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The Brothers Karamazov

Fyodor Dostoevsky

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This study guide and infographic for Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents, Q&A pairs, and flashcards created by students and educators.


Book Basics

Author: Fyodor Dostoevsky

Years Published: 1879–80

Type: Novel

Genre: Fiction

Perspective and Narrator:

The Brothers Karamazov is told from the point of view of a third-person, omniscient narrator. The narrator says he is writing a biography of a real person who lived in his town, but he also calls his work a novel. The narrative distance varies: sometimes the narrator intimately addresses readers; at other times he disappears. In addition, characters in the novel insert their own stories, documents, and even poems.


The introduction from the narrator of The Brothers Karamazov is written in the present tense, while the body of the novel is primarily written in the past tense.

About the Title:

The title The Brothers Karamazov refers to a trio of brothers who have each returned home as young men and who each represent a quality of brotherhood: Dmitri, sensuality; Ivan, intelligence; and Alyosha, spirit. There is a fourth illegitimate brother, Smerdyakov, whose evil nature represents a threat to brotherhood.

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