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Best books about Dostoevsky

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Who was Dostoevsky? What are his famous books? And why was he so popular? Here is everything need to know about this Russian writer.

Best books about Dostoevsky

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky, or Fyodor Dostoyevsky, is a famous historical figure and one of the most influential Russian writers. If you’re interested in learning more about his work, his influence on world literature, and the reasons why he is popular, you’re in the right place.

Who is Fyodor Dostoevsky?

Often referred by only his last name Dostoevsky, Fyodor was a Russian novelist born in Moscow 1821 to parents Mikhail and Maria. Dostoevsky mostly covered topics related to human nature and situations of troubled individuals living in 19th-century Russia.

He is often considered to be one of the greatest Russian writers of all time, and he often focused on existentialist literature. Dostoevsky wrote thirteen novels, seventeen short stories, and numerous other works. 

Dostoevsky was married twice, and he met his second wife, Anna Grigoryevna Snitkina, thanks to his stenographer. His writing career started with the help of his friend who handed the first book written by Dostoevsky to the famous literary critic Vissarion Belinsky.

Fyodor Dostoevsky had a very interesting life. He was sent to Siberia, he was a journalist, a short story writer, a military engineer, a person forced to serve the army in Semipalatinsk, and so much more. Dostoevsky died in 1881 in St. Petersburg.

Why Dostoevsky’s Russian literature work matters today, and his writing similarities with other authors

It would be an understatement to say that Dostoevsky lived during a very tumultuous time in Russian history, and this time period greatly affected his writing. Anyone interested in 19th century Russia will certainly love Dostoevsky’s works. Readers of historical fiction will appreciate his perspective on humanity in a pre-World War I era, and it will be easier to see his influence on Russian literature when reading writers who came after him like Anton Chekhov and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Beyond Russian literature, Dostoevsky’s writings have influenced writers, philosophers, and philosophical movements from all over the world.

His stories cover questions about life, romance, death, and other existential questions people might have. This makes his works interesting even after all these years. Many of his books were translated into English (most notably, translations by Constance Garnett).

Dostoevsky’s most popular writing work

If you are interested in learning more about Russian literature, Dostoevsky is a great starting point. Thankfully, you don’t need to go through all of his books to get a sense of his writing style and philosophies. His most popular works can give you a good understanding on their own.

Here is a list of the most notable books by Fyodor Dostoevsky and a couple of important details about them you should know before you start reading. The primary focus here is on his masterpieces, but this doesn’t mean that other books are not worth checking out.

Some books have elements of fantasy, others are short stories based on his own experiences, events from his childhood, and his own serfs, and many others. Naturally, his stories mostly take place in Eastern and Western Europe where he lived and traveled.

Crime and Punishment (1866)

Crime and Punishment was published in 1866, and it is one of the most recognizable novels of all time. The main character of the story is Rodion Raskolnikov, and the story follows his moral dilemmas and mental anguish.

He is a poor ex-student living in Saint Petersburg, and he plans on killing an old rich woman. Raskolnikov spends a lot of time trying to justify the action, thinking about how he could turn his life around with all that money. But once the deed is done, things are not as simple.

The Idiot (1869)

The title of the novel is a reference to the main character, Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin. This young person is goodhearted, and his simplicity and openness often make other people believe that he is not intelligent. 

Dostoevsky had the idea of making a beautiful person the protagonist of the story who will also be a source of positive good. At the same time, he wanted to show what would happen if such a person got in touch with the real world and all the cruelty that comes with it. 

The Possessed (1871-1872)

The Possessed is a novel from 1872, and it goes by many names. Some people know it as The Devils or Demons, but the idea is the same. Many consider this novel to be one of four masterworks written by Dostoevsky.

When it comes to the title, is a reference to the potential consequences of moral and political nihilism that was present in Russia at the time. The story of Demons is set in a fictional town in Russia, which becomes a center of an attempted revolution.

The Brothers Karamazov (1879-1880)

The final of the four masterworks is The Brothers Karamazov, or The Karamazov Brothers based on the translation. The book was originally published in The Russian Messenger, and it was published between 1879 and 1880. 

One of many reasons why this novel is so exciting is that it questions topics that are relevant to this day. It questions free will, God, Christianity, and morality. It is classified as a psychological drama or even a theological drama. The Grand Inquisitor is the most famous chapter in the book.

The entire plot of the novel revolves around patricide, and it is set in Staraya Russa.

Use Speechify’s audiobook platform to listen to Dostoevsky’s audiobooks

If you like the idea of reading Dostoevsky and any of the mentioned books, you can always check out Speechify. It is a simpler way to explore books, and you will get access to an impressive library of digital titles. These audiobooks are of excellent quality and the app is easy to use.

You can also install it on any type of device, and it will work without any issues. With Speechify, you can listen to not only Dostoevsky and other Russian classics in audio format, but also many other writers and genres.

It is possible to find the latest and most popular bestsellers, and you can even make your own book club. Speechify allows you to multitask, it’s great for improving accessibility, and it’s highly versatile. Give it a try today to jump into great works of historical fiction and classic literature.

FAQ

What is Dostoevsky famous for?

There are four masterpieces that many people will mention when talking about Dostoevsky. These are The Idiot, Crime and Punishment, Demons, and The Karamazov Brothers

Other works include:

  • The Double
  • Notes from Underground (his best novella about The Underground Man)
  • The Uncle’s Dream
  • The Dream of a Ridiculous Man
  • The Gambler
  • The Diary of a Writer
  • The Adolescent
  • The House of the Dead
  • The Crocodile
  • White Nights
  • The Beggar Boy at Christ's Christmas Tree
  • Poor Folk (his first novel)

What did Nietzsche say about Dostoevsky?

Friedrich Nietzsche said that Dostoevsky was “the only person who has ever taught me anything about psychology.”

Who is Dostoevsky's favorite author?

Dostoevsky was influenced by a couple of writers, and he appreciated the works of Pushkin, Miguel de Cervantes, George Sand, Victor Hugo, Voltaire, Gogol, Tolstoy, and others. 

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.