This new translation by Richard Freeborn makes Turgenev’s masterpiece about the conflict between generations seem as fresh, outspoken, and exciting as it was to those readers who first encountered its famous hero. The controversial portrayal of Bazarov, the ‘nihilist’ or ‘new man’, shocked Russian society when the novel was published in 1862. The image of humanity liberated by science from age-old conformities and prejudices is one that can threaten establishments of any political or religious persuasion, and is especially potent at the present time. Richard Freeborn is the first translator to have had access to Turgenev’s working manuscript. An appendix contains the first English translation of some of Turgenev’s preparatory sketches for the novel.