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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 – 23 Apr 2009

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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 0.8 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 197,014 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 The Idiot in World's Classics.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Verroiou-stergiaki on 3 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
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 By alex_bojinov on 2 July 2011
Format: Paperback
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 By John Bowcock on 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: 2 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Collection but Not the Best 7 Sept. 2010
By Bill R. Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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.
Russian Literature Has Never Been Better (Since Pushkin) 21 Dec. 2014
By Ann Neilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dostoevsky is a phenomenal writer and deserves to be added to any classic literature lover's shelf. The book contains his major short stories, which provide excellent insight into and before reading his bigger pieces, such as "Crime and Punishment." (Pardon the quotations, I cannot italicize or underline here.) This book is reasonable, the translation is good, and he is a great author to read.
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