Notes from the House of the Dead
by Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky
Translated by Boris Jakim
Long before Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago came Dostoevsky's Notes from the House of the Dead, a compelling account of the horrific conditions in Siberian labor camps. First published in 1861, this novel, based on Dostoevsky's own experience as a political prisoner, is a forerunner of his famous novels Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov. The characters and situations that Dostoevsky encountered in prison were so violent and extraordinary that they changed his psyche profoundly. Through that experience, he later said, he was resurrected into a new spiritual condition -- one in which he would create some of the greatest novels ever written. Including an illuminating introduction by James Scanlan on Dostoevsky's prison years, this totally new translation by Boris Jakim captures Dostoevsky's semi-autobiographical narrative -- at times coarse, at times intensely emotional, at times philosophical -- in rich American English.