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Articles / Book Reviews

The Brothers Karamazov (Братья Карамазовы in Russian, /'bratʲjə karə'mazəvɨ/) is the last novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky, generally considered the culmination of his life's work. Dostoevsky spent nearly two years writing The Brothers Karamazov, which was published as a serial in The Russian Messenger and completed in November of 1880. Dostoevsky intended it to be the first part in an epic story titled The Life of a Great Sinner,[1] but he died fewer than four months after publication.

The book is written on two levels: on the surface it is the story of a patricide in which all of a murdered man's sons share varying degrees of complicity but, on a deeper level, it is a spiritual drama of the moral struggles between faith, doubt, reason, and free will. The novel was composed mostly in Staraya Russa, which is also the main setting of the book.

Since its publication, it has been acclaimed all over the world by thinkers as diverse as Sigmund Freud, Andrew R. MacAndrew, Konstantin Mochulsky, Albert Einstein, and Pope Benedict XVI as one of the supreme achievements in world literature.

The Brothers Karamazov has had a deep influence on some of the greatest writers and philosophers that followed it. Sigmund Freud called it "The most magnificent novel ever written" and was fascinated with the book for its Oedipal themes. In 1928 Freud published a paper titled "Dostoevsky and Patricide" in which he investigated Dostoevsky's own neuroses and how they contributed to the novel. Freud claimed that Dostoevsky's epilepsy was not a natural condition but instead a physical manifestation of the author's hidden guilt over his father's death. According to Freud, Dostoevsky (and all sons for that matter) wished for the death of his father because of latent desire for his mother; and as evidence Freud cites the fact that Dostoevsky's epileptic fits did not begin until he turned 18, the year his father died. The themes of patricide and guilt, especially in the form of moral guilt illustrated by Ivan Karamazov, would then obviously follow for Freud as literary evidence of this theory.

A very great book in my opinion, and if you have the time go read it.


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Rating: 2.7 / 5 (514 votes)

Comments

Posted by onion77478 on January 27, 2007 at 9:56 am
i think i might read it
Posted by Sephirotyang on January 27, 2007 at 10:19 am
you better!
Posted by lucien002 on January 27, 2007 at 3:13 pm
ditto on the reading. I've had a copy laying around here for years, but never picked it up.
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