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Turgenev: Fathers and Children by Ivan…

Turgenev: Fathers and Children (original 1862; edition 1991)

by Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev, John Bayley (Introduction), Avril Pyman (Translator)

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5,28769836 (3.86)1 / 227
Title:Turgenev: Fathers and Children
Authors:Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev
Other authors:John Bayley (Introduction), Avril Pyman (Translator)
Info:Alfred A. Knopf, 1991. Hardcover, 272 pages. Everyman's library: 17.
Collections:Your library
Tags:Everyman's Library, Russian Literature, Novels

Work details

Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev (Author) (1862)

  1. 10
    The Leopard by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa (JamesAbdulla)
  2. 00
    Envy by Yuri Olesha (sparemethecensor)
    sparemethecensor: Conflict of old and new in Russia, decades apart.

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English (61)  Dutch (3)  French (1)  Portuguese (1)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  Turkish (1)  All languages (69)
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Literature is full of proof that generational conflicts are eternal. Kids are always convinced their parents don't understand them, and in some ways, that's true. But in other ways, the parents understand more than the kids can even believe. If everyone lives long enough, one day that will become clear.

Arkady is coming home after graduating from university to stay with his parents for a while, and his friend Bazarov comes with him. Bazarov is the classic "bad influence" that worries parents. He's cynical and not respectful of his elders' experience, and worst of all, he's a nihilist. (This was probably less comical before The Big Lebowski was made, or if you've never seen it. If you have, you may have the same reaction as I did every time someone brings it up, which was: hearing "We belieff in NUFFINK!" in a German accent.) Anyhow, there are tensions between the generations as well as tensions between contemporaries. After all, the older generation will always have a variety of ideas about the younger, from "get off my lawn!" to "oh, to be young and carefree." And the younger generation will be busy trying to find out where they fit in the world, how to define themselves and who to use as a model. On a larger scale, these conflicts are played out in the same way in countries, and Russia was in transition at the time when the book is set.

Although I approached this novel with some trepidation because 19th-century Russian literature has always been difficult for me (I've tried Dostoevsky and Tolstoy and come to the conclusion that I need to read up on Russian history before trying again), it was an involving read. I didn't feel lost in the political situations (that references were amply footnoted helped).

Recommended for: Generation X, people looking to ease into Russian literature.

Quote: "The tiny space I occupy is so minute in comparison with the rest of space, in which I am not, and which has nothing to do wtih me; and the period of time in which it is my lot to live is so insignificant beside the eternity in which I have not been, and shall not be.... But in this atom, this mathematical point, the blood is circulating, the brain is working and wanting something.... Isn't it loathsome? Isn't it petty?" ( )
  ursula | Aug 29, 2014 |
I decided to read this book because Ernest Gaines spoke so highly of it. I am extremely glad I did. At first I did not like the way it was going, I got the impression that Bazarov was supposed to be the bee's knees. But it did not end up being like this, so I was glad. I did not like Bazarov because he tried to hold back every emotion he had. He could have had a better life if he would have accepted emotion. I quite enjoyed Arkady, he reminded me of myself when I was going through a transition. He had decided to think a certain way but could not get rid of his feelings for the things he was supposedly rejecting. He turned out spectacular. I really enjoyed the parents of both chaps, too, & Katya, although her sister was not very like-able. There were so many great quotes from it, especially one-liners. It was a very easy read & filled with a lot of wisdom, I would say. Overall, the story was a really good one, & I really, really enjoyed it. ( )
  mvbdlr | Aug 2, 2014 |
Unquestionably, a classic. Different in its substance from the gripping and heart-rending prose of Dostoyevsky, but a classic nevertheless. Apart from the main plot and the ever-existing question of a generation gap, Turgenev brings to light such relevant to that day and age issues as the peasant question (with all its tormenting difficulties just prior to abolition of serfdom in Russia), the highly controversial idea of nihilism, and description (even though in a slightly caricature form) of a burgeoning feminism trend. Some minor characters are stereotypically comical, but the main ones are given a thoroughly thoughtful and serious portrayal. Bazarov's father impressed me the most.

I read this book in the original years ago (it was a part of high school curriculum and was required reading, thus making it less appealing at the time) and now refreshed my memory, with deeper understanding of the book, in translation, which is quite adequate, though, naturally, cannot quite be a substitute for the original - but it fell into my hands at a used books shop and grabbed my nostalgic attention. ( )
1 vote Clara53 | Jul 7, 2014 |
A fine, tender, evocative short novel portraying "liberal" Russian landowners and their nihilist sons mid-19th century, on the eve of the (troubled) emancipation of the serfs. Marvelous writing as translated here by Richard Hare. A book to re-read. ( )
  pieterpad | May 2, 2014 |
This novel is interesting for its depiction of the lives of various social classes in 1830s/1840s Russia as well as its psychological insight. Arkady and Bazarov are university students who visit Arkady's father and uncle in his hometown. Tension soon arises over the new nihilistic philosophy espoused by the youngsters. While the cynical Bazarov's nihilism holds up well in arguments with the more traditionalist older men, it is completely demolished when Bazarov falls in love and is in turn rejected by the wealthy and beautiful Madame Odintsova. As in Tolstoy's "War and Peace", some of the characters end up living happily ever after and others meet tragic ends. ( )
  ninefivepeak | Dec 21, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (164 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Turgenev, IvanAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bein, KazimierzTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garnett, ConstanceTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beckmann, MatthiasIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edmonds, RosemaryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Freeborn, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garret, ConstanceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guerney, Bernard GuilbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hodge, AlanForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nitschke, AnneloreÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reavy, GeorgeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saalborn, Arn.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thiergen, PeterAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Посвящается памяти
Виссариона Григорьевича Белинского
Dedicated to the memory of Vissarion Grigor'evich Belinsky
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"Well, Piotr, not in sight yet?" was the question asked on May the 20th, 1859, by a gentleman of a little over forty, in a dusty coat and checked trousers, who came out without his hat on to the low steps of the posting station at S—.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140441476, Paperback)

When Arkady Petrovich comes home from college, his father finds his eager, naive son changed almost beyond recognition, for the impressionable Arkady has fallen under the powerful influence of the friend accompanying him. A self-proclaimed nihilist, the ardent young Bazarov shocks Arkady's father by criticizing the landowning way of life and by his outspoken determination to sweep away the traditional values of contemporary Russian society. Turgenev's depiction of the conflict between generations and their ideals stunned readers when "Fathers and Sons" was first published in 1862. But many could sympathize with Arkady's fascination with the nihilistic hero whose story vividly captures the hopes and regrets of a changing Russia.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:38:11 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Considered one of the world's greatest novels, this controversial classic offers modern readers a vivid, timeless depiction of the clash between the older Russian aristocracy and the youthful radicalism that foreshadowed the revolution. Includes a new introduction. Reissue.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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