Russian Readers Club discussion

Bros K vs C&P?

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message 1: by Tom (new)

Tom A friend recently sent me the comments below comparing Bros K and Crime and Punishment. I was wondering what any of you think of this analysis?

"The Thursday seminar started The Brothers Karamazov two weeks ago. Of course it is wonderful, but I'm not sure I will think it better than Crime & Punishment. The Brothers, in fact, seems to me to be an anatomy
of Crime & Punishment. It's as if Dostoyevsky decided that nobody "got" the earlier work was so instead of starting out with mysterious events and elusive characters, he laid everything out explicitly and
meticulously. He even starts with a preface from the author to instruct the reader that Alexei is the hero of the story because otherwise the reader would be unlikely to recognize him as such. Then he proceeds with a back-story to the plot and describes the character and childhood of each of the brothers before we meet them. Zosima later explains the
church's practice of "active love" and thereby indicates the quality of Alexei (the same as Sofya in Crime, but unexplained in her case) that
serves to elevate all those he touches. Anyway, I'd like to hear your reason for considering The Brothers to be so superior to Crime-I'm still open as I read The Brothers to agree, but, as I said, I'm beginning to have doubts."

message 2: by Liza (new)

Liza Reid (lizareid) | 2 comments I've not yet read C&P, but having just finished the Brothers, I must say I really loved it. I found it a much "easier" read than expected though, perhaps, because you said, everything is laid out fairly clearly for the reader. I'll definitely keep this in mind when reading C&P and let you know if I found it a benefit or a hinderance having read the Bros first, and which, in turn, I consider the "greater" novel.

message 3: by Lost (new)

Lost Owl (erickflaig) | 1 comments I've read both, and found C&P to move much, much quicker. C&P impresses me because Raskolnikov realizes that he is not one of the "great ones," the Napoleons who commit crimes with no concern. The ironic tragedy is that he never seems to acknowledge that his earlier notion was wrong, and that empathy, remorse, and repentance makes him more human.

message 4: by Tom (new)

Tom For me, it's the range of voices and emotions that make Bros K the better novel. In comparison I found C&P almost claustrophobic in its unrelenting tone of near hysteria. That's not to say it isn't powerful stuff but exhausting in a way that has nothing to do with length. R's anger just wore me out at times.

message 5: by Andy (last edited Nov 01, 2010 09:30AM) (new)

Andy | 1 comments The Brothers K is a far superior work. no question. there are individual chapters in the Brothers K which could, by themselves, rank among the world's greatest peices of literature (History of Father Zossima and the Inquisition). Crime and Punishment is a great work, no question, but it rests on one point of a murder and the redemption from that murder. the depth in brother's k is far deeper.
You should look at the Brother's K as an allegory for competing forces fighting for the soul and direction of the individual (each brother representing an opposing force).The depth of philosophy and spiritualality that is in the Brother's K no doubt ranks it amoung the greatest works of all time.

message 6: by Liza (new)

Liza Reid (lizareid) | 2 comments Andy wrote: "The Brothers K is a far superior work. no question. there are individual chapters in the Brothers K which could, by themselves, rank among the world's greatest peices of literature (History of Fath..."

Although I haven't yet read C&P, I definitely agree with your comments on the Bros K. Amazing, no doubt.

message 7: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana | 8 comments I love the BK the best, but each time I read C&P I change my mind and think nothing could possibly be better! The scene in which Luzhin planted money on Sofia Semyonovna to try to discredit her and by implication Rodia as well. When this is discovered, that's just one of the greatest moments in all literature, isn't it?

But then I read TBK again and nothing can possibly compete with the depth and scope of this masterpiece. So I vote TBK, but with C&P still being better than almost any other book ever written.

message 8: by Tatiana (last edited Mar 23, 2011 09:48AM) (new)

Tatiana | 8 comments Has anyone ever thought that Fyodor Mikailovich must have murdered his own father, similar to the way Vanya Karamazov is shown to have done? The official story is always that the father was killed by his own serfs by having vodka poured down his throat until he choked, but it seems to me that Fyodya must have at least felt responsible for suggesting the idea.

My reasoning is this: all the other recurring themes in his work, epilepsy, gambling, passionate loves, a condemned man's last thoughts, and so on, came directly from his life. So what other theme recurs with regularity? Patricide, murder, and murder long undetected, the suffering in the murderer's soul, etc. Perhaps it was well-understood by his contemporaries though unspoken, but I never heard it taught. It just came to me one day that it must have been true. What do you people think about my guess?

message 9: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana | 8 comments Patrice, I'm so glad I'm not the only one!

message 10: by Amyjzed (last edited Mar 31, 2011 05:16PM) (new)

Amyjzed | 5 comments Patrice wrote: "I am so glad to hear you say this! It has seemed obvious to me for a long time but I have never heard anyone say it.
l. No one knew who killed him but Dostoyevsky definitely would have liked to..."

Interesting discussion, Patrice! I haven't read C & P yet, but when I heard about the plot I instantly recognized parallel themes with BK.
I could definitely understand if D. himself felt like one of the brothers who looked the other way and then felt responsible for the murder. But to me he may also have just been a bit on the neurotic side (I heard about some letter where he described how his nerves made his hemorrhoids flare and then he described how much of a hypochondriac he believed himself to be!).
And I guess it's understood that he had epilepsy, which does coincide with someone else in BK, I recall.
But I also read that sometimes people with epilepsy are just blessed with moments of powerful insight.

I have a question about this, though:
7. In BK he (the murderer) speaks of his loneliness. How no one can know him. He can't get close to a soul because that would mean they would know his secret. So he lives alienated from everyone.

What I don't recall is whether this is mentioned as being especially true after the murder? I can see the loner aspect, but not necessarily after the murder.

message 11: by Leonard (new)

Leonard (leonardseet) | 6 comments Patrice wrote: "I was just having a discussion with a friend today about War and Peace and how Tolstoy seems more mentally stable than Dostoyevsky. I brought up the epilepsy! He was a tormented soul, for whatever reason and I think that kind of suffering can, sometimes, create great compassion and understanding. At least Dostoyevsky would agree with that, I think! lol

The state of mind of Raskolnikov, and Ivan and Dmitri Karamozov all revealed Dostoyevsky's tormented soul, the struggle between sin and redemption, wretchedness and delusion of grandeur, etc. And he had not read any psychoanalysis. The contradictory thoughts and emotions of these characters made his novels very insightful.

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