Turgenev was born into a wealthy family, but suffered at the hands of an emotional and abusive mother, who terrified young Ivan. After the normal schooling for a child of a gentleman's family, Turgenev's higher education took place in St. Petersburg from 1834 to 1837, and in Berlin from 1838 to 1841. The German transliteration of his name is Iwan Sergejewitsch Turgenjew.
Unlike the other two great Russian writers of this time, Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky, Turgenev was uninterested in religion, and this led to a strained, highly artificial friendship with the other two. However, the man was on good terms with Gustave Flaubert.