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The Brothers Karamazov [Hardcover]

Fyodor Dostoevsky , Constance Garnett
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 23 1996 0679601813 978-0679601814 New edition
The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky's crowning achievement, is a tale of patricide and family rivalry that embodies the moral and spiritual dissolution of an entire society (Russia in the 1870s). It created a national furor comparable only to the excitement stirred by the publication, in 1866, of Crime and Punishment. To Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov captured the quintessence of Russian character in all its exaltation, compassion, and profligacy. Significantly, the book was on Tolstoy's bedside table when he died. Readers in every language have since accepted Dostoevsky's own evaluation of this work and have gone further by proclaiming it one of the few great novels of all ages and countries.
    "The Brothers Karamazov stands as the culmination of Dostoevsky's art--his last, longest, richest, and most capacious book," said The Washington Post Book World.
  "Nothing is outside Dostoevsky's province," observed Virginia Woolf. "Out of Shakespeare there is no more exciting reading."

The Modern Library has played a significant role in American cultural life for the better part of a century. The series was founded in 1917 by the publishers Boni and Liveright and eight years later acquired by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. It provided the foun-dation for their next publishing venture, Random House. The Modern Library has been a staple of the American book trade, providing readers with affordable hard-bound editions of important works of liter-ature and thought. For the Modern Library's seventy-fifth anniversary, Random House redesigned the series, restoring as its emblem the running torchbearer created by Lucian Bernhard in 1925 and refurbishing jackets, bindings, and type, as well as inau-gurating a new program of selecting titles. The Modern Library continues to provide the world's best books, at the best prices.

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“[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 University

With an Introduction by Malcolm V. Jones

From the Back Cover

The Modern Library of the World's
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"I am called a psychologist; it's not true. I am only a realist in the highest sense--I depict all the depths of the human soul."

--Fyodor Dostoevsky

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Alexey Fyodorovitch Karamazov was the third son of Fyodor Pavlovitch Karamazov, a landowner well known in our district in his own day, and still remembered among us owing to his gloomy and tragic death, which happened thirteen years ago, and which I shall describe in its proper place. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic story Dec 28 2006
THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, which is one of Dostoyevsky's all time best, perhaps the best, adds to make him perhaps the best writer of all times. The author came up with so many great ideas and characters that are so real to life even in their complex emotions and rationales that we relate to the characters as if we are in their heads. In the end, not only do we have a great story, we are also left with a beautifully written work of political, psychological, sociological, ethical and psychological thought that is very true not only to Russia, but to other lands and peoples as well.

The greatest soul writer of all times and great contributor to human psychology successfully created a beautiful and amazing dynamism between the Karamazov brothers that has been the core of many stories after involving siblings. There is the unreliable father, the old Fyodor Karamazov whose life dominates his sons and whose death casts a huge shadow on their future.

Sensual Alyosha who is the youngest of the Karamazov brothers is the main character of the story, and he is noted for his strong faith in god and humanity, deep kindness and sense of sacrifice.

Ivan the atheist has a sharp mind and is the critical analyzer who seeks for meaning in everything. He is skeptical and dwells more on rationale in his dealing with people and issues. In the end, his intellectual mind misleads him and opens the doors to the nightmares in his life.

Dmitry is the sensitive brother who has a strong consideration for anything living, Smerdyakov their half-brother, is the cunning illegitimate son of old Fyodor Karamazov and works as Fyodor's servant.
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The Brothers Karamazov is a magnificent piece of literature. Anyone the least bit familiar with Fyodor Dostoevsky will easily spot his hand at work here, which means some familiar ground for readers of other works by the author. This is not at all negative, however; this volume overflows with illuminating, thought-provoking Dostoevsky ideas.
The Constance Garnett translation is somewhat awkward; I find Garnett overly monotonous and convoluted. Though Dostoevsky is no quick nor casual read, his text was certainly confused in some of Garnett's meandering passages. I feel other translators do a more concise and entertaining job, while keeping the same ideas intact, though I've only briefly read other translations.
To give evidence to my critique, the notes on translation in the back of my text indicate some issues, including the title itself! Instead of "The Brothers Karamazov," the book should probably be "The Karamazov Brothers." As editor Ralph E. Matlaw states, "we do not refer to 'the brothers Kennedy'," and I'll mention "the sisters Hilton." On the bright side, I feel the strange title makes the book feel more "foreign" and exotic.
Matlaw also states Garnett doesn't just confuse the reader with some language, but actually simplifies and cleans up other language, turning at least one character into a more polished version than Doestoevsky probably intended. Thankfully, Garnett's peculiarities become familiar and comfortable. Overall, this book is sufficiently readable.
Of note to first-time Dostoevsky readers is the extreme number of characters quickly introduced near the beginning of the book, with the traditional cavalcade of Russian names, surnames, and nicknames.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Russian Gen Xers Looking for Love June 5 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This recent Russian novel has lately been getting a lot of attention in America following the release of The Brothers McMullen, an American movie based upon the book. With all of the hype surrounding the film, this new English translation should propel Dostoevky's work to the bestseller list and may even become one of Oprah's new favorites!
The story focuses on three Gen X brothers, Dmitry, Alexi and Ivan, coming to terms with relationships and careers in the ironic and apathetic late-90s. Dmitry is the party kid, recklessly drinking and gambling and picking up loose women. His character is clearly inspired by the anti-heroes of Jay McInernery and Bret Easton Ellis. Then there's the thoughtful college student Ivan. He is wracked with indecision as he finds that his philosophy courses have only prepared him for jobs at the local Safeway. The youngest, Alexi, is the good kid - a former altar boy with a big heart and an eye for good deeds. He becomes increasingly frustrated when he finds that girls don't always go for nice boys.
The three brother's lives are all impacted by their troubled relationship with their foolhardy and negligent father. Having lost two wives, his role as a single parent is compromised by excessive drinking and disorderliness. Their troubled household is clearly inspired by some of the seminal writings of S. E. Hinton.
When the father unexpectedly dies, the plot takes a 180 degree turn and we suddenly find ourselves in an intense Law & Order style courtroom drama. Look out O.J.! Solving this crazy whodunit becomes a real brain twister. Lovers of teen drama and mystery novels alike will have to exercise considerable restraint to avoid sneaking a peek at the surprise ending!
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Book Bad Translation
Great Book Bad Translation, Jul 20 2007

I have read this translation of BK as well as one by David Magarshack, and a new one by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhinsky. Read more
Published on July 19 2007 by E. Haensel
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Book Bad Translation
I have read this translation of BK as well as one by David Magarshack, and a new one by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhinsky. Read more
Published on July 19 2007 by E. Haensel
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best
This book took me three months to read but it was well worth it. The character development and plot will not let you put this book down. Read more
Published on May 5 2004 by David Vella
3.0 out of 5 stars Who Killed the Father?
You won't know for a long, long time which of his 4 sons comitted the parricide, but everything is revealed and explained in the end. Read more
Published on April 1 2004 by I ain't no porn writer
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes it is good
The philosophy and all that stuff is the best part. The actual plot is kinda slow at first. I must admit the mystery was better than I expected. Read more
Published on March 24 2004 by some guy
5.0 out of 5 stars Staggering Intelligence
I hesitate to even write a review for this book. I hesitate because I am afraid that someone might read it, dislike the review and thus refuse to pick the book up and read it. Read more
Published on Jan. 4 2004 by Henry Krinkle
5.0 out of 5 stars Beauty/ Horrah for Karamazov!
The reason we keep on living is to experience beauty. The Brothers Karamazov is perhaps the most beautiful novel I have ever read. Ok, no perhaps about it. Read more
Published on March 19 2002 by j o e
5.0 out of 5 stars What lurks within the hearts of men
If Charles Dickens's novels are a romanticization of Victorian England, then Dostoevsky's must be a realization of 19th Century Russia. Read more
Published on Nov. 26 2001 by A.J.
2.0 out of 5 stars Laborious yet insightful reading
Brothers Karamazov is very complex, in relation to the characters and their interactions. To me the characters were not described very well and the dialogue seemed forced, at... Read more
Published on Nov. 4 2001 by "inspectorhoorah"
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly over the top
There's really no point in arguing that this anything but a really great novel. It is an epic work, with an almost epic length as well; an the exploration of the relations between... Read more
Published on July 10 2001 by Edward Bosnar
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