The novel Fathers and Sons is a social novel published in 1862 by Russian writer Ivan Turgenev. The novel focuses on the conflict between the ’fathers’, the old aristocrat society having a traditional way of thinking, and the ’sons’, the new generation with new ideas and new philosophical views.
Ivan Turgenev was interested in the social reforms that took place in his country and this can be observed through the topic he decides to discuss in his novel as well. Ivan Turgenev discusses social matters in the novel and how the Russian society changed during those times in matters regarding marriage between two people coming from different social classes, new ideas and philosophical movements being introduced into a society and about the newly found freedom of the servants and their relationship with their masters.
The novel was harshly received by the conservative Russians because of Ivan Turgenev’s decision to accuse on nihilism in his novel. The Russian society who still remained highly religious criticized Ivan, claiming that he promotes nihilism and because he didn’t include political subjects into his novel. Despite being harshly criticized by those in his country, the novel was very well received in Europe, being praised by influential writers like Gustave Flaubert and Guy de Maupassant and thus becoming the first Russian novel to enter into the European literary world. The novel became a source of inspiration for many other Russian writers like Fyodor Dostoevsky and Lev Tolstoi.