Fathers and Sons

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Amazon Digital Services LLC - KDP Print US, Mar 3, 2019 - 209 pages
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Ivan Sergyevitch Turgenev came of an old stock of the Russian nobility. He was born in Orel, in the province of Orel, which lies more than a hundred miles south of Moscow, on October 28, 1818. His education was begun by tutors at home in the great family mansion in the town of Spask, and he studied later at the universities of Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Berlin. The influence of the last, and of the compatriots with whom he associated there, was very great; and when he returned to Moscow in 1841, he was ambitious to teach Hegel to the students there. Before this could be arranged, however, he entered the Ministry of the Interior at St. Petersburg. While there his interests turned more and more toward literature. He wrote verses and comedies, read George Sand, and made the acquaintance of Dostoevsky and the critic Bielinski. His mother, a tyrannical woman with an ungovernable temper, was eager that he should make a brilliant official career; so, when he resigned from the Ministry in 1845, she showed her disapproval by cutting down his allowance and thus forcing him to support himself by the profession he had chosen. Turgenev was an enthusiastic hunter; and it was his experiences in the woods of his native province that supplied the material for "A Sportsman's Sketches," the book that first brought him reputation. The first of these papers appeared in 1847, and in the same year he left Russia in the train of Pauline Viardot, a singer and actress, to whom he had been devoted for three or four years and with whom he maintained relations for the rest of his life. The work by Turgenev contained in the present volume is characteristic in their concern with social and political questions, and in the prominence in both of them of heroes who fail in action. Turgenev preaches no doctrine in his novels, has no remedy for the universe; but he sees clearly certain weaknesses of the Russian character and exposes these with absolute candor yet without unkindness. Much as he lived abroad, his books are intensely Russian; yet of the great Russian novelists he alone rivals the masters of western Europe in the matter of form. In economy of means, condensation, felicity of language, and excellence of structure he surpasses all his countrymen; and "Fathers and Sons" represent his great and delicate art at its best.

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