For citation:

Shcherbakov V.I. The Problem of the Hero of His Time in the Dialogue between Turgenev and Pisarev. Studia Litterarum, 2020, vol. 5, no 2, pp. 202–219. (In Russ.)

DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2020-5-2-202-219

Author: V.I. Shcherbakov
Information about the author:

Viktor I. Shcherbakov, PhD in Philology, Senior Researcher, А.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 a, 121069 Moscow, Russia.

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Received: September 01, 2019
Published: June 25, 2020
Issue: 2020 Vol. 5, №2
Department: Russian Literature
Pages: 202-219

UDK: 821.161.1
BBK: 83.3(2Рос=Рус)52
Keywords: Pisarev, Turgenev, Fathers and Sons, The Smoke, literary criticism, 1860s, nihilism, creative dialogue, qui pro quo.


Dmitry Pisarev entered the history of literature largely due to the congenial interpretation of the novel Fathers and Sons (1862). His articles “Bazarov” (1862) and “Realists” (1864) convinced the public that nihilists really existed and the novel offered their “absolutely true” representation (N.N. Strakhov). The same articles expained the ideology of nihilism presented by Turgenev in exaggerated form. However, Pisarev did not approve of Turgenev’s next novel, The Smoke (1867). The article discusses in detail the reasons of Pisarev’s negative review. It also sheds light on professional and personal relations of Turgenev and Pisarev as well as on political views of both. The main part of the article is an original commentary on the correspondence of Turgenev and Pisarev in 1867 around The Smoke. Particular attention is paid to the problem of the main character of The Smoke and the paradoxical fact that the critic ignored the character of Potugin to whom Turgenev attached great importance. The dialogue between the writer and the critic revealed fundamental differences in their ideas about the 1860s and its heroes, and also exposed a lack of understanding that manifested itself in their qui pro quo.


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