Year of Great Books

The Long-Standing (and Kind of Trolly) Divide Between Dostoevsky People and Tolstoy People

Elif Batuman joins Slate’s Year of Great Books to discuss what makes Russian literature so distinctive.

Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky.
Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky. Photo illustration by Slate. Photos via Wikimedia Commons.

For the final selection in Slate’s Year of Great Books, we’re reading The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. In this bonus podcast, Laura Miller spoke to Elif Batuman about the history of Russian literature and about Dostoevsky’s relationship with other Russian greats. Batuman is a staff writer at the New Yorker and the author of The Possessed: Adventures With Russian Books and the People Who Read Them and the forthcoming novel The Idiot.

Slate Plus members can join our ongoing discussion of The Brothers Karamazov in our private Facebook group, and check back here in January when Laura will talk with John Dickerson about his reading experience.