Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s powerful meditation on faith, meaning and morality, The Brothers Karamazov is translated with an introduction and notes by David McDuff in Penguin Classics. When brutal landowner Fyodor Karamazov is murdered, the lives of his sons are changed irrevocably: Mitya, the sensualist, whose bitter rivalry with his father immediately places him under suspicion for parricide; Ivan, the intellectual, whose mental tortures drive him to breakdown; the spiritual Alyosha, who tries to heal the family’s rifts; and the shadowy figure of their bastard half-brother Smerdyakov. As the ensuing investigation and trial reveal the true identity of the murderer, Dostoyevsky’s dark masterpiece evokes a world where the lines between innocence and corruption, good and evil, blur and everyone’s faith in humanity is tested.
This powerful translation of The Brothers Karamazov features and introduction highlighting Dostoyevsky’s recurrent themes of guilt and salvation, with a new chronology and further reading.
Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky (1821-1881) was born in Moscow. From 1849-54 he lived in a convict prison, and in later years his passion for gambling led him deeply into debt. His other works available in Penguin Classics include Crime & Punishment, The Idiot and Demons. If you enjoyed The Brothers Karamazov you might like Nikolai Gogol’s Dead Souls, also available in Penguin Classics.
There is no writer who better demonstrates the contradictions and fluctuations of the creative mind than Dostoyevsky, and nowhere more astonishingly than in The Brothers Karamazov’ Joyce Carol Oates ‘Dostoyevsky was the only psychologist from whom I had anything to learn: he belongs to the happiest windfalls of my life’ Friedrich Nietzsche ‘The most magnificent novel ever written’ Sigmund Freud