Both Tolstoy and Dostoevsky are masters of the psychological novel. They were both interested in the essential problems of life, death and god, and both endeavored to create a system of moral and social philosophy on a religious foundation. Tolstoy draws his materials from the nobility, officials and peasants of the rural areas. Dostoevsky on the other hand writes about intellectuals, merchants, and the social outcastes of the urban areas.
Dostoevsky describes himself as a realist in the highest sense because he has depicted the depths of the human soul. He is very much interested in the abnormal and extreme characters and sensational situations, projected through a torrent of impassioned dialogue. Tolstoy’s psychology range says Richard hare, was at least as wide as Dostoevsky’s his penetration into the motives of his characters equally profound and his literary art which used description and analysis with as perfect mastery as dialogue was greatly superior to that of Dostoevsky, who overloaded hi style and never managed to eliminate the superfluous.