Fathers And Sons

Ivan Turgenev (1818–1883), author of Fathers And Sons
Ivan Turgenev (1818–1883), author of Fathers And Sons

I just read Fathers And Sons by Ivan Turgenev. You can find some quotes I found interesting here, for example:

“And this Monsieur Bazarov, what is he exactly?” [Pavel Petrovich] inquired with deliberation.

“What is Bazarov?” Arkady smiled. “Would you like me to tell you, uncle, what he is exactly?”

“Please do, nephew.”

“He is a nihilist!”

“A nihilist,” said Nikolai Petrovich. “[…] The term must signify a man who … who recognizes nothing?”

“Say—who respects nothing,” put in Pavel Petrovich, and set to work with the butter again.

“Who looks at everything critically,” observed Arkady.

“Isn’t that the same thing?” asked Pavel Petrovich.

“No, it’s not the same thing. A nihilist is a person who does not take any principle for granted, however much that principle may be revered.”

Also, Turgenev makes a fun historical mistake at the beginning of Chapter 21:

“Here am I, as you can see, like some Cincinnatus, marking out a bed for late turnips. […] I’m used to it; you see, I’m a plebeian.

But Cincinnatus—aside from peacefully stepping down from a position of absolute power—is famous for strongly opposing the plebeian class, of which he was certainly not a member. In fact, the reason he had to become a farmer in the first place was because of the fines imposed on his family by their abuse of the plebeians.