Turgenev's Criticism Of Bazarov By Turgenev

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There is no doubt that Turgenev had reformist tendencies; he moved amid the circles of the Russian intelligentsia (Freeborn 1994, 39), which would have in turn born some influence on him. Since the 1860s, however, Turgenev’s work has met with criticism revolving around ideology versus poeticism, and at the center of this argument is Bazarov. In regard to this controversial character, Turgenev said, ‘in the main character, Bazarov, there lay the figure of a young provincial doctor that struck me’ (Turgenev 1869 cited in Katz 2008, p 133). We cannot know to what degree Turgenev used artistic license on the character; he may be like or unlike Turgenev’s provincial doctor, perhaps even pure fiction. But, no matter his origin, this paper will contend that Bazarov is too nuanced and at odds with his ideology to be a mere embodiment of nihilism.

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