The Karamazov Brothers (Oxford World's Classics)
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Translated by Ignat Avsey
Dostoevsky's last and greatest novel, The Karamazov Brothers (1880) is both a brilliantly told crime story and a passionate philosophical debate. The dissolute landowner Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov is murdered; his sons--the atheist intellectual Ivan, the hot-blooded Dmitry, and the saintly novice Alyosha--are all involved at some level. Brilliantly bound up with this psychological drama is Dostoevsky's intense and disturbing exploration of many deeply felt ideas about the existence of God, freedom of will, the collective nature of guilt, and the disastrous consequences of rationalism. Filled with eloquent voices, this new translation fully realizes the power and dramatic virtuosity of Dostoevsky's most brilliant work.
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believe that it is you.’* You did not come down because once again You did not want to enslave man by a miracle, and You thirsted for a faith that was free and not inspired by miracles. You thirsted for love freely given, and not the slavish gratitude of the captive before the mighty power that has terrified him for all time. But there too You judged men too highly, because of course they are slaves even though they have been created rebels. Look around and decide, now that fifteen centuries have
sweetly beloved, joy of my heart, I tell you this: truly, each one of us is guilty of the sins of all other men. I don’t know how to explain this to you, but I feel the truth of it so deeply that it torments me. How could we have lived together, quarrelled with one another, and not realized this?’ He used to speak thus when he woke from his sleep, and with each day he became more and more tender-hearted, full of joy, and brimming over with love. Occasionally Eisenschmidt, the old German doctor,
to ask you to come out here, so that I could explain everything to you before we went in,’ he began excitedly. ‘You see, Karamazov, in the spring Ilyusha entered the preparatory class. Well, it’s no secret what the preparatory class is like: little urchins, they gang up. They started picking on Ilyusha straight away. I’m two classes above him, so I saw it all from a distance of course, from the sidelines as it were. I saw he was a small boy, weak too, but he wouldn’t give in, he’d even fight
feed him… And I found him… You see, old chap, that means he didn’t swallow your titbit. If he’d swallowed it, then of course he’d have died, that’s for sure! So he must have managed to spit it out, since he’s alive. You didn’t see him spit it out, but he did; it had pierced his tongue, and that’s why he was squealing. He ran out and squealed, and you thought he had really swallowed it. He must have squealed a lot, because the lining of dogs’ mouths is very tender… more tender than humans’, much
you’ve been struggling with that child. What brings you here?’ ‘Came to have a look at you. I’ve been to see you before, have you forgotten? You can’t have much of a memory if you’ve forgotten me already. They said in our village you were sick, so I said to myself, well, I’ll go and see for myself: now I can see you, and there’s nothing the matter with you at all. You’ll last another twenty years, you will, God bless you! Anyway, it’s not as though you hadn’t enough people praying for you, why