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1. The Idiot (Bantam Classic)
2. The Best Short Stories of Fyodor
3. Great Short Works of Fyodor Dostoevsky
4. Demons (Penguin Classics)
5. The Brothers Karamazov
6. Letters From the Underworld and
7. Dostoevsky: Reminiscences
8. Crime And Punishment (1917)
9. Crime and Punishment (Norton Critical
10. Demons (Everyman's Library, 182)
11. Crime and Punishment (Oxford World's
12. Crime and Punishment (Collector's
13. The Idiot (Oxford World's Classics)
14. The Brothers Karamazov (Bantam
15. Notes from Underground
16. The Major Works of Fyodor M. Dostoevsky
17. The Double and The Gambler
18. Classic Russian Fiction: 7 novels
19. The Idiot (Barnes & Noble
20. The Grand Inquisitor

1. The Idiot (Bantam Classic)
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Mass Market Paperback: 720 Pages (1983-07-01)
list price: US$6.95 -- used & new: US$3.65
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553213520
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
"My intention is to portray a truly beautiful soul." -- Dostoevsky

Despite the harsh circumstances besetting his own life -- object poverty, incessant gambling, the death of his firstborn child -- Dostoevsky produced a second masterpiece, The Idiot, just two years after completing Crime and Punishment. In it, a saintly man, Prince Myshkin, is thrust into the heart of a society more concerned with wealth, power and sexual conquest than with the ideals of Christianity. Myshkin soon finds himself at the center of a violent love triangle in which a notorious woman and a beautiful young girl become rivals for his affections. Extortion, scandal and murder follow, testing Myshkin's moral feelings as Dostoevsky searches through the wreckage left by human misery to find "man in man." The Idiot is a quintessentially Russian novel, one that penetrates the complex psyche of the Russian people. "They call me a psychologist," wrote Dostoevsky. "That is not true. I'm only a realist in the higher sense; that is, I portray all the depths of the human soul." ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars "A Russian heart can discern a great man even in the enemy of his country!"
Chapter Four in Part Four of The Idiot is far and away my favourite chapter so far in this curiously riveting novel. Baggy my eye! It's hard enough not to admire Prince Myshkin throughout the book, harder still not to be deeply impressed with Dostoevsky's spiritual and psychological insight, but here in this late chapter, after his shrewd and heartbreaking chat with the unfortunate Ivolgin, that hapless and helpless old remembrancer, Myshkin and indeed his crafty creator shine like bleeding beacons. Everything suddenly snaps into focus for a magic moment and the writing turns memorable and stupendous. Fact and fiction fight it out here in the cleverest fashion--Fyodor firing on all four cylinders can make your head literally buzz with pleasure. An aside: Nuts to Nabokov. Back to Chapter Four, Part Four: Retired general Ardalion Alexandrovitch Ivolgin is an aged rascal and bounder with a deep-seated penchant for the pork pie, a particularly sorry sort of sad sack, and his tall tale of being a page-in-waiting to Napoleon in Moscow in 1812 captivates Myshkin in a way that truly delights the delusional general--Ivolgin's so exhilarated by the effect his pathological mendacity has on poor, patient Myshkin he fairly rushes out of the house. Then there's this paragraph which I want to copy out in full coz it caused both my eyebrows to shoot upwards in blitzed jubilation:

"He went out quickly, covering his face with his hands. Myshkin could not doubt the genuineness of his emotion. He realised too that the old man had gone away enraptured at his success; yet he had a misgiving that he was one of that class of liars with whom lying has become a blinding passion, though at the very acme of their intoxication they secretly suspect that they are not believed, and that they cannot be believed. In his present position the old man might be overwhelmed with shame when he returned to the reality of things. He might suspect Myshkin of too great a compassion for him and feel insulted. 'Haven't I made it worse by leading him on to such flights?' Myshkin wondered uneasily, and suddenly he could not restrain himself, and laughed violently for ten minutes. He was nearly beginning to reproach himself for his laughter, but at once realised that he had nothing to reproach himself with, since he had an infinite pity for the general."

This wonderful chapter ends on a stunning stroke of bad luck but honestly for anyone lucky enough to have ever laughed violently for ten minutes the passage above is just plain priceless beyond any good measure: in short, the teeniest and rarest glimpse into the full and funny humanity of Prince Myshkin, a right original White Russian. The quote's from the translation by Constance Garnett, by the way, which I would defend simply by saying it didn't bother me nor impede my progress one tiny little bit. Whatever the translation though, here's more or less my final word: The Idiot might not be Karamazov exactly but for me at least it's very nearly close enough.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wondeful Novel
I love this book so much. If you ever want to read about people you know, here it is.

3-0 out of 5 stars A flawed novel by a flawed man
Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Idiot is a difficulty book for the ordinary person, not versed in Russian history or culture, to appreciate.That is so for several reasons. Much like Eliot's Middlemarch, Dostoevsky is interested in examining Russian culture at a particular time in history, namely Russia in the years after the emancipation of the serfs in 1861.For Dostoevsky this period in Russian history was one of declining values where wealth, power and sexual conquest replaced the positive values of the Christian faith.Thus the book is driven more by ideas than plot.At times it seems there is no plot; the characters meet, often in drunken revelry, and talk and talk and talk--heatedly and at odds with each other.Zany things happen and the reader wonders just what is the point of all this seeming tomfoolery.

Dostoevsky's point may be summed up in the scene starting on page 419 in which Lebedyev, a disreputable character in the book who claims to have a deep knowledge of religious history, relates an alleged story from the 12 century of a man who, because of the famines of that time, ate people, specifically, "sixty monks and a few infant laymen, a matter of six, but no more."Moreover, Lebedyev alleges, "It is perfectly comprehensible and natural." The others in the group respond in shock and disbelief. One claims that the reason for eating ecclesiastics instead of laymen is that the former were fat from the easy life they led as compared to the harsh realities faced by ordinary people.In the end Lebedeyev states, the man gave himself up to the clergy and the authorities out of a sense of guilt, despite the knowledge that he would be subjected to horrendous tortures. He adds that morality in those times was better than the present in which "there is more wealth, but less strength. There is no uniting idea; everything has grown softer, everything is limp, and everyone is limp!" Indeed, Dostoevsky fills the book with "limp" characters--flawed in many respects and a sense of hopelessness pervades their actions.

The novel begins with the protagonist, Prince Lyov Nikolayevitch Myshkin, a young man plagued by illness, returning to Russia (Petersburg) after spending some years in Switzerland. Myshkin is referred to as an "idiot," but a better term might be "innocent and naïve." At this point he is poor with literally only the clothes on his back and a small bundle. Having no acquaintances in Russia he goes to the home of a woman he may be related to and her family. The Epanchins include the father, a retired general who is somewhat of a reprobate, the mother, an excitable, emotional strong willed woman, and their three marriageable daughters.A second family, the Ivolgins, is also featured in the novel, as well as a small host of other characters, particularly a mysterious woman, Nastasya Filippovna. The Prince (as he is called) quickly ingratiates himself with these characters although their relationship swings greatly over time.

The book is divided into four parts. The first is, in my view, the most interesting as the idealistic Prince meets the various characters who respond in zany and often humorous fashion. But at the end of this part the Prince inherits a large sum of money and his relations with the characters changes. He develops an emotional attachment to Nastasya Filippovna and even proposes to marry her. He claims not to love her, but rather to pity her. The Prince also comes to love the youngest of the Epanchin daughters, Aglaia, a beautiful but haughty girl. But the remainder of the book degenerates into wild emotional discussions among clearly flawed and troubled characters who need a protagonist more like Nurse Ratched from Ken Kesey's book, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, than the ineffectual Prince Myshkin, who in the end turns out to be as troubled as the other characters, if not more so. My own judgment is that the writing reflects Dostoevsky's own troubled mind and body.One or two of these highly charged discussions would have made Dostoevsky's point about the degeneration of Russian society at that time, but the book becomes tedious when they are extended over almost 700 pages.

I give the book three stars because it has both positive and negative qualities. People interested in Russia may find it enlightening, others will be bored.Those not versed in Russian names may also find it difficult to follow who is saying or doing what. Thus it would be a good idea for such people to learn how Russians refer to each other before tackling the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dostoevsky overwhelms with his talent
I admit it upfront- Fyodor Dostoevsky's 'The Idiot' was a difficult read.

Immediately following this I would like to add that it is not the author's fault that this is the case. Nor is it the translators place to be blamed (Constance Garnett does a wonderful job, as always- her translations from Russian are highly recommended; note: this review refers to Bantams first printing of this novel). I think that if one was to assess where to place the blame for the level of difficulty of this masterpiece (and it is indeed to be justifiably found in that category), one would be hard-pressed to find a good source.

The difficulty in reading a book like 'The Idiot' and then trying to locate the problems in it are that the so-called 'problems' are really not problems at all; the things that I would complain about in Dostoevsky's novel are missing entirely in other works, leaving me to almost feel ashamed to even point out that they exist here.

What I'm getting at is this...'The Idiot' is TOO chock-full of ideas for its own good. Every time you turn the page there is another idea being tossed at you, usually in the form of a diatribe, a dissertation, an 'explanation', a monologue, or a rant and rave between characters. There is the invalid Ippolit's explanation of his worldview and how he despises all those around him who are so full of life; I could go on and on about the difficulties raised by this single character, about the contradictions expressed in his realization and simultaneous denial of his mortality and how it has raised in him a profound loneliness and desire to hate all those around him- he reaches out, then lashes out. Or perhaps I could talk about Myshkin's rant towards the end of the novel, a monologue that discusses at length how the Russian aristocracy could survive and be relevant in a new age, a rant that is timeless in its appeal to those who sit in power and misuse it, not even realizing that they have passed their prime and are of no use to society any longer.

But I'm going to forgo those details (and there are tons more) and instead focus on why you should read this novel and why it should be considered a classic. Its very simple- amongst all the deluge of ideas that the author is tossing at you lay two timeless concepts.

One of those ideas is that a good man cannot exist in society without being broken- this is a running theme throughout the book, one that personifies itself in the shy and irrevocably kind-hearted Prince Myshkin (our novels 'Idiot'). Make no mistake that Myshkin's life is a rough parallel to Jesus Christ's and that the simple earnestness and naive trustfulness offered to others by the character, along with his undoubted willingness to forgive the mistakes and betrayals made by those around him (as is too continually relied upon by other characters in the work), is a direct reflection of what the author must have considered Christian values. The author, in presenting this to the audience, is condemning all of mankind as being continuously unable to accept those who can do the most good in their midst. He successfully paints his `beautiful person' (which is the intent of the novel, according to the back) and then brings him to ruin in a society that is fraught with the perils of egoism.

Also in this tangle comes the other idea (the one which must have caused people to encourage Dostoevsky to others on the basis of being a 'psychologist')- it is that people will always do that which is most to their ruin because they are afraid of happiness. Nastasya Filippovna is the embodiment of this, tossing aside (in one of the most unforgettable scenes in all of literature) the one chance she has at the life she has always wanted because she is unable to accept that it could really be happening to her. But this is not the only case that the author presents this idea to us- it can also be found in the continued 'loving ridicules' of the youngest Epanchin daughter, in the continued betrayals of Lebedyev, in the rejection by the aristocrats of Myshkin's ideas, ideas that would save them and bring them renown, and it can be found in even the smallest of characters in the story...in Kolya (who ignores his family problems so as to not have to deal with them), in general Ivolgin (who continues to want the one thing that would harm him most of all), in Rogozhin (a force of nature who wishes for something only so that he can destroy it)...the list goes on and on...

The problem in trying to write this review for Amazon is that there is too much ground to cover in a short snippet; I can simply try to toss out the gist of what I read, the grandeur or the novel, the unimaginable scope...and hope that some of what I experienced has an impact on you, the potential reader, enough to encourage you to want to go out and read it yourself.

Bottom line: learn the definition of `nihilist' from Turgenov, then read this, an authors scathing response to that thought-process.


2-0 out of 5 stars A Reader's Dilemma
My comments and review are here based solely on the translation work of Constance Garnett, not the actual text behind it.

I found this translation so stilted as to be almost unreadable. This problem was greatest in the short utterances of some of the charcters. They would respond to what the main character of that portion was saying, but I generally had no sense of what those responses meant.

My guess is that Ms. Garnett, in her attempt to stay faithful to the Russian, stayed away from using English idiom, but this sadly resulted in severe loss of clarity. I would recommend that potential readers look for a more modern translation. ... Read more

2. The Best Short Stories of Fyodor Dostoevsky (Modern Library)
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Paperback: 320 Pages (2001-02-13)
list price: US$12.00 -- used & new: US$6.33
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375756884
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
This collection, unique to the Modern Library, gathers seven of Dostoevsky's key works and shows him to be equally adept at the short story as with the novel. Exploring many of the same themes as in his longer works, these small masterpieces move from the tender and romantic White Nights, an archetypal nineteenth-century morality tale of pathos and loss, to the famous Notes from the Underground, a story of guilt, ineffectiveness, and uncompromising cynicism, and the first major work of existential literature. Among Dostoevsky's prototypical characters is Yemelyan in The Honest Thief, whose tragedy turns on an inability to resist crime. Presented in chronological order, in David Magarshack's celebrated translation, this is the definitive edition of Dostoevsky's best stories.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)


4-0 out of 5 stars White Nights
If you are the kind of person who likes to wander alone in your fantasy and expects some sudden change of fate in your favor then the storyWhite Nights is for u...go for it..read and enjoy.

5-0 out of 5 stars SO good!
If you love dostoevsky then this is the book for you. You can enjoy some of the best russian literature without diving into a thick copy of The Brothers Karamarzov or Anna Karenina-you can start small with these little stories. And, if you need a copy of Notes from the Underground anyway, why not get a book with that and more?! Buy this book!

5-0 out of 5 stars great
Fyodor Dostoevesky is a brillant man.I sincerely regret all of the years I put off reading his work merely because I thought it'd be stiff and boring.His short stories are no exception.They are filled with heart, life, sorrow, and capture emotion so well.I highly recommend this book for both old and new readers of Dostoevesky.

5-0 out of 5 stars As contemporary as ever - highly recommended!
This volume includes such superb works as the haunting 'White Nights" - perhaps more of a novella than a short story - and the disturbing "Notes from the Underground", a landmark of existential thinking and no slight work of genius. Although all of these date from the late 19th century, they appear as contemporary as ever and are a delight to read. Sometimes you have to trod a fair distance to get to the heart of the matter as Dostoevsky is notoriously long-winded. But the journey is certainly worth it.

It is an interesting biographical fact (presented in the introduction) that Dostoevsky himself at one point was condemned to death for political insurrection and even led before a firing squad before finally pardoned. This may shed some light on the source of his fascination with dark psychology and his unusual desire to explore the outer reaches of human experience. To this day his work stands unsurpassed.

Read it and enjoy! ... Read more

3. Great Short Works of Fyodor Dostoevsky (Perennial Classics)
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Paperback: 768 Pages (2004-07-01)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$5.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060726466
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The shorter works of one of the world's greatest writers, including The Gambler and Notes from Underground

The short works of Dostoevsky exist in the very large shadow of his astonishing longer novels, but they too are among literature's most revered works. The Gambler chronicles Dostoevsky's own addiction, which he eventually overcame. Many have argued that Notes from Underground contains several keys to understanding the themes of the longer novels, such as Crime and Punishment and The Idiot.

Great Short Works of Fyodor Dostoevsky includes:

Notes from Underground The Gambler A Disgraceful Affair The Eternal Husband The Double White Nights A Gentle Creature The Dream of a Ridiculous Man ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Short Works of Fyodor Dostoevsky gives readers eight long stories and short novels to savor and reflect upon
Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) stands with Count Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) as one of the twin towers of nineteenth century Russian fiction and as one of the greatest novelists in literary history. In Great Short Works the editors and translators of the Perennial Series have selected eight gems from the Dostoevsky ouevre which are not as well known as his masterpiece novels "Crime and Punishment"; "The Possessed"; "The Brothers Karamazov"; "The Devils" and others.
The stories take up 738 pages of densely typed prosed and are in order:
1. The Double like all the tales is set in St. Petersburg. It concerns an office clerk who begins to hallucinate and sees a double who looks like him. The double works in the same office and is a favorite with the ladies and a success in society. The ending results in the first person narrator being taken away to a madhouse.
2. White Nights is the story of a doomed loved affair. The themes of loneliness and the futile quest for a perfect love are expressed in beautiful prose.
3. A Disgraceful Affair is the only story told in the third person. This humorous story concerns an officer manager who visits the home of one of his workers on the latter's wedding day. The officer becomes drunk and spends the night in the bridal bed forcing the bride and groom to sleep elsewhere!
4. Notes from the Underground is a melancholy tale of a man who has been rejected by society. He spends time with a prostitute and disgraces himself at a wild party. The gloomy nature of this tale of social awkwardness, rejection, loneliness and despair is a microcosm of the major themes of Dostoevsky in his novels.
5. The Gambler tells the story of an inveterate player of roulette at a German watering hole. The narrator is in love with the wild Russian beauty Polina. The most interesting character is the old Granny who is addicted to the gambling tables. An excellent story which has more action and less philosophizing that the typical Dostoevsky story.
6. The Eternal Husband deals with a cuckold meeting up with the seducer of his wife. Complications ensue as the cuckold courts a young girl and murder threatens.

7. A Gentle Creature tells the story of a disillusioned pawnshop owner who has been forced to resign from the army. His difficult wife and he do not get along; she jumps out of a window clutching an icon to her breast.
Another illustration of an anti-hero lamenting the state of his life and the loneliness of humanity.
8. The Dream of a Ridiculous Man tells of a man who dreams of world peace in a utopia. The dream becomes a nightmare as he realizes that he is fated to introduce sin into the idyll he has conjured up in his bed. The story has a postive note in that the narrator seeks to help a poor girl in need of food, shelter and love.
This inexpensive book is one of a series of "The Great Short Works of ...(such authors as Tolstoy, Twain, Crane, Poe and Melville) The book is a good introduction to the works of major authors whose lesser known works are still worthy of being read and appreciated1 Excellent!

4-0 out of 5 stars A good collection...
While this doesn't include all of his great works, this is a great start for anyone wishing to taste his literary genius.I bought this as a prerequisite to Crime and Punishment and am happy to have started here.This collection will give you a good variety of his short works.

5-0 out of 5 stars Russian Beauty
After reading The House of the Dead, I was given this collection of short stories. I easily drown in each story, always ready to begin the next tale upon finishing the previous.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Short Works of Fyodor Dostoevsky
This is a wonderful book for anyone just entering into Russian literature (or someone who has yet to gain a passion for reading). Dostoevsky is very poignant and clearly articulates the feelings humans go through, including the inner turmoil associated with daily life... Great night time reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Collection
This collection can be recommended to anyone interested in sampling Dostoyesvky's shorter fiction;it contains within the one volume a good number of stories which in other editions (Penguin and Oxford) fill morethan one volume.

The short stories themselves are just sublime and shouldnot be overlooked by those who tend to think that the best work will benecessarily contained in the novels.The Double is my favourite; it is anespecially humorous tale, though sombre in its overall vision.Notes fromthe Underground is seminal,of course,and is probably the most importantstory included;A Gentle Creature is disturbing. ... Read more

4. Demons (Penguin Classics)
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Paperback: 880 Pages (2008-06-24)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$9.07
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0141441410
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
A superb new translation of Dostoyevsky’s chilling and prophetic novel of revolutionary fanaticism

Pyotr and Stavrogin are the leaders of a Russian revolutionary cell. Their aim is to overthrow the Tsar, destroy society, and seize power for themselves. Together they train terrorists who are willing to lay down their lives to accomplish their goals. But when the group is threatened with exposure, will their recruits be willing to kill one of their own to cover their tracks? Savage and powerful yet lively and often comic, Demons was inspired by a real-life political murder and is a scathing and eerily prescient indictment of those who use violence to serve their beliefs. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Demons by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The book was in tip top shape.Arrived timely and I could not be more satisfied.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fyodor Dostoevsky Always a Special Treat
Fyodor Dostoevsky never fails to captivate and entertain. Classic Russian literature that will be enjoyed by anyone who has read his other works.

5-0 out of 5 stars An exemplary translation
Much should be said about Robert Maguire's fresh translation of the first book I ever read from Dostoyevsky - Demons (or 'The Possessed' as translated by Constance Garnett in 1916, 'Devils' in the Pevear/Volokhonsky version).

Firstly, this is a complex book. Dostoyevsky himself admitted in a letter to his editor (or was it a friend?) that he would probably sacrifice straightforward readability for the tendentiousness of the message(s) he is transmitting in Demons.

Let me give an example: the narrator Gogonov shifts from being part of the narrative and observing events, to being completely detached from the tale being told, to again appearing slightly removed from what he is describing. At times the reader wonders how he knows so much of what he tells. He also goes from describing things without judgment, to judging very acutely certain events and characters being displayed.

The book is complex not solely for this trifle detail, however; but because it takes on a smörgåsbord of very weighty and serious political, philosophical and religious issues. For me this was one of the high points of the novel. I was forced to stop at times and re-read passages or discussions amongst the characters, to try to take them in, chew them and consider them seriously.

Dostoyevsky intended for his audience to ponder the case in point. Many have hailed him prophetic in his prediction (through Shigalyov's political utopia) of the amount of people that would be slaughtered in the 20th century due to political ideologies that did for the most part tend to tilt to the side of 'ego trips', as Robert Belknap correctly observes in the introduction (Stalin, Hitler, Lenin, Mao, and so on) - the number being around 100 million.

Most importantly, Dostoyevsky was worried about the influence of materialist, nihilistic, atheistic, et. al. aggressively transmitted ideals, that could 'infect' or spread through the inadvertent youth of the day (and did eventually lead to the disasters Russia underwent succeeding it's revolution of 1917) when he wrote Demons. Of no less importance is the religious side, with Kirillov and the monk Tikhon as the main proponents, as well as the holy fool Semyon Yakovlevich. There is much that is discussed regarding God, Christ, the church, etc. providing food for philosophical as well as religious thought.

The story is divided into three parts, the first concerning itself chiefly with high society in a rural town in 1860's Russia (the 'Society Tale'), followed by a second part (the Anti-Nihilist 'political tract', if you will) which details closely the workings of the main characters of the work as they plant the seeds of the havoc that will ensue in the third part of the novel, Belknap considering it to be the 'Psychological Novel' part, the invention of which is accredited to Dostoyevsky himself.

I found the book to be profoundly moving. It is inevitable (I suppose this was Dostoyevsky's intent) that you sympathize with the main 'villain' (clearly a troubled character) Stavrogin. This man, and his continuous bouts of clear consciousness and what one sees as kindness and magnanimity, make the analysis of his behavior on the other side of the spectrum harder. It is an unfortunate debacle, the state of affairs he ends up creating for himself.

Dostoyevsky was clearly pointing the finger at the 'softer' radicals of the 1840's as being the root of the calamity. Their jabberings in support of what were considered 'new' ideas, all the nihilistic and atheistic propositions that were en vogue (and still are) at the time, would lead to a more active radical next generation that would take it upon itself to 'shake the very foundations of society' and it's moral mores.

In the end I gave the book 5 stars because this version (though I have not ready any other) is absolutely fantastic. The endnotes are comprehensive and give a much-needed overall guide to what is being said throughout the work (for all the non-Russian or non-Russified (in the cultural sense, that is) readers), as well as a splendid introduction which I read after completing the novel, a chronology, a dictionary of the terms being used and a list of the characters.

A very fine edition from Penguin. If you want to read Dostoyevsky, maybe you could treat yourself to start with The Idiot or something softer, more accessible. But if you want to rush straight into one of his more problematic and intense works, look no further. Just the character Kirillov makes such a dramatic appearance. He is at once a rational, delusional, sympathetic and extreme person, who will keep you hooked to his speeches and actions.

Highly recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not easy to read
Although the reading is difficult at times, if you can think past that you realize there are some profound psychological and philosophical issues being discussed. For me languages do not get any harder than Russian. As you might surmise from the title this is about a crime (murder). This allows the author to share the characters motivation and conscious with us. Even though the murderer premeditatedly killed two people viciously, you spend so much time in his mind you start to like him. Most books I usually imagine a Hollywood character, this story is no different. The detective I thought of as TV Detective Colombo , but I had to imagine a Russian Columbo which wasn't easy. The Colombo character in the book played the "I'm not so smart, I'm just guessing character." I have nothing really to base this on but I really think there might be a better translation, because this seemed at times a little corny, but still interesting. ... Read more

5. The Brothers Karamazov
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Paperback: 752 Pages (2004-07-25)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$5.81
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 159308045X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

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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Customer Reviews (137)

5-0 out of 5 stars Dense, Dark, Difficult and Divine
"Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love."
~ Fyodor Dostoevsky

This monumental work is a challenge to read. It's complex, meaty, dense, gritty, and long (my edition was 1000 pages). But it's a rewarding journey, filled with wonderful, and not so wonderful characters, situations, and outcomes. It's epic in its scope and aspirations, and it delivers more than one can sometimes absorb or comprehend. It takes some chewing before it can be easily digested and absorbed. It's full of themes, of philosophy, of symbols, of threads which intersect and intertwine, like a spider web.

It presents some wonderfully complex characters, resplendent in their humanity. It sets these characters in situations which present themselves to humanity, and it asks these characters the ultimate question: "Will you resist this temptation?" And then if they cannot resist, it then asks: "Will you now seek redemption?" These characters are some of the richest characters in literature, and they are so fully developed that they slowly but surely embed themselves into the psyche and are impossible to shake loose.

When reading Russian literature it is good to remember how they articulate the characters' names, and to remember that there are several versions of these names. There are various long and shortened variations of each name and nickname, and this can be a major impediment to understanding just who is who, unless one unlocks the keys of the Russian system.

5-0 out of 5 stars The McDuff translation blows away Pevear / Volokhonsky
I have now read this stunning book twice.The first time was about 5 years ago in the much over-hyped Pevear / Volokhonsky translation.The book was really good, and had some powerful sections, but on the whole I found myself struggling to finish.It was quite tedious.

Since then I have gotten some more exposure to P/V translations and came to realize that I just don't like their translations.

So I decided to try Brothers K again, this time in the Penguin edition translated by David McDuff.

The difference is astounding.Every sentence jumps off the page in the McDuff.The characters come to life, the story becomes compelling, all the magic of this novel was revealed to me in this translation.I couldn't put it down.

McDuff, like P/V, is in the modern school of translators.He follows the Dostoyovsky sentence structure very closely.The Encyclopedia of Literary Translation into English describes McDuff as "an out-and-out literalist, whose versions are to be commended for their uncompromising determination to convey every stylistic peculiarity and lexical repetition found in the Russian."

However, unlike P/V, McDuff is an amazing English stylist.Where P/V are noted for their close adherence to the Russian, their English is, to my ear, simply boring and wooden.

Here is the version I recommend:[...]

5-0 out of 5 stars PUBLISHER'S INFLUENCE on LENGTH?
I'll be very brief with a fresh idea. First off, the book is a great work of literature and a very good read. I needn't say more in that department as the other 5 star reviews here cover it well.

But my theory is that publishers wanted long novels as being more marketable rather than novellas or short stories. I think that influenced the writing of Dostoyevsky, Joseph Conrad and others. Although extremely well written, my view is that there is some padding in the story here as there also was to some extent in Crime and Punishment.

I would be more in favor of "tight story telling".

5-0 out of 5 stars definition of a masterpiece
This in my opinion is the best book ever written.That's it.End of review.

4-0 out of 5 stars Overrated
Rather overrated book. I wouldn't recommend it unless you are particularly interested in Russian history or the Eastern Orthodox church. This book should had at least 100 pages edited out of the end, as it slowly and tediously summarizes the plot up until that point. That said, the book does have its merits. It contains some very memorable scenes described in excellent detail by Mr. Dos. Also, despite its long size, it is a rather easy read, because the language is quite straight forward, the philosophy is rather simple, and the plot progresses at a casual rate. It also has some very exciting moments and keeps the reader engaged most of the time, with only a few very boring sections. It's a good book, I just don't feel that deserves to be acknowledged as one the greatest books of all time as it so often is. ... Read more

6. Letters From the Underworld and Other Tales
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Hardcover: 324 Pages (2008-11-04)
list price: US$41.95 -- used & new: US$33.56
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Asin: 144373327X
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Includes The Gentle Maiden and The Landlady ... Read more

7. Dostoevsky: Reminiscences
by Anna Dostoevsky
Paperback: 448 Pages (1977-05-17)
list price: US$27.95 -- used & new: US$20.77
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Asin: 0871401177
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8. Crime And Punishment (1917)
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
 Paperback: 592 Pages (2010-09-10)
list price: US$35.96 -- used & new: US$29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 116410909X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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This scarce antiquarian book is a selection from Kessinger Publishing's Legacy Reprint Series. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment to protecting, preserving, and promoting the world's literature. Kessinger Publishing is the place to find hundreds of thousands of rare and hard-to-find books with something of interest for everyone!Amazon.com Review
Mired in poverty, the student Raskolnikov nevertheless thinkswell of himself. Of his pawnbroker he takes a different view, and indeciding to do away with her he sets in motion his own tragicdownfall. Dostoyevsky's penetrating novel of an intellectual whosemoral compass goes haywire, and the detective who hunts him down forhis terrible crime, is a stunning psychological portrait, a thrillerand a profound meditation on guilt and retribution. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (544)

3-0 out of 5 stars Good story from a great storyteller; too long, though
I was drawn into the book from the beginning by Dostoevsky's unique and powerful voice and by the inevitability of Raskolnikov's story. However, I found my patience wearing thin about halfway through; I had a pretty clear idea of where the story was going, but it took its sweet time getting there. My impatience with the length made me reminisce about the Dickens novels I've read--sure, the man is clearly a superb writer, but is he being paid by the word?

In addition, I found the many names and nicknames of the characters to be very confusing. I mostly listened to the book on audiobook, and kept forgetting who was who at later stages in the story. However, the narrator helped eliminate some confusion by adopting different tones for the different characters.

Other than that, I liked the story. Crime and Punishment discusses the effects of mental anguish, morality, and social and fiscal responsibility. Dostoevsky carefully studies the intricate relations between characters rich and poor, male and female, powerful and powerless, sane and mentally ill.

There is no question that Dostoevsky was a masterful storyteller. At one point, Dounia exclaims to her brother, "Why do you demand of me a heroism that perhaps you have not either? It is despotism, it is tyranny. If I ruin anyone, it is only myself... I am not committing a murder." The truth of Raskolnikov's hypocrisy strikes him then, but he is still not recalcitrant. Raskolnikov maintains throughout most of the story that the old pawnbroker was just a parasite that deserved to be murdered; his guilt and regret center mostly on his failure to be "great man."

For more of this review, visit [...]

5-0 out of 5 stars A Mentally Imbalaced Narcissist or Semi-Schizo
In reviewing Rodian Rasloknikov's character, I am surprised for someone so smart and a generally okay guy can murder with such resolve and then agonize slowly over it.
He was a narcissist with exhibited signs of schizophrenia. His sickness was fighting with the rational and righteous man in him. It was an amazing journey into the mind of a tortured soul in these days of Prozac and Paxil....

I was told I should read it in the original Russian. I think I'll pass. I already know how depressing it is.

5-0 out of 5 stars Yearning To Read Review
Ex-student Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov has a theory, and one that will change more than one life forever. He believes, with great conviction, that a genius has the moral right to commit murder, theft, and other crimes - just because he is intellectually "above" others. He believes this so thoroughly that he, believing himself something of a genius, murders a pawnbroker and her sister with an axe and steals the money they have accrued over the years. Just managing to escape, Raskolnikov sinks into a war with his conscience and a delerium that causes others to doubt him. After meeting a drunkard named Semion Marmeladov, Raskolnikov has bouts of generosity and conviction, helping their family with their debts, and then paying for Marmeladov's funeral when he is crushed by a wagon, all the while trying to justify his moral degradation. Then he meets Sonia, Marmeladov's oldest daughter, a young woman who has turned to prostitution to keep her family from sinking further into hunger and destitution. Raskolnikov befriends her, fascinated by the oxymoron she has created: a poor prostitute, sunk so low, who believes in the saving grace of Jesus Christ. In the end it is this, and his own raging conscience that bring him to justice.

This is my second Dostoevsky novel, and I cannot say how much I enjoyed it. I don't even know where to start, I have so much to say - there's so much to mention, to bring to the table. However, I think I'll start Dostoevsky's incredible (almost super human) ability to create characters.

Having read Dostoevsky before, I knew I was going to enjoy the characters. The characters in The Idiot stuck with me for a long time. In fact, as I write this, I can very clearly picture each character, what he/she was intended for in the story, and their personalities that are so impressioned into my mind. It is the same with Crime and Punishment. Raskolnikov's character alone is a masterpiece. His strange thought processes, his convictions, his awareness of all going on around him, his dilerium after he murders Lizaveta, and the new convictions that come about because of it all make up who he is and where he's going. As I started the book I wasn't as taken with him as I was Prince Myshkin in The Idiot, but as the story progressed and he changed, I felt a great attachment to him. While Myshkin was on the more talkative side, Raskolnikov was quiet, one who observes and reflects rather than speaks his mind. I felt sorrow for Raskolnikov because of the choices he made, but I loved him all the same as he tried his hardest to come to grips with the horrors of what he had done.

Sonia's character is the more simple type, and a hard one to read about. After becoming a child prostitute at her step-mother's insistence, Sonia hates her life but continues living that way because her family needs the money. However, her simple and wonderful faith in Jesus Christ as a wretched sinner affects Raskolnikov in ways he cannot foresee at the time. Other characters in this story include Porfiry Petrovich, the police inspector, who, one word at a time, tries to squeeze the truth from Raskolnikov; Peter Petrovich, the fiance of Raskolnikov's sister Dunia; Marmeladov, Sonia's father; the mad Katerina Ivanovna, Marmeladov's wife; and Razmukhin, Raskolnikov's closest friend who wants to help and has a very innocent love for Dunia.

Dostoevsky's writing is the next aspect that just gets me, in every way: his sentence structure, the way he describes scenes and objects, how he introduces characters...the purity of it all should be recognized for as long as books are in print. I felt this way about The Idiot and I feel it now. Dostoevsky's writing makes you feel as though you're reading a dream. If you've ever wondered what a dream would be like if you could read it, I'm convinced this is it. It's perfectly smooth, like you're floating; and yet his topics are real, his characters are lively and relatable, and above all his stories pierce you deeply with their symbolism and their cunning. If only every author used a bit of Dostoevsky's methods in their works... If only the stories spoke of real and often dreadful things but still permeated with the kind of hope and love we see here, this world would cease to exist as we know it.

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2-0 out of 5 stars Crime and Punishment
I did not get this translation, but another one.
When I wrote to the seller he said I had ordered what I got - which wasn't true. he said he was a student and couldn't do anything about it.
I really did want the Constance Garnett translation!! Is it possible to have it? I would still like to buy it!
Fleur Palau

5-0 out of 5 stars Prompt service
The book I ordered was in the exact condition as described and item was shipped to me promptly! ... Read more

9. Crime and Punishment (Norton Critical Editions)
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Paperback: 704 Pages (1989-02-17)
-- used & new: US$2.68
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Asin: 0393956237
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Jessie Coulson’s translation provides the text for the Third Edition of this acclaimed Norton Critical Edition.New footnotes have been added, based on discoveries by the leading Soviet Dostoevsky scholar, Sergei Belov. "Backgrounds and Sources", highly praised in the Second Edition, remains unaltered. Included are a detailed map of nineteenth-century St. Petersburg, selections from Dostoevsky’s notebooks and letters, and a crucial passage from an early draft of his novel. Noteworthy among the several new "Essays in Criticism" are a little-known but important passage by Leo Tolstoy on Raskolnikov; an essay by Sergei Belov; observations by the Russian literary theoretician and scholar Mikhail Bakhtin; and an essay by the Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz. A Chronology of Dostoevsky’s Life and a Selected Bibliography are also included. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Norton Crtitical Editions are great!
I don't speak Russian and hence cannot comment on the translation's accuracy. However, the Coulson translation seems much clearer than the Garnett translation: no Victorian euphemisms, more realistic depiction of Raskolnikov's unfamiliar psychology.
The supplementary background, sources and essays are superb. I'm reading Dostoevsky's works chronologically along with Joseph Frank's five-volume biography. Frank's biography is an epiphany, as is his exigesis of Crime and Punishment Still, practically each of the essays in the Norton edition opens a new provocative perspective about Crime and Punishment and Dostoevsky's goals and impact. Particularly remarkable: Nobel Prize-winning Czech author Czeslaw Milosz's essay on similarities and differences between 1860s Russian and middle twentieth-century Western intelligentsia - Jean-Paul Sartre as a modern Raskolnikov! Also essays about Soviet suppression of Dostoevsky's works and one by Alberto Moravia about the conflict between Marx's and Dostoevsky's outlooks. Also, Tolstoy's 1890 comment about how Raskolnikov's strange consciousness developed - this written more than 20 years after Crime and Punishment was published: Dostoevsky made a lasting impression!

4-0 out of 5 stars What Motivates a Killer

If you require a novel that is plot driven this novel is not for you.However, if you enjoy a novel with complex characters that delve into what motivates those characters this is the book for you.

Often our view of a murderer is one of absolutes.He/she is 1) purely evil, 2) pushed to commit the act, 3) temporarily insane, 4) driven to do it for survival, 5) or comes from a background that does not allow him/her to discern right from wrong. Dostoyevsky doesn't allow us off that easy.Raskolnikov does not fit tightly into any of those categories.He is well loved by family and friend, and although he commits a grusome, cold-blooded, and well thought out murder in the opening of the book, Raskolnikov makes sacrifices for those who are in need.The recipients of his good deeds are often those with whom he has little history.

So why does Raskolnikov commit the murder?Dostoyevsky never provides concrete evidence to that end only suggestions

As stated above there is not a lot happening in the plot.Crime and Punishment is more about the mind of a complex individual.There are some wonderful subplots as well.The storyline of Sonya and Dounia add a lot to the reader's experience. Dostoyevsky has a talent for vividly enacting a scene.One of my favorite scenes is when Raskolnikov "confesses" to Zametov.I can just see it on the big screen.

People are often intidmiated by Russian Lit.There is no need to be.This is an excellent read.I can see where the references to characters could throw some.Characters are often referred to by various names.My suggestion is to pay attention to the uniqueness of each character.You will begin to identify each by his or her characteristics.

When you read reviews or commentaries on this book most attention is paid to Raskolnikov.However, I really loved Razumihin.Dostoyevsky also creates a delicious villain in Petrovitch.

5-0 out of 5 stars Subtle and Triumphant Masterpiece
About the content of this particular edition, I can only say that this translation read great, and that the criticism I have read in it is interesting, especially the USSR material. But I really just want write what I enjoyed about the book so much in the hope that it might inspire others to read the book, to respect the book, or to give it another try (warning: spoilers):

Marmeladov gives an impressive, passionate, and inebriated speech near the beginning of the book that caught my attention as foreshadowing a book which would attempt in a profound and beautiful way to deal with human sin and suffering. The physcological acuity wielded by many of the characters is fascinating especially Porfiry Petrovich. The paranoia of Roskolnikov is fascinating in its life-likeness, and its frightening tendency for readers to identify with it. Roskolnikov's analysis of Sonya and her sufferings and his perplexity at her willingness to take on the sufferings of others is also riveting. The character Svidrigaylov is very intriguing and I never in the slightest figured him out to my satisfaction. But most happily do I relate to you the ending, in which Roskolnikov strengthens his convictions and his isolation to the very end until they collapse, and he is broken. He accepts a radical change, throwing everything known previously to him out the window, he no longer believes in himself, but instead trusts himself to the care of the uncomprehensible, and unintelligible love he finds in Sonya. A story of Christian redemption in the highest class.

4-0 out of 5 stars Dostoevsky enhanced
Here I am not going to be quite so bold nor so presumptuous as to think that I have anything new or innovative to say about one of the greatest books ever written, and one of the most critically read and commented on books ever written.I will say that I love this book and all of Dostoevsky's books, and I have read several different translations of this particular book.I found this translation to be very good, but that isn't why I am reviewing this particular book.

Really I wanted to review this edition because I found the critical essays in this edition to invaluable.These essays greatly enhanced my understanding of this book, and greatly enriched my reading experience.I feel after reading these essays and this edition that my experience has been taken to a level that I couldn't have reached on my own.Of course some of the essays were better than others, and a few were really bad (I am sorry that I can't remember which ones here now), but on the other hand the essays by George Gibion for one were excellent.He opened up a whole world of symbolism that I had missed in my own reading.There are essays on structure and plot and many more that are very important for a complete understanding of this book.

As I have said I have read this book a few times, but until I read this edition in conjunction with these essays I did not have nearly as intimate of an understanding as I do now.If you love Dostoevsky and his books, especially Crime and Punishment, then you need to read this book.It is like reading it again for the first time.This book is a must for the Dostoevsky fan.

5-0 out of 5 stars Among the best ever written
Anyone who disputes the validity of Crime and Punishment as one of the greatest novels written is likely not worth their weight in salt when it comes to literary merit.This novel is the perfect story; ideal premise, gripping suspense that carries over into each following chapter, and with a wealth of depth.This is a complex read, and not for your supermarket variety readers.It needs to be read slowly and carefully so that it will be absorbed and appreciated for it's amazing writing.You won't be able to put it down.All in all it is perfectly executed down to the very last line.It is a must read for anyone who truly enjoys great literature. ... Read more

10. Demons (Everyman's Library, 182)
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Hardcover: 733 Pages (2000-10-24)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$16.17
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Asin: 0375411224
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The award-winning translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky continue their acclaimed series of Dostoevsky translations with this novel, also known as The Possessed.

Inspired by the true story of a political murder that horrified Russians in 1869, Dostoevsky conceived of Demons as a "novel-pamphlet" in which he would say everything about the plague of materialist ideology that he saw infecting his native land. What emerged was a prophetic and ferociously funny masterpiece of ideology and murder in prerevolutionary Russia--a novel that is rivalled only by The Brothers Karamazov as Dostoevsky's greatest. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (36)

5-0 out of 5 stars Used Version of Demons (The Possessed)
This seller provided books that look brand new for a very reasonable price and in a timely fashion.

3-0 out of 5 stars Translation does not work for me
I've read "The Possessed" before, twice actually by two different translators, and this translation ("Demons") does not work for me. But I do like the translators' notes at the end explaining some things that otherwise might remain obscure to the reader.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great books that's also great to read.
Most of these reviews are about the ideas and politics of Demons (aka The Possessed), or how it compares to Dostoevski's other novels and its place among the "great" books. But you probably know what the book is about already and prefer to make up your own mind about its position in the canon--after you read it.

What you really want to know is "will I like it?" The answer is emphatically YES! If you like Dostoevski, Turganev or Tolstoy, you love it. If you read Henry James, Thomas Hardy or George Eliot, you'll love it. If you have a taste for historical fiction, ideas and politics, you'll love it.

The great strength of Devils is its characters. Each person is motivated by an `ism (liberalism, feudalism, atheism, nihilism, socialism, etc) which posses him or her like a demon, but they are not flat types or puppets. All the main players are fully drawn flesh and blood people. They have quirks and contradictions that make them completely real. You may not like these people, but they will fascinate you.

There's not much plot in Demons. But so do a lot of superb novels: Zorba the Greek, Pale Fire, and David Copperfield, for example. Mark Twain admits Huck Finn has no plot, it's a series of escapades. Jake goes fishing, Brett picks bad men--that's The Sun Also Rises.
The dramatic momentum of Demons comes from your own attempts to find a plot in the tensions between the characters (and literally in plotting of the plodding conspirators). Something is definitely going on, you're just never sure what. Part One feels very much like a typical Victorian novel. Men talk at their club. Women jockey for social gain. Rumors fly about linking and relinking the young people into love affairs and scandals. And then just below the surface, the (rather thick) narrator suddenly and nonchalantly exposesa mirroring network of links more sinister than social and anarchic than romantic. As these develop the machinations of the story move from marriage to murder. In this Dostoevski cleverly captures the reader in the same web of dread and paranoia that grips the characters. So it is the interplay of forces, the murkiness and dread that make Demons a page-turner. It's marvelous to experience

Here's something else rarely mentioned: Dostoevski had a great sense of humor. There are a number of great comic scenes, gags and zippy one-liners. It's not his popular image, but old Teddy D was a funny guy. This translation (Pavear & Volokhonsky) is very successful at bringing out the humor and rendering into English the zestiness of the dialogue.

1-0 out of 5 stars Translation not for the finicky
The following sentences are typical in this translation. If they don't bother you, then this translation probably won't irk you as it did me.

1. "Shatov listened frowningly and spitefully."

2. "Everyone started, as it were."

3. "Pyotr Stepanovich was silent and bore himself somehow with unusual gravity."

4. "She seemed somehow happy beyond measure."

5. "He did rise a little, somehow suddenly, with some strange movement in his face."

Here are the problems these cause me:

1. I can imagine saying, writing, or doing something spiteful. But listening is a passive act. How does a person "listen spitefully"?

2. What does "as it were" signify? I recently wrote in an email, "Thanks for listening, as it were." The recipient was reading, not listening; "as it were" signified that I knew as much, and used "listening" metaphorically. "Starting, as it were" - as in "being startled" - makes no sense.

3.-5. Similarly, I can't figure out what difference "somehow" makes to the action or emotion described. How is seeming happy different from seeming somehow happy? "Somehow" is the translators' favorite modifier, and I found it almost always mysterious. "Suddenly" is also fairly common; combined in 5 with "somehow" and "some strange movement in his face," it renders the sentence opaque to me.

These little mysteries irritated me so much that about halfway through, I took a pencil and began blacking out the infuriating modifiers. When that didn't help, I gave up altogether.

Most people aren't this fussy. If you share my foible, I suggest another translation.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not the Best, Far from His Worst
Most people who have read multiple Dostoevsky texts know that his writing is extremely hit or miss, with Notes from Underground and The Brothers Karamazov occupying his lowest and highest achievements respectively, in my own opinion of course.I found this novel to be somewhere in between.While this is Dostoevsky's most polemical novel, there are, as typical of his style, moments of genuine hilarity, such as when the old dandy Stepan Trofimovich runs away from home in search Russian peasant life, or when the the novelist Karmazinov (a vicious parody of Turgenev) tests his will over our narrator by casually dropping the little purse he carries only to see how quickly he'll rush to pick it up.At one point these two ridiculous old men are reunited amidst the middle of a scandal, and we imagine them trying to out-lisp one another in their conversation.

But it is a mucky novel, with a maddening amount of loose ends.As Richard Pevear notes in his introduction, Demons developed only after Dostoevsky combined two texts he was working on, sidetracking one project after becoming intensely interested in the Nechaev murder scandal.And the murder in this novel indeed comes so late in the novel that it seems by turns unnecessary, as if Dostoevsky merely needed to throw it into the plot to satisfy his polemics.One reviewers complains about the animated references of crooked smiles and characters going pale, but if you've read additional Dostoevsky texts you know that his realism is insanely contradictory - a writer who at once penetrated the human psyche like none before him and yet his characters are so often caricature-like (this, along with forced sentimentality the reason Vladimir Nabokov never missed an opportunity to trash this great writer).I think Bakhtin offered the best defense of the spirit of Dostoevsky's characters.Regardless, that's not the problem.The issue is the disjointed flow of the narrative, some of which is intentional to heighten this sense that gossip and rumours are fueling this town's sense of itself.Still, nothing quite redeems it.Even Joseph Frank, the foremost Dostoevsky scholar probably in any country, proclaimed the denouement "lame."

Lastly, to this talk of university politics, I always find the popular prejudices directed at colleges and universities amusing.I find that in many ways it exposes individuals who are either not familiar with the system, or far removed from it themselves.I actually first read this in a college class, and yes we openly discussed the conservative philosophies espoused.To compare this novel to modern discussions on communist vs. democratic models is unavoidable, and yes, Dostoevsky's vision of the extremes that would arise was true and yes, even prophetic.Notice also Shigalyov's conflict between absolute despotism and utopia, and the need to sometimes eliminate those who would inhibit the future paradise.Dostoevsky seems to have even foreseen the future genocide of the 20th century.However, to cite this novel in reference to the majority of contemporary liberal vs. conservative debates is ridiculous.Does anyone seriously believe this author would side with western capitalism and materialism?Russia's greatest Slavophile?It also serves to miss the extremes of some of these views.Dostoevsky does not promote Christianity.He promotes Eastern Orthodoxy specifically.Is it the character Shatov who opines that Roman Catholicism is worse even than atheism?And this is to say nothing of the classic Dostoevskian anti-semitism imparted by way of the repulsive Lyamshin, who entertains the town's social circle by mimicking the cries of a baby being born.

In the end, while I don't find this to be one of Dostoevsky's stronger novels, I would still recommend it, if only to capture the true degree to which this writer was able to foresee the future flow of human history, and the perils of radical philosophies (regardless of their affiliation!).Joseph Frank was right to anoint him a prophet.I would also recommend reading Pevear's introduction twice, once when you begin and again after finishing the novel.I think he hits the money:the demons in this novel are not people, they are ideas.Luke 8:32-36 is chosen as the epigraph, recounting the exorcism of demons from a sick man, with Christ giving them leave to enter the nearby herd of swine instead.Unfortunately for Russia, the pigs never made their way to the cliff's edge. ... Read more

11. Crime and Punishment (Oxford World's Classics)
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Paperback: 576 Pages (2008-08-01)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$7.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0199536368
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Crime and Punishment is one of the most important novels of the nineteenth century. It is the story of a murder committed on principle, of a killer who wishes to set himself outside and above society. The novel is marked by Dostoevsky's own harrowing experience in penal servitude, and yet contains moments of wild humor. This new edition of the authoritative and readable Coulson translation comes with a challenging new introduction and notes that elucidate many of the novel's most important--and difficult--aspects. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great novel...but this edition from the Oxford World's Classics series is not the version I would recommend.
As a novel, I have no complaints about Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. Personally, while it is not my favorite novel by Dostoevsky, it is the novel of his that I would recommend reading first; that is, I recommend it to people who are new to Dostoevsky and want to introduce themselves to the work of the great Russian novelist. In this review, I will comment briefly about the novel itself, and I will also give my opinion about this particular edition (i.e. the Oxford World's Classics edition).

As a novel, Crime and Punishment has long been adored by literary critics and well as by the general reading public. It is usually recognized as the first great novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky. The book was a popular and critical success in 1866 when it was first published in Russian. Fast forward to present day America.Dostoevsky's psychological tale of a crime and the psychological and real-world consequences of that crime on its transgressor has now been translated numerous times into English and remains a novel that, even today, is widely-read, critically respected and generally well-enjoyed by its modern audience.

The novel consists of six parts. The first part chronicles Raskalnikov (the main character) as he prepares to commit a crime. At the end of part one he actually goes through with his plan and commits the crime. The rest of the novel follows Raskalnikov as he: (1)struggles on a psychological and physical level with his own self; (2)interacts with his impoverished family, friends, and several newly-acquired acquaintances, including a (potential) love-interest named Sonya and her family; (3)becomes involved in a cat-and-mouse game with prosecuting officials; and (4), engages in fascinating and occasionally profound conversations with the villainous and enigmatic Svidrigailov.

Crime and Punishment is a showcase for what I consider to be the three great strengths of the novelist Dostoevsky. First, great -- all-too-human -- characters. Second, the novel is thought provoking: it examines important philosophical, social and moral issues. Third, the novel is entertaining. It offers suspense and heartfelt human interactions.

Now, a brief word on this (the Oxford World's Classics) edition of Crime and Punishment. Let me say: there is nothing inherently wrong with the Oxford Classics edition, and in general I find that they are well-made books of the highest quality and are full of helpful supplemental material. That said, I do not recommend said edition for this particular novel--not when there are other superior editions available through Amazon. I will briefly explain why I do not recommend it, and will then suggest several editions that I recommend instead.

The Oxford edition uses the Coulson translation.I admit, I do not speak or read Russian.But I have read lots of Dostoevsky in English; also, I have read many articles and books written about his work.I have read a number of different translations of Dostoevsky's work, and while I have no particular criticisms to make about the Coulson translation, I can merely say that it is not my favorite.

From what I've read, I believe that the translation by Richard Pevear and his wife Linda Volokhonsky to be the very best available. I hold their translation in high regard simply because I believe it best conveys the complete meaning of each line, and likewise, it best illuminates the core ideas and themes in Dostoevsky's writing. Additionally, the P/V translation was done recently, resulting in a usage of English that can be properly "digested" by contemporary readers.Pevear is one of the few American-born translators of Dostoevsky. Personally, as an American myself, I find some satisfaction in the idea that Pevear's way of thinking and looking at the world is more on par with my own.

The Pevear/Volokhonsky translation is available in paperback ($11.53 new,Crime and Punishment) and hardcover ($15.64 new,Crime and Punishment (Everyman's Library)).In these editions you will find: endnote annotations; a comparative chronology of world history, world literature, and Dostoevsky's own life; a select bibliography; and an insightful introduction by Dostoevsky scholar W.J. Leatherbarrow.

The other criticism I have of the Oxford World's Classics edition of C&P, is that it is not even the best available edition of Coulson translation. If you are deadset on reading the Coulson translation, then I strongly recommend Crime and Punishment (Norton Critical Editions) ($12.35 new). The Norton Critical Edition offers over 200 pages of supplemental material, including content from Dostoevsky's own notebooks, letters, early drafts of the novel; and around thirty critical essays by generations of renowned Dostoevsky scholars and contemporaries of the author.

1-0 out of 5 stars Poor choice
This book was bought as a gift and it was of poor quality, old with brittle pages.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Gambler is Dostoevsky's most under-rated work.
Dostoevsky's "The Gambler" is a profound look at gambling as an addiction. The characterization is extremely good, and the topic is very timely, considering the explosion in the number of gambling establishments in the United States in recent years. This should be on the reading list for all pychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and others who have an interest in addictive behavior, and for anyone who lives with a compulsive gambler. Reading this book helped me to understand and kick my own addiction to gambling. ... Read more

12. Crime and Punishment (Collector's Library)
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Hardcover: 736 Pages (2010-08-01)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$4.03
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 190463334X
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Much more than just a tale of homicide, Crime and Punishment is a stunning philosophical novel about the nature of guilt and redemption. An impoverished ex-student, Raskolnikov, kills an old pawnbroker and her sister. But money alone is not his motive—and eventually Raskolnikov is compelled to face the forces both inside and out that have led him to murder. His struggle with himself and those around him symbolizes the battle of the individual against society, radicalism against tradition, and ultimately the will of man against the mysteries of divine providence. Compelling, rewarding, and richly layered, Crime and Punishment has invited analysis and controversy for nearly a century and a half. It was a sensation in its day, and its themes, methods and characterisation have left an indelible stamp on world literature. The world's greatest works of literature are now available in these beautiful keepsake volumes. Bound in real cloth, and featuring gilt edges and ribbon markers, these beautifully produced books are a wonderful way to build a handsome library of classic literature. These are the essential novels that belong in every home. They'll transport readers to imaginary worlds and provide excitement, entertainment, and enlightenment for years to come. All of these novels feature attractive illustrations and have an unequalled period feel that will grace the library, the bedside table or bureau.
... Read more

13. The Idiot (Oxford World's Classics)
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Paperback: 688 Pages (2008-08-01)
list price: US$11.95 -- used & new: US$7.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0199536392
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The Idiot (1868), written under the appalling personal circumstances Dostoevsky endured while travelling in Europe, not only reveals the author's acute artistic sense and penetrating psychological insight, but also affords his most powerful indictment of a Russia struggling to emulate contemporary Europe while sinking under the weight of Western materialism.It is the portrait of nineteenth-century Russian society in which a "positively good man" clashes with the emptiness of a society that cannot accommodate his moral idealism. Meticulously faithful to the original, this new translation includes explanatory notes and a critical introduction by W.J. Leatherbarrow. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars His Masterpiece!!!
If you haven't read the Idiot, you haven't read Dostoyevsky.If this were the only book he ever wrote, his place in the annals of literature would no doubt be as secured.

Other books to read if you like The Idiot:

Roman Payne's "Crepuscule"
Maxim Gorky
Gogol's "Dead Souls" ... Read more

14. The Brothers Karamazov (Bantam Classics)
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Mass Market Paperback: 1072 Pages (1984-04-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553212168
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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A remarkable work showing the author's power to depict Russian character and his understanding of human nature. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (109)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book so far
I just bought this book a couple weeks ago. I should say that it is such a wonderful book and novel.
At the beginning, the story is a bit slow, but then it goes really crazy! A lot of different characters and people.
I'm just 200pages through and got 800 more to go! Definitely, I will buy his other books!

5-0 out of 5 stars Faith, Morality, Lust and more!
This is one of the best books I've ever read.

I've spent the last couple of years reading books for blogging programs....newly written books, quick reads.

I craved a classic and bought this one.

It's the story of a very complicated father and his three sons; all very different and passionate in their own way.

The plot is very layered with the makings of a great story:faith, death, lust, sin, love, murder, insanity...

I particularly liked all the conversations between the characters concerning God and morality.Very good arguments.

If you decide to read the book, note that the names of the characters are Russian and each character also has one or two nicknames, so you must be on your toes.

I'm now reading the Idiot by the same author.

4-0 out of 5 stars Morality, amorality, and murder makes for a great read.
I've had this book in my possession for some time, but, like Moby-DIck, I was to intimidated to start reading it. Now, having read it, I am glad to have put in the effort. Dostoevsky really filled this book to the brim with themes of faith and doubt, redemption and suffering, and the happiest form of life as exemplified by his "hero," Alyosha. This is a truly beautiful read. That doesn't mean that it is an easy read. My edition was close to 700 pages and there is a lot of dialogue and passion going on throughout those pages. If books are comparable to hills and mountains, this is a K2 sized read.I would definitely recommend looking through some sparknotes or clifnotes after reading this book to make sure you got everything. It is also difficult because of the "lost in translation" effect. After all, this book was originally written in Russian, so any English translation will not be able to convey the subtleties or cultural context of everything that is written. Overall, this is a great book, but should be approached after having read other classics of this caliber.

3-0 out of 5 stars Badly beaten up book
The book was in such bad shape that I finally went out and bought it on I-tunes and read it off of my Ipod.The seller did not represent that the book was in such horrible condition.I read a lot and I read big books a lot, but none of the books in my bookcase are this beat up except for my Bible and my copy of Illusions by Richard Bach and I would never endeavor to sell those two books, they are not in a condition I would feel was worthy of putting in some-one else's library.

Having said that, The Bantam Books translation is a very good one if you can get a hold of this book new.However, I bought Crime and Punishment on I-tunes instead of trying my luck again with a used book from Amazon

4-0 out of 5 stars flawed classic
Interesting for its discussion of deep philosophical issues, as well as a tearjerking yet sort of happy ending.But the characters' speeches go on and on, and, to an even greater extent than some of the male characters, every female character is an incomprehensible lunatic. ... Read more

15. Notes from Underground
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Hardcover: 136 Pages (2009-05-14)
list price: US$21.99 -- used & new: US$14.03
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1607961253
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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This title comes from the award-winning translators of "Crime and Punishment", Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. The apology and confession of a minor mid-19th-century Russian official, "Notes from Underground" is a half-desperate, half-mocking political critique and a powerful, at times absurdly comical, account of man's breakaway from society and descent 'underground'. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (159)

3-0 out of 5 stars so so
I was looking for the Pevear/Volonkosky translation since I've enjoyed their other Dostoyevsky translations.This book not only doesn't specify on the Amazon site, it doesn't even mention the translators within the book!Not on the copyright page, nowhere.Is that even legal?Someone had to turn this into English.After I'd ordered this I found the Pevear version elsewhere, read the first page (nice feature of Amazon) and wish I'd gotten that one.Ah well.It's an okay version and the general story won't change--but the style, verve, and wonderfully sly comedy of Dostoyevsky is captured so well by P/V that I will always wonder what I missed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Michael R. Kat's translation of Dostoevksy is the gold standard.
While most Amazon reviews of Dostoevky's "Notes from Underground" applaud its brilliance, not enough has been said of the importance of choosing the correct translation.And I'm here to tell you that the Norton Critical Edition of "Notes from Underground" is the definitive translation of this remarkable novella.

Consider the Barnes and Noble Classic version of "Notes from Underground," translated by Constance Garnett.This excerpt comes near the climax of the piece, when the Underground Man thinks on his relationship with Liza:

"Something was not dead within me, in the depths of my heart and conscience it would not die, and it showed itself in acute depression."

Juxtapose that translation with the Norton Critical Edition of "Notes from Underground," translated Michael Katz:

"Something hadn't yet died within me, deep within my heart and conscience; it didn't want to die, and it expressed itself as burning anguish."

The two renditions of the Underground Man's angst is translated in two varying ways by two different translators:Garnett renders it as a psychological effect, whereas Katz paints it as soulful despair.The translator's attitude towards the text plays a crucial role in the translation since individual perceptions and prejudices by the translator dictate which effects become heightened and which becomes diminished.It would not surprise the reader to learn that Garnett's own literary criticism of the novella is a psychoanalysis of the 'hero' in the Freudian/Jung persuasion, whereas Katz collection of criticisms considers the Underground Man notsomuch as a mentally disturbed patient, but as indeed representative of the human condition as it exist in the 20th century.

Many more differences in the translation of Dostoevky's Russian writing spring in the text, each colored by the individual translator's attitude towards the piece.My impression, from comparing Katz translation with others such as Garnett, is that Katz captures the lyrical torment of the 'hero' without subsuming the entire novella into only one mode of criticism.The Underground Man is more than just a case-study of psychological imbalance:he represents, to an unsettling degree, all of us.

My recommendation:Purchase "Notes from Underground" translated by M. Katz for a far richer literary and emotional experience.The Norton Critical Edition comes fully equipped with far-ranging critical essays, most notably Dostoevky's own commentary on the novella and how it relates to Jesus Christ.Now, what's a better cliffhanger for me to leave you at than that?

2-0 out of 5 stars Leave it to Russian literature
I wish I could rate books with question marks...not for lack of understanding, but rather a lack of surety on the part of my own feelings.

"a novel needs a hero, and all the traits for an anti-hero are EXPRESSLY gathered together here"

I couldn't agree more. Part I of the book is barely-comprehensible rambling that is absolutely painful to read. Dostoyevsky, or the narrator, has a much stronger gift for storytelling than philosophizing. Even so, let it be said that there isn't anything resembling a structured plot...rather a random sampling of recollections that all end with an inane predictability. By the time you get to Part II (the more narrative section), the narrator's ramblings and actions become so repetitive that it's positively trite.

Whatever brilliant passages and lines there are to be found (and there are quite a few), they do nothing to redeem the narrator, mainly out of a sense that if given half the opportunity he would instantly change his mind about whatever he just said. Perhaps we can count that as phenomenal characterization...in the 2 dimensional sense.

But as I said, there are some ideas and some passages that are worth taking note of, so I can't call it a total loss. Yet it's not a good book via structure or moralizing...which is why I can hardly bring myself to give it any rating. I don't feel indifferent about it, nor do I feel anything as strong as love or hate. What more can I say?

Read it if you dare?

5-0 out of 5 stars Oh man
First, this is a great translation. Having first read it in Russian a decade ago, it was a pleasure to come back to it in a different language. The effect was the same. You so many times find yourself exclaiming in your head, Oh man, I never knew that it was possible for someone to be this witty, this insightful about human nature, and this good at communicating it all in an entertaining way. As other reviewers have pointed out, the thinness of the book should not mislead you. This is as thick of a book as there is. So many thoughts, so many thought-provocations are piled on top of each, in each other, and across each other. And all of it delivered in a very funny plot. It is like reading a book written by a council consisting of Larry David, Nietzsche, Michel de Montaigne, and Freud. The only other book I can compare it to in terms of getting from it an entertaining philosophical kick in the mind is Thus Spoke Zarathustra of Nietzsche.

5-0 out of 5 stars interesting
the first work of dostoyevsky i read and the best. i enjoy more psychological books and that is what you get here.the beginning is by far the best.a character study in which i identified myself. this turned out to be slightly disturbing however as the story went on.a relatively short book, but can be made long by focusing on the rich writing. ... Read more

16. The Major Works of Fyodor M. Dostoevsky
by Fyodor Dostoievsky
Kindle Edition: Pages (2010-07-01)
list price: US$4.50
Asin: B003XYE7TU
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All the important works of Fyodor M. Dostoevsky. This volume contains:Poor Folk Notes From Underground Crime and Punishment The Gambler The Idiot The Possessed The Brothers Karamazov ... Read more

17. The Double and The Gambler
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Paperback: 368 Pages (2007-01-16)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$8.39
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375719016
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The award-winning translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky have given us the definitive version of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s strikingly original short novels, The Double and The Gambler.The Double is a surprisingly modern hallucinatory nightmare–foreshadowing Kafka and Sartre–in which a minor official named Goliadkin becomes aware of a mysterious doppelganger, a man who has his name and his face and who gradually and relentlessly begins to displace him with his friends and colleagues. The Gambler is a stunning psychological portrait of a young man's exhilarating and destructive addiction to gambling, a compulsion that Dostoevsky–who once gambled away his young wife's wedding ring–knew intimately from his own experience. In chronicling the disastrous love affairs and gambling adventures of Alexei Ivanovich, Dostoevsky explores the irresistible temptation to look into the abyss of ultimate risk that he believed was an essential part of the Russian national character. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Two Minor Works in One Convenient Volume
Though largely famous for long novels, Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote a number of notable novellas, of which The Double is an early example and The Gambler is last. This collection includes both in new translations by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, the Russian to English translators now most in vogue, as well as an insightful Introduction. This is not only convenient but an excellent value. The stories are not on par with longer works, but fans of those revered pieces will like them, as they have much of the greatness on a small scale. Also, along with Notes from Underground, they are a good place to start for those curious about Dostoevsky but intimidated by his thick masterpieces.

Though an early work and not as well-crafted as The Gambler, The Double is an interesting story that manages to put a new spin on the doppelganger phenomenon. In it, Dostoevsky very skillfully portrays one man's lonely descent into madness - and manages to be screamingly funny while doing so. This is certainly no major work, but some of the themes - namely madness - were worked out in more detail later, and the uncharacteristic humor may appeal those not keen on Dostoevsky's famous dark side.

The Gambler is quite different and better overall; fans and scholars will have a proverbial field day comparing the stories and why they were put together, but it works quite well on its own. Dostoevsky is world renowned for psychological insight, and The Gambler is a consummate example. The first-person narrative gives a fascinating peek into a gambling addict's mind; we learn much about what causes such behavior and, more importantly, what perpetuates it, often against better judgment. A large part of Dostoevsky's greatness is that his character studies have great verisimilitude no matter what the subject, but something extra here makes it even more piercing. This is doubtless to a great extent because it has the kind of realism that only experience can bring; Dostoevsky certainly knew a lot about gambling addicts, being one himself. In fact, the story was written at near-superhuman speed to pay off gambling debts - a process so legendary that it was even made into a film. Many gambling addicts have said this is the most realistic and compelling portrayal that exists, and it certainly brings their world vividly to life. However, there is also more to it. Gambling may be the focus, but the insight holds for all addiction forms and, by extension, all types of self-destructive behavior. This last is a particular Dostoevsky specialty, especially in regard to the Russian character, which all of his work in a sense tried to define and analyze. Here he zeroes in on its self-abnegating impulse as symbolized by Alexei's passionate love. Many lovers in literature and reality have claimed they would do anything for their beloved, but few have gone to such literal extremes. This and the gambling show him on the verge not only of self-destruction but of madness, which may make him seem too extreme to be identifiable even as his actions lead to much of Dostoevsky's characteristic black humor. However, the fact that he loses love, wealth, and thus happiness because of an inability to overcome his dark forces makes him a truly tragic figure - widely sympathetic and unfortunately widely relatable. It also unflinchingly shows the futility Dostoevsky saw as central to the Russian character; as an English character unforgettably says to Alexei at the end, "your life is now over. I am not blaming you for this--in my view all Russians resemble you, or are inclined to do so. If it is not roulette, then it is something else. The exceptions are very rare." This shows a very dark view of humanity, particularly Russians - all the more so in that, unlike some of Dostoevsky's more famous works, there is no hint of spiritual redemption at the end. Some may cringe, but the realism and perspicuity ensure we cannot ignore the very important point.

The story is also notable for bringing late nineteenth century European resort towns to life. Most Dostoevsky works are of course set in Russia, but he spent much time in Europe - including Germany, where this is set -, and uses his wide knowledge and experience to make the casinos, healing waters, and other aspects seem real. This makes the story of some historical interest to those interested in the time or place, but the sociological value is even more important. The Gambler is in many ways a comedy of manners showing how Russians behaved - and were supposed to behave, often a very different thing - abroad among themselves and with other groups. This unsurprisingly leads to much conflict, which Dostoevsky plays up for all its psychological, dramatica, and comedic worth. As all this suggests, the story is not quite as serious as his major works, lacking their epic sweep, unparalleled dramatization of dense philosophical themes, and heavy dialogue. This may disappoint those looking for a masterpiece but may even be a relief to some. It must also be noted that while even the best Dostoevsky is rough around the edges of finer artistic points - he was never a prose stylist or perfectionist, his greatness being unmatched psychological and philosophical dramatization -, this is unsurprisingly even more so because of its composition's circumstances.

In the end, those not fond of more characteristic Dostoevsky may well be pleasantly surprised by the stories, and anyone who likes him should of course read them, whether early or late. An important question is what edition to buy; various translations aside, they are available in many versions from standalones to collections. Most will be better off with an edition like this because of the greater value, but the important thing is to read them in some form.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb in every way
A work like this has three aspects:

1. The quality of the story
2. The quality of the translation
3. The quality of the book itself

This book, as is the case with all of the Everyman books translated by Pevear and Volokhonsky, gets a 5/5 on all three counts.

The story: The Double's initial reception was not altogether favorable. It has since gained appreciation, and rightfully so. It's a brilliant, hilarious, sometimes confusing story that is simultaneously humorous and melancholy. I haven't finished The Gambler, but it too is a tremendous work of literature; certainly it is one of Dostoevsky's greatest works with his signature embedded psychological study. I needn't sell you on the story, though--if you're looking at this page you no doubt appreciate Dostoevsky's genius and are looking for more to read. As for why you should buy this particular edition...

The translation: Pevear and Volokhonsky are simply brilliant. They've done Dostoevsky, Tolstoy's two big novels, and most if not all of Chekhov and Gogol (among other works). Their translations are superlative. I read their translation of Crime and Punishment back-to-back with Garnett's and there was no comparison. Their translations have become standard in the academic world, and for good reason. They are faithful to the text and have a wonderful feel for each individual work. Garnett, on the other hand, reduces everything to the monotony of Victorian-style prose. Don't even consider getting another translation. And if you're going to get the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation, then you must get this version...

The book: Every time I buy a classic work of literature I check first to see if there's an Everyman edition, specifically the cloth-bound hardcover versions. They are absurdly cheap--especially if you buy them on Amazon--and they are beautiful and extremely high-quality. The binding is excellent, the pages are acid-free, smooth, and a slightly off-white cream color that is very pleasing to the eye. The font is a nice, standard serif. The books also look really snappy on your bookshelf, which brings me to my word of warning:

If you buy any one of the Everyman books, you will be filled with the irrational desire to stock your library with them. The aesthetic effect is increased with each book you add, and you'll want nothing more than to have an entire bookshelf filled with nothing but the uniform spines of the Everyman's Library. Buyer beware!

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Book, nicely bound
Nice binding, good size print.I love books that are 2-in-1 like this.
Also I like the built-in book-mark.

5-0 out of 5 stars from the pen of the greatest Russian novelist
this product is designed for many reasons, but most likely (once the "Code" is broken) it, The Gambler, represents an almost blow-by-blow account of the fierce struggle Fyodor Dostoevsky waged to overcome this hidden sickness.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dostoevsky's "Pulp"
These two short novels by Dostoevsky, are a change of pace fot the writer. "The Double" was written when the author was young and was sort of a "riff" on Gogol-style absurdity.Mr. Golyadkin goes to work one day and finds a man with the same name who looks just like hiim doing his job.What's worse is that the other man is more popular with the coworkers than he ever was.It is a darkly comic story who's main character is a vague, early take on Dostoevsky's Underground Man/Raskolnikov character.

"The Gambler" was written for money and in a hurry.He was trying to finish "Crime and Punishment" but needed to publish a book FAST so he dictated this short book to a secretary (whom he later married).It's about the foolishness of the gambling community at Baden-Baden in Germany.All of Dostoevsky's Gemran stereotypes are on display so take those for what they're worth.The great fun of this book is the pace; the dictated novel zips along faster than most 19th century novels ever do. It's as close to a Summer read as Dostoevsky ever got.

Five stars might be a little high for such trifles that are so out of character for Dostoevsky but the writing is top notch, much better than reading "The Adolescent" or "Insulted and Injured." The translation is tight and the stories are really a lot of fun. The translations by Jessie Coulson (published by Penguin, I think) are also very good. ... Read more

18. Classic Russian Fiction: 7 novels by Dostoyevsky in a single file, with active table of contents
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Fyodor Dostoevsky
Kindle Edition: Pages (2009-06-21)
list price: US$0.99
Asin: B002E9HAFI
Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars
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This file includes: Poor Folk (1846, Notes from the Underground (1864), Crime and Punishment (1866), The Gambler (1867), The Idiot (1869), The Possessed (1872), and The Brothers Karamazov (1881).

According to Wikipedia: "Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky (November 11, 1821 – February 9,1881) was a Russian writer, essayist and philosopher, perhaps most recognized today for his novels Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov. Dostoyevsky is considered to be one of Europe's major novelists. His literary output explores human psychology in the troubled political, social and spiritual context of 19th-century Russian society. Considered by many as a founder or precursor of 20th century existentialism, his Notes from Underground (1864), written in the embittered voice of the anonymous "underground man", was called by Walter Kaufmann the "best overture for existentialism ever written." ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

1-0 out of 5 stars False Advertising, no table of contents
This listing specifically advertises an active table of contents, which I feel is absolutely necessary for a listing with multiple books... and there wasn't one.How can I find the book I want to read, much less the chapter?Even $.99 isn't worth the trouble.List properly; if it doesn't have a table of contents, let customers decide if it's worth the trouble. ... Read more

19. The Idiot (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Paperback: 608 Pages (2004-01-16)
list price: US$7.95 -- used & new: US$3.68
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1593080581
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The Idiot, 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.
Just two years after completing Crime and Punishment, which explored the mind of a murderer, Dostoevsky produced another masterpiece, The Idiot. This time the author portrays a truly beautiful soul—a character he found difficult to bring to life because, as he wrote, “beauty is the ideal, and neither my country, nor civilized Europe, know what that ideal of beauty is.” The result was one of Dostoevsky’s greatest characters—Prince Myshkin, a saintly, Christ-like, yet deeply human figure.

The story begins when Myshkin arrives on Russian soil after a stay in a Swiss sanatorium. Scorned by St. Petersburg society as an idiot for his generosity and innocence, the prince finds himself at the center of a struggle between a rich, kept woman and a beautiful, virtuous girl, who both hope to win his affection. Unfortunately, Myshkin’s very goodness seems to bring disaster to everyone he meets. The shocking denouement tragically reveals how, in a world obsessed with money, power, and sexual conquest, a sanatorium is the only place for a saint.

Joseph Frank is Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at Princeton University and Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature and Slavic Languages and Literature at Stanford University. He is the author of a five-volume study of Dostoevsky’s life and work. The first four volumes received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography, two Christian Gauss Awards, two James Russell Lowell Awards of the Modern Language Association, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and other honors. Frank is also the author of Through the Russian Prism: Essays on Literature and Culture, The Widening Gyre, and The Idea of Spatial Form. He also wrote the introduction to the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of Dostoevsky’s The House of the Dead and Poor Folk.

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Customer Reviews (136)

3-0 out of 5 stars badly proof read
I don't want to add to the literary criticism but would like to warn people how badly this kindle edition has been proof read.It is full of errors.For example every time the word"left" appears whether in the sense of leaving or as in the opposite of "right", the word "Lyovt" appears; "invariably" is spelled inVaryably: on one page the symbol "@" occurs for no reason twice: phrases in a sentence are sometimes repeated.

Without these errors the translation would be acceptable but with them it is very irritating

5-0 out of 5 stars What makes an Idiot?
A curiously hard to put down book about a society divided and trapped by its own definitions of itself.

Daughters trapped in a loving home, which nevertheless makes them into neurotic victims within their parents' boundaries of obsessive control in fear of a cruel society that is so quick to demonize a girl or woman who would dare challenge the social mores.

The wide array of mundane personalities, calculating opportunists and manipulators, men and women, looking to latch onto a figure that may become a vehicle for their own peculiar social ambitions.

The desperately lonely world of the older members of society, their maddening mirage of a life spent on chasing the illusory achievements that ultimately no one cares about. Can anyone wonder that so many sought then, as they do now, an escape in booze and (today) drugs?

And then there's the young, naive hero clueless to the world of adults into which he is thrown having had spent most of his life away from the maddening crowd of adult intrigues and hypocritical customs and conventions, who never learned the "art" of lies, connivance and underhanded game-playing with the lives of others.

Much of the world described in the compelling novel is mostly long gone. Girls and women need no longer fear their sexuality. A smart and enterprising person need no longer depend on powerful and privileged members of society to realize his/her own ambitions. There remains, however, to this day the need to hide one's true persona. Very likely even more today than 150 years ago vis a vis the omnipresent fishbowl of social websites and gradually disappearing respect for one's privacy.

Despite are own self-assurances, we are still trapped by social mores invented by and for our own time. Today's Idiot is still a person who cannot see the point in duplicitous behaviour.

The more things change, the more they stay the same, I suppose.

2-0 out of 5 stars Are all Russian books so boring?
I just finished the book 10 minutes ago.
Oh my Lord. How incredibly tedious.

I thought a few of the sections were interesting, like the meeting the Epanchin family, and seeing how the Prince is sized up by people who don't know if he is idiot or genius.

It was like a much older version of "Being There" where simple minded utterances are taken as profound.

But it went on and on and on, and you have no idea why they are talking about nothing, and how it contributes to the story.

I have taken an interest in Russian literature (because I am doing business with Russians) for the last six months.I have read Anna Karinina, The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment, Dead Souls, and Invitation to a Beheading.

Is this really the best they got?A little bit of it was enjoyable, but it sure seems like they are getting paid by the word.Get to the damn point!!

Of course, I realize it is not my culture.And I am not well suited to understand the background to make light of why they go on and on.I feel like there MUST be something there?Right? After all, these are highly acclaimed.

So what am I missing?Why are these regarded as great works?I do want to understand....

2-0 out of 5 stars Not Up To His Usual Standard
I wonder why F.D bothered to scribble this overlong, boring novel.After Crime and Punishment and the Brothers K, this is a serious let down.The style is all wrong; the plot is extremely numbing; very little to enjoy here.Had to slog and slog and slog my way through.Far too many characters floating in and out; too many subplots of subplots; too much overall.By far his worse writing.I know he was trying a new form of writing, but this is a failure all round. IF you have the patience of a saint and have a LONG attention span, this book might be for you.

1-0 out of 5 stars Didn't receive the book so therefore no review forthcoming
The book must have been returned to Amazon because I certainly have not yet received it. ... Read more

20. The Grand Inquisitor
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Kindle Edition: Pages (2009-08-07)
list price: US$1.00
Asin: B002KW42FU
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The Grand Inquisitor is a parable told by Ivan to Alyosha in Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel The Brothers Karamazov. Ivan and Alyosha are brothers; Ivan questions the possibility of a personal, benevolent God and Alyosha is a novice monk. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

3-0 out of 5 stars Love the book, careless publisher
You get what you pay for, especially with books online. I got the cheapest copy of this book on Amazon. The cover was made of some very shiny synthetic material. I'm not sure why this bothered me, but it did. There were many spelling and punctuation errors. With my OCD tendencies about grammatical errors in my books, it was distracting. If you're looking for a low priced classic book, I would suggest perusing your local mom and pop bookstore. You're less likely to come across these terrible reproductions. It's not a book I would want to keep in my library.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Philosophical Debate!
I could not resist picking this book up to reread it. It's one of my favorite philosophical literary debates. Every time I read it I get more out of it. The subjects it covers are timeless: human nature, freedom of choice, and power.
This story within a story is told by a brother whose ideology is the polar opposite of his brother's. In his tale Jesus returns to earth and finds himself in Spain during the Spanish Inquisition where he is arrested by the religious authorities, who know full well who he is, and sentenced to be burned at the stake as a heretic. The Inquisitor condemns Jesus for resisting the three temptations from Satan in the desert, explaining how and why Jesus was wrong to do so rather than grasping at the power Satan offered him in order to control men for their own good. The Inquisitor then goes on to praise the methods that the ruthless church uses to keep mankind happily ignorant and enslaved.

Humanity has spent far too long hobbling on the crutch of religion, and it's long past time for us to cast that crutch aside and run free. Religion has bridled too many minds and bound too many hands. How much longer will humanity remain crippled by it? How much longer will we continue to point fingers at others, harm each other, and limit ourselves in the name of a god? This is the 21st century. We're only just beginning to see the wonders we can achieve (and might have achieved ages ago if religious leaders hadn't kept insisting that the world was flat and viciously persecuting anyone who decreed otherwise).

This classic does a wonderful job of showing the church as a power-hungry entity more interested in control than salvation. The language is beautiful, a perfect example of the finest literature, and the story and its message are most compelling. It's a state of the art work through and through.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking and Beautifully Written
This book is a masterpiece. "The Grand Inquisitor" is the famous excerpt from novel that has been the subject of discussion for centuries due its powerful message. It's truly one of the greatest religious literary debates presented via characters representing different worldviews.

In this excerpt, Ivan, who is an atheist, tells his brother, Alyosha, a monk, a parable about Jesus returning during the Spanish Inquisition. Jesus returns, performing the same miracles that he is claimed to have performed in the bible, and is promptly arrested by Inquisition leaders and condemned to death. The Inquisitor's words to Jesus while he's being held prisoner are stunning as the Inquisitor criticizes him and explains why Jesus is no longer needed. It's clear that Ivan identifies himself with the Inquisitor as he tells this tale to his brother. Though I don't agree with Ivan's authoritarian stance, I agree with his anti-religious sentiment.

Of all the divisive factors, religion has been the main and most persistent one. Religion has greatly hampered the advancement of humanity and caused a great deal of suffering, privation, and death. It also kept women oppressed for millennia, and we are still working to undo that damage. It's only been in the past century that great strides have been made to improve the lot of women, and I believe that religion has been the main culprit to blame for the inequities that women have faced for so long.

I strongly recommend this book. This is a brilliant work that will leave you thinking about it long after you've read it. It's daring, original, and deeply thought provoking.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect edition!
There are some books that everyone should read, and this is one of them. The idea was so fresh for its time and remains intriguing to this day. Whether or not it was Dostoevsky's intention to skewer the church, he certainly succeeded at doing so. He took the church's use of Jesus to achieve its ends to the next level by brilliantly constructing a tale that takes place during the Spanish Inquisition in which the church decides that a newly returned Jesus is wrongheaded and a hindrance to the church's power thirsty ways and condemns him to death. It's a brilliant work, full of truths, and excellent food for thought. I can't recommend this book enough.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Story witnin a Story - One of the Greatest.
When I first went to Russia, I was told by a Russian friend that Dostoevsky's "Brothers Karamazov" was required to understand the Russian. I read it and learned so much. I discovered in the chapter titled "The Grand Inquisitor," not only great writing, but as usual, a "third side" of the Russian coin that I always talk about. For if the author was giving Ivan, the narrator of this chapter, a tirade against the Catholic Church, which seems obvious as it was a tale set in the Spanish Inquisition. But it was and is something much greater than that. It was also a veiled attack on the autocracy of Czarist Russia and a prescient view of causes of the violent revolution that followed shortly after this was written. But even beyond that, it is a clever and grand statement for the silent omnipotence of the Christ.

In Ivan's story (he being an atheist) to his brother Alyosha (he being a wannabe priest) the Grand Inquisitor in Spain sees a returned Jesus walking out of a city having healed a girl. The Inquisitor orders Jesus arrested and then visits him in jail. The wizened Grand Inquisitor lectures the silent Jesus on the folly of freedom and individual choice and says to him, "There are three forces, the only forces that are able to conquer and hold captive forever the conscience of these weak rebels (the people) for their own happiness--these forces are: miracle, mystery, and authority." As the monologue continues, the whole rationale for an autocracy (be it religious or political) is explained. Also growingly obvious is the fact that Jesus, in his silence, is winning the argument. In the end, Jesus is set free.

My post-Soviet experience in living in Russia and doing business there I at times ran into this mentality: the idea that good, if any, will come from some unexpected outside source (miracle); that man is not ordained to be responsible for his own welfare and progress (mystery); and that guidance and protection come only from constant dependence on and obedience to someone else (authority). Today that situation is changing with the young, but it still pops up at times.

Yes, I agree with some of the other reviewers that in is better understood as part of the whole novel (hence the 4-stars.) But, it still has a stand-alone lesson to teach us all.

Frederick R. Andresen, Author, "Walking on Ice, An American Businessman in Russia" ... Read more

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