Greatest Russian novels of all time

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Crime and Punishment
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
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Rodion Raskolnikov, the main character of the book, plans to kill a pawnbroker for money. He finds himself with moral dilemmas and guilt.
Anna Karenina
by Leo Tolstoy
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The novel describes the Imperial Russian society and the affair between Anna and Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky, who are forced to leave Russia to find peace and happiness.
The Master and Margarita
by Mikhail Bulgakov
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The main characters are the Devil, the Master and Margarita. She sells her soul to the Devil to release the Master she loved.
The Brothers Karamazov: A novel in Four Parts and an Epilogue
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
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The story is about Fyodor Karamazov and his three sons: Alyosha, Dmitry and Ivan. It includes ethical debates on God and morality.
War and Peace
by Leo Tolstoy
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Five aristocratic families speak on the consequences of the French invasion and the era of Napoleon in Tsarist Russia.
Lolita
by Vladimir Nabokov
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The stepfather of the 12-years-old Dolores, a middle-aged literature professor Humbert Humbert, is obsessed with his daughter and becomes sexually involved with her.
The Idiot
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
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Prince Myshkin is tangled; he is in love with two women. The action of the novel describes him as a honest man with a much higher moral integrity than that of the people who surround him.
Dead Souls
by Nikolai Gogol
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The novel portraits the flaws of the mentality of simple Russian people through the main character, Pavel Ivanovich Chichikov.
Eugene Onegin
by Alexander Pushkin
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Eugene Onegin rejects Tatyana and seduces her sister Olga. He will meet Tatyana years later and fall in love with her.
Fathers and Sons
by Ivan Turgenev
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Concerns the eternal conflict between generations and the moral differences of intellectuals and traditionalists. The main character, a physician called Bazarov denies everything beside science but falls in love.
Heart of a Dog
by Mikhail Bulgakov
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A satirized story of the Communist Revolution and its ideals. A dog named Sharik undergoes an experimental surgery to create a New Soviet man.
Oblomov
by Ivan Goncharov
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The book satirizes the Russian intellectuals, who are portrayed by its main character, Ilya Ilyich Oblomov, a totally superfluous man who did not manage to take any serious decisions in his life.
A Hero of Our Time
by Mikhail Lermontov
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The narrator is travelling through the Caucasus Mountains, where he meets an old officer, Maxim Maximych. The officer tells a story about Pechorin, who promises Azamat to steal a horse in return for his sister Bela, who he is in love with.
Doctor Zhivago
by Boris Pasternak
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A young boy Yura is sent to his uncle after the death of his mother. He falls in love with little Lara, but becomes a doctor and marries another woman. Lara becomes a nurse and the meet at a military hospital.
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
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The novel describes a single day of Ivan Denisovich Shukhov, a prisoner in a Soviet labor camp.

Some historical facts about the Russian literature

The first Russian literature appeared after the development of the Cyrillic alphabet as liturgical works in Old Slavonic. The oldest work was written in 1187 and is called "The Lay of the Host of Igor". After some time, folk poems and children's stories started to be written. The main characters were Baba Yaga and the Firebird which remained important elements of the contemporary Russian culture. The 17th and 18th centuries were the time of the Western influence and the spread of the European Enlightenment. While the next two centuries presented us the main masterpieces of the Russian literature. Some of the most genius Russian writers as Ivan Turgenev and Leo Tolstoy criticized the Russian society and the czarist autocracy. Those giants of world literature left a priceless heritage for the generations to follow in the form of the greatest Russian novels.

Get introduced to the best Russian novels with our lesson

In this lesson, you will discover what are some of the greatest Russian novels to read if you want to learn Russian language more in-depth or understand the Russian society better. This book recommendation includes the works of famous Russian authors, as Alexander Pushkin, Fyodor Dostoyevsky any many more. Such Russian books as Eugene Onegin, The Brothers Karamazov, Fathers and sons and War and Peace are listed in the lesson because we are sure they will spark the interest of any reader! The novels speak on important social topics, such as the Civil War or the Russian Revolution, some of them present a unique and unbelievably beautiful love story, others are social satires. The short summaries we have prepared for you will serve as a guide to help pick the right book, although we recommend reading all of them! VocApp wishes you enjoyable reading sessions! :)

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