REVIEW The Brothers Karamazov

REVIEW The Brothers  Karamazov     Book Club session on 23 May 2021

23rd May 2021             Book under review: The Brothers  Karamazov  by: Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Dr. Prashant Sinha, once Head of the Dept. of English, Pune University, divided this 19th classic into four parts 1) Summary 2) Types of characters   & major characters 3) Structure & Narrative 4) Analysis

Prof Sinha began by telling us about the life of Dostoyevsky, adding that the author had been imprisoned by the then regime for anti-Czar activities and that the novel was based on real life events. The author called it the culminating point of his literary career. It centers around  3 brothers of differing natures, their uninterested father, their relationships with him, each other , women, and those they encountered. He divided the characters into excessive, good, sensual, epileptic, strongly intuitive, strange and of unexpected behavior. He then explained how each character fitted into the above definitions but also into broader  categories such as sadist and masochistic, those with an Oedipus complex and those ridden by fraternal rivalry and jealousy.

The structure and narrative was like a loose and baggy pudding was what he quoted with multiple digressions to include humanity, Christianity and the Orthodox Church and the devil. The narrator converses with the reader, is self- reflective and events are forecast. There are several literary references and allusions. He explained that the scale of the novel is huge, covering human frailties, joy amidst sorrow, love, injustice, ill treatment of children and was a mirror of the society of 19th century Russia. It was a ‘window to reality’.

Date: Sunday, 16 May 2021 Time : 06.30 pm

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