I'm 150 pages deep and I'm still not feeling it. I get really into some passages, then others (usually the theological stuff) really send me to sleep. Is the theological stuff the point? Should I persevere? Am I just too plen for this?
Keep going until you finish The Grand Inquisitor, then stop if you don't like it. Revisit it some other time if you want. You're not going to like everything hailed as incredible and that's okay.
I'm nearing the end of the novel. The final third, with the exception of one of the "books" which is total filler, is really engrossing. If nothing else, read the Grand Inquisitor. All in all, though, it's a pretty turgid book with a lot of fluff.
I've found with some well regarded books which don't grip me initially that reading carefully selected secondary lit (biography/commentary/essays) can put some meat on my bones that its claws can sink into when I come back to it. You can argue it taints the experience but I've only found it to be motivating
This can be said of any of the "great" pieces of literature.
Not liking them doesn't make you a bad person. You ought to read them anyways because they're essential, but enjoying them is immaterial.
Zosima's life is absolutely crucial, but it gets overlooked in favor if the Grand Inquisitor, even though it's a direct response/final say regarding what the Grand Inquisitor brings up.
Maybe you're just too patrician for it.
"Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Dislike him. A cheap sensationalist, clumsy and vulgar. A prophet, a claptrap journalist and a slapdash comedian. Some of his scenes are extraordinarily amusing. Nobody takes his reactionary journalism seriously.
The Brothers Karamazov. Dislike it intensely." - Vladimir 'Pleb Enrager' Nabokov
Exactly! Dostoevsky is by far my favorite writer and I went into reading Anna Karenina expecting something similar, if not greater than Dostoevsky's works, just because "Tolstoy" is synonymous with great literature. I ended up liking the novel but it didn't quite meet my expectations and I was turned off by a few things. Taste accounts for so much of what you'll enjoy, regardless of how well written something is
>why is it crucial?
If you have to ask this then you should read it again, I mean did none of that appeal to your humanity or anything? BK isn't "hard to get" outside of it's extreme philosophical musings such as Grand Inquisitor, if you don't like the ideas then I guess you don't like them, but you aren't giving much evidence as to why you didn't like them or didn't find them engaging.
Are you like a really stubborn atheist or something that just can't stand theological talk? I mean give some insight into what threw you off and then we can help to answer your questions more.
read it over 2 weeks during highschool at the height of my 'existentialist' phase. the rents was out of town so i read it lounging by the fireplace naked listening to nine inch nails and drinking vodka KEK
I fucking love the part with Zossima going over his childhood. It's just so warm and cosy and some of Markev's sayings were beautiful. Probably my favourite part of the book so far, I'm 380 pages in.
That chap wasn't me. I've yet to read Zosima's life.
It's not so much that I can't stand theological stuff per se but for me it robs the narrative of momentum and, rather than the philosophic musings in Jacques the Fatalists, doesn't seem to grab me - it reads more like an ecumenical council than a proper thought-provoking text
So it you feel as if it only appeals to those that are part of the faith as opposed to all of humanity in a broad sense? I haven't read the Fatalists so I can't make any comparisons unless you're just using that as a placement for other philosophical works in general, but as far as it taking away from momentum the fact is that the "plot" of most Dostoevsky books is not the most important part. In terms of the "whodunnit" idea I was spoiled going into BK and C&P, but it didn't take away from the experience at all.
I don't know, I guess just work at opening your mind to the idea of these theological musings and understanding the insight they give on humanity as a whole as opposed to just an individual that belongs to the same faith.
If I'm missing the point then it would be helpful for you to give some examples from the book and why you don't conder them to be particularly grabbing.
No I read and loved Jacques the Fatalist (I'd recommend you read it) which is not especially plot-heavy and big on meandering dialogue.
The whole 'whodunnit' aspect isn't the main draw for me either, but maybe there is a slight aspect of feeling locked out by not really having as much of a dog in the fight when theology gets debated (thinking of the dinner with Zosima early on when Mitya and Fyodor fall out), but I think it's more that rather than using these discussions as a way to explore character motivations and personalities, they just seem like duelling sets of dogma without much relevance to the characters actually having the discussion
Nothing really, but Ive heard that C&P is his most accessible work and that BK and the Idiot is notably more complex and inaccessible. I was intemidated by C&P before i started as i had heard how difficult the names and themes were, but I found it to be a fairly easy read. I did however have a list of names which helped; though i felt that the context was more than enough. I just started notes from the underground, which seems interesting. I am somewhat familliar to exitentialism, so perhaps that'll help.
I see what you mean, but the conversations really do hold a lot of relevancy for the characters and the way they develop in the story. For instance, the scene where Zosima bows down to Fyodor is not only a strong scene of foreshadowing, but it is also important in the sense that a man who is very much in touch with his morals and place in the world is giving way to somebody that is extremely base and immoral. That in itself, for me at least, gave that scene an immesne ppoer, that not only was Zosima extremely well versed in questions of morality and everyday human experience, but also humble enough to prostrate himself before an extremely vulgar and unrepentent sinner.
I think as the novel progresses you will begin to see how much relevancy there is in the theological ideas and how they play into the development and personalitites of the characters.
On a more personal note, you should really try and give yourself a "dog in the fight" as you say and try to connect with these arguments. It's important to remember that Zosima is essentially an "outlaw" of the orthodoxy and is representing a very humanist ideology in terms of faith.
BK is just less accessible in the sense that it is a very dense, long work. If you were able to get through C&P without many problems then you should be able to get through BK without many problems. Personally I read C&P, Notes, and The Idiot prior to reading BK and I would recommend that it's the best way to approach the work, but it isn't necessarry. Basically if you read and enjoy Dosto's other works then you should be able to handle BK no problem.
Cheers, that's given me plenty to bear in mind while reading. I'll keep going - sometime the slow starters are the most satisfying ones (Foucault's Pendulum took a 3 month run-up before I enjoyed it)
Thanks anon, it's always good to keep in mind that we're amongst human beings on this board and that it's up to you as an individual to create a nice environment in which to discuss your particular interests and curiosities. Remember that here you are presented on a blank canvas and all the responsibility is placed on you to create a human being that is capable of discussion and thought.
>Love all the stuff about The Elder and the monks.
>Love how much of an ass Fyodor is but realize that he is actually very well read and that no character picks this up.
>Grand Inquisitor is obviously brilliant
>The Mitya chapter during the night/party is very vivid
>BK is just less accessible in the sense that it is a very dense, long work. If you were able to get through C&P without many problems then you should be able to get through BK without many problems. Personally I read C&P, Notes, and The Idiot prior to reading BK and I would recommend that it's the best way to approach the work, but it isn't necessarry. Basically if you read and enjoy Dosto's other works then you should be able to handle BK no problem.
Thanks for this, i guess ill put it on top of the reading pile
I've read it up to the trial, then put it off for 5 months. I'll start reading all over again. Besides, some parts were literally of godlike quality and I'll gladly go through them again.
What? If you know Russian, read it in Russian naturally. If not, read in English like everybody else chum