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Russian literature refers to the literature of Russia and its émigrés and to the Russian-language . The first great Russian novel was Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol. The realistic school of fiction can be said to have begun with Ivan Turgenev.
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This is the reality of 19th century Russia, which is full of contradictions and which Ivan Turgenev depicts in his novel, Fathers and Sons. His stories such as The Hunting Sketches , Mumu , Asya and others were already very popular , widely read and critically acclaimed.

Why is that so? Turgenev felt that the face of the Russian gentry was rapidly changing, and apparently his main character even predicted the rise of the socialist movement.

One of the literary innovations of Fathers and Sons was the appearance of a new type of character: a nihilist, a person who rejects all authority. The embodiment of this idea was the protagonist, Eugene Bazarov, who is a medical student with a pragmatic approach to everything. Previously , no one like Bazarov ever appeared in Russian literature: he rejected all accepted ideas about politics, family values, social hierarchy, Orthodoxy and nearly every aspect of 19th century life.

He even tried to reject the concept of love, but it inexorably prevailed on him. Petersburg that was devastated by fire. Historians think that radical movements might have set fires across the city. Ivan Turgenev was also the first author in Russian literature who openly raised the topic of the generational divide.

My Life as a Russian Novel

Turgenev basically caught and summed up the turbulent spirit of his time, which not every critic agreed with. The novel engendered controversial and heated responses, to the extent that Turgenev issued his own statement to clear the air with his critics. Turgenev thought that negative feedback was caused by the nature of his main character, Bazarov, who was completely new for Russian literature. The audience expected the author either to justify the revolutionary or to judge him — and nothing in between. But Turgenev rejected both of these paths, and instead he simply portrayed his nihilist as realistically and objectively as possible.

Turgenev does not justify the cause of any generation; he merely shows the changes that ripened in conservative 19th century Russia.

Russian literature

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a book review by Tony Bailie: My Life as a Russian Novel: A Memoir

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