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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.
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