I’ve seen the damage Accelerated Reader can do.

I witnessed it for the first time when I tutored a struggling 5th grader…eighteen years ago.

He hated to read.

He hated being locked into a level.

He hated the points associated with the books.

But more importantly, he was humiliated when he didn’t earn enough points to join in the monthly party or get to ‘buy’ things with those points at a school store full of junky prizes.

I’ve seen kids run their fingers along the binding of a book, a book they REALLY wanted read, but then hear them say, “But it’s not an AR book,” or “It’s not my level.”

I’ve watched them scramble to read the backs of books or beg a friend for answers so they can get…

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Write Your Story @ the Union City Library

eiffel_tower_black_and_whiteJoin our senior library member Bruce Haase and write your memoir. Bruce is a life long reader, he now writes memoire-based, creative non-fiction. These are informal meetings to support each other and organize your thoughts for writing. Sharing is optional.

                      Meetings take place five Tuesdays: January 21, February 4 & 18,

and March 4 & 18

1 — 3 p.m. Please bring your pen & paper.

For more information: Bruce Haase                             

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Getting Ready for the Sochi Winter Olympics

The Olympic Rings on a snowy Sochi hillside, with mountains in the background
The Olympic Rings on a Sochi Hillside

The library’s guide to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics is now available.

There’s a medal tracker and the Sochi weather forecast, as well as links to the Official site of the Winter Games and websites for more about the history of the Olympic Games.

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Friends’ Raffle Fundraiser February 1 at the Union City Library

Do you enjoy special programs at the Union City Library? Are you feeling lucky?

Five dollars will get you six chances to win one of the exciting gift baskets being raffled off at the Library, and you can feel good that the money raised will help pay for Library programs!

You can choose one or more of the items to take your chance on winning. The baskets will be on display in the lobby of the Library, and the drawings will be held around 3 p.m. Saturday, February 1. You can buy tickets ahead of time, and you don’t have to be present to win!

Help the Friends make this fundraiser a big success!

Call 510-745-1464 ext. 5 or come in to the Library for more information.

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Filed under Children, Events, Friends of the Library, News, Older Adults, Reading, Teens, Uncategorized, Union City Library

Monday Children’s Book Reviews for January 13, 2014

Friends written and illustrated by Eric Carle

“From the creator of the all-time classic VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR comes a sweetly resonant story about the power of friendship.

“When a best friend moves away, it can be painful for the child who is left behind. But the spunky boy in this upbeat story makes up his mind to find his missing playmate. Young readers will cheer on the boy as he braves currents, climbs mountains, and dashes through rain before, finally, reuniting with his friend. A story alive with love and perseverance, brightened with vibrant art and Eric Carle’s trademark fostering of imagination.”               [JPB CARLE]

Numbed by David Lubar

“When Logan’s class takes a trip to a math museum, his mischievous friend Benedict is sure it will be a boring day—until he discovers a robot and its creator in an off-limits area. The robot proves feisty, and soon both boys get zapped. They realize only later that they’d left the museum without their math skills. To get back the knowledge they need for school—not to mention buying food at the mall, divvying up dinner at home, and much more—they’ll have to get back to the museum and pass a series of math challenges. Being ‘numbed’ will teach Logan and Benedict just how useful, and even fun, math can be.”         [J LUBAR]

Just Joking 4 by Rosie Gowsell Pattison

“The fourth book in this successful series delivers 300 new laugh-out-loud knock-knocks, question-and-answer jokes, tongue twisters, and more! National Geographic Kids Just Joking 4 is packed with 300 more of the silly jokes that kids love, paired with photos of laughing animals and funny people.”               [J818.602 PATTISON]

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