12 best books by Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective and does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky is known all over the world – his works in Russia are included in the list of literature studied in high school, at universities, books are read by linguistic students and theatergoers in different countries, performances are staged on them, filmmakers are filmed. Deep drama, classical language and the reader's acquaintance with different segments of the population of the 19th century, their way of life and traditions – for these qualities novels, plays and stories of the great Russian prose writer are valued. We present the rating, which includes the 12 best books by Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky – you can return to reading them as many times as you like and rediscover something new for yourself.

Nomination a place composition rating
Rating of the best books of Dostoevsky 1 Brothers Karamazov (1879-1880) 4.9
2 Crime and Punishment (1866) 4.9
3 Idiot (1867-1869) 4.8
4 Humiliated and insulted (1861) 4.8
5 Demons (1870-1872) 4.8
6 Notes from the Underground (1864) 4.7
7 Player (1866) 4.7
8 Notes from the House of the Dead (1860-1861) 4.7
9 Poor people (1844-1845) 4.6
10 White Nights (1948) 4.6
11 Teenager (1875) 4.5
12 Netochka Nezvanov (1849) 4.5

Rating of the best books of Dostoevsky

Brothers Karamazov (1879-1880)

The author of the book: F.M. Dostoevsky

Rating: 4.9


One of the last works of Fyodor Mikhailovich, The Brothers Karamazov, covers issues of morality, freedom, relationship with God. Critics call the novel the pinnacle of Dostoevsky's work: it had a significant impact on world and especially Russian culture, literature and philosophy.

In the work on which the author worked for 2 years, there are notes of a thriller, a detective story, many psychological techniques and analysis of the behavior of heroes, of which there are many in the novel. The main idea is to determine the secrets of the human soul and the essence of everyone's existence in this world. In the center of the plot is the history of the Karamazov family – in the process of the development of the action, by their own example, they show what the answers to the main questions posed, which are relevant in our modern world, can be. The relationship of the characters is not easy, but a strong spiritual connection between all members of the clan is clearly traced. Dostoevsky manages to show the reader two sides of the human soul – the divine and the diabolical principle.

The Brothers Karamazov is a novel in four parts. After reading the work, everyone will have their own aftertaste: someone will disagree with the author's vision, someone is impressed by it. Perhaps for this reason, the book is still in demand and is actively discussed by artists, students and other societies in different countries.

Crime and Punishment (1866)

The author of the book: F.M. Dostoevsky

Rating: 4.9


Who doesn't know about Rodion Raskolnikov? The novel 'Crime and Punishment' is included in the curriculum of high school students for a reason: the work touches on the problem of morality, the author has made a real psychological thriller that clearly shows the consequences of the rash (or deliberate?) Actions of young people. Raskolnikov finds himself in the grip of fate after the murder of an old woman-pawnbroker, the author directs the hero to the study of conscience, immerses him in faith, calls for conscience, awakens responsibility in Rodion and the need for atonement for sin. The details of the description of the hero's inner experiences suggest that Dostoevsky himself committed a crime, otherwise, where does such a range of feelings come from?

The work is not easy for perception, nevertheless, Russian schoolchildren get acquainted with it, in other countries the novel is offered to older students with a stronger mind. However, people who read Crime and Punishment in different years look at the plot in their own way, from the point of view of acquired experience, and evaluate what is happening in a different way. Rodion Raskolnikov has become a household name throughout the world.

Idiot (1867-1869)

The author of the book: F.M. Dostoevsky

Rating: 4.8


On the third line of our rating, experts placed the well-known novel 'The Idiot', the main character of which, Prince Myshkin, became one of Fyodor Mikhailovich's favorite characters. Why? Perhaps the point is in Myshkin's delicate mental organization, his honesty and openness, which others perceive as something abnormal, from which the hero gets a not very pleasant nickname, like a mental illness. By the way, she really happened to him once … The idea of ​​the novel was born when Fyodor Mikhailovich was abroad. The work on the work lasted 2 years.

Dostoevsky wanted to show the main character as purity, even childish naivety, lost by society, but gradually washing away the raid of anger and greed from the characters. Sensitivity to others, their grief, the ability to sympathize and maintain their own balance – all this can only be done by a truly sincere person embodied in Myshkin. However, other characters are also spelled out by the author incredibly subtly, so much so that it is simply impossible to forget them – the images are firmly fixed in memory and it is impossible to confuse them during the reading of the four books that make up the novel.

Many modern readers in Russia and other countries, after meeting the novel, turn to their own lives and often change those traits of their character that were deliberately distinguished in their minds through the reflection of the acting heroes.

Humiliated and insulted (1861)

The author of the book: F.M. Dostoevsky

Rating: 4.8

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In the middle of the 19th century, there was an upsurge in the social life of Russian people, at the same time Fyodor Mikhailovich is working on the creation of the novel 'The Humiliated and the Insulted' – its publication at that time was significant. The work highlights the problem of the stratification of society on the example of the family of Prince Valkovsky, a cynical philosopher and a prototype for the consciousness of the later heroes of Dostoevsky (Raskolnikov, Svidrigailov and others), and poor people embodied by the family of the landowner Ikhmenev. The so-called upper and lower strata, despite the seeming remoteness, inevitably interact, and the decision of the children of families to tie their fates without the blessing of their parents generally seems impossible for that time. In addition to social stratification, Fyodor Mikhailovich shows the problem of selfishness, the blind and the proud, which Valkovsky demonstrates.

Dostoevsky worked on the novel immediately after his return from exile, which lasted several years. Perhaps this affected the quality of the work – 'Humiliated and Insulted' is written in an especially interesting and diverse way, as the Russian classic of the pen can do.

Demons (1870-1872)

The author of the book: F.M. Dostoevsky

Rating: 4.8


One of the most difficult and difficult novels, The Demons, was created on the basis of real events: in the 70s of the 19th century, the revolutionaries of one of the many circles decide to do away with a former like-minded person who decided to retire. A lot of politics, the interweaving of veiled famous figures and thinkers of that time, the premonition of the decomposition of an intelligent society into terrorist and radical groups characterize the novel and Dostoevsky himself as a visionary of the events to come in decades. “One denial, without any generosity and without any strength” – this phrase of one of the heroes of Nikolai Stavrogin describes the essence of the novel “Demons” in the best possible way.

The impetus for writing a political novel was the murder of a student, organized by a revolutionary terrorist group led by Sergei Nechaev. This student became the prototype of the book revolutionary who changed the vector and decided to 'turn in' the whole company. The event was so resonant, absurd and cruel for those times that Dostoevsky considered it necessary to draw the attention of readers to this.

According to Fyodor Mikhailovich from a letter addressed to the critic and philosopher Nikolai Strakhov, the novel Demons is an attempt to convey several thoughts about the emerging revolutionary trends, and the artistry of the presentation suffered from this. Indeed, it is not so easy to read it, in particular due to the complication of the plot due to the polemics of the heroes-ideologists.

Notes from the Underground (1864)

The author of the book: F.M. Dostoevsky

Rating: 4.7


The next novel in the rating, Notes from the Underground, was written in the first person of a collegiate assessor (judge, official), writing down his confession on paper. Exceeding his position, showing courage, he turns to his Soul and conscience, because his political and social activities do not echo the norms of morality even of that time. The hero constantly feels a sense of guilt for his inability to put things in order in the reality entrusted to him.

'Underground' is an allegory; it embodies the hero's attempt to psychologically close himself off from the outside world in complete contempt of people. It is here that questions about the purpose of a person are raised in parallel with the denial of good, scientific progress and everything that is positive in the world. Preceding everything is the idea of ​​the early years of an official, where the embryos of future fears and mental rushes are traced.

Fyodor Mikhailovich with his novel 'Notes from the Underground' laid the foundation for existentialism in world literature – writers worked in this direction until the middle of the 20th century. Once Nietzsche admitted that Dostoevsky was the only psychologist from whom the German thinker could learn at least something.

Player (1866)

The author of the book: F.M. Dostoevsky

Rating: 4.7


The story of the creation of the novel The Gambler is very interesting. As you know, Dostoevsky himself was an avid gambler. Once in Wiesbaden, he lost all his money, and in order to make up for the lack of funds, he entered into a contract with one publisher to write a novel in an unrealistically short time – 26 days. To be in time at a given time, Fyodor Mikhailovich had to hire a stenographer, to whom he dictated a largely autobiographical novel. Anna Snitkina turned out to be a stenographer, who later became the wife and inspirer of genius.

Dostoevsky devotes the novel to gambling and their influence on the consciousness and life of a person who loses his entire fortune. The problem is that money becomes an end in itself.

Alexey Ivanovich, on a trip to Germany with the family of a retired captain, serves as a teacher for the children of the family. He wakes up warm feelings for the general's step-daughter Pauline, but she does not reciprocate with Alexei, the subject of her sympathy is the French marquis. The general's family lives in anticipation of the death of their grandmother, who must leave a huge fortune as a legacy. However, the old woman is getting better, life is no longer threatened, and she comes to a German town, where the action takes place, and there she loses a considerable part of her fortune at roulette. Upon learning of this, Alexey wins a large sum for Polina, but she does not accept the money out of pride.

The excitement drags on, and now Aleksey Ivanovich becomes a player who puts the idea of ​​winning money in the first place. After a while, the main character learns that his beloved actually had mutual feelings for him …

Notes from the House of the Dead (1860-1861)

The author of the book: F.M. Dostoevsky

Rating: 4.7


The story 'Notes from the House of the Dead' is a first-person description of the hero's life in prison hard labor. The reader gets acquainted with all the hardships of the exiles of the 19th century, conveyed in the form of separate sketches without being combined into a single plot. Dostoevsky conveys everyday life, and the emotions, and feelings of the prisoners – the hero himself and his 'comrades in misfortune'.

The work is based on the real experience of Dostoevsky, who was in exile, so there is no need to doubt the reliability of the events. “Dead House” is a prison in Siberia, the prototype of which was the Omsk prison, where the author served 4 years in the case of the Petrashevites.

The nobleman A.P. Goryanchikov, the protagonist of the story, after serving his term in prison, breaks all ties with his family and remains in Siberia, leads a secluded life, and earns his living by private lessons. Readings and sketches about hard labor become the only entertainment of the former prisoner. He tells how hard it was for him to get used to the peasant environment, how he got acquainted with the life in prison, with the mores of prisoners and their interpersonal relationships. The hero fell under the second category to serve in the fortress in the department of serving criminals on especially grave cases (accused of murdering his wife for 10 years), where the prisoners serve under the control of the military.

The story 'Notes from the House of the Dead' is of a documentary nature. From it you can learn about the life of prisoners in the second half of the 19th century, about their dreams, entertainment, etc. In letters F.M.Dostoevsky confesses to his brother: 'How much I have taken out of hard labor of folk types, characters … It will take whole volumes'.

Poor people (1844-1845)

The author of the book: F.M. Dostoevsky

Rating: 4.6


The story, written in the epistolary genre at the dawn of the creativity of twenty-five-year-old Fyodor Dostoevsky, 'Poor People' is a description of life in the letters of Makar Alekseevich Devushkin and an orphan, a young girl, Varvara Alekseevna Dobroselova. They know each other about the course of life, plots can be formed from individual letters.

By 'poor' one should understand not the material situation, but the spiritual emptiness of the characters, the tragedy of their fate and the misfortunes that have occurred. The heroes are borrowed from European writers, the young Dostoevsky also used the basis of the plot, transforming it and adapting it for a specific story. Critics praised the first work of Fyodor Mikhailovich for its depth and innovative approach, which determined the basis of the previously non-existent genre of writing 'natural school'. 'Poor people', according to the critic Pletnev, are close in spirit to the works of N.V. Gogol.

White Nights (1948)

The author of the book: F.M. Dostoevsky

Rating: 4.6


One of the young Dostoevsky's first lyrical stories, White Nights, takes the reader to St. Petersburg, the writer's favorite city. The dreamer, the main character, meets the beautiful Nastenka, a strong friendship arises between them: meetings, walks, heart-to-heart conversations, during which the girl shares her feelings for the guest of the room in her grandmother's apartment with a new friend. He promised to return to the young lady in a year, but she did not wait for him on time. The dreamer, without noticing it, falls in love with Nastya and volunteers to help her find that guest.

The work was originally dedicated to Dostoevsky's friend Alexei Pleshcheev. 12 years later, in 1860, Fyodor Mikhailovich returned to the edition of White Nights and significantly reworked the work, adding Pushkin's romanticism and at the same time the rigidity of the protagonist, transforming his monologues.

Teenager (1875)

The author of the book: F.M. Dostoevsky

Rating: 4.5


The Teenager novel is another story of a man in a scrapbook. The main character is a young nineteen-year-old man Arkady Dolgoruky, who imagines himself to be a great sinner. He is driven by greed, greed, debauchery – the formation of personality occurs outside the traditional psychological and spiritual framework. Such development takes place against the background of the complex relations of his parents, the problem of fathers and children stands apart – it is from it that the difficulties of the formation of the child's personality often follow. Arkady rushes about in his own contradictions. Simultaneously with development, Dostoevsky shows the beginning of the destruction of the personality at such a young age, provoked by external circumstances and the inability of the still fragile psyche to resist them.

Another question raised by the author, whether there is still a chance for personal growth after 19 years, is also partially covered in the work.

Netochka Nezvanov (1849)

The author of the book: F.M. Dostoevsky

Rating: 4.5


The unfinished novel, which Dostoevsky turned into a novel, Netochka Nezvanova completes the rating of popular works of the Russian classic of the pen. Suddenly, an orphaned eight-year-old girl is brought up by strangers who have shown sympathy for the girl abandoned on the street, in a dream house with red curtains, which she saw from the window of her home. Life goes on like clockwork – Alexandra Mikhailovna is trying with all her might to replace the heroine's mother. It all ends when Netochka finds a letter addressed to the named mother from a longtime admirer. The husband, having learned about this, begins to tyrannize his wife, for which the young heroine will hate him and, in a fit of quarrel, intends to leave home.

The most poignant and emotional story of Fyodor Mikhailovich is full of psychological strength and depth that Netochka has to experience, an emancipated character who was later used more than once in the author's works under other names (Dunya Raskolnikova, Natasha Ikhmeneva, etc.). The writer raised the hot issues for the 19th century – the low position of women in society and the family, showed the girl's attempt to escape from the clutches of domestic tyranny into an independent independent life.

Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

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