While his literary reputation rests mainly on such celebrated novels as Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, and The Idiot, Dostoyevsky also wrote much superb short fiction. The Double is one of the finest of his shorter works. It appeared in 1846 (his second published work) and is by far the most significant of his early stories, not least for its successful, straight-faced treatment of a hallucinatory theme.
In The Double, the protagonist, Golyadkin senior, is persecuted by his double, Golyadkin junior, who resembles him closely in almost every detail. The latter abuses the former with mounting scorn and brutality as the tale proceeds toward its frightening denouement. Characteristic Dostoyevskyan themes of helplessness, victimization, and scandal are beautifully handled here with an artistry that qualifies the story as a small masterpiece.
Students of literature, admirers of Dostoyevsky, and general readers will all be delighted to have this classic work available in this inexpensive, high-quality edition.