Fyodor Dostoyevsky is a titanic figure among the world's great authors, and The Brothers Karamazov is often hailed as his finest novel. A masterpiece on many levels, it transcends the boundaries of a gripping murder mystery to become a moving account of the battle between love and hate, faith and despair, compassion and cruelty, good and evil.
Also known as Demons, The Possessed is a powerful socio-political novel about revolutionary ideas and the radicals behind them. It follows the career of Pyotr Stepanovich Verkhovensky, a political terrorist who leads a group of nihilists on a demonic quest for societal breakdown. They are consumed by their desires and ideals, and have surrendered themselves fully to the darkness of their "demons". This possession leads them to engulf a quiet provincial town and subject it to a storm of violence.
In this intense 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".
Considered one of the first existentialist novels, Notes from Underground contains one of the most unsettling characters in 19th-century fiction. Resentful, cruel, entitled, and pitiful, Dostoyevsky's Underground Man is a disturbing human being bent on humiliating others for his own amusement. The Gambler is perhaps the most personal of Dostoyevsky's novels. Written to pay off the author's own gambling debts, the book follows the obsessions and anxieties of Alexey Ivanovitch, a sympathetic character who has given in to the forces of addiction.
The book probes the possible roles of four brothers in the unresolved murder of their father, Fyodor Karamazov. At the same time, it carefully explores the personalities and inclinations of the brothers themselves. Their psyches together represent the full spectrum of human nature, the continuum of faith and doubt. Ultimately, this novel seeks to understand the real meaning of faith and existence and includes much beneficial philosophical and spiritual discussion that moves the reader towards faith.
The Karamazov brothers are as different as mind, body, and spirit. Ivan, an atheist and brooding intellectual; Dmitri, a volatile sensualist and his father's rival for the beautiful Grushenka; and Alexey, driven by unshakeable piety. In their shadow is their rejected half-brother, humiliated into servitude. Together they act to rid themselves of the dissolute Karamazov patriarch. Then, in a single shocking act, the fates of the brothers are inexorably altered.
Beautiful, popular, and fortunate, Anna Karenina is an upright wife and mother. But her passionless marriage to a senior statesman leads her into the arms of Count Alexey Vronsky. The dashing cavalry officer stokes in her something exciting and defiant. In abandoning the rules of her noble station, she's aware of the risks: a degraded reputation and the hostile recriminations of St. Petersburg society. But there are even greater stakes as Anna follows desires both romantic and carnal, emancipating and destructive.
Gogol's great Russian classic is the Pickwick Papers of Russian literature. It takes a sharp but humorous look at life in all its strata but especially the devious complexities in Russia, with its landowners and serfs. We are introduced to Chichikov, a businessman who, in order to trick the tax authorities, buys up dead 'souls', or serfs, whose names still appear on the government census. Despite being a dealer in phantom crimes and paper ghosts, he is the most beguiling of Gogol's characters.
This magnificent novel is about the murder of a miserly, aged pawnbroker and her younger sister by a radical, destitute St. Petersburg student named Raskolnikov, and the emotional, mental, and physical effects that follow. It is a remarkable masterpiece about a man's turbulent inner life and his relationship to others and to society at large. Dostoevsky explored the human condition on many levels in this great piece, and among the main themes the novel explores is the rather strange theory that criminals have a spiritual need to be punished - that indeed they demand it.
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.
Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment is universally regarded as one of literature's finest achievements, as the great Russian novelist explores the inner workings of a troubled intellectual. Raskolnikov, a nihilistic young man in the midst of a spiritual crisis, makes the fateful decision to murder a cruel pawnbroker, justifying his actions by relying on science and reason, and creating his own morality system. Dehumanized yet sympathetic, exhausted yet hopeful, Raskolnikov represents the best and worst elements of modern intellectualism. The aftermath of his crime and Petrovich's murder investigation result in an utterly compelling, truly unforgettable cat-and-mouse game. This stunning dramatization of Dostoevsky's magnum opus brings the slums of St. Petersburg and the demons of Raskolnikov's tortured mind vividly to life.
Living in a squalid room in St. Petersburg, the indigent but proud Rodion Raskolnikov believes he is above society. Obsessed with the idea of breaking the law, Raskolnikov resolves to kill an old pawnbroker for her cash. Although the murder and robbery are bungled, Raskolnikov manages to escape without being seen. And with nothing to prove his guilt and a mendacious confessor in police custody, Raskolnikov seems to have committed the perfect crime. But in Dostoyevsky’s world of moral transgressions, with its reason and its consequences, Raskolnikov’s plan has a devastating hitch.
Dostoevsky studied human nature with passion and precision. He plumbed the depths and never winced at what he found, even when it was beyond his understanding. This extraordinary novel is a recital of his findings, told in the story of four brothers: Dimitri, pleasure-seeking, impatient, unruly; Ivan, brilliant and morose; Alyosha, gentle, loving, honest; and the illegitimate Smerdyakov, sly, silent, cruel. What give this story its dramatic grip is the part these brothers play in their father's murder.
Alexander Ostrovsky, Constance Garnett - translator
Marty Krz, Robert Curran, Bob Neufeld, and others
Length: 2 hrs and 28 mins
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Although his work has somewhat fallen into obscurity, Alexander Ostrovsky (1823-1886) is considered to be one of the greatest of Russian dramatists. He was one of the pioneers of a realistic style, which later found exponents in celebrated European dramatists like Ibsen and Strindberg. Of Ostrovsky's 47 plays, one of the best known is The Storm, the portrait of an idealistic young woman trapped in a world of crushing and venal orthodoxy. The Storm formed the basis of Janacek's opera, Katya Kabanova.
A predecessor to such monumental works as Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov, Notes from the Underground represents a turning point in Fyodor Dostoevsky's writing toward the more political side. In this work, we follow the unnamed narrator of the story, who, disillusioned by the oppression and corruption of the society in which he lives, withdraws from that society into the underground.