By Fyodor Dostoevsky, Richard Pevear, Larissa Volokhonsky
Translated by way of Constance Garnett, advent through Marc Slonim
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Additional info for Brothers Karamazov
Indeed, Adelaida was a hot-tempered, bold, dark, and impatient lady endowed with remarkable physical strength. Finally she eloped with a half-starved tutor, a former divinity student, leaving her husband with their three-year-old boy, Mitya. Fyodor Karamazov immediately installed a regular harem in the house and indulged in the most scandalous drunken debauchery. But between one orgy and the next, he would drive all over the province complaining tearfully to all and sundry of Adelaida’s desertion, and revealing on these occasions certain unsavory intimate details of their conjugal life that any other husband would have been ashamed to mention.
If men are only natural beings, if their souls are not immortal, then it is fitting that they be established on earth with the greatest possible well-being. And since by their nature they are “impotent rebels,” then one must enslave and transform them into a submissive herd. The Grand Inquisitor will tend them with an iron rod. Then at last, an enormous anthill will be built up, the Babylonian tower will be erected, and now forever. Both ways—man-godhood and the herd—lead to one and the same result: the suppression of man.
For an eccentric is not necessarily an exception or an isolated phenomenon; indeed, it often happens that it is he who embodies the very essence of his time while his contemporaries somehow seem to have been cut loose from it by gusts of an alien wind. Had it not been for one more difficulty, I would not have ventured into these boring and unclear explanations. I would have started the novel directly without any introduction, reasoning that a reader will finish the book anyway, if he is enjoying it.