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Dostoïevski, Fiodor
Les Frères Karamazov,



Rare first edition of Les Frères Karamazov,
“Dostoyevsky’s major work”
 (Dictionnaire des Œuvres).

A beautiful copy preserved in its attractive contemporary binding.


Dostoïevski, Fiodor.  Les frères Karamazov.
Plon, Nourrit et Cie, 1888.

2 parts in 2 volumes 12mo [185 x 115 mm] of: I/ (3) ll., 291 pp., (1) l. of table, (1) l. for the portrait ; II/ (2) ll., 332 pp., (1) l. of table.

Green half-cloth Bradel, green marbled paper covers, lettering piece in red morocco on spine, gilt fleuron and date on spine. Contemporary binding.

Rare first French edition of “Les Frères Karamazov”, “Dostoyevsky’s major work.” (Dictionnaire des Œuvres)

Boutchik, Bibliographie des œuvres littéraires russes traduites en français, 1935, n°275.

The great Russian writer’s capital work, of such intense conception and analysis that it has become one of the most significant works of European literature of the second half of the 19th century.

The novel “Les Frères Karamazov” tells the story of the violent enmity opposing, in a small Russian town, a father and his sons.

This novel is representative of what, as naturalism declines, was called a “novel of ideas” and it served as a stage to the preoccupations of the European spirit. No other novel by Dostoyevsky more shows that literature must be used to reveal the innumerable problems that man carries inside him but won’t admit to nor dare confront.

Les Frères Karamazov is a vast analysis of the human soul considered only from a moral angle.

Two forces dominates in Dostoyevsky’s soul : first, his faith in the hidden kindness of human nature, this kindness that reveals itself in the Christian form of infinite human solidarity ; and his acknowledgement of human misery, that tends to continuously push man towards the abyss. To this very Pascalian attitude more than one evil shadow is connected.

In this hidden game where good and evil intermingle, in the display of these contradictory elements revealed in all of the protagonists’ thoughts and actions, some of the essential mechanisms of Dostoyevsky’s philosophy and art are exposed.

The Russian writer profoundly influenced Proust and Gide :

Gide is an avid reader of Dostoyevsky. As early as March 1890, he mentions Krotkaia and Crime and Punishment amongst his readings and reread one of his novels in 1891.

He admits: “I admire Dostoyevsky more than I thought it possible to admire anyone.  »

He finds he is a mirror to his own thoughts : Was I influenced by Dostoyevsky? It’s possible…

When I read him, I felt, on top of my admiration, some extraordinary affinity between his thoughts and mine.” (J. Chardavoine)

« I consider “Les Frères Karamazov” to be an immense work of literature. From a formal standpoint, I learned a lot from Dostoyevsky, like I could say I learned a lot from Beethoven… Dostoyevsky knew what he wanted and his novels, in their particular processes, are a model of formal composition.” (Paul Claudel)

A beautiful copy, very pure, preserved in its attractive contemporary binding.

Handwritten ex-libris on both title pages.


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