Welcome! You, like many others (me), have decided to read Dostoyevsky, but do not know which translation to select. Maybe you decide to read The Brothers Karamazov first, since it is after all his magnum opus. Why read the other books when you can read the final one. You go to the Wikipedia page to see the possible choices, and find this:

Oh well. Honestly, I feel like the choice of translation does not alter the experience of reading Dostoyevsky that much, and you should choose whichever one you like. However, choice fatigues you, and so I’d suggest you merely choose between Garnett and Pevear & Volokhonsky for a first read. Dostoyevsky’s greatness lies in the fact that mere stylistic changes do not take away even an epsilon amount from the content of his work, unlike certain self-professed aesthetes who find joy in professing their hatred for Dostoyevsky, while managing to produce works that, while undeniably are a pleasure to the senses, manage to leave your soul neither shaken nor stirred.

So how do you choose between Garnett and P&V? Here is a quick rundown of what each one appeals to me for:

Garnett translation



P&V translation




Now to list some articles which argue for either side:

Pro P&V:

Anti P&V [Usually implies Pro Garnett]:

I can’t access these, so I’d like it if someone could send them to me.

General translation comparisons (with extracts)

My reading order of TBK is as follows:

Other than slight changes, none of these particularly diminished my experience of reading TBK, so I do not think choosing a “wrong” translation is going to negatively affect your view of Dostoyevsky as much as it might affect other authors. If you have other links you’d like me to add, or anything changed in this page at all, feel free to drop me an email! To quote Ivan, Everything is permitted, including reading the shittiest translations of TBK. On that note, my translation of TBK comes out soon, never mind that I do not speak a lick of anything harder than A1 Russki.