When a young graduate returns home he is accompanied, much to his father and uncle's discomfort, by a strange friend "who doesn't acknowledge any authorities, who doesn't accept a single principle on faith." Turgenev's masterpiece of generational conflict shocked Russian society when it was published in 1862 and continues today to seem as fresh and outspoken as it did to those who first encountered its nihilistic hero.
This new translation, specially commissioned for the Oxford World's Classics, is the first to draw on Turgenev's working manuscript, which only came to light in 1988.
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About the Author
His first major publication, a short story collection entitled A Sportsman's Sketches (1852), was a milestone of Russian realism, and his novel Fathers and Sons (1862) is regarded as one of the major works of 19th-century fiction.
Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev was born in Oryol (modern-day Oryol Oblast, Russia) to noble Russian parents Sergei Nikolaevich Turgenev (1793-1834), a colonel in the Russian cavalry who took part in the Patriotic War of 1812, and Varvara Petrovna Turgeneva (née Lutovinova; 1787-1850). His father belonged to an old, but impoverished Turgenev family of Tula aristocracy that traces its history to the 15th century when a Tatar Mirza Lev Turgen (Ivan Turgenev after baptizing) left the Golden Horde to serve Vasily II of Moscow. Ivan's mother came from a wealthy noble Lutovinov house of the Oryol Governorate. She spent an unhappy childhood under the tyrannical stepfather and left his house after her mother's death to live with her uncle. At the age of 26 she inherited a huge fortune from him. In 1816, she married Turgenev.
Ivan, his brothers Nikolai and Sergei were raised by their mother, a very educated, but authoritarian woman, in the Spasskoe-Lutovinovo family estate that was granted to their ancestor Ivan Ivanovich Lutovinov by Ivan the Terrible. Varvara Turgeneva later served as an inspiration for the landlady from Turgenev's Mumu. She surrounded her sons with foreign governesses; thus Ivan became fluent in French, German, and English. Their father spent little time with the family, and although he was not hostile toward them, his absence hurt Ivan's feelings (their relations are described in the autobiographical novel First Love). When he was four, the family made a trip through Germany and France. In 1827 the Turgenevs moved to Moscow to give their children a proper education.
After the standard schooling for a son of a gentleman, Turgenev studied for one year at the University of Moscow and then moved to the University of Saint Petersburg from 1834 to 1837, focusing on Classics, Russian literature, and philology. During that time his father died from kidney stone disease, followed by his younger brother Sergei who died from epilepsy. From 1838 until 1841 he studied philosophy, particularly Hegel, and history at the University of Berlin. He returned to Saint Petersburg to complete his master's examination.
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.
Excerpted from "Fathers and Sons"
Copyright © 2009 Ivan Turgenev.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
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Table of Contents
|Note on the Text||xxvii||(1)|
|A Chronology of Ivan Turgenev||xxxi|
|Appendix: Turgenev's sketches for Fathers and Sons||246||(9)|