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The Karamazov Brothers (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – August 20, 1998

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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 1054 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (August 20, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192835092
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192835093
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 4.8 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,257,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"A fine translation."--Sr. Anna M. Conklin, Spalding University

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Russian --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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The translation is great and the foot notes very helpful as well.
Bruno Benedini Galli Cicconi
He saw in me an immense love for philosophy, and wholeheartedly recommended that I read the book.
Joseph Muir
The Brothers Karamazov is one of the greatest novels ever written.
Russell Fanelli

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 68 people found the following review helpful By S. Fraser on December 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
After being thoroughly spoiled ROTTEN by Ignat Avsey's beautifully flowing translation of this work, I'm having trouble digging into the first few chapters of "Crime and Punishment", translated by Constance Garnett. It is incredible the stylistic difference between the two translators. Ignat claims to stay truer to the style and spirit of Dostoevsky rather than remain grammatical and structurally confined to perfectionistic "direct" translation, which seems to create clumsy and confusing sentences and phrases, often requiring constant rereading and scrutiny of awkward sentences which I'm sure flow wonderfully in Russian, yet translated "exactingly" into the English language create stumbling blocks to enjoyable comprehension of Dostoevsky's vision. I find Ignat's craft infinitely more engaging and clear, and having now begun a Garnett translation I am immeadiately struck by how stiff and in my opinion, unnecessarily confusing the phrasing and grammar is. I came online hoping Ignat may have translated other Dostoevsky novels, but alas, I can't find any.
At the bookstore, intrigued by the rewording of the title, I read about 3 pages of his version, and then a few of Garnett's. I knew right away which one to buy. I can't recommend his version enough, the novel is astounding and well worth the trouble of taking on, and is sure to be especially delightful if you're reading the Ignat Avsey version.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Ian Shine on January 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
Dear translator Ignat Avsey,
My friend Jenny Coates was astute enough to steer me to your translation of The Karamazov Brothers. I have just finished reading it and derived enormous pleasure from the experience. As I had never read any Dostoevsky before and know no Russian, I'm on shakey ground in claiming that the pleasure is due to your translation, but I feel sure that it is. I almost never read long books and I feared that I would never finish a 900 page book, but that was before I heard Avsey speak out loud and bold. I could not put it down, I smiled and laughed and wept and loved it and I thank you very much. I wrote to the classics editor at OUP and told her how much I liked it and asked her to bring it out in hardback in which case I guaranteed to buy at least one copy. i also told her that I have bought 10 copies of the paper back to give to my family and friends. I also suggested that I would buy any other books that you translated for OUP.
I am certain that its your translation that reveals the real dostoevsky because people who read other translations tell me that the book is very good, but they never say that it is extremely wonderful and so exciting that you can't put it down. I should explain that I don't often write to authors praising their work, I wrote to Arthur Koestler, Louis Begley and to Oriana Fallaci and yourself, I don't know how you feel belonging to such a group. I also wrote to Jeremy Isaacs thanking him for putting Tony Harrison's V on Channel 4.
Again many many thanks,
Ian shine
New York
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 9, 1997
Format: Paperback
Perhaps I shouldn't have said "BEST," but Avsey's translation is by far the most approachable. This new translation might not be as representative of Dostoevsky's style as the lauded Garnett translation is, but Ignat Avsey's new translation is certainly more pleasurable to read
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Richard A. Ellis on September 5, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It would be presumptious of me to "review" Dostoevsky's great masterpiece "The Brothers Karamozov" or, as Avsey has convinced me it should be rendered, "The Karamazov Brothers." Yes, it is one of the greatest novels ever, yes, it is life-changing, and yes, it is on that short list of books that should be read before you die. More than a murder mystery of course, it concerns the existence of God, fraternal rivalry, the question of guilt, the condition of Russia and what it means to be Russian.
So, the main question is what translation to choose? As I don't read Russian, my only criteria was how it read in English. Did it flow well, did it maintain interest, was it "literary"? I had sampled the more popular Pevear-Volokhonsky translation, the current Penguin Classics version, and the older Garnett translation too, and while I did not get too far in any of these, Avsey's version gripped me from the start and I ripped right through it on vacation. The Oxford World's Classics edition has much to recommend, including a time chronology, an index of main characters (an absolute necessity, as the same characters are referred to four or five different ways sometimes), and extensive editorial notes. Also, a minor point, but kudos to the printers Clays Ltd. for a superb job of printing, the paperback is a wonderfully crafted work of art!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Eric Robert Juggernaut VINE VOICE on November 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
Anyone interested in the central question facing mankind will find `The Brothers Karamazov' an essential guide. That question--on man's capacity for responsibility and the proper role of the state and religion--is posed throughout the story in dialogue and events, and is framed neatly in a 20-page section where Ivan presents a poem titled `The Grand Inquisitor' to his brother Alyosha. The chapter that bears that title (Book V, Chapter V) is a masterpiece in itself and should be studied for its narrative technique alone. But the ideas it presents are so immense, so mind-blowing and inspirational, that literary criticism is not sufficient.

Indeed, `The Brothers Karamazov' should not be classed merely as a novel--it is a book of philosophy, theology, and sociology as well that ranks with the greatest documents in those disciplines. There is a fictitious plot, of course, and the characters in the story are some of the most interesting in all of literature, so it is rightly praised as a novel. But the modern reader looking for a plot of twists and romantic intrigues is bound to disappointment. Dostoevsky does not stir up drama through the placement of unexpected developments or improbable character traits. Instead, he relies on the inherent needs and wants of all men to make vivid his story.

The amount of dialogue may be shocking (tedious) to one accustomed to the modern show-don't-tell policy in storytelling. Today, novelists and screenwriters let a character's actions speak for them--it is quicker and provides a much more convincing impression. It also limits the kind of ideas that are posed in the story to simple, prosaic ones like `she likes him' or `he wants to defeat him.
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