Ivan Turgenev, Fathers and Children (sometimes translated as Fathers and Sons) stands on its own as a wonderfully written short novel about generational, ideological, and romantic conflict within a small group of people in rural Russia in 1859. Turgenev explores the moment, does not take sides, but, as gifted writer of realism, brings the characters and the moment to life. This is not a political novel, but it does explore the roots of the Slavophile/Westernizer dispute within Russian culture. Turgenev looked to the West for his literary models; he was a great friend of Flaubert. This novel is a good place to start a discussion of the current state of Russia and how the past is the key to the present.
I do not have a favorite contemporary translation; several are very good. Turgenev writes in a style that is fairly easy to translate accurately. But I would avoid the very dated Constance Garnett translations. Assignments will be sent well before the first class.
Instructor Maryanne Ward is retired after a 40-year career in small college education. She chaired Kenyon College (Gambier, OH) Humanities program and served as academic dean until moving to Centre College (Danville, KY) as professor of English and chair of the Humanities program. She holds an M.A. in Russian from the University of Virginia, and her area of special interest and scholarship is 19th-century British literature. Among other topics, her publications have examined the relationship between literature, landscape, and painting.
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