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The Best Short Stories of Fyodor Dostoevsky (Modern Library) Paperback – February 13, 2001
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Original Language: Russian
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Top Customer Reviews
In 1876-77 Dostoyevsky devoted his energies to Dnevnik pisatelya, which he was now able to bring out in the form he had originally intended. A one-man journal, for which Dostoyevsky served as editor, publisher, and sole contributor, the Diary represented an attempt to initiate a new literary genre. Issue by monthly issue, the Diary created complex thematic resonances among diverse kinds of material: short stories, plans for possible stories, autobiographical essays, sketches that seem to lie on the boundary between fiction and journalism, psychological analyses of sensational crimes, literary criticism, and political commentary. The Diary proved immensely popular and financially rewarding, but as an aesthetic experiment it was less successful, probably because Dostoyevsky, after a few intricate issues, seemed unable to maintain his complex design. Instead, he was drawn into expressing his political views, which, during these two years, became increasingly extreme. Specifically, Dostoyevsky came to believe that western Europe was about to collapse, after which Russia and the Russian Orthodox church would create the kingdom of God on earth and so fulfill the promise of the Book of Revelation.Read more ›
1. White Nights (1848)
The title refers to the twilight summer nights in Petersberg. A tender and romantic story, this piece to a large extent is autobiographical of the days Dostoyevsky spent alone in Petersberg. The main character is a dreamer who cannot remember what he was dreaming and sometimes had no recollection of how everything had all happened. A sentimental theme develops against the background of Dostoyevsky's own personal impressions during his nocturnal wanderings, filled with gentle humor and delicate touches of genuine feelings. This piece affords vague hint of theme in Crime and Punishment. It is a story that odes to a moment of bliss that is sufficient for a whole of a man's life.
2. The Honest Thief (1848)
The central character of this piece is an anti-hero whose tragedy consists of his helplessness to shun and to resist evil. Like "White Nights", this piece again paves the way for the longer work in the sense of punishment.
3. The Christmas Tree and a Wedding (1849)
David Magarshack calls this piece the most artistically perfect short story in Dostoyevsky's early days as a fiction writer. It happens to be my personal favorite besides the uncompromisingly cynical "The Notes From Underground." The piece is savagely satiric and ridicules the preposterous, fawning adults in high society.Read more ›
So I bought this book. After purchasing it, I bought a cup of coffee, sat down and read 'The Peasant Marey'. I didn't like it. So I flipped to 'The Christmas Tree and a Wedding' and read that one. I didn't like it. I checked the cover. Yes, it still says 'The "Best" Short Stories of Fyodor Dostoevsky'. Hmmm...what is going on here? Is this the same guy that penned that brilliant novel that I just finished?
The fact is that yes, it is. Beyond those two stories, the rest found in this book are timeless masterpieces of the period of Russian literature. Though Dostoevsky might use very long paragraphs to express something (some of them go on for pages and pages), he is clearly trying to make sure that the character/concept is receiving its due attention, something that many writers do not seem to understand. From the protestations of (strange) love in 'White Nights' to the ravings to try to find justification for ones own behavior in 'A Gentle Creature', Dostoevsky is only taking his time to fully illustrate what he's talking about. Its a true pleasure to read.
The real treat in this book is the presentation of the novella 'Notes from the Underground'. The first half of the story presents a sort of philosophical dissertation, one that is less narrative and more pure technical writing (think Plato).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Dostoevsky is one of a kind in his ability to articulate the human soul's activity into language, and wholly Russian in his tie to the idea of a common humanityPublished 3 months ago by E Mark
Dostoevsky is an entirely unique writer. He is a master at describing Russian intuitive thought. His stories anti date the era of stream of consciousness writing as seen in... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jon W. Schonblom
Dostoevsky a master author ranking with the very best.He needs no commendations or critique.Published 9 months ago by Robert Slack
I can read these stories over & over again. They are truly masterpieces.Published 11 months ago by Maria
All of the "stories" in this book are profound. One must be willing to think about the material. Let it inside your head and become psychologically involved.Published 11 months ago by Suzanne Labonte
These short stories still resonate today. Dostoevsky uses very few characters to get across important ideas and to paint a picture of his Russian life. Read morePublished 23 months ago by jean chases