Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


Marino. Family estate of the Russian gentleman Nikolai Kirsanov that is the first of four main settings in which the novel unfolds. Modeled upon Spasskoe, Ivan Turgenev’s family estate in Orel, it is the place where Arkady Kirsanov grows up, returns after earning a university degree, and finally chooses to settle in order to raise a family and to assist his father in transforming their five thousand acres into a profitable “farm” that will benefit the peasants who work their property.

The novel begins in May of 1859, when the recently graduated Arkady and his “uncivil” nihilist friend, Yevgeny Bazarov, arrive at Marino, which to Arkady’s discomfort, is in disarray. As such, it epitomizes so many estates throughout Russia that are owned by ineffectual nobles whose time has passed. Bazarov represents a defiant new force with which the Kirsanovs must contend, given that he rejects all that Marino symbolizes in the way of antiquated aristocracy and romantic idealism.

During his second visit to Marino, weeks later, Bazarov becomes involved in a farcical duel with Pavel Kirsanov, Arkady’s aristocratic uncle. Bazarov shoots Pavel in the leg, tends his wound, and then leaves the estate. Metaphorically, the inconclusive rifts that are played out at Marino suggest that neither the liberal generation of the 1830’s and 1840’s (the fathers) nor the radical generation of the 1850’s and 1860’s (the sons) has achieved an ideological victory that will benefit Russia in its immediate future.

Provincial capital

Provincial capital. Unnamed city to which...

(The entire section is 669 words.)