Fathers and Children

Ivan Turgenev
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ISBN 9780571244478 Format Paperback
Published 17/07/2008 Length 384 pages

About Book

First translated by Constance Garnett in 1895 Fathers and Children was published in 1862 in The Russian Messenger and provoked immediate controversy for its portrayal of the rise of the nihilist movement. With its themes of love and redemption Fathers and Children (or Fathers and Sons as it was also known) was written as a response to the liberal movement that arose in Russia during the 1860s.

The novel explores the growing disharmony between the younger generation and the older generation in Russia and the 'children's' rejection of the existing values and authority of their 'father's'.

The main protagonist Yevgeny Bazarov is training to be a doctor and is mentor to Arkady Kirsanov. Arkady's brother Pavel and his father Nikolai represent the past while Arkady, as the sentimentalist, represents the present. Bazarov, on the other hand, represents the changing society as he rejects the old system entirely. However, Bazarov finds it hard to reconcile his views when he falls in love with Anna Sergeyvna Odintsov, a wealthy widow.

Widely regarded as Turgenev's most powerful work and the first modern novel in Russian Literature, Fathers and Children helped to establish Turgenev's name in the West.

  • About Ivan Turgenev

    Born in Orel in central Russia in 1818 Ivan Turgenev studied at the universities in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Berlin and worked briefly for the civil service before turning to writing. He wrote several novels that examined the social, political and philosophical issues of the time as well as many plays and short stories.

    Living mainly in Baden-Baden and Paris Turgenev was acquainted with a variety of influential writers and met Dickens and Trollope among others on his travels to England. He was widely perceived to be the first major Russian writer to achieve great success in Europe.

    Turgenev died in Paris in 1883.

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  • Translated By: Constance Garnett

    The subtitle of Richard Garnett's biography (reissued in Faber Finds) of his grandmother, Constance Garnett (1861-1946) is A Heroic Life. It couldn't be more apt. She remains the most prolific English translator of Russian literature: twelve volumes of Dostoevsky, five of Gogol, six of Herzen (his complete My Past and Thoughts), seventeen of Tchehov (her spelling), five of Tolstoy, eleven of Turgenev and so on. Many of these will be appearing in Faber Finds. In all she translated over sixty works. It is not, however, the sheer quantity that is to be celebrated, though that in itself is remarkable, it is more the enduring quality of her work. Of course there have been critics - translation is a peculiarly controversial subject, but there have been many more admirers. Tolstoy himself praised her. Of her Turgenev translations, Joseph Conrad said 'Turgeniev (sic) for me is Constance Garnett and Constance Garnett is Turgeniev'. Katherine Mansfield declared the lives of her generation of writers were transformed by Constance Garnett's translations, and H. E. Bates went so far as to say that modern English Literature itself could not have been what it is without her translations.

    This extraordinary achievement was accomplished despite poor health and poor eyesight, the latter being ruined by her labours on War and Peace ,a tragic if fitting sacrifice; hers indeed was A Heroic Life.

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