Views & Reviews Medical Classics

The Brothers Karamazov

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b1999 (Published 20 May 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1999
  1. Ivan Iniesta, consultant neurologist, Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery NHS Trust, Liverpool
  1. ivan.iniesta{at}thewaltoncentre.nhs.uk

    In a legendary reply to the question of what to read to become a better doctor, the so called English Hippocrates, Thomas Sydenham, advised his disciple, Richard Blackmore: “Read Don Quixote.” A great admirer of Cervantes and the son of a surgeon too, Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821—81), like his Spanish predecessor, died only one year after publishing his masterpiece. Regarded as one of the best novels of the 19th century, The Brothers Karamazov is also a medicolegal treatise.

    Structured in four parts with an epilogue, The Brothers Karamazov tells the story of the murder of Fyodor Paulovich Karamazov at the hands of his bastard son and servant, Smerdyakov. His hated stepbrother …

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