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The Byronic Hero and Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Preston Waddoups

Throughout Russian literature's rapid development following the reign of Peter the Great, literature from western European nations was highly influential. Ivan Turgenev, as a reader, admirer, and translator of Lord Byron's works, serves as one example of this fact. Turgenev's 1862 novel Fathers and Sons, which takes a close look at generational differences, the waning influence of Romanticism, and social unrest in Russia leading up to the emancipation of the serfs, bears obvious signs of Lord Byron's influence. One of the novel's main characters, Yevgeny Bazarov, resembles a stereotypical Byronic hero in many respects. However, Bazarov is not simply a clone of Byron's heroes; he diverges from them in his weak sense of guilt and justice and his lack of determination. Through a comparative analysis of Bazarov's ideas and character with those of the eponymous heroes of Byron's dramas Manfred and Cain, I will illustrate how Bazarov's ambiguous status as a Byronic hero exemplifies a partial rejection and partial embodiment of Romanticism that reflects the atmosphere of social change and unrest in 19th-century Russia. In doing so, I intend to offer an analysis of Turgenev's novel that sheds light on the broader social and ideological conflicts of 19th-century Europe, conflicts that are still relevant today.
University / Institution: Utah State University
Type: Oral
Format: In Person
SESSION D (3:30-5:00PM)
Area of Research: Humanities
Faculty Mentor: Alan Blackstock
Location: Union Building, ROOM 312 (4:30pm)