Among Dostoevsky's later novels, The Adolescent occupies a very special place: published three years after The Devils and five years before his final masterpiece, The Karamazov Brothers, the novel charts the story of nineteen-year-old Arkady - the illigitimate son of the landowner Versilov and the maid Sofia Andreyevna - as he struggles to find his place in society and "become a Rothschild" agai..
Presented as a series of letters between the humble copying-clerk Devushkin and a distant relative of his, the young Varenka, Poor People brings to the fore the underclass of St Petersburg, who live at the margins of society in the most appalling conditions and abject poverty. As Devushkin tries to help Varenka improve her plight by selling anything he can, he is reduced to even more desperate c..
In 1869 a young Russian was strangled, shot through the head and thrown into a pond. His crime? A wish to leave small group of violent revolutionaries, from which he had become alienated. Dostoevsky takes this real-life catastrophe as the subject and culmination of Devils, a title that refers the young radicals themselves and also to the materialistic ideas that possessed the minds of many think..
During a stifling St Petersburg summer, the rich landowner Velchaninov is haunted by the figure of a man he keeps glimpsing in the street. When he receives a surprise visit from him late at night, he realizes he is an old friend, Trusotsky, whose late wife, Natalya, was his secret lover. As the two men renew their acquaintance, Velchaninov becomes aware that Trusotsky’s child is, in fact, his ow..
The House of the Dead is a stark account of Dostoyevsky's own experience of penal servitude in Siberia. In graphic detail he describes the suffering of the convicts - their squalor and degradation, their terror and resignation, from the rampages of a pyschopath to the brief serenity of Christmas Day. Amid the horror of labour in the sub-zero work camp, we hear the stories of the prisoners, and l..
Oscar Wilde claimed that Humiliated and Insulted is not "at all inferior to the other great masterpieces" and Friedrich Nietzsche is said to have wept over it. Its construction is that of an intricate detective novel, and the reader is plunged into a world of moral degradation, childhood trauma and, above all, unrequited love and irreconcilable relationships. At the centre of the story are a you..
Translated by Constance Garnett, with an Introduction by A. D. P. Briggs.
As Fyodor Karamazov awaits an amorous encounter, he is violently done to death. The three sons of the old debauchee are forced to confront their own guilt or complicity. Who will own to parricide? The reckless and passionate Dmitri? The corrosive intellectual Ivan? Surely not the chaste novice monk Alyosha? The sea..