Fathers and Sons [NOOK Book]

Overview

Clashes and conflicts between fathers and sons are a story as old as humanity itself. Russian novelist Ivan Turgenev uses the turbulence of familial relations as a symbolic lens through which to explore the changing of the ideological guard in his native country. Turgenev's best-known work, Fathers and Sons is widely regarded as the first Russian novel to gain prominence and critical acclaim in Western literary circles.

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Fathers and Sons

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Overview

Clashes and conflicts between fathers and sons are a story as old as humanity itself. Russian novelist Ivan Turgenev uses the turbulence of familial relations as a symbolic lens through which to explore the changing of the ideological guard in his native country. Turgenev's best-known work, Fathers and Sons is widely regarded as the first Russian novel to gain prominence and critical acclaim in Western literary circles.

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Editorial Reviews

NPR.org - Gary Steyngart
My favorite novel is Ivan Turgenev's Fathers and Sons, a 200-page ravishing knockout of a book that explains just about everything you need to know about families, love, heartache, religion, duels and the institution of serfdom in 19th-century Russia, not to mention advice on how to seduce your housekeeper's young daughter. In short, it's a Russian masterpiece, one written so beautifully and with such economy, that when you finish reading it you feel a little shaken and a little stirred.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412162067
  • Publisher: eBooksLib
  • Publication date: 4/21/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 264 KB

Meet the Author

Ivan Turgenev (1818 -1883) was a Russian novelist, short story writer, and playwright. His first major publication, a short story collection entitled A Sportsman's Sketches, is a milestone of Russian Realism, and his novel Fathers and Sons is regarded as one of the major works of 19th-century fiction. Turgenev's artistic purity made him a favorite of like-minded novelists of the next generation, such as Henry James and Joseph Conrad, both of whom greatly preferred Turgenev to Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. James, who wrote no fewer than five critical essays on Turgenev's work, claimed that "his merit of form is of the first order" (1873) and praised his "exquisite delicacy", which "makes too many of his rivals appear to hold us, in comparison, by violent means, and introduce us, in comparison, to vulgar things" (1896). The notoriously critical Vladimir Nabokov praised Turgenev's "plastic musical flowing prose", but criticized his "labored epilogues" and "banal handling of plots". Nabokov stated that Turgenev "is not a great writer, though a pleasant one", and ranked him fourth among nineteenth-century Russian prose writers, behind Tolstoy, Gogol, and Anton Chekhov, but ahead of Dostoyevsky. His idealistic ideas about love, specifically the devotion a wife should show her husband, were cynically referred to by characters in Chekhov's "An Anonymous Story."
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Read an Excerpt

“Well, Petr, no sight of him yet?” asked a gentleman about forty years old wearing a short, dusty coat and checkered trousers, standing hatless on the low steps of an inn on the road. It was the twentieth of May 1859. He was addressing his servant, a round-cheeked young man with whitish down on his chin and small, lackluster eyes.

The servant, whose turquoise earring, variegated hair plastered with grease, and refined movements all betokened a man belonging to the newest, most advanced generation, glanced down the road condescendingly, and replied: “No, sir, no sight of him at all.”

“No sight of him?” repeated his master.

“No, sir,” the servant responded a second time.

His master sighed and sat down on a little bench. Let’s introduce him to the reader while he sits looking around thoughtfully, his feet tucked up underneath him.

His name is Nikolai Petrovich Kirsanov. He owns a fine estate located fifteen versts from the inn that has two hundred serfs or, as he puts it—ever since he arranged to share his land with the peasants—“a farm” of nearly five thousand acres. His fa- ther, an army general who served during 1812, was a coarse, half- educated, but not villainous Russian. He worked hard all his life, first commanding a brigade, then a division, and lived continually in the provinces where, by virtue of his rank, he played a fairly important role. Nikolai Petrovich was born in the south of Russia, as was his elder brother, Pavel, of whom more later. He was educated at home until he was fourteen, surrounded by underpaid tutors and casually obsequious adjutants, inaddition to all the usual regimental and staff personnel. His mother, a member of the Koliazin family, was called Agathe as a girl but Agafokleia Kuzminishna Kirsanova as a general’s wife. She was one of those “mother-commanders” who wore elaborate caps and rustling silk dresses. In church, she was the first to advance to kiss the cross; she talked a great deal in a loud voice; she let her children kiss her hand in the morning and gave them her blessing at night—in a word, she conducted her life just as she pleased.

As a general’s son, Nikolai Petrovich was expected, like his brother Pavel, to enter the army, although he not only lacked courage but even deserved to be called a little coward. He broke his leg on the very day that word of his commission arrived, however, and had to lie in bed for two months, staying “gimpy” to the end of his days. His father gave up on him and let him pursue civilian life. He took Nikolai Petrovich to Petersburg as soon as his son was eighteen and enrolled him in the university. Pavel happened to have been made an officer in the Guards at about the same time. The young men started to live together in one apartment under the distant supervision of a cousin on their mother’s side, Ilia Koliazin, a high-ranking official. Their father returned to his division and his wife, and every once in a while just sent his sons large gray sheets of paper with a military clerk’s handwriting scrawled across them. At the bottom of these sheets, carefully encircled by a scroll design, were inscribed the words, “Petr Kirsanov, General-Major.” In 1835, Nikolai Petrovich graduated from the university; General Kirsanov retired the same year after an unsuccessful review, and brought his wife to live in Petersburg. He was about to rent a house in the Tavricheskii garden and join the English Club when he suddenly died of a stroke. Agafokleia Kuzminishna died shortly thereafter—she couldn’t ever accustom herself to the dull life of the capital; she was consumed by the emptiness of existence away from the regiment.

Meanwhile, before his parents’ death and somewhat to their chagrin, Nikolai Petrovich had managed to fall in love with the daughter of his former landlord, a minor official named Prepolovenskii. She was a pretty and, as they say, advanced young woman; she used to read serious articles in the “Science” column of journals. He married her as soon as the mourning period for his parents was over. Having left the civil service, in which his father had procured him a position through his connections, Nikolai Petrovich lived with his Masha in perfect bliss, first in a country villa near the Lesnii Institute, then in a pretty little apartment in town that had a clean staircase and a chilly drawing room, and after that in the countryside, where he finally settled down and where within a short time his son, Arkadii, was born. The young couple lived quite happily and tranquilly. They were hardly ever apart; they read books together, they sang and played duets together on the piano. She tended her flowers and looked after the poultry-yard; he occasionally went hunting and busied himself with the estate. Arkadii grew up just as happily and tranquilly.

Ten years passed like a dream. In 1847, Kirsanov’s wife died. He almost succumbed to this blow—his hair turned gray in the space of just a few weeks. He got ready to go abroad in order to distract his mind a bit . . . but then came the year 1848. He unwillingly returned to the countryside, and after a rather prolonged period of inactivity, he began to take an interest in improving the management of his estate. In 1855, he took his son to the university; he spent three winters with him in Petersburg, hardly going out anywhere and trying to make friends with Arkadii’s youthful companions. He hadn’t been able to go the previous winter—and thus we see him in May of 1859, already completely gray, somewhat stout, and slightly stooped. He was waiting for his son, who’d just graduated, as he’d once done himself.

The servant, motivated by a sense of propriety, and possibly not eager to remain under his master’s eye anyway, had gone beyond the gate and was smoking a pipe. Nikolai Petrovich bowed his head and began to stare at the crumbling steps. A large, mottled hen walked toward him sedately, treading firmly on its long yellow legs; a muddy cat gave him an unfriendly look, coyly twisting itself around a railing. The sun was scorching; the odor of hot rye bread drifted out from the semidark passage of the inn. Nikolai Petrovich lapsed into daydreams. The words “my son . . . a graduate . . . Arkasha . . .” continually revolved in his head. He tried to think about something else, but the same thoughts kept recurring. He recalled his deceased wife. . . . “She didn’t live to see this!” he murmured sadly. A plump, dark-blue pigeon flew into the road and hastily took a drink from a puddle near the well. Nikolai Petrovich began to watch it, but his ear had already caught the sound of approaching wheels.

“It seems that they’re coming, sir,” the servant announced, returning from the gateway.

Nikolai Petrovich jumped up and directed his gaze along the road. An open carriage with three horses harnessed abreast appeared; he caught a glimpse of the blue band of a student’s cap and the familiar outline of a beloved face inside the carriage.

“Arkasha! Arkasha!” Kirsanov cried and ran forward, waving his arms. . . . A few moments later, his lips were pressed against the beardless, dusty, sunburned cheek of the young graduate.

II

“Let me dust myself off first, Papa,” Arkadii said in a voice that was tired from the journey but boyish and clear as a bell, as he cheerily responded to his father’s caresses. “I’ll get you all dirty.”

“It’s nothing, it’s nothing,” Nikolai Petrovich assured him, smiling tenderly and slapping the collar of his son’s coat as well as his own twice with his hand. “Let me take a look at you, let me take a look at you,” he added, stepping back from him; then he immediately hurried toward the courtyard of the inn, calling out, “This way, this way, and bring the horses at once.”

Nikolai Petrovich seemed to be much more agitated than his son; it was as if he were a little lost, and a little shy. Arkadii stopped him.

“Papa,” he said, “let me introduce you to my good friend, Bazarov, about whom I’ve written to you so often. He’s been kind enough to promise to stay with us.”

Nikolai Petrovich promptly turned around and, walking up to a tall man wearing a long, loose coat with tassels who’d just gotten out of the carriage, he warmly shook that man’s bare, reddened hand, which hadn’t been extended to him immediately.

“I’m extremely pleased,” he began, “and grateful for your kind willingness to visit us. . . . May I ask your first name and patronymic?”

“Evgenii Vasilich,” Bazarov answered in a lazy but powerful voice and, turning down the collar of his coat, revealed his entire face to Nikolai Petrovich. It was long and thin, with a broad forehead, a nose that was flat at the base and sharp at the tip, large greenish eyes, and drooping, sandy-colored sideburns. His face was illuminated by a calm smile, radiating self-assurance and intelligence.

“I hope you won’t find it too boring at our home, dear Evgenii Vasilich,” continued Nikolai Petrovich.

Bazarov’s thin lips moved almost imperceptibly. He made no formal reply and merely took off his cap. His long, thick, dark-blond hair couldn’t conceal some large protuberances on his capacious head.

“Well then, Arkadii,” Nikolai Petrovich began again, turning to his son, “should the horses be harnessed right away, or would you like to rest?”

“We’ll rest at home, Papa. Tell them to harness the horses.”

“Right away, right away,” his father assented. “Hey, Petr, do you hear? Get everything ready, my boy—hurry now.”

Petr, as an up-to-date servant, hadn’t kissed the young master’s hand but had merely bowed to him from a distance. He vanished through the gateway again.

“I came here with our carriage, but there are three horses for your carriage, too,” Nikolai Petrovich remarked fussily, while Arkadii drank some water from an iron dipper the innkeeper brought to him and Bazarov began to smoke a pipe as he walked up to the coachman who was unharnessing the horses.

“It’s only a two-seated carriage, and I don’t know how your friend. . . .”

“He’ll go in the open carriage,” Arkadii interrupted in an undertone. “You mustn’t stand on ceremony with him, please. He’s a wonderful person, and utterly unpretentious—you’ll see.”

Nikolai Petrovich’s driver brought out the fresh horses.

“Well, hurry up, bushy beard!” Bazarov urged, addressing the coachman.

“Do you hear what the gentleman called you, Mitiukha?” interjected another coachman who was standing nearby, his arms thrust behind him through a slit in his sheepskin coat. “It’s a bushy beard you have, too.”

Mitiukha merely tugged at his cap and pulled the reins off a sweaty shaft-horse.

“Faster, faster, boys, lend a hand,” cried Nikolai Petrovich. “There’ll be some vodka for you!”

The horses were harnessed within a few minutes; father and son were installed in the two-seated carriage; Petr climbed up onto its box; Bazarov jumped into the open carriage and nestled his head against a leather cushion—and both vehicles rolled away.

Copyright 2001 by Ivan Turgenev
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 91 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2011

    bestselling

    this will guide of being a good father and son..

    81 out of 82 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2011

    author

    Ivan Turgenev is a good author..

    80 out of 82 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2011

    father and son

    you will get more lesson in this book that will guide us...

    78 out of 79 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2011

    happy

    we can get this in a low price and it makes us happy while reading about what Ivan Tugenev write the book father and sons..

    77 out of 77 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 31, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A Masterfully Crafted Short Novel

    "Fathers and Sons" frequently ranks well in the category of great Russian literature. Upon reading it, I easily saw why. The novel's characters are diverse and offer a wide range of philisophical perspectives common of the time period. Turgenev's objectivity throughout the tale enhances his story-telling and accentuates the poignance of the issues presented. (This style later influenced Anton Chekhov, one of Turgenev's greatest admirers). The subject matter, despite having a strong connection to the author's time-period, does not feel dated at all. In fact, the generational rebellion and youth's rejection of authority, even wise authority, rings true especially today. The main character Bazarov's psychology and outlook on life in contrast to the people around him make for an intellectually intriguing book that leaves you to ponder whether any of the characters were really correct. From the beginning to the strangely effective anticlimactic ending, Turgenev's "Fathers and Sons" intrigues its readers.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 30, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    A superb novel!!! Must Buy!

    This novel offers a really rich story. I had to read this for a class and I'll admit i was not thrilled about it when I was assigned it. But yet again the quote "Don't judge a book by it's cover", held true. The character Razamov, is a great example of the nihilist view and is a very dynamic and alive. There is a great message in this book and has every bit of every thing a great story needs for everyone to enjoy it. The first chapter or so you might need to hold on but then it picks up into a rush of vivid literature. YOU MUST BUY THIS BOOK!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2007

    Great book about Nihilist movement in Russia

    This book is phenomenal. It's nature is so vivid and it's characters so well put that I felt I was living in the story also. Bazarov's character is the most powerful character in this book, and signifies much about Nihilism in a whole. Other than the nihilist theme, this book contained great emotion, as in Bazarov's infection.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2002

    Great

    A wonderful masterpiece. Turgenev paints the nihilistic charector of bazarov in poetic and realistic way. One of the finest books I have ever read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2010

    great book

    great book

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  • Posted January 22, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Better off to read his short stories

    My major complaint with the novel is that Bazarov failed as a character and cannot carry the novel. Turgenev was criticized by some for purposely depicting Bazarov as a caricature, but I do not believe that Bazarov was intentionally a buffoon. The novel reads as if Turgenev truly wanted to depict Bazarov as the prototype of a new generation and wrote the novel with a straight face. If Bazarov is merely a caricature, Turgenev wrote the story deadpan. <BR/><BR/>Bazarov can be mistaken as a caricature because the actions and words that are supposed to portray him in a intellectual and morally advanced manner only make him look like a conceited snob. I felt at times that Bazarov picked up his radical ideas only for attention. At parties and when a guest in others homes he ignores manners, condemns the then current state of Russian society, and rails against romanticism and aristocracy. However, throughout the novel he fails to live up to his beliefs. He falls in love (with a rich aristocrat), agrees to have the last rights performed before he dies, writes a letter to his love hoping she would come before his death, and sees no inconsistency between his hatred of the landed class and his living high off their riches. He sees himself as a man of the people but is unable to communicate with the serfs and the serfs see him as a fool. <BR/><BR/>Throughout the novel Bazarov is presented as the intellectual and morally(in a nihilistic sense) superior to Arkady. He often mocks Arkady for the lingering romanticism and aristocratic ideals that have survived Arkady's "education" by Bazarov. However, it is not any quality in Bazarov that makes him better than Arkady but a complete lack of pride or ability in Arkady to stand up to Bazarov. A few times Arkady manages to spit out a remark in response to Bazarov but throughout much of the novel Arkady serves as a punching bag until he gets tired of this role and abandons his supposed radicalism for the comforts of marriage and estate management. Next to Arkady a rock would appear bright. Bazarov is very capable of as he would say "negating," or finding fault with almost every topic that arises, but never offers any solutions. I understand that he is a nihilist and as such advocates for the tearing down of society, morals, religion, ect, but it gets tiresome to continually read Bazarov's diatrabes and have Arkady fawning over him. By placing Bazarov next to Arkady I believe that Turgenev intended him to appear as the revolutionary hero but utlimately he looks like an idiot. <BR/><BR/>The best part of the book, but one that does not quite redeem it, is Bazarov's death at the end. He dies a meaningless death of typhoid that he contracted from performing a meaningless autopsy. A fitting ending for a character that found meaning in nothing. At times Bazarov also makes you reconsider some of your values and society, but his poor character distracts from these situations. <BR/><BR/>If you want to experience Turgenev at his finest read A Sportsman's Notebook. He has few peers in the realm of short fiction.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2001

    Funny Nihilism

    This book has a few interesting ideas, including the introduction of the word 'nihilism.' The main character is somehow a mix between a Mark Twain hero and Hamlet. Anyway, it reads fast; so read it -- fast.

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    Posted May 30, 2011

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    Posted May 29, 2011

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    Posted May 28, 2011

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    Posted May 26, 2011

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    Posted May 28, 2011

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    Posted May 28, 2011

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