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Fathers and Sons [Paperback]

Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev , Rosemary Edmonds
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

4 Dec 2003 Classics
When Arkady Petrovich comes home from college, his father finds his eager, naive son changed almost beyond recognition, for the impressionable Arkady has fallen under the powerful influence of the friend accompanying him. A self-proclaimed nihilist, the ardent young Bazarov shocks Arkady's father by criticizing the landowning way of life and by his outspoken determination to sweep away the traditional values of contemporary Russian society. Turgenev's depiction of the conflict between generations and their ideals stunned readers when Fathers and Sons was first published in 1862. But many could sympathize with Arkady's fascination with the nihilistic hero whose story vividly captures the hopes and regrets of a changing Russia.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (4 Dec 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140441476
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140441475
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 13 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 429,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Fathers and Sons was one of the first Russian novels to be translated for a wider European audience. It is a difficult art: in this superb new version, Peter Carson has succeeded splendidly

(Michael Binyon The Times)

If you want to get as close as an English reader can to enjoying Turgenev, Carson is probably the best (Donald Rayfield Times Literary Supplement) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Turgenev was born in 1818. His series of six novels reflect the period of Russian life between the 1830s and 1870s. He also wrote plays, short stories, literary essays and memoirs. He died in Paris in 1883. Rosemary Edmonds translated many Russian works during her lifetime, including Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky & Pushkin for Penguin.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
On 9 October 1883 Ivan Turgenev was buried, as he had wished, in St Petersburg, near the grave of his admired friend, 1. Belinsky's words - 'autocracy, Orthodoxy and the people' - echo the official patriotic formula invented by a Minister of Education early in the reign of Nicolas I. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We're Old ... And Done For 21 May 2009
By demola
Format:Paperback
The struggle between the generations. It's nasty, heartbreaking and futile. And it's easily recognisable by about all young men who've fought to build a personality independent of their parents. The young regard with disdain efforts by the ancients to "understand" the new generation. The old recall with regret their vanquished youth and cannot understand why their grown-up children shun them. As Nikolai Petrovich notes all old people were young once too. It's a vicious merry-go-round from father to son to his son on and on and explored in F&S to brutal effect. What is it all for - this existence with its sighs, hopes, banalities and the crushing disappointments and humiliations that one must endure to get to the finishing line? Nihilism. Love. Duty. Faith. Reason. Tradition. Each to his own as Turgenev's characters disperse.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The generation gap! 1 Nov 2006
By Room For A View VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
One of the many delights of reading fiction from any literary period is the sense of timeless authority fashioned by the rich imaginations of talented writers. Although the historical settings may seem distant the characters behave pretty much as they do today, for example, they feel pain, fall in love, philosophise, act benevolently, contradict themselves, are conceited and pretentious. And these traits of human nature are compassionately handled by Turgenev in a novel that skilfully captures the ageless dilemma of youthful idealism (the sons) versus contented maturity (the fathers) thrust against the socio-political conservatism and burgeoning radicalism of mid 19th century Russia. The principle protagonist, Bazarov, is the archetypal angry young man, an Epicurean nihilist with romantic tendencies! Such are the contradictory dimensions belonging to this strain of Russian reactionaries, who want to destroy society's institutions whilst not caring about what to put in their place. In dismissing the existing social order and its moral obligations Bazarov is forced to confront his own despair and loss. In a telling passage Bazarov details, to his friend Arkady, his sense of `spiritual' insignificance in an indifferent universe, "I feel nothing but depression and rancour." Bazarov, however, is only human, and when he encounters the independent, educated, beautiful widow, Madame Odintsov, his self-imposed emotional detachment is tested to breaking point with catastrophic consequences. The story is an extraordinary examination of the cost of moral principles even if you think, as Bazarov does, you don't have any. This edition contains an excellent lecture and introduction detailing Turgenev's literary life, contemporary reaction to Fathers and Sons and the political climate of the period.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars American English 12 Nov 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
British readers should be aware that this edition of Fathers and Sons is translated into American English. If you can live with "gotten", "envisioning", "catching on fire" and the rest of it it's a decent version of a wonderful book but personally I find the idiom jarring and I'll stick with my disintegrating Penguin Classics paperback.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By bobbygw
Format:Paperback
Because there are several editions of this novel available to buy, and some much cheaper than this one, I first wanted to highlight that I believe this one is by far the best to date, for two reasons: the translator, Rosemary Edmonds's version, is elegant and smooth, and her own introduction is excellent - providing meaningful reflection and understanding not only of the novel, but Turgenev's talent, other works, and the political and literary times he lived through. The second major reason is because this edition (I think) is the only one that contains Isaiah Berlin's brilliant, insightful lecture on the novel that he first gave in 1970, and was included in this edition from 1975 onwards, and that offers much insight into the novel's historical context and background in terms of philosophy and politics in Russia during Turgenev's lifetime.

While I also love the fiction of Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, having read this, still Turgenev's most famous and popular novel, followed then by reading Edmonds introduction, I was not surprised to learn from her that it was Turgenev who proved to be the most popular Russian novelist in Europe during the shared lifetimes of these three giant authors and, throughout the 1850s and 60s, Turgenev was likewise and the most famous and popular in Russia - while, fascinatingly, also being the most controversial - there was passionate debate both for and against Turgenev and this novel - that continued at least up until the 1950s! - despite having spent most of his life abroad, living in Paris, in particular (while always devoted to Russia and its people, he was definitely a passionate Europhile).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of Turgenev 8 Dec 2010
By N Louis
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Turgenev explores Nihilism through his protagonist Bazarov and the flawed notion that humans need only science in their lives and that art, poetry, emotions and elitism can be spared and are of no value. Bazarov meets his match in the form of the gentry and later when himself falls in love, the very thing he had convinced himself he did not believe in. Turgenev also makes the contrast with Arcady, the very opposite of Bazarov and whom he tried to recruit to his ideas, the precursors of communism that was to follow a few decades later. The emancipation of the serfs was a dividing issue at the time, and also the old ways of the fathers versus the new dawn the sons were searching for. Turgenev leaves it to his readers to see the different views of all parties even including the ordinary villagers and of course the gentry. Bazarov comes to a sticky end and Turgenev portrays poingantly the suffering of his parents. If only Bazarov understood the real meaning of inner happiness and the value of artistic creation in people's lives. The book is a panorama of russian life and russian people in the second half of the 19th century.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful read
"And what do you do?" asked Yevdoxia.
"My name is Arkady Nikolayevich Kirsanov," Arkady informed her, "and I don't do anything. Read more
Published 6 days ago by A reader in England
4.0 out of 5 stars ... this book so can't remember which one was the better translation....
I bought two different versions of this book so can't remember which one was the better translation. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent depiction of the tensions in Russian society
more informative than a history book for me.. How was a society this compromised still able to limp on for another fifty years and how did Russia ever get so distant from western... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Hampstead Mackem
5.0 out of 5 stars Generations
Took me a while to get in to this but a classic look at the gap between generations and how parents and children try to connect. Read more
Published 5 months ago by walton
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful dissection of a political idea
FATHERS AND SONS treats Nihilism succinctly, far more than any other book I can think of. It makes the idea easy to understand through true to life characters that we can relate... Read more
Published 7 months ago by John T C
5.0 out of 5 stars Fathers and Sons
One of my all time favourite novels - lost my original copy so this was a replacement as I know I shall read and re-read
Published 17 months ago by Seagull
4.0 out of 5 stars "Liberalism, progress, principles...to a Russian they're not worth a...
First published in 1861, Turgenev's classic novel is dominated by the young radical Bazarov, whose arrival in the Russian provinces causes upheaval amongst his comfortably liberal... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Glimmung
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant but Spoilt by the End
Turgenev can not be matched by other Russian classical writers for his brilliant understanding of human psychology. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Bella Maria Delorus
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good - but not a CD
A very good product. But one note of caution: despite the description, this is NOT a CD - it's an MP3D. Read more
Published on 14 May 2012 by Stuart Emmerson
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Russian literature
My copy of this book is "A Bantam Classic", translated by Barbara Makanowitzky, with an introduction by Alexandra Tolstoy. Read more
Published on 15 Mar 2010 by Blackbeard
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