Learn Russian online: Reading Dostoevsky

Reading Dostoevsky

Have you read Dostoevsky? Even though many Russians haven't, they nevertheless all agree that he is the most influential and famous Russian writer ever. That is, if one doesn't count his eternal rival, Leo Tolstoy, of course. In today's lesson, you'll get to know both, and maybe choose where your preferences lie: Is it the darkish Dostoevsky or the classier Tolstoy?

Today's grammar is dedicated to the prepositional case used after the preposition "о" – "about".

Picture: A still shot from Vladimir Bortko's The Idiot (2003) , based on Dostoevsky's novel of the same title.


Иван: Приве´т. Что чита´ешь? Что за кни´га?
Ivan: Hi. What are you reading? What kind of a book is that?
Соня: Достое´вский. "Бра´тья Карама´зовы".
Sonya: Dostoevsky. The Brothers Karamazov.
Иван: Я, е´сли че´стно, не чита´л. О чём там?
Ivan: Frankly speaking, I haven't read it. What is it about?
Соня: Ну. О жи´зни.
Sonya: Well. About life.
Иван: О чём конкре´тно?
Ivan: What about in particular?
Соня: Ну, о свобо´де, об отве´тственности, о рели´гии… О любви´.
Sonya: Well, about freedom, about responsibility, about religion… About love.
Иван: То есть ни о чём конкре´тно. И пра´вда – о жи´зни.
Ivan: That means, about nothing in particular. Indeed – it's about life.


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