Summary: First published in 1846, Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novella The Double is a classic....+
First published in 1846, Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novella The Double is a classic doppelgänger and the second major work published by the author. It is the story of Yakov Petrovich Golyadkin, a government clerk who believes that a fellow clerk has taken over his identity and is determined to bring about his ruin. Considered the most Gogolesque of Dostoevsky's works, the novella brilliantly depicts Golyadkin's descent into madness in a way that is hauntingly poetic. The Double illustrates Dostoevsky's uncanny ability at capturing the complexity of human emotion, especially the darker side of the human psyche.
Summary: After spending four years in a Siberian penal settlement, during which time....+
After spending four years in a Siberian penal settlement, during which time he underwent a religious conversion, Dostoevsky developed a keen ability for deep character analysis. In The Brothers Karamazov, he explores human nature at its most loathsome and cruel but never flinches at what he finds.
The Brothers Karamazov tells the stirring tale of four brothers: the pleasure-seeking, impatient Dmitri; the brilliant and morose Ivan; the gentle, loving, and honest Alyosha; and the illegitimate Smerdyakov: shy, silent, and cruel. The four unite in the murder of one of literature’s most despicable characters--their father. This was Dostoevsky’s final and best work.
Summary: Both a masterpiece of Russian populist writing and a parody of the entire genre,....+
Both a masterpiece of Russian populist writing and a parody of the entire genre, Poor People is an early example of Dostoevsky’s genius.
Written as a series of letters, Poor People is the tragic tale of a petty clerk and his impossible love for a young girl. Longing to help her and her family, he sells everything he can, but his kindness leads him only into more desperate poverty, and ultimately into debauchery. As a typical “man of the underground,” he serves as the embodiment of the belief that happiness can only be achieved with riches.
This work is remarkable for its vivid characterizations, especially of Dievushkin, the clerk, solely by means of his letters to the young girl and her answers to him.
Summary: One of the greatest works of fiction ever written, Crime and Punishment is....+
One of the greatest works of fiction ever written, Crime and Punishment is at once an intense psychological study, a terrifying murder mystery, and a fascinating detective thriller instilled with philosophical, religious, and social commentary.
Dostoevsky studies the psychological impact upon a desperate and impoverished student when he murders a despicable pawnbroker, transgressing moral law to ultimately “benefit humanity.” After killing the old woman, haunted by guilt and terror, the young man must decide whether to assuage his conscience by confessing or attempt to get away with the perfect crime.
Crime and Punishment takes the listener on a journey into the darkest recesses of the criminal and depraved mind and exposes the soul of a man possessed by both good and evil who cannot escape his own conscience.
Summary: Loosely based on sensational press reports of a Moscow student’s murder by....+
Loosely based on sensational press reports of a Moscow student’s murder by fellow revolutionists, The Possessed depicts the destructive chaos caused by outside agitators who move into a provincial town. The enigmatic Stavrogin dominates the novel. His magnetic personality influences his tutor, the liberal intellectual poseur Stepan Verhovensky, and the teacher’s revolutionary son Pyotr, as well as other radicals. Stavrogin is portrayed as a man of strength without direction, capable of goodness and nobility. When Stavrogin loses his faith in God, however, he is seized by brutal desires he does not fully understand. Widely considered the greatest political novel ever written, The Possessed showcases Dostoevsky’s brilliant characterization, amazing insight into the human heart, and crushing criticism of the desire to manipulate the thought and behavior of others.