FATHERS AND SONS A NORTON CRITICAL EDITION I VAN T URGENEV The Author on the Novel The Contemporary Reaction Essays in Criticism Translated and Edited by MICHAEL R. KATZ MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE Copyright 1996, 1994 ISBN 0393967522 First Edition Preface In the preface to the first Norton Critical Edition of Fathers and Sons, the editor began as follows: Translating Turgenev's novel poses many problems, beginning with the title. The literal translation is Fathers and Children. But "sons" in English better implies the notion of spiritual and intellectual generations conveyed by the Russian deti (vii). Perhaps that is the case, or has become the case as a result of English usage. During the preparation of this Norton Critical Edition of Turgenev's classic, I considered changing the title to the more literal Fathers and Children. Just when I had persuaded my eminently reasonable editor of the wisdom (and marketability) of this alteration, I myself had a change of heart. In spite of the explicit sexism of the accepted English title, Fathers and Sons, I decided for reasons of tradition and euphony to retain Ralph Matlaw's choice, but to address the role of women in the novel through the inclusion of several articles in the critical apparatus that deal directly with the subject, including one of my own written for this occasion entitled "Fathers and Sons (and Daughters)." It is to my own daughter that my work on this new edition of Turgenev's novel is dedicated. The background material begins with Turgenev's reflections on the controversy aroused by the publication of this novel in 1862. Entitled "Apropos of Fathers and Sons," the piece was first published in the author's "Literary and Autobiographical Reminiscences" (1869). It provides an interesting account of the genesis of the work, as well as a poignant portrait of his consternation at the critical storm it provoked. This essay is followed by a selection from Turgenev's letters where the reader can follow the process of creation, writing, and revision, as well as the author's attempts to respond to specific questions and objections raised by his critics. The section called "The Contemporary Reaction" provides a representative sample of the diversity of critical opinion by the most
influential writers of Turgenev's own day; these excerpts should be read in conjunction with the author's letters and his own apologia that precedes them. The "Essays in Criticism," the majority of which are new in this edition, are organized around several themes: (1) the issue of translation, addressed in a brief excerpt from an essay by Edmund Wilson; (2) political concerns, including Turgenev's liberalism (variously defined as "civic responsibility" and "hesitation"), his view of revolution, his attitude toward nihilism; (3) literary aspects, including the author's use of imagery, his depiction of time, the role of women, the portrayal of love, the conflict of generations, the impact of science, the use of discourse; and finally (4) Turgenev's "influence," to which both Donald Fanger and Robert L.