Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Briefly. Dostoyevsky on one page.

I have only just realised that I may have confused the readers with the title of this earlier post, Dostoyevsky on one page. I didn't mean one paper page, which takes 200-500 words, but one internet page, which takes the whole of Crime and Punishment, all 211,591 words of the novel.

Dostoyevsky, 1872.

To compensate, I'd like to recommend an invaluable Russian resource, Брифли. Краткое содержание книг at Briefly.ru. It is in Russian only but these days you can always use machine translation. Briefly offers condensed summaries of world's classic novels. Crime and Punishment, for example, is summarised in 1500 words. Briefly also gives estimated times you'd need to read the summary and the whole book. In the case of Crime and Punishment, it is 5-10 minutes for the summary and 8-9 hours to read the novel in full.

When I first found Briefly I thought it was a collection of students' cribs, but it is based on a printed book, All the Masterpieces of World Literature in Short Summaries, compiled and edited by V.I. Novikov ("Все шедевры мировой литературы в кратком изложении. Сюжеты и характеры", ред. и сост. В.И.Новиков, М., "Олимп"-АСТ, 1996.)

If you are a student too busy to read great novels in full or want to impress a date with your knowledge of Dostoyevsky or Tolstoy, or if you are an honest reader and just want to refresh in your memory the plot of a book you've read twenty or thirty years ago, Briefly is for you.

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