Russian Nihilism: The Cultural Legacy of the Conflict Between Fathers and Sons

Abstract
I argue that the Nineteenth Century phenomenon of Russian nihilism, rather than belonging to the spiritual crisis that threatened Europe, was an independent and historically specific attitude of the Russian intelligentsia in their wholesale and utopian rejection of the prevailing values of their parents’ generation. Turgenev’s novel, Fathers and Sons, exemplifies this revolt in the literary character Bazarov, who embodies an archetypical account of the conflict between generations, social values, and traditions in Russian—but not just Russian—culture.
Keywords Russian nihilism  Turgenev   Fathers and Sons  Nechaev  Berdyaev  Pisarev  Dostoevsky
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DOI 10.1558/ccp.v3i1.99
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