'The Brothers Karamazov: A Novel in Four Parts and an Epilogue'
By Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Author), David McDuff (Translator, Introduction)
Fyodor Dostoyevsky's powerful meditation on faith, meaning and morality, The Brothers Karamazov is translated with an introduction and notes by David McDuff in Penguin Classics. When brutal landowner Fyodor Karamazov is murdered, the lives of his sons are changed irrevocably: Mitya, the sensualist, whose bitter rivalry with his father immediately places him under suspicion for parricide; Ivan, the intellectual, whose mental tortures drive him to breakdown; the spiritual Alyosha, who tries to heal the family's rifts; and the shadowy figure of their bastard half-brother Smerdyakov. As the ensuing investigation and trial reveal the true identity of the murderer, Dostoyevsky's dark masterpiece evokes a world where the lines between innocence and corruption, good and evil, blur and everyone's faith in humanity is tested. This powerful translation of The Brothers Karamazov features and introduction highlighting Dostoyevsky's recurrent themes of guilt and salvation, with a new chronology and further reading. Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky (1821-1881) was born in Moscow. From 1849-54 he lived in a convict prison, and in later years his passion for gambling led him deeply into debt.
His other works available in Penguin Classics include Crime & Punishment, The Idiot and Demons. If you enjoyed The Brothers Karamazov you might like Nikolai Gogol's Dead Souls, also available in Penguin Classics.
'There is no writer who better demonstrates the contradictions and fluctuations of the creative mind than Dostoyevsky, and nowhere more astonishingly than in The Brothers Karamazov'
(Joyce Carol Oates)
'Dostoyevsky was the only psychologist from whom I had anything to learn: he belongs to the happiest windfalls of my life'
'The most magnificent novel ever written'
Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky, sometimes transliterated Dostoevsky, was a Russian novelist, journalist, and short-story writer whose psychological penetration into the human soul had a profound influence on the 20th century novel.
Dostoyevsky was the second son of a former army doctor. He was educated at home and at a private school. Shortly after the death of his mother in 1837 he was sent to St. Petersburg, where he entered the Army Engineering College. Dostoyevsky's father died in 1839, most likely of apoplexy, but it was rumored that he was murdered by his own serfs. Dostoyevsky graduated as a military engineer, but resigned in 1844 to devote himself to writing. His first novel, Poor Folk appeared in 1846.
That year he joined a group of utopian socialists. He was arrested in 1849 and sentenced to death, commuted to imprisonment in Siberia. Dostoyevsky spent four years in hard labor and four years as a soldier in Semipalatinsk, a city in what it is today Kazakhstan.
Dostoyevsky returned to St. Petersburg in 1854 as a writer with a religious mission and published three works that derive in different ways from his Siberia experiences: The House of the Dead , (1860) a fictional account of prison life, The Insulted and Injured, which reflects the author's refutation of naive Utopianism in the face of evil, and Winter Notes on Summer Impressions, his account of a trip to Western Europe.
In 1857 Dostoyevsky married Maria Isaev, a 29-year old widow. He resigned from the army two years later. Between the years 1861 and 1863 he served as editor of the monthly periodical Time, which was later suppressed because of an article on the Polish uprising.
In 1864-65 his wife and brother died and he was burdened with debts. His situation was made even worse by his gambling addiction. From the turmoil of the 1860s emergedNotes from the Underground, a psychological study of an outsider, which marked a major advancement in Dostoyevsky's artistic development.
In 1867 Dostoyevsky married Anna Snitkin, his 22-year old stenographer. They traveled abroad and returned in 1871. By the time of The Brothers Karamazov (1879-80), Dostoyevsky was recognized in his own country as one of its great writers.