Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Brothers Karamazov

"I'm a Karamazov... when I fall into the abyss, I go straight into it, head down and heels up, and I'm even pleased that I'm falling in such a humiliating position, and for me I find it beautiful."

I had been looking for a nice copy of The Brothers Karamazov, the only one of Dostoevsky's "Big Four" I haven't read.  The first English translation was by Constance Garnett, published in 1912, and served as the standard for decades.  I was tempted to track down a first edition of the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation from 1990, which received glowing reviews like this one from the New York Times.  But, this Folio Society edition, translated by David Magarshak, is a real beauty, replete with its own slipcase.

The volume dates from 1964.  Magarshak may not make the words "sing," as the reviewer raved of the P/V translation, but his translation is generally regarded as the most accurate.   The Folio Society updated this edition in 2008 with an even more engaging cover, and I assume the same translation.  Both editions are no longer in print, so you will have to hunt around for copies.  I found mine at amazon.co.uk.

As far as film versions go, the epic Soviet version from 1969, directed by Ilya Pyryev, is the most highly regarded adaptation of the novel.  There was also a Russian television adaptation in 2008.  The best known English-language version dates from 1958 and featured Yul Brynner and Lee J. Cobb among others in this bawdy clip.  There is also a great German version from the Weimar years.

1 comment:

  1. Received the book and am quite happy with it. My next big read!