• PART I

  • Book I. The History Of A Family

  • Chapter I. Fyodor Pavlovitch Karamazov

  • Narrator

    Alexey Fyodorovitch Karamazov was the third son of Fyodor Pavlovitch Karamazov, a land owner well known in our district in his own day, and still remembered among us owing to his gloomy and tragic death, which happened thirteen years ago, and which I shall describe in its proper place.

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  • For the present I will only say that this “landowner”

  • —for so we used to call him, although he hardly spent a day of his life on his own estate—was a strange type, yet one pretty frequently to be met with, a type abject and vicious and at the same time senseless.

  • But he was one of those senseless persons who are very well capable of looking after their worldly affairs, and, apparently, after nothing else.

  • Fyodor Pavlovitch, for instance, began with next to nothing;

  • his estate was of the smallest;

  • he ran to dine at other men’s tables, and fastened on them as a toady, yet at his death it appeared that he had a hundred thousand roubles in hard cash.

  • At the same time, he was all his life one of the most senseless, fantastical fellows in the whole district.

  • I repeat, it was not stupidity—the majority of these fantastical fellows are shrewd and intelligent enough—but just senselessness, and a peculiar national form of it.

  • * * * * *

  • Narrator

    He was married twice, and had three sons, the eldest, Dmitri, by his first wife, and two, Ivan and Alexey, by his second.

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  • Fyodor Pavlovitch’s first wife, Adelaïda Ivanovna, belonged to a fairly rich and distinguished noble family, also landowners in our district, the Miüsovs.

  • How it came to pass that an heiress, who was also a beauty, and moreover one of those vigorous, intelligent girls, so common in this generation,

  • but sometimes also to be found in the last, could have married such a worthless, puny weakling, as we all called him, I won’t attempt to explain.

  • Narrator

    I knew a young lady of the last “romantic”

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  • generation who after some years of an enigmatic passion for a gentleman, whom she might quite easily have married at any moment, invented insuperable obstacles to their union, and ended by throwing herself one stormy night into a rather deep and rapid river from a high bank, almost a precipice, and so perished, entirely to satisfy her own caprice, and to be like Shakespeare’s Ophelia.

  • Indeed, if this precipice, a chosen and favorite spot of hers, had been less picturesque, if there had been a prosaic flat bank in its place, most likely the suicide would never have taken place.