Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina

Leo Tolstoy

Described by William Faulkner as the best novel ever written and by Fyodor Dostoevsky as “flawless,” Anna Karenina tells of the doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and the dashing officer, Count Vronsky. Tragedy unfolds as Anna rejects her passionless marriage and must endure the hypocrisies of society. Set against a vast and richly textured canvas of nineteenth-century Russia, the novel’s…

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The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov

Fyodor Dostoevsky

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…

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Childhood

Childhood

Leo Tolstoy

Childhood was the first published novel by Leo Tolstoy, released under the initials L. N. in the November 1852 issue of the popular Russian literary journal The Contemporary. It is the first in a series of three novels and is followed by Boyhood and Youth. Published when Tolstoy was just twenty-three years old, the book was an immediate success, earning notice from other Russian novelists including…

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Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s classic, Crime And Punishment, tells the story of Raskolnikov, a destitute and desperate former student, who wanders through the slums of St Petersburg and commits a random murder without remorse or regret. He imagines himself to be a great man, a Napoleon: acting for a higher purpose beyond conventional moral law. But as he embarks on a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a suspicious police…

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Dead Souls

Dead Souls

Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol

Since its publication in 1842, Dead Souls has been celebrated as a supremely realistic portrait of provincial Russian life. Chichikov, combs the back country wheeling and dealing for “dead souls” (deceased serfs who still represent money to anyone sharp enough to trade in them), and we are introduced to a Dickensian cast of peasants, landowners, and conniving petty officials, few of whom can resist the seductive illogic…

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The Double

The Double

Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Double centers on a government clerk who goes mad. It deals with the internal psychological struggle of its main character, Yakov Petrovich Golyadkin, who repeatedly encounters someone who is his exact double in appearance but confident, aggressive, and extroverted – characteristics that are the polar opposites to those of the pushover protagonist.

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The Gambler

The Gambler

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The Gambler is a short novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky about a young tutor in the employment of a formerly wealthy Russian general. The novella reflects Dostoevsky’s own addiction to roulette, which was in more ways than one the inspiration for the book: Dostoevsky completed the novella under a strict deadline to pay off gambling debts.

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The Idiot

The Idiot

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Just two years after completing Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky produced a second novel with a very different man at its center. In The Idiot, the saintly Prince Myshkin returns to Russia from a Swiss sanatorium and finds himself a stranger in a society obsessed with wealth, power, and sexual conquest. He soon becomes entangled in a love triangle with a notorious kept woman, Nastasya, and a beautiful young girl, Aglaya.

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Notes From the Underground

Notes From the Underground

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Notes from the Underground is an 1864 novella by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It is considered by many to be the first existentialist novel. It presents itself as an excerpt from the rambling memoirs of a bitter, isolated, unnamed narrator who is a retired civil servant living in St. Petersburg. The first part of the story is told in monologue form, or the underground man’s diary, and attacks emerging Western…

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Poor Folk

Poor Folk

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Poor Folk is the first novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, written over the span of nine months between 1844 and 1845. Inspired by the works of Gogol, Pushkin, and Karamzin, as well as English and French authors, Poor Folk is written in the form of letters between the two main characters, Makar Devushkin and Varvara Dobroselova, who are poor second cousins. The novel showcases the life of poor people, their relationship…

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The Possessed

The Possessed

Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Possessed, also translated as The Devils or Demons, is an 1872 novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky. As the revolutionary democrats begin to rise in Russia, different ideologies begin to collide. Dostoevsky casts a critical eye on both the left-wing idealists, exposing their ideas and ideological foundation as demonic, and the conservative establishment’s ineptitude in dealing with those ideas and their social consequences.

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