Born OTD in 1821, Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, journalist & philosopher, Fyodor Dostoevsky. Dostoevsky’s literary works explore human psychology in the troubled political, social, & spiritual atmospheres of 19th-century Russia, & engage with a variety of philosophical & religious themes. Notes from Underground & Other Stories is a comprehensive collection of Dostoevsky’s short fiction. Many of these stories, like his great novels, reveal his special sympathy for the solitary & dispossessed, explore the same complex psychological issues & subtly combine rich characterization and philosophical meditations on the (often) dark areas of the human psyche, all conveyed in an idiosyncratic blend of deadly seriousness and wild humour.

In Notes from Underground, the Underground Man casually dismantles utilitarianism and celebrates in its stead a perverse but vibrant masochism. … More

Born OTD in 1818, Russian novelist, short story writer, poet, playwright, translator & popularizer of Russian literature in the West, Ivan Turgenev. Fathers & Sons is one of the greatest 19th century Russian novels, & has long been acclaimed as Turgenev’s finest work. It is a political novel set in a domestic context, with a universal theme, the generational divide between fathers & sons. Set in 1859 at the moment when the Russian autocratic state began to move hesitantly towards social & political reform, the novel explores the conflict between the liberal-minded fathers of Russian reformist sympathies & their free-thinking intellectual sons whose revolutionary ideology threatened the stability of the state.

At its centre is Evgeny Bazorov, a strong-willed antagonist of all forms of social orthodoxy who proclaims himself a nihilist … More

Born OTD 1828, Leo Tolstoy. This powerful novel begins with a courtroom drama (the finest in Russian literature), all the more stunning for being based on a real-life event. Dmitri Nekhlyudov, called to jury service, is astonished to see in the dock, charged with murder, a young woman whom he once seduced, propelling her into prostitution

She is found guilty on a technicality, and he determines to overturn the verdict. This pitches him into a hellish … More