Born OTD in 1818, Russian novelist, short story writer, poet, playwright, translator & popularizer of Russian literature in the West, Ivan Turgenev. Fathers & Sons is one of the greatest 19th century Russian novels, & 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 & sons. Set in 1859 at the moment when the Russian autocratic state began to move hesitantly towards social & political reform, the novel explores the conflict between the liberal-minded fathers of Russian reformist sympathies & their free-thinking intellectual sons whose revolutionary ideology threatened the stability of the state.

Fathers and Sons

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.

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