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The letter correspondence between Ivan Turgenev and the

various authors and his editor shows the apprehensions and

uncertainties about the characters in and the general themes of
Fathers and Sons. For instance, in his letter to Turgenev, P.V.
Annenkov expresses concern over the negative public
perception of Bazarov and the ambivalence surrounding his
character. He is particularly disquieted over the fact that the
editor Katkov is horrified by that force, power, superiority to
the crowd, and ability to subjugate people which he noted in
Bazarov. Turgenev is criticised for yielding to the corruptive
tendencies of science and thought and venerating its empty,
phosphorescent and deceptive lustre instead of fighting against
In his reply to Annenkov, Turgenev assures that substantial
corrections and revisions to the characters and the story in
general shall be effected and expresses hope that there shall
be a remarkable amount of light at the end of the tunnel.
In his letters to the editor, M.N. Katkov, Turgenev emphasises
with undue frequency that he shall not publish extracts from
the book nor let its contents transpire to a third party. This is an
enclosed request in all the letters Turgenev has written to Mr.
Katkov. This almost reminds one of ones childhood where one
had perpetually begged ones brother not to disclose to the
Father that one had broken the cookie-jar. He also alludes to the
censorship system and the difficulties it might cause in
publishing the book.
From his letter to F.M. Dosteovsky, one gets the impression that
Turgenev is greatly consoled and saved from considering his
literary efforts null and void by the empathy and appreciation
that the former appears to have shown for the latters literary
He writes to the effect that Dosteovkys words had been a
lantern in the dark especially in a prevailing climate of literary
intolerance where even Turgenevs trustful friends had jumped
on the anti-Bazerov bandwagon and personally advised that the
copies of the book be burned at the stake or be left to general

Another friend who also appears to have been Turgenevs

lantern in the dark is A.N. Maykov. Turgenev writes that if it
werent for people like him and Dosteovsky encouraging him,
he wouldnt have written a complete nonsense like Fathers
and Sons. Turgenev also flatters the gentleman by saying it is
worthless to call himself a pigmy.
This letter is evidently written in an atmosphere of genuine
pleasure and contentment.
A.I. Herzen, the poet, philosopher, and literary critic also
conveys his disappointment about the novel in a letter to
He says, You grew very angry at Bazarov, out of vexation
lampooned him, made him say various stupidities, wanted to
finish him off "with lead"finished him off with typhus, but
nevertheless he crushed that empty man with the fragrant
moustache and that watery gruel of a father and that
blancmange Arkady. It seems to Herzen that Turgenev has
been unfair towards serious, realistic experienced opinion and
that he confuses it with some sort of coarse, bragging
Turgenev replies to the letter and defends himself by saying
that in creating Bazarov, he was not angry with him, but felt a
sort of attraction, a sort of disease towards him