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.)

Historical Context

(Novels for Students)

Fathers and Sons is tied to Russia’s history, particularly to the period of social unrest and reform that began to come to...

(The entire section is 820 words.)

Literary Style

(Novels for Students)

The setting in Fathers and Sons is crucial to the effect of the novel. The various provincial...

(The entire section is 796 words.)

Compare and Contrast

(Novels for Students)

1860s: Under the leadership of Alexander II Russia embarks on a number of social reforms, including abolishing serfdom and...

(The entire section is 232 words.)

Topics for Further Study

(Novels for Students)

Research the specific beliefs of both the young radicals from the 1860s and the older liberals from the 1840s in Russia. Create a picture,...

(The entire section is 302 words.)

Media Adaptations

(Novels for Students)

Fathers and Sons was adapted as an audio book by The Audio Partners Publishing Corporation in 1998 and read by David...

(The entire section is 50 words.)

What Do I Read Next?

(Novels for Students)

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Idiot, originally written in 1868, is about the struggle that eccentrics face in an...

(The entire section is 297 words.)

Bibliography and Further Reading

(Novels for Students)

Antonovich, M. A., "Asmodey nashego vremeni (An As-modeus of our Time)," in Fathers and Children,...

(The entire section is 841 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Costlow, Jane T. Worlds Within Worlds: The Novels of Ivan Turgenev. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1990. Presents the concept that Turgenev’s fourth novel focuses on the structures of human lives, especially on the sense of place. It is also an ideological work dealing with the years in Russia before the 1861 emancipation of the serfs. Turgenev’s social resolve is bolstered by his psychological perceptions.

Freeborn, Richard. Turgenev: The Novelist’s Novelist. London: Oxford University Press, 1960. Chapter 5, “Four Great Novels,” explores how Turgenev assimilated the short story form into the novel. The...

(The entire section is 283 words.)