Great Political Fictions: ‘Fathers and Sons’

David Runciman

This week’s Great Political Fiction is Ivan Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons (1862), the definitive novel about the politics – and emotions – of intergenerational conflict. How did Turgenev manage to write a wistful novel about nihilism? What made Russian politics in the early 1860s so chock-full of frustration? Why did Turgenev’s book infuriate his contemporaries – including Dostoyevsky?

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