The Brothers Karamazov
James Joyce noted that [Leo] Tolstoy admired him but he thought that he had little artistic accomplishment or mind. Yet, as he said, 'he admired his heart', a criticism which contains a great deal of truth, for though his characters do act extravagantly, madly, almost, still their basis is firm enough underneath... The Brothers Karamazov... made a deep impression on me... he created some unforgettable scenes [detail]... Madness you may call it, but therein may be the secret of his genius... I prefer the word exaltation, exaltation which can merge into madness, perhaps. In fact all great men have had that vein in them; it was the source of their greatness; the reasonable man achieves nothing.
The Brothers Karamazov is a passionate philosophical novel set in 19th century Russia, that enters deeply into the ethical debates of God, free will, and morality. It is a spiritual drama of moral struggles concerning faith, doubt, and reason, set against a modernizing Russia. Dostoyevsky composed much of the novel in Staraya Russa, which inspired the main setting. Since its publication, it has been acclaimed as one of the supreme achievements in literature.
YOU can easily imagine what a father such a man could be and how he would bring up his children. His behaviour as a father was exactly what might be expected. He completely abandoned the child of his marriage with Adelaida Ivanovna, not from malice, nor because of his matrimonial grievances, but simply because he forgot him. While he was wearying everyone with his tears and complaints, and turning his house into a sink of debauchery, a faithful servant of the family, Grigory, took the three-year old Mitya into his care. If he hadn't looked after him there would have been no one even to change the baby's little shirt.