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Any correct order to read Dostoevsky?

Posted on 9/5/21 at 8:51 pm
Posted by Oilfieldbiology
Member since Nov 2016
37559 posts
Posted on 9/5/21 at 8:51 pm
I’ve had The Brothers Karamazov on my bookshelf for years (bought at a Barnes and Noble book sale on classics) and have just never picked it up to read it. Recently started listening to a podcast that talks a little of Dostoevsky’s life and I read what little was promoted about his life in the front of this book that included a listing of some of his works and when they were written.

I type all that to ask this, as one of his later works, should I hold off on reading or starting The Brothers Karamazov and read some of his earlier works first?
Posted by When in Rome
Telegraph Road
Member since Jan 2011
35551 posts
Posted on 9/5/21 at 9:30 pm to
Crime & Punishment sucked me in like a tractor beam. I could not put it down and found immense satisfaction in reading it from start to finish.

The Brothers Karamazov…not so much. I actually just put it down and traded it in for Tolstoy’s War & Peace, which I’m enjoying immensely.

That said, a lot of people on this board say that The Brothers Karamazov is their favorite Dostoevsky work, and for that I am determined to get back into it at some point.

As for his other works, can’t comment but to say that they also come highly recommended. I don’t think you need to adhere to some order.

I’d just say…if you find yourself getting stuck or not getting totally sucked in, you might want to put down that book and switch to another. I think state of mind has a lot to do with which books stick when.
This post was edited on 9/5/21 at 9:34 pm
Posted by HailHailtoMichigan!
Mission Viejo, CA
Member since Mar 2012
69339 posts
Posted on 9/6/21 at 12:13 pm to
Crime and Punishment is his most accessible book and you should start there.
Posted by HailHailtoMichigan!
Mission Viejo, CA
Member since Mar 2012
69339 posts
Posted on 9/6/21 at 12:13 pm to
quote:

he Brothers Karamazov…not so much. I actually just put it down and traded it in for Tolstoy’s War & Peace, which I’m enjoying immensely.

That said, a lot of people on this board say that The Brothers Karamazov is their favorite Dostoevsky work, and for that I am determined to get back into it at some point.



BK starts slow but it gets very rewarding.

The problem with Dostoevesky for so many readers is that his books are dry and dialogue driven.
Posted by When in Rome
Telegraph Road
Member since Jan 2011
35551 posts
Posted on 9/7/21 at 8:10 am to
I have every intention of returning to BK, particularly when I can devote a big chunk of time getting into the first third or so of the book uninterrupted to get that momentum going. I don’t mind the style at all; I just kept getting interrupted and had to keep rereading sections to re-familiarize myself with all of the characters. This stagnation led to frustration and I finally said to heck with it

Right now War & Peace seems to suit my current lifestyle/state of mind because the chapters are composed of shorter chunks of different stories.
Posted by LSUfan20005
Member since Sep 2012
8820 posts
Posted on 9/7/21 at 12:29 pm to
quote:

I have every intention of returning to BK


I’ve tried 3 times and have yet to stick to it.
Posted by When in Rome
Telegraph Road
Member since Jan 2011
35551 posts
Posted on 9/7/21 at 2:15 pm to
Posted by HailHailtoMichigan!
Mission Viejo, CA
Member since Mar 2012
69339 posts
Posted on 9/7/21 at 5:37 pm to
quote:

I’ve tried 3 times and have yet to stick to it.


The book is too long, for sure.

Honestly, your best bet at this point is just to read summaries of the subsections that are dry, and really immerse yourself in the famous parts of the novel (the grand inquisitor, the chapter right before grand inquisitor, and the part where the devil visits Ivan)
Posted by When in Rome
Telegraph Road
Member since Jan 2011
35551 posts
Posted on 9/7/21 at 8:06 pm to
That’s not how I roll I am way too stubborn to do something like that. Nope, I’m going to read the whole thing, and I’m going to like it, dammit!
Posted by Freauxzen
Utah
Member since Feb 2006
37364 posts
Posted on 9/7/21 at 8:07 pm to
C&P is his most accessible start there.
BK - His best book, it's the best step up
Notes from the Underground - Necessary at this point where it makes more sense, but you can read it first.
Demons. It is a must read, but probably his least interesting of the big books. You could read it second as well.
The Idiot. Where BK is his best book. The Idiot is his most sincere and deepest. Best to end on.
This post was edited on 9/7/21 at 8:08 pm
Posted by komodo
Lafayette
Member since Dec 2006
395 posts
Posted on 9/8/21 at 10:12 am to
I'm reading Brothers K now. Not my favorite but portions are great.
Posted by Peepdip
Member since Aug 2016
4946 posts
Posted on 9/16/21 at 9:35 am to
quote:

That’s not how I roll I am way too stubborn to do something like that. Nope, I’m going to read the whole thing, and I’m going to like it, dammit!
that’s not stubborn. That’s a non lazy way to read a book. Who the hell wants to half-read a novel
Posted by audodger
Member since Jun 2010
7077 posts
Posted on 11/2/22 at 7:01 pm to
Just read Notes from Underground and was pretty gripped by it despite there being very little story. The Hotel de Paris made me so anxious I started sweating.

What do y'all recommend next? Crime and Punishment?
This post was edited on 11/2/22 at 7:02 pm
Posted by Alyosha
Member since Nov 2020
6818 posts
Posted on 11/3/22 at 8:35 am to
Following others, C&P is the most accessible and summarizes his work to subvert nihilism. But if you want to understand the evolution of his writing and thought, start from the beginning and see his shift from being a pompous ideologue before his imprisonment to understanding salvation post imprisonment. Like a volume of albums, his sound changes via life experiences. As once swept by the influences of French utopian socialism, he lands on Russian nationalism that’s founded on the church’s identity to Beauty that will save the world (Christ).

I deeply appreciated The Double, House of the Dead, C&P, The Idiot, and Brothers K (my favorite) in that abridged order, but it took me two years to read his complete works.

Now I’m working on Jospeh Frank’s 5 volume biographical set of FD.
This post was edited on 11/3/22 at 8:44 am
Posted by Tigertown in ATL
Georgia foothills
Member since Sep 2009
29206 posts
Posted on 11/3/22 at 3:56 pm to
Board, please educate me. I don’t have a desire to slog through something simply because it’s a classic.
I work 65 hours a week and mostly do Audible.
So listening is for pleasure.
I know you don’t know me, but does the collective think his books would be enjoyable to listen to?

I’ve either read or listened to very long books like Musashi, Shantaram etc. so I’m ok with long
Posted by Alyosha
Member since Nov 2020
6818 posts
Posted on 11/3/22 at 5:52 pm to
Yes, but you’ll have to focus and be ready to hit the rewind button. You can’t just listen through, because his work demands rereading and pausing to catch the irony and the many philosophical propositions.
Posted by Tigertown in ATL
Georgia foothills
Member since Sep 2009
29206 posts
Posted on 11/3/22 at 7:02 pm to
quote:

You can’t just listen through, because his work demands rereading and pausing to catch the irony and the many philosophical propositions.


I have 3 masters degrees, so I’m not a numbskull, but none in literature, and I listen/read for fun so it might not be for me. Haha!
Posted by Alyosha
Member since Nov 2020
6818 posts
Posted on 11/3/22 at 7:40 pm to
It’s not a slight. People with PhDs in Dostoyevsky have to do it as well.
This post was edited on 2/19/23 at 5:06 pm
Posted by AllbyMyRelf
Virginia
Member since Nov 2014
3328 posts
Posted on 11/6/22 at 8:33 pm to
I read BK first and then C&P
Posted by Mufassa
Member since Aug 2012
1664 posts
Posted on 11/6/22 at 10:00 pm to
It is very impressive that all of you know Russian. Kudos to y’all
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