Fathers and Sons (Wordsworth Classics)
With an Introduction by Lionel Kelly, University of Reading.
Translated by C.J. Hogarth.
Fathers and Sons is one of the greatest nineteenth century Russian novels, and has long been acclaimed as Turgenev's finest work. It is a political novel set in a domestic context, with a universal theme, the generational divide between fathers and sons. Set in 1859 at the moment when the Russian autocratic state began to move hesitantly towards social and political reform, the novel explores the conflict between the liberal-minded fathers of Russian reformist sympathies and their free-thinking intellectual sons whose revolutionary ideology threatened the stability of the state.
At its centre is Evgeny Bazorov, a strong-willed antagonist of all forms of social orthodoxy who proclaims himself a nihilist and believes in the need to overthrow all the institutions of the state. As the novel develops Bazarov's political ambitions become fatally meshed with emotional and private concerns, and his end is a tragic failure. The novel caused a bitter furore on its publication in 1862, and this, a year later, drove Turgenev from Russia.
When "Fathers and Sons was first published in Russia, in 1862, it was met with a blaze of controversy about where Turgenev stood in relation to his account of generational misunderstanding. Was he criticizing the worldview of the conservative aesthete, Pavel Kirsanov, and the older generation, or that of the radical, cerebral medical student, Evgenii Bazarov, representing the younger one? The critic Dmitrii Pisarev wrote at the time that the novel "stirs the mind . . . because everything is permeated with the most complete and most touching sincerity." N. N. Strakhov, a close friend of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, praised its "profound vitality." It is this profound vitality in Turgenev's characters that carry his novel of ideas to its rightful place as a work of art and as one of the classics of Russian Literature.
Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.2 x 19.8 cm