Life, Self and God in Fedor Dostoevsky’s novel The Brothers Karamazov

Fall 2014

10 consecutive Thursdays, 1-3 pm

9 Oct - 6 Nov (part I), 13 Nov - 11 Dec (part II)

Instructor: Svitlana Kobets, PhD

Internationally acclaimed as one of the most insightful, ingenious and influential writers of modernity, Fedor Dostoevsky contributed to the world classics five masterworks which employ engaging, dynamic plots of murder novels and at the same time contemplate eternal questions of human existence. In this course we will explore his last novel and most celebrated masterpiece, The Brothers Karamazov (1880), which we will approach through the close reading and analysis of its major thematic concerns, including selfhood, faith, love, ethics, family and justice. Our discussions will be accompanied by background lectures, which will set this work in the context of Dostoevsky’s artistic world. The course site will contain all the course materials, including schedule, reading assignments, discussion questions and additional materials.

Readings: We will read Dostoevsky’s masterpiece in Pevear and Volokhonsky’s translation. All page references will be to this edition, yet other translations are also welcome.


The Brothers Karamazov I

(Part I, first 5 clases)


October 9

Class 1

The Brothers Karamazov, Part I: Book I (3-34), Book II (34-91)

  Discussion Questions to Class 1

October 16

Class 2

Part I: Book II (34-91) continued, Book III (92-160)

  Discussion Questions to Class 2

October 23

Class 3

Part II: Book IV (163-212), Book V (213-282)

  Discussion Questions to Class 3

October 30

Class 4

Part II: Book V (213-282) continued, The Grand Inquisitor

  Discussion Questions to Class 4

November 6

Class 5

Part II: Book VI (283-324), Part III: Book VII (327-363)

  Discussion Questions to Class 5

The Brothers Karamazov II

(2nd part of the course, 5 classes)



November 13

Class 6 (1)

Part III: Book VIII (364-444), Book IX (445-514)

  Discussion Questions to Class 6

November 20

Class 7 (2)

Part IV: Book X (515-562)

  Discussion Questions to Class 7

November 27

Class 8 (3)

Part IV: Book XI (563-655)

  Discussion Questions to Class 8

December 4

Class 9 (4)

Part IV: Book XII (656-753)

  Discussion Questions to Class 9

December 11

Class 10 (5)

Part IV: Book XII (656-753) continued, Epilogue (757-776)

  Discussion Questions to Class 10

Discussion Questions: the entire list 

Additional materials

© 2017 by Svitlana Kobets. All right reserved.