Somehow, have not spent much time on this blog for a few days – mainly because of work, and also because my blogging time window was devoured by the two posts I wrote on my travel blog. I have not really read much in the last few days (Inching away with Eichmann in Jerusalem, which is quite full of information and ideas that it gets exhaustive), and my mind is too blank for thought!
In this reading I was quite impressed with the book. It is a little bit of a relief to read the love stories from these old Russian writers, even if most of their loves are tragic and pathetic and marred by a vague discontent (which is perhaps a most fitting treatment of this virtue). But at least they talk of love, which seems to be a kind of disease many illustrious author are keen to shy away from. I found this work from Turgenev to be essentially a love story too, though it played a wider canvas by slighting that romanticism, often being ashamed of it too like the modern writer, but eventually surrendering to emotion.
It is a riveting work, ever engaging and spreading out the futility of both a complete rejection and a thoughtless liberalism. With dexterity, Turgenev is able to mock an allegiance to either school, even though it appears that his sympathy lies with the old order, because he gives it a more human color as compared to the almost ridiculous shade granted to the new order in form of Bazarov and a half hearted Arkady. Personally, though I would be more biased towards nihilism than towards the well-manicured ostentatious existence of Pavel Petrovich, I thank God that these are not my only two choices!Adopting Nihilism is like adopting despondence for life, and really, I look terrible with a frown or any sort of perpetually serious expression. 🙂 I would rather be a skeptic.
Though I hate to put a gender color to any work, I did feel that this work was almost exclusively a male work. The women were all in plain shades – either timid and superstitious devotees like Bazarov’s mother, or calculating and capricious like Anna Odintsov. Turgenev refused to give them any hues which he awarded the men who were allowed to experience different emotions – feel strong or foolish, get bored or fight ridiculous duels. But then, the work is called “Fathers and Sons” – and makes no claims to feminism.
I plan to follow up this one with Dead Souls soon – striving for a completion of the ‘Modern Russian literature’ course with my recent reading of Dostoevsky.