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The Brothers Karamazov - Dostoevesky
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Author:  p.falk [ Wed May 03, 2017 2:25 pm ]
Post subject:  The Brothers Karamazov - Dostoevesky

I was a bit intimidated before starting to read this classic. A few months back I finished Moby Dick and was frustrated that I was missing the deeper meanings to the book. The prose at times just through me off entirely, at times, to completely miss any point.

But, so far The Brothers Karamazov has been a much more enjoyable read.

One thing that fascinates me is Dostoevsky's (through the words of Fr. Zosima) read on people.
The way he was able to pin down the father Karamazov's buffoonery to being rooted in his feelings of being ashamed in the presence of others.
How that being ashamed leads to him ultimately lying to himself... and in lying to himself he loses trust in both himself and in others.
It kind of echoes in me. That feeling ashamed for whatever... and the goofy ways I try to overcompensate for it.

But then his read on Mrs. Khokhlakov. How shallow her love for others is. How he pegged it right away "you just want people to praise you for your vocalized sincerity" (paraphrased). That all of her good will towards others will dry up as soon as she notes that the object of her good will is ungrateful. That need of gratitude. That theme dovetails nicely with the book I just finished by Cronin (The Stars Look Down). In there Cronin through one of the characters was saying what a contemptible trait gratitude is. If that's your only motivator for being loving.... and, if your reaction of gratitude is more a matter of being obsequious.

I'm still very early in this book (and it's a long one), but I'm really enjoying it.

Author:  Mrs. Timmy [ Wed May 03, 2017 2:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Brothers Karamazov - Dostoevesky

I lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ove Russian literature! I was beginning to think I was the only one.

Author:  lbt [ Wed May 03, 2017 4:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Brothers Karamazov - Dostoevesky

Спасибо!

Author:  p.falk [ Wed May 03, 2017 4:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Brothers Karamazov - Dostoevesky

Mrs. Timmy wrote:
I lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ove Russian literature! I was beginning to think I was the only one.


I finished Solzhenisyn's "Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich"... that was a really good book too. So Brothers Karamazov is only my second Russian novel.
The names are always confusing. First you get a 3 name fullname.... but then the rest of the book they refer to that character by a 4th nickname :)
Happened in Day in the Life and the same thing is happening (at least with some of the characters) in Brothers Karamazov.

Author:  Doom [ Wed May 03, 2017 4:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Brothers Karamazov - Dostoevesky

The thing about Dostoyevsky is, that every book is basically the same story told in greater and greater length and depth, and every story is a murder mystery of sorts. The Brothers Karamazov is basically just an expanded version of Crime and Punishment, which was an expanded version of Notes From the Underground. Dostoyevsky himself admitted this, saying of Karamazov that it what was the novel he had been trying and failing to write ever since he first started public writing, he was very sick when he was writing it and he was worried that he wouldn't live to see it finished. 'If I can finish this book', he said 'I will have expressed myself completely.'

So, in a sense, after reading a couple Dostoyevsky novels, the stories can start to become really repetitive and predictable. If you've read Crime and Punishment, Notes from The Underground, and The Idiot, then you probably already know how the story is going to unfold and how it will end.

Author:  Mrs. Timmy [ Wed May 03, 2017 4:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Brothers Karamazov - Dostoevesky

p.falk wrote:
Mrs. Timmy wrote:
I lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ove Russian literature! I was beginning to think I was the only one.


I finished Solzhenisyn's "Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich"... that was a really good book too. So Brothers Karamazov is only my second Russian novel.
The names are always confusing. First you get a 3 name fullname.... but then the rest of the book they refer to that character by a 4th nickname :)
Happened in Day in the Life and the same thing is happening (at least with some of the characters) in Brothers Karamazov.


Russian names are actually quite simple, once you understand the system. The first name is their given name - their Christian name. For example, Ivan (John) or Ivana (Joan or Juana). The last name is, like ours, the family name: Ivanov (Johnson). The middle name is what's called a patronymic. It is the name of the individual's father, followed by the ending "ovitch" (meaning "son of") or "ovna" (meaning "daughter of") So if Ivan/Ivana's father was named Feyodor (Theodore), their full names would be Ivan Feyodovitch Ivanov and Ivana Feyodovna Ivanova. It really is simple.

Now go to Iceland, where they still don't use last names! To get along in the rest of the world, they just use a first name and a patronymic: If Thor has two children, Gunnar and Inger, the children's names would be Gunnar Thorsson and Inger Thorsdottir. Then when Gunnar grew up and had children, they might be Thor Gunnarson and Kirsten Gunnarsdottir. Fun fun fun!

Author:  Mrs. Timmy [ Wed May 03, 2017 4:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Brothers Karamazov - Dostoevesky

Oh, I forgot to mention nicknames, which are crazy popular in Russia. Everyone who knew Ivan halfway well would call him "Vanya." Mikhail (Michael) would be "Misha." Maria would be "Masha." My daughter in law, Natalia, is "Toshi."

Author:  p.falk [ Wed May 03, 2017 4:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Brothers Karamazov - Dostoevesky

Mrs. Timmy wrote:
p.falk wrote:
Mrs. Timmy wrote:
I lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ove Russian literature! I was beginning to think I was the only one.


I finished Solzhenisyn's "Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich"... that was a really good book too. So Brothers Karamazov is only my second Russian novel.
The names are always confusing. First you get a 3 name fullname.... but then the rest of the book they refer to that character by a 4th nickname :)
Happened in Day in the Life and the same thing is happening (at least with some of the characters) in Brothers Karamazov.


Russian names are actually quite simple, once you understand the system. The first name is their given name - their Christian name. For example, Ivan (John) or Ivana (Joan or Juana). The last name is, like ours, the family name: Ivanov (Johnson). The middle name is what's called a patronymic. It is the name of the individual's father, followed by the ending "ovitch" (meaning "son of") or "ovna" (meaning "daughter of") So if Ivan/Ivana's father was named Feyodor (Theodore), their full names would be Ivan Feyodovitch Ivanov and Ivana Feyodovna Ivanova. It really is simple.

Now go to Iceland, where they still don't use last names! To get along in the rest of the world, they just use a first name and a patronymic: If Thor has two children, Gunnar and Inger, the children's names would be Gunnar Thorsson and Inger Thorsdottir. Fun fun fun!



Thanks for explaining the method behind the naming. Didn't know that about the middle names.

Author:  Doom [ Wed May 03, 2017 4:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Brothers Karamazov - Dostoevesky

It is actually pretty easy to understand Russian names if you just remember that men have last names that end in a consonant, and women have last names that end in a vowel, usually a. One actual example that I encountered in grad school was a man named 'Chillnavich' and his sister who was named 'Chillina'.

Author:  Mrs. Timmy [ Wed May 03, 2017 4:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Brothers Karamazov - Dostoevesky

That is true in Russia, but not in neighboring countries. Take for example, the Republic of Georgia, where all Georgian last names end in "o" Remember Andrei Gromyko? Yes, he was Soviet, but he was Georgian, not Russian (you can tell by the last name).

Author:  TreeBeard [ Wed May 03, 2017 4:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Brothers Karamazov - Dostoevesky

p.falk wrote:
I finished Solzhenisyn's "Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich"... that was a really good book too.

I'm a big fan of short novels. :)

Author:  Obi-Wan Kenobi [ Wed May 03, 2017 6:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Brothers Karamazov - Dostoevesky

Does it come in a comic book version?

Author:  TreeBeard [ Wed May 03, 2017 9:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Brothers Karamazov - Dostoevesky

SHORT novel. Not graphic novel.

Author:  p.falk [ Wed May 03, 2017 9:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Brothers Karamazov - Dostoevesky

The point has been expressed a few times in the book now...
It seems that Dostoevesky's criticism of the Roman Church (Catholic) is that it aspired to and became the State... whereas the Russian Orthodox Church does not what the Church to become the role of the State, but to have the State willfully become subservient (he didn't use this word) to the Russian Orthodox Church.

There's a discussion between Ivan Karamazov and Fr. Zosima (and two other priests) where Ivan is saying that the State/Church separation should be done away with. It's being said in the context of how to handle criminals. Ivan thinks that a Russian facing excommunication from the Church would be a more powerful deterrent to criminal behavior than what he calls a "mechanical punishment" (like, cutting off an offending limb.... something that the secular courts might do). But Ivan isn't sympathetic to the Church..... and a Fr. Paissi sees through his scheme as really a way to ultimately get rid of the Church. He replies with "The Church is to evolve into a state, the way a lower order of life evolves into a higher one, and eventually is to disappear altogether as a religious institution, being superseded by science, technical progress, and secularism. And if the Church refuses to accept that fate and resists, it is to be rewarded for its pains by being allotted a corner in the preserve of the State, and even that would be under the supervision of the State."

Ivan seems to think that by the act of committing a crime under his theory a person would be immediately excommunicated. So, the criminal would be faced with the risk of not only being punished but being cut off from Christ.

Both of the priests (Zosima and Paissi) say that it's wrong for the Church to become the state... but "it is rather the State that must eventually become part of the Church." And then repeating a few times that this is what Rome did... it became the state. There is also mention of how the Catholic Church did excommunicate criminals for the act of committing crimes as a way to punish in a manner as suggested by Ivan.

Whether all of this is true or not (it's beyond my current knowledge) one thing that isn't true is what Fr. Zosima said would become of the Church in Rome. Almost as if there would be no spiritual element to it but only the societal concern of the proper way for citizens to act towards the state.

Kind of weird. I'm not certain where any of this is coming from. It comes across as the more typical Protestant criticism of Constantine ruining the Roman Church.

Author:  Obi-Wan Kenobi [ Wed May 03, 2017 9:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Brothers Karamazov - Dostoevesky

Dostoyevsky was no fan of the Catholic Church. The Grand Inquisitor scene is legendary/notorious. But it can be helpful to see how outsiders regard you.

Author:  Doom [ Wed May 03, 2017 10:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Brothers Karamazov - Dostoevesky

p.falk wrote:
The point has been expressed a few times in the book now...
It seems that Dostoevsky's criticism of the Roman Church (Catholic) is that it aspired to and became the State... whereas the Russian Orthodox Church does not what the Church to become the role of the State, but to have the State willfully become subservient (he didn't use this word) to the Russian Orthodox Church.

There's a discussion between Ivan Karamazov and Fr. Zosima (and two other priests) where Ivan is saying that the State/Church separation should be done away with. It's being said in the context of how to handle criminals. Ivan thinks that a Russian facing excommunication from the Church would be a more powerful deterrent to criminal behavior than what he calls a "mechanical punishment" (like, cutting off an offending limb.... something that the secular courts might do). But Ivan isn't sympathetic to the Church..... and a Fr. Paissi sees through his scheme as really a way to ultimately get rid of the Church. He replies with "The Church is to evolve into a state, the way a lower order of life evolves into a higher one, and eventually is to disappear altogether as a religious institution, being superseded by science, technical progress, and secularism. And if the Church refuses to accept that fate and resists, it is to be rewarded for its pains by being allotted a corner in the preserve of the State, and even that would be under the supervision of the State."

Ivan seems to think that by the act of committing a crime under his theory a person would be immediately excommunicated. So, the criminal would be faced with the risk of not only being punished but being cut off from Christ.

Both of the priests (Zosima and Paissi) say that it's wrong for the Church to become the state... but "it is rather the State that must eventually become part of the Church." And then repeating a few times that this is what Rome did... it became the state. There is also mention of how the Catholic Church did excommunicate criminals for the act of committing crimes as a way to punish in a manner as suggested by Ivan.

Whether all of this is true or not (it's beyond my current knowledge) one thing that isn't true is what Fr. Zosima said would become of the Church in Rome. Almost as if there would be no spiritual element to it but only the societal concern of the proper way for citizens to act towards the state.

Kind of weird. I'm not certain where any of this is coming from. It comes across as the more typical Protestant criticism of Constantine ruining the Roman Church.


But, in that discussion, Dostoyevsky proved that he had no idea what he was talking about. The Church was constantly battling the state because the state was constantly trying to take control of the Church. Only an ignoramus could possibly say that under Catholicism 'the Church became the state.'

Author:  kage_ar [ Thu May 04, 2017 9:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Brothers Karamazov - Dostoevesky

TreeBeard wrote:
p.falk wrote:
I finished Solzhenisyn's "Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich"... that was a really good book too.

I'm a big fan of short novels. :)


Heightist :fyi:

Author:  TreeBeard [ Thu May 04, 2017 9:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Brothers Karamazov - Dostoevesky

:P

Author:  Closet Catholic [ Fri May 05, 2017 5:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Brothers Karamazov - Dostoevesky

Doom wrote:
But, in that discussion, Dostoyevsky proved that he had no idea what he was talking about. The Church was constantly battling the state because the state was constantly trying to take control of the Church. Only an ignoramus could possibly say that under Catholicism 'the Church became the state.'
And in Russia today it seems pretty obvious that it is the other way around.

Author:  p.falk [ Sun May 07, 2017 6:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Brothers Karamazov - Dostoevesky

Fyodor Karamazov is a confusing character: Religious and defending it.... then in the same conversation he's irreligious and antagonistic of it (even wanting it torn down... which was only tempered because Ivan (his son) said "you'll be the first the atheists and socialists will come for.... because of his wealth).

His affections towards any and every character changes during a conversation too. Well, all except the youngest son, Alyosha. With him he seems constantly affectionate towards (even though he'll make threats to pull him out of the monastery).

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