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Yet Another Attempt To Make Sense of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s ‘The Brothers Karamazov’

By John Tamny

In his excellent new memoir, Never Say You Had a Lucky Life (review coming soon), Joseph Epstein writes of a Harvard economics professor by the name of Alexander Gerschenkron who claimed to have read Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace at least fifteen times, and that more than once he began rereading the novel right after completing it. Talk about dedication. And understanding.

As written before in attempts to make sense of or offer thoughts or insights into the Russian novels, it would likely help to have read them more than once. Hopefully this admission is recognized as I attempt to write about Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. It was really hard to follow in what was my first, and almost certainly only read of it. It’s frequently said that War and Peace and the various names within it are difficult to keep track of. The Brothers Karamazov (from now on, TBK) proved much more difficult for me. And that’s just names. The story was very often challenging to follow. I’ll bet the meaning of what is a very interesting story would be much clearer with another read.

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