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The Brothers Karamazov: The Garnett Translation (Norton Critical Editions) New Edition

287 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0393092141
ISBN-10: 0393092143
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“[Dostoevsky is] at once the most literary and compulsively readable of novelists we continue to regard as great . . . The Brothers Karamazov stands as the culmination of his art–his last, longest, richest, and most capacious book. [This] scrupulous rendition can only be welcomed. It returns us to a work we thought we knew, subtly altered and so made new again.” –Washington Post Book World

“A miracle . . . Every page of the new Karamazov is a permanent standard, and an inspiration.” –The Times (London)

“One finally gets the musical whole of Dostoevsky’s original.” –New York Times Book Review

“Absolutely faithful . . . Fulfills in remarkable measure most of the criteria for an ideal translation . . . The stylistic accuracy and versatility of registers used . . . bring out the richness and depth of the original in a way similar to a faithful and sensitive restoration of a painting.” –The Independent

“It may well be that Dostoevsky’s [world], with all its resourceful energies of life and language, is only now–and through the medium of [this] new translation–beginning to come home to the English-speaking reader.” –New York Review of Books

“Heartily recommended to any reader who wishes to come as close to Dostoevsky’s Russian as it is possible.” –Joseph Frank, Princeton University

With an Introduction by Malcolm V. Jones --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Language Notes

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

  • Series: Norton Critical Editions
  • Paperback: 912 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; New edition (April 17, 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393092143
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393092141
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (287 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #862,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

97 of 102 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
"I would die happy if I could finish this final novel, for I would have then expressed myself completely."
This statement from Fyodor Dostoyevsky helps elucidate both the theme and purpose of the The Brothers Karamazov, one of the greatest masterpieces of world literature. Superficially, the novel deals with a patricide and how each of the book's characters contributed directly or indirectly to that murder.
Yet, The Brothers Karamazov, at its heart, is so much more. Its underlying theme deals with the drive for self-redemption in the eyes of both God and man and the role suffering plays in facilitating that redemption.
Fyodor Karamazov has fathered four sons, Dmitri, Ivan and Alyosha, by two wives, and one, Smerdyakov, with a peasant woman known as stinking Lizaveta.
Fyodor Karamazov, a vulgar and ill-tempered man represents, for Dostoyevsky, the Russian government of his times. Like the government, Fyodor shuns his children, preferring instead the materialistic, but joyless, life of wealth and possessions. His union with Lizaveta, who comes to represent all the peasants of Dostoyevsky's Russia, produces Smerdyakov, a bastard child who, in his own turn, will be raped and pillaged by the government and will go on to give birth, metaphorically, to bastard children of his own.
Karamazov's eldest son, Dmitri, an impulsive sensualist, finds respect as an overbearing soldier but one whose inability to pay his debts eventually turns him into a poor and irrational man.
Ivan, Fyodor's second son, is a cold intellectual who finds his fulfillment in his literary and creative abilities. He becomes famous through his writings, especially those concerning the Russian Church.
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116 of 127 people found the following review helpful By Ivan Askwith on July 26, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In his most comprehensive (and not coincidentally, his final) masterpiece, Dostoyevsky addresses and discusses a number of the most fundamental and universal issues which face man. His multiple perspectives are embodied in seperate characters -- taken together, these characters form the whole of the Karamazov family, and these perspectives constitute the whole of Dostoyevsky's view.
Each of the brothers represents a distinct school of thought or values -- the impulsive Dmitri portrays the instinctive and carnal desires of man; the nihilist, Ivan, displays the cold and unforgiving intellectual, governed by the rules of logic alone; the religious Alyosha, student to the Great Elder Zossima, depicts the humble and devout spiritualist. While the murder of their father, Fyodor Karamazov, is the catalyst to the real action of the book, it is certainly not the central focus -- a fact that might be surmised in light of the fact that the murder is not carried out until more than halfway through the text.
Instead, the work is a discussion and analysis of man's values and beliefs, and an affirmation of Dostoyevsky's fundamental conviction: that the presence of the human spirit cannot be denied without disastrous results, and that despite the assertions of the nihilists, God is a necessary element in the world of man.
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54 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Eric Robert Juggernaut VINE VOICE on November 19, 2008
Format: Mass Market 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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59 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Rock Sedan on April 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
I just want to alert readers: This page is for the Second Norton Critical Edition, which is a new translation. However, *all* of the comments and reviews below are for other translations and editions, and the "Look Inside" feature shows a completely different translation and edition.

Just so you know.

Amazon: Get with it, guys. I was wondering when you were going to get so big you could not handle the simple stuff. Here you go.
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