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A Gentle Creature and Other Stories: White Nights; A Gentle Creature; The Dream of a Ridiculous Man (Oxford World's Classics) [Paperback]

Fyodor Dostoevsky , W. J. Leatherbarrow , Alan Myers
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

23 April 2009 Oxford World's Classics
In the stories in this volume Dostoevsky explores both the figure of the dreamer divorced from reality and also his own ambiguous attitude to utopianism, themes central to many of his great novels.

In White Nights the apparent idyll of the dreamer's romantic fantasies disguises profound loneliness and estrangement from 'living life'. Despite his sentimental friendship with Nastenka, his final withdrawal into the world of the imagination anticipates the retreat into the 'underground' of many of Dostoevsky's later intellectual heroes. A Gentle Creature and The Dream of a Ridiculous Man show how such withdrawal from reality can end in spiritual desolation and moral indifference and how, in Dostoevsky's view, the tragedy of the alienated individual can be resolved only by the rediscovery of a sense of compassion and responsibility towards fellow human beings.

This new translation captures the power and lyricism of Dostoevsky's writing, while the introduction examines the stories in relation to one another and to his novels.

ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; Reissue edition (23 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199555087
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199555086
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.7 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 292,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky was born in Moscow in 1821, the second of a physician's seven children. His mother died in 1837 and his father was murdered a little over two years later. When he left his private boarding school in Moscow he studied from 1838 to 1843 at the Military Engineering College in St Petersburg, graduating with officer's rank. His first story to be published, 'Poor Folk' (1846), was a great success.

In 1849 he was arrested and sentenced to death for participating in the 'Petrashevsky circle'; he was reprieved at the last moment but sentenced to penal servitude, and until 1854 he lived in a convict prison at Omsk, Siberia. In the decade following his return from exile he wrote The Village of Stepanchikovo (1859) and The House of the Dead (1860). Whereas the latter draws heavily on his experiences in prison, the former inhabits a completely different world, shot through with comedy and satire.

In 1861 he began the review Vremya (Time) with his brother; in 1862 and 1863 he went abroad, where he strengthened his anti-European outlook, met Mlle Suslova, who was the model for many of his heroines, and gave way to his passion for gambling. In the following years he fell deeply in debt, but in 1867 he married Anna Grigoryevna Snitkina (his second wife), who helped to rescue him from his financial morass. They lived abroad for four years, then in 1873 he was invited to edit Grazhdanin (The Citizen), to which he contributed his Diary of a Writer. From 1876 the latter was issued separately and had a large circulation. In 1880 he delivered his famous address at the unveiling of Pushkin's memorial in Moscow; he died six months later in 1881. Most of his important works were written after 1864: Notes from Underground (1864), Crime and Punishment (1865-6), The Gambler (1866), The Idiot (1869), The Devils (1871) and The Brothers Karamazov (1880).

Product Description


The new translations read smoothly, and Professor William Leatherbarrow's introductory essay is helpfully informative. (Sunday Telegraph)

About the Author

Alan Myers is a freelance translator. W. J. Leatherbrow is Reader in Russian at Sheffield University. The same team worked on Dostoevsky's

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dostoevsky's short pieces 3 Jan 2011
These short stories is a good place to start if you're interested in Dostoevsky but the longer pieces intimidate you. Of course, this doesn't mean that the short stories are less powerful, or only for those who can't (or won't) read the novels, on the contrary, the short story form allows for density the novel cannot easily provide. IF you are a thinker and love to contemplate on the human condition, Dostoevsky's psychographic writing is what you're looking for. My favourite in this collection is 'The Dream of a Ridiculous Man'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb 2 July 2011
If you're a fan,then this is Dostoevsky at his best!"White Nights" and "A Gentle Creature" are wonderful but I'd like to mention "The Dream Of A Ridiculous Man" in particular!

Although a short story,it is as good as his grand work "The Idiot"!Set in St. Petersburg,on a cold and wet November night,with the main character contemplating suicide,at first it paints a gloomy picture,but soon it transforms into the most uplifting story ever told!It's a dreamer's dream of the way this world should be!

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 22 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I came to these stories as a fan of the novels, having heard about "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man". However I found "White Nights" and "A Gentle Creature" no less interesting, and overall I enjoyed them at least as much as all but perhaps the best of the novels. I think the format of the short story allows Dostoevsky to vividly portray one or two characters and really get inside their heads in the almost hypnotic way he explores much more thoroughly and at greater length in "Crime and Punishment". Regardless, these are thought-provoking and engaging reads, and I heartily recommend them to any fan of Dostoevsky's other books.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Collection but Not the Best 7 Sep 2010
By Bill R. Moore - Published on Amazon.com
This excellent collection has three of Dostoevsky's best short works: "White Nights," "A Gentle Creature," and "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man." Ranging from great to masterful, they are essential for anyone even remotely interested in Dostoevsky and a good starting point before tackling his mammoth novels. However, as they are available in collections with additional stories -- such as The Best Short Stories of Dostoevsky --, this is not the best choice. That said, anyone who comes across it and has not read the stories would do well to get it.

"White" is one of Dostoevsky's most intensive love meditations and, indeed, one of the most profoundly searching and affecting - not to mention thorough and honest - investigations of the perennial subject. He shows many of its sides, including those most writers and people ignore, with such realism and emotion that they come across as powerfully as ever - and surely always will. Though missing some of his later depth, this is in many ways one of Dostoevsky's most timeless works. It is also interesting in his canon in that the narrator prefigures some of his more famous characters, especially the Underground Man.

"A Gentle" may be Dostoevsky's best short story, a masterpiece in many ways as great as his novels. Moving well beyond his early short works' directness, it is a complex, multi-layered piece that can be legitimately interpreted in many ways. The psychological depth for which his novels are so justly famous is here in full force, as is his strong first-person voice. The narration is indeed one of the highlights, as Dostoevsky uses several techniques - unreliable narrator, stream of consciousness, etc. - not common until about half a century later. This shows his vast originality and influence, but the story also has many core strengths, especially a focus on perennial Dostoevsky themes: suicide, mental instability, love's dark side, egotism's evils, and other heavy psychological, philosophical, and social themes.

"The Dream of a Ridiculous Man" is one of Dostoevsky's best, most original, and most influential short stories. It epitomizes several of his defining preoccupations - alienation, Christian charity, etc. - and is a preeminent example of his characteristic psychological realism. A first-person tour de force, it shows yet again that no one matches him for psychological verisimilitude. It is also heavy on his core philosophical concerns and, perhaps most notably, pioneered important concepts that had not even been defined, namely psychoanalysis and solipsism. One can easily see why Freud frequently cited Dostoevsky, as this story essentially prefigured much of his work on dreams by several decades. Fantastic as the story is in some ways - recalling the wilder flights of Paradise Lost and arguably even being almost a science fiction precursor -, it is one of Dostoevsky's most moving and deeply human works.

Wherever one chooses to read them, these stories are required reading.
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