Saturday, November 1, 1980

Fyodor M. Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov published 100 years ago this month

First posted 6/26/2020; updated 7/6/2020.

The Brothers Karamazov

Fyodor M. Dostoyevsky

First Publication: November 1880

Category: philosophical novel

Sales: ?

Accolades (click on badges to see full lists):

About the Book:

This “is a towering masterpiece of literature, philosophy, psychology, and religion.” BN It “is Dostoevsky’s deepest contemplation of human existence, which has heavily influenced the existentialist movement lead by Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus in the middle of twentieth century.” AZ Sigmund Freud called The Brothers Karamazov “the most magnificent novel ever written.” AZ

“A complex structure of the novel features motifs of crime, justice, and redemption through suffering that help Dostoevsky develop his major themes including the conflict between faith and doubt, the burden of free will, and the pervasiveness of moral responsibility.” AZ

It tells the story of intellectual Ivan, sensual Dmitri, and idealistic Alyosha Karamazov, who collide in the wake of their despicable father’s brutal murder. Into the framework of the story Dostoevsky poured all of his deepest concerns – the origin of evil, the nature of freedom, the craving for meaning and, most importantly, whether God exists.” BN

“The novel is famous for three chapters that may be ranked among the greatest pages of Western literature. ‘Rebellion’ and ‘The Grand Inquisitor’ present what many have considered the strongest arguments ever formulated against the existence of God, while ‘The Devil’ brilliantly portrays the banality of evil. Ultimately, Dostoevsky believes that Christ-like love prevails. But does he prove it? A rich, moving exploration of the critical questions of human existence, The Brothers Karamazov powerfully challenges all readers to reevaluate the world and their place in it.” BN

Resources and Related Links:

Tuesday, January 1, 1980

William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying published 50 years ago this year

First posted 7/6/2020.

As I Lay Dying

William Faulkner

First Publication: 1930

Category: Southern gothic novel

Sales: ?

Accolades (click on badges to see full lists):

About the Book:

“Considered one of the most influential novels in American fiction in structure, style, and drama, As I Lay Dying is a true 20th-century classic.” AZ Faulkner wrote his fifth novel while working at a power plant. He has said that he wrote it “from midnight to 4:00 AM over the course of six weeks.” WK “The novel utilizes stream of consciousness writing technique, multiple narrators, and varying chapter lengths.” WK

Faulkner said, “I set out deliberately to write a tour-de-force. Before I ever put pen to paper and set down the first word I knew what the last word would be and almost where the last period would fall.” AZ

“The title derives from Book XI of Homer’s Odyssey, wherein Agamemnon tells Odysseus: ‘As I lay dying, the woman with the dog's eyes would not close my eyes as I descended into Hades.’” WK

The story is a “harrowing account of the Bundren family’s odyssey across the Mississippi countryside to bury Addie, their wife and mother. Narrated in turn by each of the family members – including Addie herself – as well as others the novel ranges in mood, from dark comedy to the deepest pathos.” AZ

Resources and Related Links: