The Brothers Karamazov

Author: Fiódor Dostoyevski

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The Brothers Karamazov is the Russian author's last novel. Dostoevsky spent nearly two years writing The Brothers Karamazov, which was serialized in The Russian Messenger from January 1879 to November 1880. Dostoevsky died less than four months after publication.

The Brothers Karamazov is a gripping philosophical novel set in 19th century Russia, which delves into ethical debates about God, free will and morality. It is a spiritual and theological drama of moral struggles related to faith, doubt, judgment and reason, set in a modernizing Russia, with a plot revolving around the theme of patricide. Dostoevsky composed much of the novel in Staraya Russa, which inspired the main setting.


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The Idiot

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The Idiot is a novel first published in The Russian Messenger magazine in 1868-1869.

The title is an ironic reference to the novel's central character, Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin, a young man whose goodness, simplicity of heart, and innocence cause many of the more worldly characters he encounters to mistakenly assume that he lacks intelligence and insight.

In the character of Prince Myshkin, Dostoevsky set out to portray the «positively good and beautiful man». The novel examines the consequences of placing such a singular individual at the center of the conflicts, desires, passions, and selfishness of worldly society, both for the man himself and for those with whom he interacts.

Crime and Punishment

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Crime and Punishment is a novel first published in the literary magazine The Russian Messenger in twelve monthly installments during 1866.

It was later published in a single volume. It is the second of Dostoevsky's complete novels after his return from ten years of exile in Siberia. Crime and Punishment is considered the first major novel of his «mature» writing period. Since its publication, it has been hailed as one of the crowning achievements of world literature.

The work centers on the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of Rodion Raskolnikov, an impoverished former student in St. Petersburg who formulates a plan to kill an unscrupulous pawnbroker for her money.

The Double

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The Double is a novel first published on January 30, 1846 in the Otechestvennye Zapiski. It was later revised and republished by Dostoevsky in 1866.

In St. Petersburg, Yakov Petrovich Golyadkin works as a titular councillor, a low-level bureaucrat struggling to succeed. Golyadkin has a formative discussion with his doctor Rutenspitz, who fears for his sanity and tells him that his behavior is dangerously antisocial. He prescribes «cheerful companionship» as a remedy. Golyadkin decides to try it and leaves the office.

He attends a birthday party for Klara Olsufyevna, the daughter of his office manager. He was not invited, and a series of faux pas resulted in his expulsion from the party. On his way home through a snowstorm, he meets a man who looks exactly like him, his double. The next two thirds of the novel deal with the evolution of their relationship.


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The Gambler is a short novel about a young tutor in the service of a wealthy former Russian general. The novel reflects Dostoevsky's own addiction to roulette, which was in more ways than one the inspiration for the book: Dostoevsky completed the novel in 1866 under a strict deadline to pay gambling debts.

The Gambler dealt with a theme with which Fyodor Dostoevsky was familiar: gambling. Fyodor Dostoevsky gambled for the first time at the tables at Wiesbaden in 1862. From then until 1871, when his passion for gambling waned, he played at Baden-Baden, Homburg and Saxon-les-Bains frequently, often starting out winning a small amount of money and losing much more in the end.

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The story revolves around the rambling memoirs of the narrator, a bitter, isolated and unreliable retired civil servant living in St. Petersburg, whose name is unknown although critics refer to him as the Underground Man.

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