Brian James (archaist) wrote in fdostoevsky,
Brian James

BK trail mix

I've been hauling around my copy of The Brothers Karamazov lately because, even though I've already read it from start to finish, I find that it's a really good book for just browsing in a casual, non-linear fashion. Every now and then I'll flip through it looking for a part I remember loving and just relive it for myself---so many chapters just stand so well on their own that I'm even more mesmerized to read them in isolation from their storyline.

Obvious picks for this activity are the chapters "Rebellion," "The Grand Inquisitor," and "Ivan's Nightmare and the Devil." I'm also fond of going over the story of Ilyusha and the boys every once and again, and I recently gained a renewed appreciation for the chapter with Lise called "The Hell Kitten" (also translated as "The Little Devil," I believe).

I'm sure that I'm neglecting some of the very best parts in the book, and the reason might be that I wasn't paying enough attention to them while I was reading this book the first time around. So I ask you, Dostoevsky community, if anyone else out there has some favourite chapters that stand out and that you enjoy reading, or that you feel are generally underappreciated and worthy of closer examination? I love the activity of re-reading individual chapters in this book but it's pretty hard (for me, at least) to remember where the best stuff is at.
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I also pull out BK for browsing now and then. I think the best bits depend on where your focus is. One of the terrific things about BK is that it's so long and has so many characters and angles that there's something for everyone. That said, I share your taste for the chapters you've mentioned.

For myself, I love everything Alyosha-and-Lise, every conversation they have, every reference they make to each other, from Zosima scolding Lise for embarrassing Alyosha to Alyosha scolding Ivan for dismissing Lise as a nascient whore. They don't get a lot of pages, but they are one of my favorite couples in literature.

I also love just about every scene between Alyosha and Kolya, most particularly their conversation in which Kolya is trying to appear all erudite and worldly and Alyosha, gently but persistently, keeps knocking him off his high horse. It's the conversation in which Kolya brings up Voltaire and Onegin and Alyosha makes him confess he's never read Onegin.
I love everything Alyosha-and-Lise, every conversation they have, every reference they make to each other...They don't get a lot of pages, but they are one of my favorite couples in literature.

I agree! It's especially interesting to try to get my head round Lise's transformation in the "A Little Demon" chapter. If only Dostoyevsky had been able to write the sequel, which I imagine would have shed more light on that (among other things). :-/
Gosh, yes! I fully consider myself a fan of the sequel that never was. I adore Alyosha, Lise, and Kolya so deeply--and you just know they were going to be the 3 central players in that book.
I've always been a fan of Zosima's history, particularly the duel he had as a young man -- Book 6, I believe.
I tend to play the "turn to a random page of Crime & Punishment and read" game, but TBK is good for that (and not-so-random selection) as well!
I like all the stuff in the monastery, also for some reason the nasty scene between the women (can't remember book or chapter, sorry). Also any scenes with Grushenka.
Still trying to get my head around Ivan, I'll probably re read BK soon... once I've re read Demons and The Idiot...
OooOoh. My favourite parts are any of the chapters that involve the brothers with their father together. I also love the exchanges between Ivan and Smerdayakov.
I've gone back and read "the Grand Inquisitor" before, but just last month, I particularly enjoyed "the Russian Monk", book 6. Father Zosima imparts a ton of wisdom to those listening and it really fascinates me to hear about all that he has learned in his lifetime.