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The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov


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The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics: All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences?biographical, historical, and literary?to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works. The last and greatest of Dostoevsky’s novels, The Brothers Karamazov is a towering masterpiece of literature, philosophy, psychology, and religion. It tells the story of intellectual Ivan, sensual Dmitri, and idealistic Alyosha Karamazov, who collide in the wake of their despicable father’s brutal murder.Into the framework of the story Dostoevsky poured all of his deepest concerns?the origin of evil, the nature of freedom, the craving for meaning and, most importantly, whether God exists. The novel is famous for three chapters that may be ranked among the greatest pages of Western literature. ?Rebellion" and ?The Grand Inquisitor" present what many have considered the strongest arguments ever formulated against the existence of God, while ?The Devil" brilliantly portrays the banality of evil. Ultimately, Dostoevsky believes that Christ-like love prevails. But does he prove it?A rich, moving exploration of the critical questions of human existence, The Brothers Karamazov powerfully challenges all readers to reevaluate the world and their place in it. Maire Jaanus is Professor of English and department Chair at Barnard College, Columbia University. She is the author of Georg Trakl, Literature and Negation, and a novel, She, and co-editor of Reading Seminars I and II, Reading Seminar XI, and the forthcoming Lacan in the German-Speaking World.

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Landmarks The Brothers Karamazov

excellent condition for the price, I'm hoping the book will take me deeper in one of my favorite novels, that I've read twice

Greatest Book Ever

My three criteria for Great Book candidates are that they must be deep intellectually, stunning in character development, and beautifully written. This book is unequaled in all three ways. It states the argument against the existence of God based on evil, and the appeal of worldliness, as well as I've ever seen, then epitomizes those ideas in characters and plot, and then does pretty well developing counterarguments on all those levels. The Magic Mountain and Dr. Faustus by Thomas Mann, lots of Sartre and Camus, and actually quite a few other novels, personify but don't particularly argue ideas [very well, at least]; Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, on the other hand, is powerful and catchy and does argue, but her favored characters are mostly one-dimensional facets of her philosophy, which is so extreme that her envisioned opponents end up being straw men. The accuracy of her images of opposed views cannot be defended seriously. Dostoyevsky's characters are archetypes, but with multiple dimensions and realism, who engage in real conversation and resultant temptations to waver [though not as deeply as Bakhtin claims]. Dostoyevsky gives a rounded description before each main character appears, but then the character, in dialogue, bursts into a colorful reality. The writing is complex and yet gripping--reading it in high school was pretty hard, but then picking it up in college, I could not put it down, except to rest. It sometimes seems to wander but is constantly building, and its digressions turn out to be amazing constructions. I've come back to my Constance Garnett translation again and again. I've only read pieces of one or two others [and I cannot read Russian], but Garnett seems as skillful and consistent as any in expressing [seemingly] Dostoyevsky's views and vision of the Russian soul. That soul does contain, regrettably, anti-semitism, anti-catholicism, nationalism, and anti-modernism, and Dostoyevsky transmitted them all. But, except for the anti-modernism, which he argues forcefully, these views obnoxiously mar the book but aren't essential to its amazing argument or structure. Compared with the fine books on many 10 or 100 best lists, this one is a sun competing with floodlights.

I occupy myself with this mystery because I want to be a man

Anyone interested in the central question facing mankind will find `The Brothers Karamazov' an essential guide. That question--on man's capacity for responsibility and the proper role of the state and religion--is posed throughout the story in dialogue and events, and is framed neatly in a 20-page section where Ivan presents a poem titled `The Grand Inquisitor' to his brother Alyosha. The chapter that bears that title (Book V, Chapter V) is a masterpiece in itself and should be studied for its narrative technique alone. But the ideas it presents are so immense, so mind-blowing and inspirational, that literary criticism is not sufficient. Indeed, `The Brothers Karamazov' should not be classed merely as a novel--it is a book of philosophy, theology, and sociology as well that ranks with the greatest documents in those disciplines. There is a fictitious plot, of course, and the characters in the story are some of the most unique in all of literature, so it is rightly praised as a novel. But the modern reader looking for a plot of twists and romantic intrigues is bound to disappointment. Dostoevsky does not stir up drama through the placement of unexpected developments or improbable character traits. Instead, he relies on the inherent needs and wants of all men to make vivid his story. The amount of dialogue may be shocking (tedious) to one accustomed to the modern show-don't-tell policy in storytelling. Today, novelists and screenwriters let a character's actions speak for them--it is quicker and provides a much more convincing impression. It also limits the kind of ideas that are posed in the story to simple, prosaic ones like `she likes him' or `he wants to defeat him.' By contrast, Dostoevsky allows the characters to speak for themselves, which creates a much longer and subtler exposition, but also frees the ideas to be vast and monumental. What is the fundamental nature of socialism? What are the uses of the church in finding purpose? In finding salvation? Why is there suffering? What is the meaning of death? Read the brothers' dialogues and contemplate. Dostoevsky's own philosophy is seen in the protagonist, Alyosha. This is so despite the fact that the author ably covers every perspective on every topic presented in the book, and one can hardly find a positive assertion throughout. If there is one, it rests in the overall effect of the words and actions, a concept Dostoevsky articulated in a personal correspondence--it is that "Man is a mystery; if you spend your entire life trying to puzzle it out, then do not say that you have wasted your time." A word about the translations: The title of Book IV has been translated differently in every version I have seen (other chapter titles are also inconsistent, but Book IV is seemingly the most difficult to agree on). The original Russian is `Nadryvy,' which literally translates to `Ruptures,' though no translations I have seen use `Ruptures.' The word is used throughout the book to convey the mo

Hurrah for Ignat Avsey!

It would be presumptious of me to "review" Dostoevsky's great masterpiece "The Brothers Karamozov" or, as Avsey has convinced me it should be rendered, "The Karamazov Brothers." Yes, it is one of the greatest novels ever, yes, it is life-changing, and yes, it is on that short list of books that should be read before you die. More than a murder mystery of course, it concerns the existence of God, fraternal rivalry, the question of guilt, the condition of Russia and what it means to be Russian. So, the main question is what translation to choose? As I don't read Russian, my only criteria was how it read in English. Did it flow well, did it maintain interest, was it "literary"? I had sampled the more popular Pevear-Volokhonsky translation, the current Penguin Classics version, and the older Garnett translation too, and while I did not get too far in any of these, Avsey's version gripped me from the start and I ripped right through it on vacation. The Oxford World's Classics edition has much to recommend, including a time chronology, an index of main characters (an absolute necessity, as the same characters are referred to four or five different ways sometimes), and extensive editorial notes. Also, a minor point, but kudos to the printers Clays Ltd. for a superb job of printing, the paperback is a wonderfully crafted work of art!


Anyone who says that this guy is a bad writer or that his work is hard to follow is full of & @#%! Dostoevsky is such an amazing author. He can build so many character backgrounds so quickly, and is elaborate throughout every page! This is definately the best book i have read, and probably will be for quite some time.

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Publisher:Barnes & Noble Classics
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