"The other day
I noticed that he was reading Pushkin," Bazarov continued. "Explain
to him, please, how absurd that is. He is no longer a boy,
and ought to throw all that nonsense to the dogs. Who in our
days is interested in romanticism, in poetry? Give him something
sensible to read."
"What should I give him?" asked Arkady.
"You could begin, I think, with Büchner's Stoff und Kraft,
for example." [p. 53]
"We act in view
of what we recognize as useful," added Bazarov; "today
it seems to us useful to deny – and we deny ––"
"What? Not only art, poetry, but even . . . I hesitate to say it . . ."
"Everything," repeated Bazarof, with indescribable calmness.
Pavel Petrovich stared at him; he had not expected such a reply;
Arkady blushed with pleasure.
"But allow me, allow me," interrupted Nikolaj Petrovich; "you
deny everything, or to put it more precisely, you destroy everything . . . But
it is also necessary to rebuild. . . ."
"That is not our business . . . We must first clear the ground." [p.
[Pavel Petrovich:] "I
am told that in Rome our artists don't even visit the Vatican.
Raphael they regard as a fool, because, of course, he is an
authority; and these artists are themselves disgustingly sterile
and weak; their imagination can soar no higher than the 'Girl
at a Fountain' – and then even the girl is abominably
drawn! But you have these fellows in high esteem, I suppose?"
"To me," replied Bazarov, "Raphael isn't worth two kopeks, and
these artists aren't worth any more than he." [p.
Ivan Turgenev: Otcy
i Deti, 1861 (Chapter 10). [Translations based on Eugene
Schuyler's Fathers and Sons (New York: Leypolt & Holt,
1867) and Constance Black Garnett's Fathers and Children (New
York: Collier, 1917). Page numbers from the 1867 translation.]
He himself was a poet, and
had a wonderful facility for writing most musical verses; indeed,
I think it a great pity that he abandoned poetry. But the reaction
against art, which arose among the Russian youth in the early
sixties, and which Turguéneff has depicted in Bazaroff
("Fathers and Sons"), induced him to look
upon his verses with contempt, and to plunge headlong into the
Peter Kropotkin about
his brother Aleksander. In: Memoirs of a Revolutionist. New
York: Houghton Mifflin, 1899. [Ch. 2 (The Corps of Pages), sect.
[...] one day [...] he asked
me what I thought of Bazaroff. I frankly replied, "Bazaroff
is an admirable painting of the nihilist, but one feels that
you did not love him as much as you did your other heroes."
"On the contrary, I loved him, intensely loved him," Turguéneff
replied, with an unexpected vigor. "When we get home I will show you my
diary, in which I have noted how I wept when I had ended the novel with Bazaroff's
Turguéneff certainly loved the intellectual aspect of Bazaroff.
He so identified himself with the nihilist philosophy of his hero
that he even kept a diary in his name, appreciating the current
events from Bazaroff's point of view. But I think that he admired
him more than he loved him.
Peter Kropotkin about
Turgenev. In: Memoirs of a Revolutionist. New York:
Houghton Mifflin, 1899. [Ch. 6 (Western Europe), sect. VI.]