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Notes from a Dead House

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Notes from a Dead House


From renowned translators Richard Pevear and LindsayVolokhonsky comes a new translation—certain to become the definitive version—ofthe first great prison memoir, a fictionalized account of Fyodor Dostoevsky’slife-changing penal servitude in Siberia.

Sentenced to death for advocating socialism in 1849,Dostoevsky served a commuted sentence of four years of hard labor. The accounthe wrote afterward (sometimes translated as TheHouse of the Dead) is filled with vivid details of brutal punishments,shocking conditions, and the psychological effects of the loss of freedom andhope but also of the feuds and betrayals, the moments of comedy, and the actsof kindness he observed.

As a nobleman and a political prisoner, Dostoevskywas despised by most of his fellow convicts, and his first-person narrator—anobleman who has killed his wife—experiences a similar struggle to adapt. Healso undergoes a transformation over the course of his ordeal, as he discoversthat even among the most debased criminals there are strong and beautifulsouls. Notes from a Dead House revealsthe prison as a tragedy both for the inmates and for Russia. It endures as amonumental meditation on freedom.

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