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Publisher's Summary

After narrowly avoiding a firing squad when he was just twenty-eight years old, Dostoevsky never took things lightly. His great novels burst upon the European literary scene like a succession of thunderbolts. His understanding of the darker and more extreme recesses of the human mind cast a forceful light into these areas of experience. The raw psychology and passionate involvement of his books galvanized writers and thinkers as disparate as Nietzsche and Kafka.

In Dostoevsky in 90 Minutes, Paul Strathern offers a concise, expert account of Dostoevsky's life and ideas and explains their influence on literature and on man's struggle to understand his place in the world. The book also includes selections from Dostoevsky's writings, a list of his chief works in English translation, a chronology of Dostoevsky's life and times, and recommended reading for those who wish to delve deeper.

©2004 Paul Strathern (P)2005 Blackstone Audiobooks

What listeners say about Dostoevsky in 90 Minutes

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  • Overall
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Appetizer!

What made the experience of listening to Dostoevsky in 90 Minutes the most enjoyable?

I listened to this between Boston and Montreal, rolling between the mountains of New Hampshire guiding 80,000 lbs on my fingertips and the time flew by. This brief history of Dostoevsky,s life and writings just wet my appetite for more. So from Dostoevsky to Gogol, to Tolstoy, it's going to be many hours of interesting listening. Paul Strathern covered everything I need to know and won't hesitate to purchase others in this series.
Robert Whitfield is clear and animated.

6 people found this helpful

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Author doesn’t actually like Dostoevsky

The good:

Dostoevsky’s output and the importance and prophetic nature of his works is so great, but his life, time, culture, are mostly foreign to westerners today; This book is useful for remedying those issues.
It’s helpful to have a concise work that briefly looks at each of his major works, his literary themes, and his contemporaries.

The narrator is very good. Though, I admit I listen at a increase speed.

The bad:

The author is heavily biased against Dostoevsky’s religion, philosophy, and worldview. Perhaps his own views resembles some of Dostoevsky’s atheistic or nihilistic characters. He frequently opines, at one point calls Dostoevsky’s supposed “right wing” perspectives “nonsense”. This book should be a dispassionate look at Dostoevsky’s writings, life, viewpoints, impact, not an exposé on the authors own entirely irrelevant worldview.

Also, he makes at least a couple factual mistakes: in Crime and Punishment, The money Raskolnikov so generously, freely gives away, is not money he stole from the woman he murdered, it’s money his sister and mom have borrowed and give to him. In the censored chapter from The Possessed, the age of the girl Matryosha is 11, not 14 as the author states.

Overall, it covers the right books and relevant details of Dostoevsky’s life. However, at times, it borders on an opinion piece, rather than an objective look at one of the towering literary figures of all time.

3 people found this helpful

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Worthless.

If you want to know about Dostoyevsky, read Dostoyevsky, not this. Read Notes From Underground.

3 people found this helpful

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Paul

I think this is one of your better works this and Virginia Woolf in 90 minutes. This is the most comprehensive works of a writer, his personal life and assessment of this books, the situation of which he finds himself as well as his death I have read of yours.

It has been awhile since I read Crime and Punishment but am pretty sure that the young lad is familiar with Nietzsche’s work and takes it upon himself to be the selected the Ubermensch to help all in killing the old woman and her unfortunate sister and should not fear punishment since he has ultimately done a favor for the village. Then of course he finds the cross is too much to bear and he has in fact killed himself.

Anyway, a few points I think you may have mixed up or perhaps it is I but a conversation it does make. I was unaware of Dostoevsky’s early assaults on the young women and thus getting his parts crushed nor the reason for his “episodes” so thank you for that.

This time instead of 1 star you will get 4. Keep up the good work!

3 people found this helpful

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About Dostoevsky or Strathan's Beliefs?

As I did not enter into this as a Dostoevsky expert I cannot speak to any issues with the strictly on-topic content. However, the author injects his own personal philosophical declarations in judgement of Dostoevsky consistently and to my ear...excess. This felt more like 80 minutes of Dostoevsky and another 10 minutes of a forced primer on Paul Strathern's worldview.

2 people found this helpful

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First hour was good

The first hour was an interesting and engaging account of Dostoevsky's life but then it started to get into summaries of each of his books which I didn't appreciate either bc I already know the plot or I plan to read that book.

1 person found this helpful

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Inaccuracies: worth a listen with a grain of salt.

There is no actual evidence that Dostoevsky's father was murdered by his serfs. A lot of this is rumor presented as fact. It's not completely useless, but do your own research from here. Don't just take this as fact. Some of it is perfectly true, and presented in a somewhat entertaining manner.

1 person found this helpful

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MOST POWERFUL, condensed, MEANINGFUL & LIVELY REVIEW!’ I was so sad at the END... desiring more! ALSO, IMNEED TO SEE THIS IN pr

Print— to memorize key & clarifying titles,, dates & IDEAS!!
Thank you, PROF. PAUL’ ! A great ‘LISTEN!!’
From Dr. HEIDI HONNOLD SPENCER

Five stars on all categories!!’

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loved it!

Great overview of Dostoyevsky's life and works. The reader captures the tone of Dostoyevsky's atmospheric works

1 person found this helpful

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Pleasure to Meet You, Mr. Dostoevsky

Paul Strathern lays bare the jagged edges of Dostoevsky’s life to bind us to the pain that drove his pen.