Tugenev, Fathers and Sons?

What does IQfy think of this? I didn't see many Turgenev discussions here.

I found the characters to be pretty weak.
Bazarov, probably central figure of the novel, is deeply uninteresting. He doesn't go farther than just deconstructing everything, and too often his arguments are complete trash or he contradicts his own arguments from two pages earlier. I can't understand why is he so impactful on everyone around him, and he ends up a corrupting influence on pretty much every character. I can stand an annoying character, but he is sadly also not interesting in any way.
I thought the Rudin (from novel Rudin) is much better character in same vein - firstly his dialogue is written much better, it is clear why people around him look at him with praise or disgust, all in all he seems very realistic. Also it is bad if straight up propagandistic villains such as Verkhovensky or Stavrogin have cooler aesthetic/rhetoric than Bazarov.
It was weird to me that Rudin and Bazarov are both such negative characters considering Turgenev's western orientation. They are both presented as completely useless with illusions of grandeur developed abroad. They operate purely on aesthetics and normal people get quickly disillusioned with them. Rudin at least notices this and dedicates his life to "fixing" it.
Novel seemed like it had more empathy and understanding for "fathers" i.e. generation of Bazarov and Arkady's parents. Both of their fathers are presented as loving figures who can't understand the younger generations but are definitely good and dedicated people. Sadly the generational conflict amounted to Bazarov saying something outlandish and parents nodding their heads in disagreement. The debates in the novel weren't particularly interesting, Turgenev doesn't seem like he understands both generations that well.
I also don't understand what was the point to Bazarov dying.
Ending paragraph was stellar imo, I liked the duel between Pavel and Bazarov, but in general thought the book to be pretty boring with it coming together in last quarter. I would recommend Rudin over Fathers and Sons any day.

What are your thoughts? Do not "this isn't your blog" me.

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  1. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    It’s fathers and children, chud. Buy NYRB’s new translation

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      Lmao @ reading russian novels in english. I just found this title online.

  2. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    i liked it

  3. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    it's massive, really great. that scene when Anna overrode Arkady's speech about music, even though she was completely bored of Bazarov's scientific babble and herself is more into arts and especially music, to keep Bazarov talking was one of the most impressive and cruel diamond bullets I have witnessed in my reading of the classics. that book completely blackpilled me. I will leave others to discuss the artistic merits of the book because whenever I remember this book in its entirety it puts me in a bad mood.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      I don't understand what are you trying to say. Could you elaborate please?

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        in short, that scene showed how the ideas matching between people mean too little in terms of building attraction, and love or attraction depends on unseen, basal reality. it was very clear to me for the first time I read it there.

        also I want to add another remark as a response to general sentiment against Bazarov. I think it's a misread to call him not knowledgeable, in one scene if I remember correctly he quotes a poem talking to Arkady. that shows the case is not that he never paid attention to art or literature, he thought in the face of new dawn of hard sciences all of those will lose their prominence and turn into jokes. in that light, wasn't he somewhat right?

        also the reason no one could challenge him the way you think and address, "if I were only there, I would tell this", you are discounting his domineering presence. but I think Turgenev was fairly realistic that his edgy demeanor could not possibly stretch too far away from the educated circle he was surrounded in at the end of the day. the peasants saw him as a typical member of the higher class with his stupid ideas.

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          >as a response to general sentiment against Bazarov.
          Yeah, maybe pseud is too harsh a word. Maybe just a sperg? I realize that is also derogatory, but it captures that he's a bit robotic, right? At least that is what I remembered from reading the novel a while ago. If I'm not mistaken, he is alsoTurgenev's portrayal of the "nihilist" faction of political radicals in his time, who basically espouse the arguments you say, of a pure rationalism. It's also a critique (or anticipation) of the student movements/intelligentsia who attempted to go to the countryside in the 1860s in attempt to politicize the peasantry and create agrarian socialist utopias. So yeah, Bazarov's disconnect from the peasantry is mocking the inability for the educated Russian elite (and their bureaucrats / rising middle/professional classes) to make a meaningful connection to the peasantry and address the Empire's ills (i.e. economic and cultural backwardness, which makes sense given Turgenev was a westernizer type)
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narodniks

  4. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Hey, I also recently read this and had the same reaction, OP. Bazarov just sounded like your average edgy college sophomore. Having nihilistic or materialistic (even if he wouldn't use that word) arguments against the then status quo could've been interesting. But I thought that Turgenev really failed to even present an actual argument from Bazarov. Half the time, Pavel or someone else would be like "well what do you think of X?" and Bazarov would just say that he doesn't believe in it or that it's useless, then Pavel would get butthurt and storm off. We never actually see an in-depth argument, just bullet points or the beginning of one.

    As for him dying and whatnot. I'm also a bit unsure of what the point was. But I think there are two things we could take away from it. His mindless pursuit of science is what kills him. He doesn't believe in medicine (as a field), ignores his cut because he doesn't care, and dies from it. But also, he had to go to his father/family. And in spite of his edginess and disbelief in norms, he still has to act like a good boy with his parents. So, his nihilism is performative to some degree. Idk. Decent book, but I didn't get the hype that it's drawn.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      It's been a while since I read this, but wasn't the whole point that Bazarov was a big pseud and the book was more or less about "proving" him wrong?

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        It's not exactly *explicitly* stated that that's the point, but it kinda is I guess. He comes off as a pseud because his ideals completely collapse when he gets a crush on Anna, and the only other person that wholeheartedly agrees with him is that sperglord (I forget his name, he introduced him to Anna) who just spazzes out in front of everyone all the time.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        well what i dislike is there isn't much to prove Bazarov wrong. his worldview is just denying things, he doesn't have any particular worldview. Novel would be interesting if generational gap ideas actually clashed

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      I would recommend Rudin. To not repeat myself, but it is half as long and I actually liked the characters. Also debates there are better written.

      >He doesn't believe in medicine (as a field), ignores his cut because he doesn't care, and dies from it.
      well not really. he immediatelly seeks doctor after getting cut to help him cauterize the wound.
      >But also, he had to go to his father/family /../ So, his nihilism is performative to some degree
      yes I also think this is it.

      I lost my pop a couple years ago, we were close as heck, he was a wonderful man. I was thinking of reading this as a way to soulfully explore the father son relationship simply based on the title. Is this the right book for that?

      If anyone has good lit that explores the father-son relationship shoot me a rec. Thanks.

      >Is this the right book for that?
      not sure. both fathers are presented as really likeable but deeply disconnected from their sons in a way that genuinely felt hurtful to me (one of the sons is really rude for no reason). And I don't have a really healthy relationship with my father lol

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        >And I don't have a really healthy relationship with my father lol

        almost nobody does

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      >We never actually see an in-depth argument, just bullet points or the beginning of one.
      It's been a while since I read it, but I feel that this is the point. As the other anon said, Bazarov is supposed to be a pseud; a guy who adopted an intellectual fashion in university and childishly sticks to it even though he hasn't developed it that far. With regard to the arguments; isn't that how arguments work in real life? Usually, people in real life don't really debate about intellectual matters, but just talk past each other and make assertions. It's more a power game, establishing dominance or protecting one's ego, than actually coming to mutual understanding. So I guess in that sense the two generations are just too mentally different to even come to debate, and the age gap means that the angsty/angry youths like bazarov cannot really relate to the adults. Overall, I think Turgenev's point is just blackpilled. The alleged radical and forward looking youth of Russia receiving education are actually totally inadequate to the task of changing or reforming the country, especially in the countryside where the novel takes place.

      Overall though I had the exact same reaction when reading the book. It didn't live up to the hype I had in my head for it, considering it is always listed as his best work. However, I really enjoyed "sketches from a hunter's album". I was surprised how much better it was. Maybe turgenev was a better short story writer.

  5. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    I lost my pop a couple years ago, we were close as heck, he was a wonderful man. I was thinking of reading this as a way to soulfully explore the father son relationship simply based on the title. Is this the right book for that?

    If anyone has good lit that explores the father-son relationship shoot me a rec. Thanks.

  6. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Isn't that realistic?
    Socially liberal university activists are not exactly deep and knowledgeable.

  7. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    I just finished crime and Punishment. Will I like this one?

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      on complete opposite ends of spectrum.
      Fathers and Children is almost a hangout book about 2 extremely lazy students (one is a nihilist and other one is a complete pussy who looks up to him) who just go from one household to another and hang out.
      If you liked C&P try Notes from the Underground and must, must, must Brothers Karamazov.

  8. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Bazarov is just a 1800s teenage edgelord who feels self contradictory but pretends not to feel anything to keep up the "nihilist" façade.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      That’s the point. When it all fell down it was too late though.

  9. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    It’s my favorite russian novel. A sportsman’s sketches is also kino as all hell. Read the living relic and tell me Turgenev isn’t among the best of the best.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      I'm gonna give it a read, thanks for rec.

  10. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    I prefer Rudin. It's more concise and ambiguous.

  11. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Bazarov is overrated.

    He’s like if an autistic guy read A Hero of Our Time and wanted to act like Pechorin but rather than coming off as cool he’s just annoying.

Comments are closed.