The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoevskyThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Brothers Karamazov

byFyodor Dostoevsky

Mass Market Paperback | April 1, 1984

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In 1880 Dostoevsky completed The Brothers Karamazov, the literary effort for which he had been preparing all his life. Compelling, profound, complex, it is the story of a patricide and of the four sons who each had a motive for murder: Dmitry, the sensualist, Ivan, the intellectual; Alyosha, the mystic; and twisted, cunning Smerdyakov, the bastard child. Frequently lurid, nightmarish, always brilliant, the novel plunges the reader into a sordid love triangle, a pathological obsession, and a gripping courtroom drama. But throughout the whole, Dostoevsky searhes for the truth--about man, about life, about the existence of God. A terrifying answer to man's eternal questions, this monumental work remains the crowning achievement of perhaps the finest novelist of all time.
Fyodor Dostoevsky's life was as dark and dramatic as the great novels he wrote. He was born in Moscow in 1821, and when he died in 1881, he left a legacy of masterworks that influenced the great thinkers and writers of the Western world and immortalized him as a giant among writers of world literature.
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Title:The Brothers KaramazovFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:1072 pages, 6.86 × 4.23 × 1.72 inPublished:April 1, 1984Publisher:Random House Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0553212168

ISBN - 13:9780553212167

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must-Read! This book is a truly amazing masterpiece and a classic work of literature! It is lengthy, but definitely worth the amount of time it takes to read it! I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves Russian literature, as this is one of Dostoevsky's best novels with a dark plot that keeps you into suspense right until the end.
Date published: 2017-09-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Conflicted It took me a solid 3 months to get through this novel. I expected a murder mystery but instead got a philosophical work questioning morality, existentialism, and a whole legal trial. This is my first time reading Dostoevsky so I really didn't know what to expect going into it. I must admit I fell asleep reading some chapters, some parts were exceptionally dry in my opinion. But overall, the way the plot unfolded and all the characters' journey's made this a very worthwhile read. Definitely recommend to those interested in religion, law, or philosophy.
Date published: 2017-07-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome Certainly one of Dostoevsky's masterpieces, a bit long but worth the read.
Date published: 2017-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome story Certainly one of Dostoevsky's masterpieces, a bit long but worth the read.
Date published: 2017-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read Certainly one of Dostoevsky's masterpieces, a bit long but worth the read.
Date published: 2017-06-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Translation Well done, translation is crucial when reading a book originally published/written in another language and this book translated exceptionally well. Noting is lost in the translation and it is a moving book to read.
Date published: 2017-04-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from probably his most accessible book A great story which resonates even today.
Date published: 2017-04-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A classic really enjoyed the dark russian soul.
Date published: 2017-03-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My favourite book I have read this translation three times. Greatest novel of all time, best translation. You won't be disappointed.
Date published: 2017-03-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read My second Dostoevsky book after Crime and Punishment, the more I read the more I fall in love with this author. A story about passion, crime, love, despair and hope, you will not be disappointed, this novel has it all.
Date published: 2017-02-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Favourite translation Currently my number 1 favourite book. Do yourself a favour and read!
Date published: 2017-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One. Of. The. Best. Okay, so it took me months to read this, and I read a few other books in between but it was definitely worth the effort. Probably one of the best books I have ever read. If you have the patience or the time, give it a shot. It is especially good for anybody interested in philosophy or the liberal sciences/arts as Dostoevsky is a writer who knew people more than most.
Date published: 2017-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow Dostoevsky is one of the Russian greats. His character development can hardly be surpassed.
Date published: 2017-01-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Insightful My favorite chapters in the book are those in which characters have tangential soliloquies. This is some serious character development and insight.
Date published: 2017-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Not a beach book I read much of this on vacation (airports, plane, beach, etc) and this wasn't the right way to read such a dense, deep book. There's just too much - characters, plot, themes, ideas - for such a distracted atmosphere. I did get enough out of it to know that I wasn't giving it the attention it deserves and will be rereading it soon.
Date published: 2016-11-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolute classic #plumreview Dostoevsky once again plumbs the depths of human psychology with this epic tale of the Karamazov brothers, all with very disparate personalities, and their n'er do well father. If you're a fan of "Crime and Punishment" this book further explores similar themes. One of the finest examples of Russian literature.
Date published: 2016-11-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from If there is any reason to read Russian Literature, this book is it! Dostoevsky at his best. This version was translated by my favorite Russian translator Constance Garnett. If you are questioning making a committment to this epic read, just flip open to the chapter titled "The Grand Inquisitor" and take 10 minutes out of your day to revel in the reason why the pen is indeed mightier than the sword. A page turning, mind gripping, philosophical adventure into the heart of mankind.
Date published: 2013-01-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from "Brothers Karamazov" I think that “Brothers Karamasov” is the best Dostoyevsky’s novel. It is the warm story about brothers’ love and competition. Three brothers Dimitri (ex soldier), Ivan (student, philosopher and rationalist) and Alexei (monk) are completely different personalities, they grew up in the different conditions and the only string between them is their father. Fyodor Pavlovich, the father, is an alcoholic and a difficult who character has no interest in his sons. However, the relation between the four of them drives much of the plot in the novel. The story involves love, crime, betrayal, suffering and hope. This book can be seen from different sides: if you like a good criminal story you will find one here. If you like to learn more about “Russian soul”, Orthodox Church, hierarchy in “old Russia” or early communist thoughts, you will be able to do that in an easy and enjoyable way. Brothers Karamasov is a classic novel and if you haven’t read it yet you may want to try, as it is going to open whole new world in front of you.
Date published: 2012-03-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Five Words Five words: It was written by Dostoevsky.
Date published: 2006-10-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing Read The Brothers Karamazov is not only a great novel that delves deep into the human psyche and the Russian soul, but it has been studied by political scholars. Dostoevsky came from an aristocratic family and served in the military, but gave up all that this promised him in the post-Napoleonic years to write full time. It switches to a different character each chapter, and each brother has a different life. This writing and everything about this amazing. Even though I preferred Crime and Punishment to the Brothers Karamazov, it still is a great work of art.
Date published: 2006-08-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Understanding the complexities of the human soul Written in 1880, Dostoyevsky's last novel raises age old issues within the hearts of men. Does God exist? Is there life after death? Where does evil come from? Framed within pre-communist Russia, the concept of socialism is introduced. Dostoyevsky creates a fascinating plot regarding the murder of Fyodor Karamazov by one of his sons. It is a story of passion, hatred, greed and murder. The strength of the book is the development and complexity of the characters. The author reveals the values by which Karamazov's sons live out their lives. Dostoyevsky shows how the beliefs and values of people shape their behaviours, choices and ultimately their destiny. This book is a classic in that it's characters transcend their time and culture by addressing the struggles that people of all times face.
Date published: 2001-02-05

Read from the Book

CHAPTER 1FYODOR PAVLOVICH KARAMAZOVALexei Fyodorovich Karamazov was the third son of Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov, a landowner in our district who became a celebrity (and is remembered to this day) because of the tragic and mysterious end he met exactly thirteen years ago, which will be described in its proper place. For the moment, I will only say of this "landowner" (as they referred to him here, although he spent hardly any time on his land) that he belonged to a peculiar though widespread human type, the sort of man who is not only wretched and depraved but also muddle-headed--muddle-headed in a way that allows him to pull off all sorts of shady little financial deals and not much else.Fyodor Karamazov, for instance, started with next to nothing; he was just about the lowliest landowner among us, a man who would dash off to dine at other people's tables whenever he was given a chance and who sponged off people as much as he could. Yet, at his death, they found that he had a hundred thousand rubles in hard cash. And with all that, throughout his life he remained one of the most muddle-headed eccentrics in our entire district. Let me repeat: it was not stupidity, for most such eccentrics are really quite intelligent and cunning, and their lack of common sense is of a special kind, a national variety.He had been married twice and had three sons--the eldest, Dmitry, by his first wife, and the other two, Ivan and Alexei, by the second.Fyodor Karamazov's first wife came from a fairly wealthy family of landed gentry--the Miusovs--also from our district. Why should a girl with a dowry, a beautiful girl moreover, one of those bright, clever young things who in this generation are no longer rare and who even cropped up occasionally in the last--why should she marry such a worthless "freak," as they called him? I will not really attempt to explain. But, then, I once knew a young lady of the old, "romantic" generation who, after several years of secret love for a gentleman whom, please note, she could have peacefully married at any moment she chose, invented insurmountable obstacles for herself and, one stormy night, jumped from a steep, rather cliff-like bank into a fairly deep, rapid river and drowned, all because she fancied herself an Ophelia out of Shakespeare. Indeed, if the bank, on which she had had her eye for a long time, had been less picturesque or had there simply been a flat bank, it is conceivable that the suicide would never have taken place at all. This is a true story, and it must be assumed that in the past two or three generations quite a few similar incidents have occurred. In the same way, what Adelaida Miusov did was undoubtedly an echo of outside influences and also the act of exasperation of a captive mind. Perhaps she was trying to display feminine independence, to rebel against social conventions, against the despotism of her family and relatives, while her ready imagination convinced her, if only for a moment, that Fyodor Karamazov, despite his reputation as a sponger, was nevertheless one of the boldest and most caustic men of that "period of transition toward better things," whereas in reality he was nothing but a nasty buffoon. The fact that the marriage plans included elopement added piquancy to it, making it more exciting for Adelaida. Fyodor, at that time, would, of course, have done anything to improve his lowly position, and the opportunity to latch on to a good family and to pocket a dowry was extremely tempting to him. As for love, there does not seem to have been any, either on the bride's part or, despite her beauty, on Karamazov's. This was perhaps a unique case in Fyodor Karamazov's life, for he was as sensual as a man can be, one who throughout his life was always prepared, at the slightest encouragement, to chase any skirt. But his wife just happened to be the one woman who did not appeal to him sensually in the least.Right after the elopement, Adelaida realized that she felt nothing but scorn for her husband. It quickly became obvious what married life was to be. Despite the fact that her family accepted the situation quite soon and gave the runaway bride her dowry, relations between husband and wife became an everlasting succession of quarrels. It was rumored that, in these quarrels, the young wife displayed incomparably more dignity and generosity than her husband, who, it was found out later, soon wheedled out of her every kopek of the twenty-five thousand rubles she had received, so that, as far as she was concerned, those thousands were sunk in deep waters never to be salvaged again. As to the little country estate and the quite decent town house that were also part of her dowry, he kept trying desperately to have them transferred to his name by some suitable deed; he probably would have succeeded because of the loathing and disgust his constant pleading and begging inspired in his wife, because she would do anything to have peace, sick and tired as she was of him; but luckily Adelaida's family intervened in time to put a stop to his greed.People knew that husband and wife often came to actual blows and rumor had it that it was she who beat him, rather than he her. Indeed, Adelaida was a hot-tempered, bold, dark, and impatient lady endowed with remarkable physical strength.Finally she eloped with a half-starved tutor, a former divinity student, leaving her husband with their three-year-old boy, Mitya.Fyodor Karamazov immediately installed a regular harem in the house and indulged in the most scandalous drunken debauchery. But between one orgy and the next, he would drive all over the province complaining tearfully to all and sundry of Adelaida's desertion, and revealing on these occasions certain unsavory intimate details of their conjugal life that any other husband would have been ashamed to mention. He even seemed to enjoy--indeed, to feel flattered by--his ridiculous role as a cuckolded husband, for he insisted on describing his own disgrace in minute detail, even embellishing on it. "Why, Fyodor Pavlovich," people remarked, "you act as if an honor had been bestowed upon you. You seem pleased despite your sorrow." Many even added that he was delighted to have the role of clown thrust upon him, that he only pretended to be unaware of his ridiculous position in order to make it even funnier. But who can really tell? Possibly he was quite ingenuous about it all.He finally succeeded in getting on the track of his runaway wife. It led to Petersburg where the poor thing had moved with her divinity student and where she had abandoned herself to a life of complete emancipation. Fyodor Karamazov immediately busied himself with preparations for the journey to Petersburg, and perhaps he would have gone, although he certainly had no idea what he would do there. But once he had decided to go, he felt that he had a special reason for plunging into a bout of unrestrained drunkenness--to fortify himself for the journey. And just at that time his in-laws received word that Adelaida had died in Petersburg. She died suddenly, in a garret, of typhus according to some, of starvation according to others. Karamazov was drunk when he learned of his wife's death, and some say he exclaimed joyfully, raising his hands to heaven: "Lord, now let Your servant depart in peace." But according to others, he wept, sobbing like a little boy so that people felt sorry for him despite the disgust he aroused in them. It is quite possible that they all were right, that he rejoiced in his regained freedom and wept for the woman from whom he had been freed, both at once. In most cases, people, even the most vicious, are much more naive and simple-minded than we assume them to be. And this is true of ourselves too.CHAPTER 2HE GETS RID OF HIS ELDEST SONIt is, of course, easy to imagine what sort of a father such a man would be, how he would bring up his children. And he lived up to expectation: he completely and thoroughly neglected his child by Adelaida. He did not do so out of any deliberate malice or resentment toward the child's mother, but simply because he forgot all about the little boy. And while he was pestering people with his tears and self-pitying stories, while he was turning his home into a house of debauchery, a faithful servant of the household, Gregory, took the three-year-old Mitya into his care. If it hadn't been for Gregory, there would have been no one to change the boy's shirt. Moreover, it so happened that the child's relations on his mother's side had also, at first, forgotten his existence. Mitya's grandfather, that is, Adelaida's father, Mr. Miusov, was no longer alive; his widow, Mitya's grandmother, had moved to Moscow and was in very poor health; and, in the meantime, Adelaida's sisters had married and moved away. So Mitya spent almost a year in Gregory's little house in the servants' quarters. And, even if his father had occasionally remembered him (he could not, after all, have been completely unaware of the child's existence), Karamazov would have sent his son back to the servants' quarters anyway, because a child would have been in the way during the orgies.But one day a first cousin of Adelaida's returned from Paris. Peter Miusov, who was later to settle abroad permanently, was at that time still a young man, but he was already an exception among the Miusovs: he was an enlightened, big-city gentleman, glittering with foreign polish, a European through and through who, later in life, was to become a typical liberal of the 1840's and 1850's. In the course of his life, he came in contact with some of the most liberal minds of his era, both in Russia and abroad. He met Proudhon personally, as well as Bakunin, and, toward the end of his wanderings, liked best to tell of his experiences during the three days of the February Revolution of 1848 which he had witnessed in Paris, implying that he himself had taken part in it, just short, perhaps, of manning the barricades. This was one of the most gratifying recollections of his youth. He was a man of independent means, with an income from an estate of a thousand-odd souls, as property was evaluated in the old days. That splendid estate was located just outside our town and bordered on the lands of our famous monastery. No sooner had young Peter Miusov taken possession of his estate than he started an endless lawsuit against the monastery. It was something about fishing privileges or wood-cutting rights, I'm not sure which, but he felt that in suing "clericals" he was doing his duty as a citizen and an enlightened man.When Miusov heard what had happened to Adelaida, whom he, of course, remembered, having even, at one time, taken a special interest in her, and when he learned of Mitya's plight, he decided to intervene, although that involved approaching Karamazov, whom Miusov loathed and despised with all the ardor of youth. This was the first time that he met Fyodor Karamazov; he told him point blank that he wished to take the boy and be responsible for his education. Later, he liked to tell at length what had happened at that meeting, because he felt it revealed a great deal about Karamazov's character. When Miusov first broached the subject of Mitya, the fellow stared at him blankly, as though he could not understand what child Miusov was talking about, and he seemed positively taken aback when reminded that he had a young son. And although Miusov's story may have been exaggerated, there was certainly an element of truth in it. It is a fact that all his life Karamazov liked to act the fool and assume all sorts of surprising roles; he would do so even when he had nothing to gain, indeed, even when it could be positively to his disadvantage, as in this instance. This is a quirk found in many people, even very clever ones, let alone the likes of Fyodor Karamazov.Miusov at first went about the matter with some zest, and was even appointed Mitya's guardian (jointly with Karamazov), since the boy had, after all, the small estate and the town house coming to him as his inheritance from his mother. And he moved the boy to his house. But, not being tied down by a family of his own, just as soon as he had wound up his business in our town, which consisted of collecting the revenue from his estate, he went dashing off to Paris for a long stay. He left the boy in the care of a relative of his, a lady who lived in Moscow. Miusov settled in Paris for good and lost sight of Mitya, his interest in the boy petering out completely after the February Revolution, which made such an ineradicable impression on him. In the meantime, the Moscow lady died and Mitya passed into the care of one of her married daughters. I believe he had to change homes for a fourth time soon afterward. I won't expand on this topic here since I will have a great deal to say later about this first-born son of Fyodor Karamazov's, but I must supply a few facts right away, without which I could not even begin my novel.First of all, Mitya--that is, Dmitry Fyodorovich Karamazov--was the only one of Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov's sons who grew up under the impression that, however hard up he might be, he would, when he came of age, come into his inheritance from his mother and that he would then be financially independent. He was unruly as a boy and as a young man. He dropped out of the classical secondary school, but later was admitted to military school. From there he was sent on active duty with an army unit in the Caucasus, where he was given an officer's commission in the field. He was soon demoted to the ranks for fighting a duel, only to be restored to his rank again for gallantry. After this he led a wild, gay life that cost a good deal of money. Since, until he came of age, he never received a single kopek from his father, he was deep in debt by the time that day arrived. He only met and got to know the old man when he came to our town to demand an accounting of the estate left him by his mother. It would appear that, even then, Dmitry took a dislike to his father. He stayed at the paternal house only a short time, leaving as soon as he had managed to get a very small sum from the old man, together with some vague agreement about sending him the revenue from his estate. It must be noted here that on this occasion Dmitry failed to find out from his father what the total worth of his estate was or what income it yielded. Karamazov discovered right away (and this must be noted too) that his son had an erroneous and exaggerated notion of his inheritance, and this discovery pleased him for it fitted in with his own schemes. He realized that the young man was irresponsible, violent, passionate, unruly, impatient, and that he couldn't wait to satisfy all his whims and impulses. And Karamazov now knew how to handle Dmitry: the fellow could always be placated, at least temporarily, with small handouts. Karamazov proceeded immediately to exploit his son's weakness, putting him off with small sums. This went on for four years until, finally, Dmitry lost patience. He made a second appearance in town, this time to force on his father a final settlement of their accounts. He was quite stunned to hear from Karamazov that he had already received, in the many installments, a sum amounting to the value of his estate, that, if anything, it was he who was now in debt to his father, and that, moreover, in view of such and such an agreement which he himself had insisted upon at one point, he had renounced all further claims, etc., etc. The young man was dumbfounded, accused his father of cheating him, and acted as if he would go out of his mind.

From Our Editors

A remarkable work showing the author's power to depict Russian character and his understanding of human nature.

Editorial Reviews

“[Dostoevsky is] at once the most literary and compulsively readable of novelists we continue to regard as great . . . The Brothers Karamazov stands as the culmination of his art–his last, longest, richest, and most capacious book. [This] scrupulous rendition can only be welcomed. It returns us to a work we thought we knew, subtly altered and so made new again.” –Washington Post Book World“A miracle . . . Every page of the new Karamazov is a permanent standard, and an inspiration.” –The Times (London)“One finally gets the musical whole of Dostoevsky’s original.” –New York Times Book Review“Absolutely faithful . . . Fulfills in remarkable measure most of the criteria for an ideal translation . . . The stylistic accuracy and versatility of registers used . . . bring out the richness and depth of the original in a way similar to a faithful and sensitive restoration of a painting.” –The Independent“It may well be that Dostoevsky’s [world], with all its resourceful energies of life and language, is only now–and through the medium of [this] new translation–beginning to come home to the English-speaking reader.” –New York Review of Books“Heartily recommended to any reader who wishes to come as close to Dostoevsky’s Russian as it is possible.” –Joseph Frank, Princeton UniversityWith an Introduction by Malcolm V. Jones