Moscow: tip. V. Grachiova, 1862. Item #239
304 pp. 8vo. In contemporary half-leather with gilt lettering on the spine. Spine is refurbished, few marks in text. Otherwise near fine.
First separate edition of ‘Fathers and Sons’ by Ivan Turgenev (1818-1883).
‘Fathers and Sons’ considered to be the most famous of Turgenev’s novels. It first appeared in 1862 in Russkii vestnik (i.e. The Russian Herald). After this publication Turgenev prepared the novel for the separate edition by editing the text: he added dedication to his mentor and liberal critic Belinsky (1811-1848) which served as an important message to friends and enemies and pointed to democratic nature of the novel. He also removed some of Bazarov’s unpleasant features (some call him first Bolshevik in Russian literature). In his letter to Gertsen he wrote: «...while inventing Bazarov I wasn’t angry with him, but felt attraction... I don’t feel guilty because of him... it was tough to make him a wolf and yet to defend him...».
The novel examined the conflict between the older generation, reluctant to accept reforms, and the nihilistic youth. Turgenev wrote that he got the idea for this book on the beach at Ventnor, England, in August, 1860, but that Bazarov was really based on a person he knew, a «Dr. D.» He finished writing it on his Russian estate in July of 1861, and published it in March, 1862, in The Russian Herald, a magazine that had become conservative. Before this book, liberal Russian critics had praised his realistic depictions of the serfs. But they considered his depiction of Bazarov here to be an attack on liberalism, and reactionary Russian conservatives praised the author. Turgenev, however, stated that he tried to obey aesthetic truth rather than write political propaganda.
Fathers and Sons was set during the six-year period of social ferment, from Russia’s defeat in the Crimean War to the Emancipation of the Serfs. Hostile reaction to Fathers and Sons prompted Turgenev’s decision to leave Russia. Turgenev lived mostly in France and the West, following opera singer Mme Viardot, her husband and children. Turgenev’s works were translated into French but it was not until about 1894 that Constance Garnett first translated them into English. Turgenev’s style had a great effect on those writers who followed the banners of naturalism or realism. He was praised by Flaubert and Henry James and William Dean Howells.