Home » Culture and History

Russian Novels to Read for Free Online

30. October 2012 by Lorena 0 Comments

Alexander PushkinLiterature has always been important in Russia. The history of literature there goes back to medieval times, and includes a golden era in the 1830s that produced short stories, novels and plays that are considered among the best ever written. Russians have always prided themselves on being a nation of readers. Russia remains the fourth-largest producer of published books.


Like hundreds of classic novels that have reverted to the public domain, some of the most influential Russian novels are available for free as ebooks. Looking to increase your knowledge of the great literature of Russia? Start with the books below: 


Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – Tolstoy’s classic novel tells the story of a woman in a loveless marriage who yields to temptation and elopes with another man. Tolstoy was highly regarded as one of the pioneers of realist fiction.


The Duel by Anton Chekhov – This affecting book – which is technically a novella – could easily be read over the course of a lazy weekend day. Chekhov, like Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, was part of the realist movement, and told stories of ordinary people with unadorned, simple prose. 


The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky – Dostoyevsky’s Prince Myshkin is kind, selfless and dedicated to caring for others; ironically, these characteristics become his undoing when he tries to exist in a world full of lust, greed and suspicion. 


Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin – this novel written in verse is admired for its deep exploration of love, life and death and its beautiful prose. The bored titled character causes distress and destruction to those around him. Finally, too late, he becomes appreciative of what he’d previously rejected.


Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol – Gogol is considered one of the first masters of the short story. This dark satirical novel was written as a critique of the serf system in Ukraine. Although the works were intended to be a trilogy, the second novel was unfinished when Gogol died, and ends midsentence. 


Photo: Russian Times