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March Meet-up: The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

  • Mar 26, 2013 · 6:30 PM

Please join me for the March meet-up when we read a great work of Russian literature.

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky-The final novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, first published as Bratya Karamazovy in[masked], and generally considered to be his masterpiece. It is the story of Fyodor Karamazov and his sons Alyosha, Dmitry, and Ivan. It is also a story of patricide, into the sordid unfolding of which Dostoyevsky introduces a love-hate struggle with profound psychological and spiritual implications. Throughout the whole novel there persists a search for faith, for God--the central idea of the work. The dramatization of Ivan's repudiation of God is concentrated in the famous "Legend of the Grand Inquisitor." A response to Ivan is contained in the preaching of the monk Zosima that the secret of universal harmony is not achieved by the mind but by the heart.

The Brothers Karamazov is a passionate philosophical novel that enters deeply into the ethical debates of God, free will, and morality. It is a spiritual drama of moral struggles concerning faith, doubt, and reason, set against a modernizing Russia. Dostoyevsky composed much of the novel in Staraya Russa, which is also the main setting of the novel. Since its publication, it has been acclaimed all over the world by intellectuals as diverse as Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Martin Heidegger, Cormac McCarthy and Kurt Vonnegut as one of the supreme achievements in literature.

Fyodor Dostoevsky [masked]) was a Russian novelist, journalist, short-story writer whose psychological penetration into the human soul had a profound influence on the 20th century novel.

Dostoevsky was born in Moscow, as the second son of a former army doctor. He was educated at home and at a private school. Shortly after the death of his mother in 1837 he was sent to St. Petersburg, where he entered the Army Engineering College. In 1839 Dostoevsky's father died probably of apoplexy but there were strong rumors that he was murdered by his own serfs. Dostoevsky graduated as a military engineer, but resigned in 1844 to devote himself to writing. His first novel, Poor Folk appeared in 1846. It was followed by The Double, which depicted a man who was haunted by a look-alike who eventually usurps his position.

In 1846 he joined a group of utopian socialists. He was arrested in 1849 and sentenced to death. The sentence was commuted to imprisonment in Siberia. Dostoevsky spent four years in hard labor and four years as a soldier in Semipalatinsk.

Dostoevsky returned to St. Petersburg in 1854 as a writer with a religious mission and published three works that derive in different ways from his Siberia experiences: The House of the Dead, (1860) a fictional account of prison life,The Insulted and Injured, which reflects the author's refutation of naive Utopianism in the face of evil, andWinter Notes on Summer Impressions, his account of a trip to Western Europe.

In 1857 Dostoevsky married Maria Isaev, a 29-year old widow. He resigned from the army two years later. Between the years 1861 and 1863 he served as editor of the monthly periodical Time, which was later suppressed because of an article on the Polish uprising.

In[masked] his wife and brother died and he was burdened with debts, and his situation was made even worse by gambling. From the turmoil of the 1860s emerged Notes from the Underground, psychological study of an outsider, which marked a watershed in Dostoevsky's artistic development. The novel starts with the confessions of a mentally ill narrator and continues with the promise of spiritual rebirth. It was followed byCrime and Punishment, (1866) an account of an individual's fall and redemption, The Idiot,(1868) depicting a Christ-like figure, Prince Myshkin, and The Possessed, (1871) an exploration of philosophical nihilism.

In 1867 Dostoevsky married Anna Snitkin, his 22-year old stenographer, who seems to have understood her husband's manias and rages. They traveled abroad and returned in 1871. By the time of The Brothers Karamazov, which appeared in[masked], Dostoevsky was recognized in his own country as one of its great writers.

An epileptic all his life, Dostoevsky died in St. Petersburg on February 9, 1881. He was buried in the Aleksandr Nevsky monastery, St. Petersburg.

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  • Lucy

    Thank you, Carissa, for hosting this event. I had been looking forward very much to discussing Brothers Karamazov, and this evening was a lot of fun.

    March 26, 2013

  • Carissa

    Thanks for coming out tonight! Interesting discussion on a title many of us have wanted to read since the start of the group.

    March 26, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I can't make it! Wish I could.

    March 25, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry, can't make it. Hope everyone's well.

    March 25, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I couldn't get off work! :(

    March 25, 2013

  • Jeni

    Third in a row missed! Ack! I'll definitely be there for Tinker Tailor!

    March 25, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    So sorry to cancel everyone. I'm arriving back from my business trip later than anticipated.

    March 25, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Even though I am still on the waiting list, just wanted to let you know that I won't be able to come on tuesday.
    Have a great time!
    Helene

    March 22, 2013

  • Marilyn

    So sorry to miss this one! Schedule conflict...

    March 7, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Okay, joining the wait list.. hope this works out.

    February 20, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Not sure if I can make it since I just found out that this meeting is on the second night of Passover and I may have plans. Will let you know closer to the time.

    February 12, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Looks like I'll be out of town this week, so i won't be able to make it.

    February 2, 2013

9 went

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