House of the Dead and Poor Folk

ISBN-10: 1593081944
ISBN-13: 9781593081942
Edition: N/A
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Description: Arrested in 1849 for belonging to a secret group of radical utopians,Fyodor Dostoevskywas sentenced to four years in a Siberian labor camp—a terrible mental, spiritual, and physical ordeal that inspired him to write the novelThe House of the Dead.   More...

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Book details

List price: $10.95
Publisher: Barnes & Noble, Incorporated
Publication date: 4/25/2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 480
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 0.880

Arrested in 1849 for belonging to a secret group of radical utopians,Fyodor Dostoevskywas sentenced to four years in a Siberian labor camp—a terrible mental, spiritual, and physical ordeal that inspired him to write the novelThe House of the Dead. Told from the point of view of a fictitious narrator—a convict serving a ten-year sentence for murdering his wife—The House of the Deaddescribes in vivid detail the horrors that Dostoevsky himself witnessed while in prison: the brutality of guards who relish cruelty for its own sake; the evil of criminals who enjoy murdering children; and the existence of decent souls amid filth and degradation. More than just a work of documentary realism,The House of the Deadalso describes the spiritual death and gradual resurrection from despair experienced by the novel’s central character—a reawakening that culminates in his final reconciliation with himself and humanity. Also included in this volume is Dostoevsky’s first published work,Poor Folk, a novel written in the form of letters that brought Dostoevsky immediate critical and public recognition.

Joseph Frank is the author of an award-winning multivolume biography of Dostoevsky.

One of the most powerful and significant authors in all modern fiction, Fyodor Dostoevsky was the son of a harsh and domineering army surgeon who was murdered by his own serfs (slaves), an event that was extremely important in shaping Dostoevsky's view of social and economic issues. He studied to be an engineer and began work as a draftsman. However, his first novel, Poor Folk (1846), was so well received that he abandoned engineering for writing. In 1849, Dostoevsky was arrested for being a part of a revolutionary group that owned an illegal printing press. He was sentenced to be executed, but the sentence was changed at the last minute, and he was sent to a prison camp in Siberia instead. By the time he was released in 1854, he had become a devout believer in both Christianity and Russia - although not in its ruler, the Czar. During the 1860's, Dostoevsky's personal life was in constant turmoil as the result of financial problems, a gambling addiction, and the deaths of his wife and brother. His second marriage in 1887 provided him with a stable home life and personal contentment, and during the years that followed he produced his great novels: Crime and Punishment (1886), the story of Rodya Raskolnikov, who kills two old women in the belief that he is beyond the bounds of good and evil; The Idiots (1868), the story of an epileptic who tragically affects the lives of those around him; The Possessed (1872), the story of the effect of revolutionary thought on the members of one Russian community; A Raw Youth (1875), which focuses on the disintegration and decay of family relationships and life; and The Brothers Karamazov (1880), which centers on the murder of Fyodor Karamazov and the effect the murder has on each of his four sons. These works have placed Dostoevsky in the front rank of the world's great novelists. Dostoevsky was an innovator, bringing new depth and meaning to the psychological novel and combining realism and philosophical speculation in his complex studies of the human condition.

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