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The Karamazov Brothers (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 18 Jun 1998


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Product details

  • Paperback: 1050 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; New edition edition (18 Jun. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192835092
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192835093
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 5.1 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,373,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Review

"A fine translation."--Sr. Anna M. Conklin, Spalding University

About the Author

Born in Latvia but now living in London, Ignat Avsey is Senior Lecturer in Russian language and Literature at the University of Westminster.

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First Sentence
ALEKSEI FYODOROVICH KARAMOZOV was the third son of Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov, a landowner of our district, extremely well known in his time (and to this day still remembered in these parts) on account of his violent and mysterious death exactly thirteen years ago, the circumstances of which I shall relate in due course. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy P on 22 Oct. 2003
Format: Paperback
Dostoevsky is not to everyone's taste, and if you like your books to focus on the story you are unlikely even to finish The Karamazov Brothers. But as a way into Russian literature, and far and away the most readable of the philosophical literature genre, this book stands alone.
The brothers' different motivations and attitudes, and the complex way in which individual moralities interact on the stage of life, give this book its central thread and interest. We are privileged to see both the surface and the depths - which has the effect of holding a mirror up to ourselves as we react to the people and events.
This translation has a real freshness. This is flagged by changing the familiar rendering of the title as "The Brothers Karamazov" into its most obvious English form "The Karamazov Brothers." Am I the only person who had assumed the book involved a circus, based on the older version?
The point of the translation is not to simplify, but to prevent English from being a barrier in engaging with the text. In this it seems to have succeeded entirely - although of course as a non-Russian speaker I cannot vouch for the accuracy and appropriateness of the words chosen.
This is a winter novel - one to read in front of the fire and with friends or family to hand, and no hurry to complete it. It will lead you to question much that you take for granted - perhaps even yourself.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Aug. 2005
Format: Paperback
The Karamazov Brothers is, quite simply, Dostoyevsky's greatest work. The characters are superb creations, the settings stunning and the pace is breathtaking. The book itself is a discourse on religion, existentialism, innocence and rationalism, and comes to some absolutely mindblowing conclusions. The chapter entitled 'The Grand Inquisitor' is the pinnacle of Dostoyevsky's career, beautifully constructed, stunningly written and with fantastic ideas.
The Karamazov Brothers is a difficult work, and it helps if you've read some of his other works before starting, particularly the Idiot and the Posessed/the Devils. This new translation is one of the best of its kind, and well worth buying over other editions. A helpful introduction, chronology and character list make this a great buy.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Nov. 2001
Format: Paperback
The Brothers Karamazov has to be Dostoevsky's crowning achievement(even surpassing The Idiot).The scope of this novel and the issues it confronts encapsulate everything great about nineteenth century russian literature.Not only is it, on one level, a murder story it is also a tale of such philosophical power it astonishes. Ivan's conversation with "the devil" and the death of Father Zossima are some of the most powerful and evocative passages ever written in the history of the novel.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By KATN on 20 July 2009
Format: Paperback
I read Crime and Punishment a few years ago and really enjoyed that, so, after a trip to Russia and a few conversations about Dostoevsky, I decided to have a go at a few more of his books. This one, meant to be his greatest (and certainly his last!), nearly put an end to my campaign to read all his stuff.

Basically, I read the first 2-300 pages with great interest. It is easy to read, but that can occasionally make you breeze thru some of the more deep thoughts in the book without realizing, and things were going well. But, I wasn't fully concentrating on the book as I was also reading one or two other things, and, after a while, this book was relegated to being a 'bog book'!

My advice is - don't do that! Don't pick it up, read a few pages whilst you're about your business and then set it down. What happens is that you get into some long speech or discourse that becomes deeply boring and frustrating when you find that after many toilet sessions you are no nearer the end. You also lose the pace and atmosphere reading it this way.

So what happened what that after 6 months of reading I'd got thru about 450 pages and was very frustrated with it. I began to get suspicious of all the praise it gets, because some people, like a few reviewers even here, give you the impression that they're merely repeating heavy praise so as not to look stupid by not appreciating it. Just read thru the other reviews and see how many people referenced the grand Sigmund Freud quote on the back cover!

And so I gave up. But then I had a holiday, and in 10 days of that holiday I blasted thru the remaining 530 pages or so and was very glad that I did. It is worth it.

Dostoevsky writes dialogue very well, develops characters brilliantly and can crank up suspense very tightly.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Mar. 2006
Format: Paperback
This was Dostoyevsky's greatest work and in Freud's opinion (and my own) "the most magnificent novel ever written". It is a murder mystery, a study (as always in Dostoyevsky novels) in psychology, and a stimulating philosophical dialogue (books 5 & 6 forming the intellectual core). Above all it is the chronicle of a spiritual conversion.
This is a good translation with detailed footnotes explaining some of the more obscure historical points and preceded by a useful introduction. If I could change one thing it would be to replace the current cover with a watercolour entitled "The Grand Inquisitor" by Salvador Dali, which is a picture of a giraffe (who of course represents Jesus) being thrown out the window of a stone tower.
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