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Fathers and Sons (1862)

by Ivan Turgenev

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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8,076122918 (3.87)1 / 349
When a young graduate returns home he is accompanied, much to his father and uncle's discomfort, by a strange friend "who doesn't acknowledge any authorities, who doesn't accept a single principle on faith." Turgenev's masterpiece of generational conflict shocked Russian society when it waspublished in 1862 and continues today to seem as fresh and outspoken as it did to those who first encountered its nihilistic hero.… (more)
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English (107)  Dutch (3)  French (3)  Spanish (2)  Portuguese (1)  Turkish (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (119)
Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
Fathers and Sons is, at its core, a story about the generation gap. In Arkady and Bazarov we find two young men, subscribing to the popular philosophy of the day, nihilism, and, to my mind, having little understanding of the movement they are determined to embrace.

Both of these young men come from good families, with loving fathers, and it is often painful to watch the fathers try to hold on to their own beliefs and traditions, and yet tolerate and attempt to understand the viewpoint toward life presented by the boys. By the same token, the young men are trying desperately to establish themselves as individuals, separate from their fathers and the lives they have inherited from family and home. They have been to university, they want to change the world, they see every political mistake their fathers have made. But their fathers love them beyond anything else in the world.

when the old couple found themselves alone in a house which seemed suddenly to have grown as dishevelled and as decrepit as they--then, ah, then did Vasili Ivanitch desist from his brief show of waving his handkerchief in the verandah, and sink into a chair, and drop his head upon his breast.

As I read, I thought, this is such an enduring novel because this is an age old story, and one that continues. Each of us engages in this struggle to be respectful of our parents and yet become our own person. And, I dare say, every younger generation thinks it is much more perceptive than the generation before, an illusion that only bursts when we suddenly find ourselves part of the next “older generation.”

While I sometimes struggle with Russian writers, I found Turgenev easy reading. His characters were believable and his writing is simple, but often emotional. He gives us complicated and surprising characters, they don’t always do what we expect, they feel more than we credit them for; and plot turns that are unanticipated and revealing.


( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
A son, fresh from school, comes home to visit his parents and brings along a revolutionary-minded friend. The friend's views instigate keen arguments, and the son's preference for his friend's views over his father's brings about a sad revelation for the latter, namely that the generational gap is creating a personal one between him and his beloved son. We also see the strained dynamic between another father and son when the friend travels on to his own parents' home, brusquely rejecting their excitement at seeing him and breaking their hearts when he leaves again after only three days. Oh, and there are a couple of love stories entwined in here, too.
I don't know much about 19th century Russian history, so I can only assume that the views of the younger generation as depicted here reflects the upheaval of the revolutionary times, but I can say that the relationships between the freshly-grown kids and their parents are beautifully drawn. It's in a lot of ways a heartbreaking read, but worth it. ( )
  electrascaife | Jun 26, 2022 |
Toergenjev is een van de grootste Russische schrijvers, maar een die snel over het hoofd wordt gezien. In tegenstelling tot Dostojevski, die graag zijn genie aan de wereld liet zien, keert de kracht van Toergenjev zich meer naar binnen. De pracht van dit werk is er niet een die zich laat vangen in prachtige zinnen of poëtisch taalgebruik. Het is haast zoals Basarov, een van de hoofdpersonen in dit werk, zegt: romantiek is onzin.

De romantiek zit hem dan ook niet in lange, goed geformuleerde zinnen, maar eerder in de intrinsieke kracht van de hoofdpersonages.

Vaders en Zonen onderzoekt de kloof tussen ouders en hun zonen. Het speelt zich in de eindtijd van de romantiek, de tijd waarin de nihilisten steeds meer grond veroverden. De vaders representeren de romantici, de zonen de nihilisten. Dit is echter van tweede belang, centraal staat het onbegrip dat vaders voor het handelen van hun nageslacht hebben. Het gevoel, dat niemand zal ontlopen, de wereld niet meer te kunnen begrijpen. Dit is werkelijk het centrale thema van het boek: de illusie van eindeloze kracht van de jeugd tegenover het onbegrip en de rust van de ouderen.

Naast deze thematiek speelt ook de liefde een grote rol, zoals in alles wat menselijk is. Zelfs de grootste nihilist kan niet aan zijn menselijkheid ontsnappen en moet zich uiteindelijk betrappen op romantische gedachten. Toergenjev legt zijn personages zonder oordeel bloot: zowel de beperktheid van de ouderen als de naïviteit van de jeugd. De uiteindelijk gedachte van Toergenjev is dat ouders en zonen altijd op een vanzelfsprekende manier verbonden blijven, hoe ver zogenaamde principes hen ook zouden scheiden. In een zekere zin is dit ironisch genoeg een ietwat nihilistische conclusie: principes, overtuigingen, geloof en zelfs kennis doen er niet toe in het leven. Het is de liefde die telt. ( )
  Boreque | Feb 7, 2022 |
"Turgenev's masterpiece of generational conflict." (NY Public Library). Here's what your wrote after reading in 1984: "A close, personal look at the early "radical" Russian students in the early days of freed serfs. Can one really be a nihilist as Bazarov claimed? Remember his simple, peasant mother, afraid to speak to him." ( )
  MGADMJK | Nov 4, 2021 |
Excellent- need to extract meaning for Stumbling stones my memoir. Fathers‘ love for their sons, chasm between them., sons‘ arrogance….
  MiriamL | Oct 3, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
Turgenev was advancing, novelistically, a line of thought that runs through all his work. Beliefs are admirable, strong beliefs perhaps even more so. But there is a point at which belief can tip over into fanaticism. Turgenev had seen this with Belinsky, and in Bazarov he re-created and dramatized it. Bazarov loves nature but turns it into a science project, loves Odintsova but feels bad about it, and loves his parents but refuses to indulge this affection by spending time with them. All of this, from Turgenev’s perspective, is a mistake. It’s well and good, in other words, to talk about the existence of God and the future of the revolution, but you need to take a break for lunch.... When I first read “Fathers and Sons,” I was in college; all I cared about were the sons, their willingness (in Bazarov’s case) to die for their beliefs, their certainty. Reading the book again, twenty-five years later, I found myself rooting for the fathers. What might they do to bridge the divide? And why were their sons so mean to them, after all the fathers had done? Sure, they weren’t perfect, but they were doing their best!

That, of course, I see now, is what the book is about. This rupture between parents and their children is what happens, over and over, with every new generation; there is nothing for it, no remedy, no answer. Who is right in “Fathers and Sons”: the fathers or the sons? They’re both right, and they’re both wrong, and neither will ever understand the other.
added by danielx | editThe New Yorker, Keith Gessen (Aug 27, 2022)
 

» Add other authors (159 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Turgenev, Ivanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beckmann, MatthiasIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bein, KazimierzTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bukowsky, ElsePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bukowsky, ElseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edmonds, RosemaryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Freeborn, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garnett, ConstanceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Glad, Alf B.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guerney, Bernard GuilbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hodge, AlanForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Isaacs, Bernardsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Konkka, JuhaniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Makanowitzky, Barbara NormanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muller, Herbert J.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nitschke, AnneloreÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pankow, AngeloEinleitungsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reavy, GeorgeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reed, Johnsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ropp, Manfred von derÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saalborn, Arn.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thiergen, PeterAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tolstoy, AlexandraIntroductionsecondary 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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1. Il tempo … vola qualche volta come un uccello e qualche volta striscia come un verme, ma l'uomo si sente bene specialmente quando nemmeno si accorge se passi presto o con lentezza.
2. Spesso è utile che nella vita ricompaia la mediocrità: rallenta le corde troppo tese, disperde i fumi della presunzione e dei cedimenti interiori, mostrando la loro stessa banalità.
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When a young graduate returns home he is accompanied, much to his father and uncle's discomfort, by a strange friend "who doesn't acknowledge any authorities, who doesn't accept a single principle on faith." Turgenev's masterpiece of generational conflict shocked Russian society when it waspublished in 1862 and continues today to seem as fresh and outspoken as it did to those who first encountered its nihilistic hero.

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