The most autobiographical novel by the author of Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov-- and the namesake of Elif Batumans debut novel, The Idiot Returning to St Petersburg from a Swiss sanatorium, the gentle and naïve epileptic Prince Myshkin-- known as the idiot--pays a visit to his distant relative General Yepanchin and proceeds to charm the General and his family. But his life is thrown into turmoil when he chances on a photograph of the beautiful Nastasya Filippovna. Utterly infatuated, he soon finds himself caught up in a love triangle and drawn into a web of blackmail, betrayal, and finally, murder. In Prince Myshkin, Dostoyevsky portrays the purity of a truly beautiful soul and explores the perils that innocence and goodness face in a corrupt world. David McDuff's translation brilliantly captures the novel's idiosyncratic and dream-like language and the nervous, elliptic flow of the narrative. This edition also contains an introduction by William Mills Todd III, which is a fascinating examination of the pressures on Dostoyevsky as he wrote the story of his Christ-like hero.
A superb new translation of Dostoyevsky?s chilling and prophetic novel of revolutionary fanaticism Pyotr and Stavrogin are the leaders of a Russian revolutionary cell. Their aim is to overthrow the Tsar, destroy society, and seize power for themselves. Together they train terrorists who are willing to lay down their lives to accomplish their goals. But when the group is threatened with exposure, will their recruits be willing to kill one of their own to cover their tracks? Savage and powerful yet lively and often comic, Demons was inspired by a real-life political murder and is a scathing and eerily prescient indictment of those who use violence to serve their beliefs.
Here was the house of the living dead, a life like none other upon earth' In January 1850 Dostoyevsky was sent to a remote Siberian prison camp for his part in a political conspiracy. The four years he spent there, startlingly re-created in The House of the Dead , were the most agonizing of his life. In this fictionalized account he recounts his soul-destroying incarceration through the cool, detached tones of his narrator, Aleksandr Petrovich Goryanchikov: the daily battle for survival, the wooden plank beds, the cabbage soup swimming with cockroaches, his strange 'family' of boastful, ugly, cruel convicts. Yet The House of the Dead is far more than a work of documentary realism: it is also a powerful novel of redemption, describing one man's spiritual and moral death and the miracle of his gradual reawakening. This edition includes notes and an introduction discussing the circumstances of Dostoyevsky's imprisonment, the origins of the novel in his prison writings, and the character of Aleksandr Petrovich.
This text is a revised edition of Dostoyevsky's classic tale. Rasholnikov, a destitute and desperate former student, wanders through the slums of St Petersburg and commits a random murder without remorse or regret. As he embarks on a dangerous cat and mouse game, he is pursued by his conscience.
When brutal landowner Fyodor Karamazov is murdered, the lives of his sons are changed irrevocably: Mitya is placed under suspicion; Ivan's mental tortures drive him to breakdown; Alyosha tries to heal the family's rifts; and there is always the shadow of their bastard half-brother, Smerdyakov.
Netochka Nezvanova - a 'Nameless Nobody' - tells the story of a childhood dominated by her stepfather, Efimov, a failed musician who believes he is a neglected genius. The young girl is strangely drawn to this drunken ruin of a man, who exploits her and drives the family to poverty. But when she is rescued by an aristocratic family, the abuse against Netochka's delicate psyche continues in a more subtle way, condemning her to remain an outsider - a solitary spectator of a glittering society. Conceived as part of a novel on a grand scale, Netochka Nezvanova remained incomplete after Dostoyevsky was exiled to Siberia for 'revolutionary activities' in 1849. With its depiction of the suffering, loneliness, madness and sin that affect both rich and poor in St Petersburg, it contains the great themes that were to dominate his later novels.
Collected here in Penguin Classics are two of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's shorter works, Notes from Underground and The Double, translated by Ronald Wilks with an introduction by Robert Louis Jackson. Alienated from society and paralysed by a sense of his own insignificance, the anonymous narrator of Dostoyevsky's groundbreaking Notes from Underground tells the story of his tortured life. With bitter irony, he describes his refusal to become a worker in the 'anthill' of society and his gradual withdrawal to an existence 'underground'. The seemingly ordinary world of St Petersburg takes on a nightmarish quality in The Double when a government clerk encounters a man who looks exactly like him - his double, perhaps, or possibly the darker side of his own personality. Like Notes from Underground, this is a masterly tragicomic study of human consciousness. Ronald Wilks's extraordinary new translation is accompanied here by an introduction by Robert Louis Jackson discussing these pivotal works in the context of Dostoyevsky's life and times. This edition also contains a chronology, bibliography, table of ranks and notes on each work. Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky (1821-1881) was born in Moscow. From 1849-54 he lived in a convict prison, and in later years his passion for gambling led him deeply into debt. His other works available in Penguin Classics include Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, The Idiot and Demons. If you enjoyed Notes from Underground and The Double, you might like Dostoyevsky's Demons, also available in Penguin Classics. 'Notes from Underground, with its mood of intellectual irony and alienation, can be seen as the first modern novel ... That sense of meaninglessness of existence that runs through much of twentieth-century writing - from Conrad and Kafka, to Beckett and beyond - starts in Dostoyevsky's work' Malcolm Bradbury
With their penetrating psychological insight and their emphasis on human dignity, respect and forgiveness, Dostoyevsky's early short stories contain the seeds of the themes that came to his major novels. Poor Folk, the author's first great literary triumph, is the story of a tragic relationship between an impoverished copy clerk and a young seamstress, told through their passionate letters to each other. In The Landlady Dostoyevsky portrays a dreamer hero who is captivated by a curious couple and becomes their lodger. Mr Prokharchin, inspired by a true story, is a sly comedy centring on an eccentric miser, and Polzunkov is a powerful character sketch which, in common with the other tales in this volume, questions the very nature of existence.
'My God! A whole minute of bliss! Is that really so little for the whole of a man's life?' A poignant tale of love and loneliness from Russia's foremost writer. One of 46 new books in the bestselling Little Black Classics series, to celebrate the first ever Penguin Classic in 1946. Each book gives readers a taste of the Classics' huge range and diversity, with works from around the world and across the centuries - including fables, decadence, heartbreak, tall tales, satire, ghosts, battles and elephants.
The underground man has always felt like an outsider. He doesn't want to be like other people, working in the 'ant-hill' of society. So he decides to withdraw from the world, scrawling a series of darkly sarcastic notes about the torments he is suffering. Is he going mad? Or is it the world around him that is insane?
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The stories in this volume demonstrate Dostoyevsky's genius for fusing caricature, irony and the grotesque to create a powerful dark humour. The Gambler is a breathtaking portrayal of an intense and futile obsession. Based on Dostoyevsky's own experience of financial desperation and the compulsive desire to win money, it focuses on the characters that take their places at the gaming tables of 'Roulettenburg': the outspoken, aristocratic 'Grandmamma', the mercenary Mademoiselle Blanche, the cool, mysterious Polina and Alex, the author's self-portrait; a man gripped by exhilaration and hopelessness. Bobok is a blackly comic satire in which a desolate writer becomes drawn into the conversations of the dead, and A Nasty Story is a humorous look at the disparity between a man's exaggerated ideal of himself and the sad reality.
Summoned to the country estate of his wealthy uncle Colonel Yegor Rostanev, the young student Sergey Aleksandrovich finds himself thrown into a startling bedlam. For as he soon sees, his meek and kind-hearted uncle is wholly dominated by a pretentious and despotic pseudo-intellectual named Opiskin, a charlatan who has ingratiated himself with Yegor's mother and now holds the entire household under his thumb. Watching the absurd theatrics of this domestic tyrant over forty-eight explosive hours, Sergey grows increasingly furious - until at last, he feels compelled to act. A compelling comic exploration of petty tyranny, The Village of Stepanchikovo reveals a delight in life's wild absurdities that rivals even Gogol's. It also offers a fascinating insight into the genesis of the characters and situations of many of Dostoyevsky's great later novels, including The Idiot, Devils and The Brothers Karamazov.
'40,000 francs, which lay before him in a heap of gold and banknotes.' Written in twenty-six days to pay off Dostoyevsky's own roulette debts, The Gambler is a graphic psychological study of addiction, accompanied here by a brilliant short story of excruciating social embarrassment. Ten new titles in the colourful, small-format, portable new Pocket Penguins series