Fyodor Dostoevsky’s final work, The Brothers Karamazov, is arguably one of the best novels ever written in any language. Set in 19th-century Russia, the novel was published as a serial in The Russian Messenger from January 1879 to November 1880.
The story revolves around the murder of Fyodor Pavlovitch Karamazov—the father of the Karamazov brothers—a debauched man who leads a hedonistic life and excels in the art of seducing women. A spiritual drama of sorts, the story of Fyodor and his three sons from different wives, embodies Dostoevsky’s philosophy and delves into debates on morality, free will and God.
Dostoevsky’s hero Alyosha was named after his own son who died of epilepsy at the age of three in 1878. The qualities that Dostoevsky admired in his son are reflected in the eponymous character, created and developed as a cathartic process.
Dostoevsky died less than four months after the publication of The Brothers Karamazov.
Constance Garnett’s English translation of the novel was released in 1912.
It is believed that a copy of The Brothers Karamazov was found next to Leo Tolstoy’s nightstand when he died.