The Brothers Karamazov

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The Brothers Karamazov
Pevear & Volokhonsky Translation of The Brothers Karamazov.
Pevear & Volokhonsky Translation of The Brothers Karamazov
Author Fyodor Dostoevsky
Original title (if not in English) (Братья Карамазовы in Russian, /'bratʲjə karə'mazəvɨ/)
Country Russia
Language Russian
Genre(s) Novel
Publisher The Russian Messenger (as Serial)
Released November 1880
Media Type Print ( Hardback & Paperback)

The Brothers Karamazov (Братья Карамазовы in Russian, /'bratʲjə karə'mazəvɨ/) is the last novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky, generally considered the culmination of his life's work. Dostoevsky spent nearly two years writing The Brothers Karamazov, which was published as a serial in The Russian Messenger and completed in November of 1880. Dostoevsky intended it to be the first part in an epic story titled The Life of a Great Sinner, but he died fewer than four months after publication.

The book is written on two levels: on the surface it is the story of a patricide in which all of a murdered man's sons share varying degrees of complicity but, on a deeper level, it is a spiritual drama of the moral struggles between faith, doubt, reason, and free will. The novel was composed mostly in Staraya Russa, which is also the main setting of the book.

Since its publication, it has been acclaimed all over the world by thinkers as diverse as Sigmund Freud, Andrew R. MacAndrew, Konstantin Mochulsky, Albert Einstein, and Pope Benedict XVI as one of the supreme achievements in world literature.

Context and background

Dostoevsky's notes for Chapter 5 of The Brothers Karamazov
Dostoevsky's notes for Chapter 5 of The Brothers Karamazov

Dostoevsky began his first notes for The Brothers Karamazov in April of 1878. Several influences can be gleaned from the very early stages of the novel's genesis. The first involved the profound effect the Russian philosopher and thinker Nikolai Fyodorovich Fyodorov had on Dostoevsky at this time of his life. Fyodorov advocated a Christianity in which human redemption and resurrection could occur on earth through sons redeeming the sins of their fathers to create human unity through a universal family. The tragedy of patricide in this novel becomes much more poignant as a result because it is a complete inversion of this ideology. The brothers in the story do not resurrect their father but instead are complicit in his murder, which in itself represents complete human disunity for Dostoevsky.

Though religion and philosophy profoundly influenced Dostoevsky in his life and in The Brothers Karamazov, a much more personal tragedy altered the course of this work. In May of 1878 Dostoevsky's novel was interrupted by the death of his three-year-old son Alyosha. As tragic as this would be under any circumstances, Alyosha's death was especially devastating for Dostoevsky because the child died of epilepsy, a condition he inherited from his father. The novelist's grief for his young son is readily apparent throughout the book; Dostoevsky made Alyosha the name of the stated hero of the novel, as well as imbuing him with all of the qualities he himself most admired and sought after. This heartbreak also appears in the novel as the story of Captain Snegiryov and his young son Ilyusha.

A very personal experience also influenced Dostoevsky's choice for a patricide to dominate the external action of the novel. While serving his katorga (forced labor) sentence in Siberia for circulating politically subversive texts in the 1850s, Dostoevsky encountered the young man Ilyinsky who had been convicted of killing his father to acquire an inheritance. Nearly ten years after this encounter Dostoevsky learned that Ilyinsky had been falsely convicted and later exonerated when the actual murderer confessed to the crime. The impact of this encounter on the author is readily apparent in the novel, as it serves as much of the driving force for the plot. Many of the physical and emotional characteristics of the character Dmitri Karamazov are closely paralleled to those of Ilyinsky.


Although it was written in the 19th century, The Brothers Karamazov displays a number of modern elements. Dostoevsky composed the book with a variety of literary techniques that led many of his critics to characterize his work as "slipshod". The most poignant example that comes across to the reader is the omniscient narrator. Though he is privy to many of the thoughts and feelings of the protagonists, he is a self-proclaimed writer, and characterizes his own mannerisms so often throughout the novel that he becomes a character himself. Through his descriptions the narrator's voice merges imperceptively into the tone of the people he is describing. Thus there is no voice of authority in the story (see Mikhail Bakhtin "Problems of Dostoyevsky’s Art: Polyphony and Unfinalizability" for more on the relationship between Dostoevsky and his characters). This technique enhances the theme of truth, making the tale itself completely subjective.

Speech is another technique that Dostoevsky employs uniquely in this work. Every character has a unique manner of speaking which expresses much of the inner personality of each person. For example, "The attorney Fetyukovich habitually says 'robbed' when he means 'stolen', and at one point declares five possible suspects in the murder 'completely irresponsible.' " The reader can therefore perceive that this attorney is attempting to sound more learned than he really is, which causes him to use words incorrectly. There are also several plot digressions that help provide insight into other characters who may not initially seem important to the reader. For example, the narrative in Book Six is almost entirely devoted to the story of Zosima's biography, which in itself contains a confession from a man Zosima met many years before who seems to have nothing at all to do with the events chronicled in the main plot.


The diverse array of literary techniques and distinct voices in the novel makes the translation of special importance. The Brothers Karamazov has been translated from the original Russian into a number of languages. In English, the translation by Constance Garnett probably continues to be the most widely read. However, some have criticized Garnett for taking too much liberty with Dostoevsky's text while translating the novel in a Victorian manner. A case in point is that in Garnett's translation the lower class characters speak in Cockney English. Therefore, it would serve the reader well to sample many translations before deciding on a particular text. In 1990 Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky released a new translation that strove to come closer to the stylistic quality of the original and has been met with much critical and academic acclaim from such sources as The New York Times and the University of Illinois.

List of major characters

Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov

Is a 55-year-old sponger and buffoon who had sired 3 sons during the course of his two marriages. He is also rumored to have fathered a fourth, illegitimate son, Pavel Smerdyakov (see proper section) whom he employed as his servant. Fyodor took no interest in any of his sons. As a result, they were all raised apart from each other and their father. The murder of Fyodor and the ensuing implication of his oldest son provides much of the plot in the novel.

Dmitri Fyodorovich Karamazov

Dmitri (Mitya, Mitka, Mitenka, Mitri) is Fyodor's eldest son and the only offspring of his first marriage. Dmitri is a sensualist much like his father, and the two men's personalities often clash. Dmitri loves to spend large amounts of money on debauchery filled nights with plenty of champagne, women, and whatever entertainment and stimulation money can buy, soon exhausting any source of cash he comes across. This leads to further conflict with his father, and his lack of money will cast suspicion upon him in the murder investigation. He finally comes to the brink of murdering his father when they begin fighting over the same woman, Grushenka.

Ivan Fyodorovich Karamazov

Variously called Vanya, Vanka, and Vanechka, Ivan is the middle son and first by Fyodor's second marriage. He is a fervent rationalist, disturbed especially by the apparently senseless suffering in the world. As he says to Alyosha in the chapter "Rebellion" (Bk. 5, Ch. 4), "It's not God that I don't accept, Alyosha, only I most respectfully return him the ticket [to salvation]."

From an early age Ivan was sullen and isolated from everyone around him. He carries a hatred for his father that is not openly expressed but which leads to his own moral guilt over Fyodor's murder and contributes to his later insanity. Some of the most memorable and acclaimed passages of the novel involve Ivan, including the chapter "Rebellion," his "poem" " The Grand Inquisitor" immediately following, and his nightmare of the devil (Bk. 11, Ch. 9).

Alexei Fyodorovich Karamazov

Variously referred to as Alyosha, Alyoshka, Alyoshenka, Alyoshechka, Alexeichik, Lyosha, and Lyoshenka, Alexei is the youngest of the Karamazov brothers. He is proclaimed as the hero of the novel by the narrator in the opening chapter (as well as the author in his preface). At the outset of the events chronicled in the story Alyosha is a novice in the local monastery. In this way Alyosha's beliefs act as a counterbalance to his brother Ivan's atheism. He is sent out into the world by his Elder and subsequently becomes embroiled in the sordid details of his family's dysfunction. Alyosha is also involved in a side story in which he befriends a group of school boys whose fate adds a hopeful message to the conclusion of an otherwise tragic novel. Alyosha's place in the novel is usually that of a messenger or witness to the actions of his brothers and others.

Pavel Fyodorovich 'Smerdyakov'

Was born from "Stinking Lizaveta," a mute woman of the street, from which his name came--'Son of the stinking one'. He is widely rumoured to be the illegitimate son of Fyodor Karamazov. When the novel begins Smerdyakov is Fyodor's lackey and cook. He is a very morose and sullen man, and, like Dostoevsky himself, is epileptic. As a child he would collect stray cats so he could hang and later bury them. Smerdyakov is aloof with most people but holds a special admiration for Ivan and shares his atheistic ideology. He later confesses to Ivan that he and not Dmitri was the murderer of Fyodor and claims to have acted with Ivan's blessing. His name means something similar to "shithead" in Russian.

Agrafena Alexandrovna Svetlova

Variously called Grushenka, Grusha, and Grushka, Agrafena Alexandrovna is the local Jezebel and has an uncanny charm among men. She was jilted by a Polish officer in her youth and came under the protection of a tyrannical miser. Grushenka inspires complete admiration and lust in both Fyodor and Dmitri Karamazov. Their rivalry for her affection is one of the most damaging circumstances that leads to Dmitri's conviction for his father's murder. She seeks to torment and then deride both Dmitri and Fyodor as a wicked amusement, a way to inflict upon others the pain she’s felt at the hands of her ‘former and indisputable one’. As the book progresses, she becomes almost magnanimous.

Katerina Ivanovna Verkhovtseva

Called Katya, Katka, and Katenka, Katerina Ivanovna is Dmitri's fiancée, despite his very open forays with Grushenka. She became engaged to Dmitri after he bailed her father out of a debt. Katerina produces a further love triangle among the Karamazov brothers as Ivan falls in love with her, although she is characterized as exceedingly proud. We are given Katya as a beacon of nobility, generosity, and magnanimity early in the book, and as a stark reminder of everyone’s guilt ‘before all and for all’ as her downfall progresses. By the end of the trial, it’s evident that she’s as base as any of the characters. Even in the epilogue, after she’s confessed to Mitya and agreed to direct his escape, she can’t subdue her pride after Grushenka enters the hospital room.

Zosima, the elder

Father Zosìma is Alyosha's teacher in the town monastery, the Elder. He is something of a celebrity among the townspeople as he displays certain prophetic and healing abilities. This fact inspires both admiration and jealousy amidst his fellow monks. Zosima is included partially as a refutation to Ivan's atheistic arguments, but he was included mostly to develop and explain Alyosha’s character. Ivan’s arguments for amoralism are dodgy at best, and are an indication of his character and upbringing. Zosima’s teachings shape the way Alyosha deals with the young boys he meets in the Ilyusha storyline.


Ilyusha, Ilyushechka, or simply Ilusha in some translations, is one of the local schoolboys, and the protagonist of the most important subplot in the novel. His father, Captain Snegiryov, is an impoverished officer who is insulted by Dmitri when Fyodor hires him to threaten the latter over his debts, and the family is brought to shame as a result. We are led to believe that it is partly because of this Ilyusha falls ill, and eventually dies (his funeral is the concluding chapter of the novel), undoubtedly to illustrate the theme that even minor actions can touch heavily on the lives of others, and that we are "all responsible for one another".


Book One: A Nice Little Family

Introduces the Karamazov family and relates the story of their distant and recent past. The details of Fyodor's two marriages as well as his indifference to his three children's upbringing is chronicled. The narrator also establishes the widely varying personalities of the three brothers and the circumstances that have led to their return to Fyodor's town. The first book concludes by describing the mysterious religious order of Elders to which Alyosha has become devoted.

Book Two: An Inappropriate Gathering

Begins as the Karamazov family arrives at the local monastery so that the Elder Zosima can act as a mediator between Dmitri and his father Fyodor in their dispute over Dmitri's inheritance. Ironically it was the atheist Ivan's idea to have the meeting take place in such a holy place in the presence of the famous Elder. Dmitri, in appropriate fashion for him, arrives late and the gathering soon degenerates and only exacerbates the feud between Dmitri and Fyodor. This book also contains a touching scene when the Elder Zosima consoles a woman mourning the death of her three year old son. The poor woman's grief parallels Dostoevsky's own tragedy at the loss of his young son Alyosha.

An original page of book 3, chapter 3 of The Brothers Karamazov.
An original page of book 3, chapter 3 of The Brothers Karamazov.

Book Three: Sensualists

Provides more detail into the love triangle that has erupted between Fyodor, his son Dmitri, and Grushenka. Dmitri's personality is explored in the conversation between him and Alyosha as Dmitri hides near his father's home to see if Grushenka will arrive. Later that evening, Dmitri bursts into his father's house and assaults him while threatening to come back and kill him in the future. This book also introduces Smerdyakov and his origins, as well as the story of his mother Stinking Lizaveta. At the conclusion of this book Alyosha is witness to Grushenka's bitter humiliation of Dmitri's betrothed Katerina, resulting in terrible embarrassment and scandal for this proud woman.

Book Four: Strains

Introduces a side story to the novel which will show up again in more detail later in the novel. It begins with Alyosha observing a group of schoolboys throwing rocks at a sickly one of their peers named Ilyusha. When Alyosha admonishes the boys and tries to help, Ilyusha bites Alyosha's finger. It is later learned that Ilyusha's father, a former staff-captain named Snegiryov, was assaulted by Dmitri, who dragged him by the beard out of a bar. Alyosha soon learns of the further hardships present in the Snegiryov household and offers the former staff captain money as an apology for his brother and to help Snegiryov's ailing wife and children. After initially accepting the money with joy, Snegiryov throws the money back at Alyosha out of pride and runs back into his home.

Book Five: Pro and Contra

Was described by Dostoevsky as the culminating point in the novel. The rationalist and nihilistic ideology that permeated Russia at this time is defended and espoused passionately by Ivan Karamazov while meeting his brother Alyosha at a café. In the chapter titled "Rebellion" Ivan proclaims that he rejects the world that God has created because it is built on a foundation of suffering by innocent children. In perhaps the most famous chapter in the novel, " The Grand Inquisitor", Ivan narrates to Alyosha his imagined poem that describes a leader from the Spanish Inquisition and his encounter with Jesus, who has made his return to earth. The Inquisitor chastises Jesus for giving humanity free will, inevitably dooming them to misery and despair. The Inquisitor's plan for humanity (in contradiction to Christ) is for the species to be enslaved under a Church autocracy, thus rendering them happy without choice.

Book Six: The Russian Monk

Relates the life and history of the Elder Zosima as he lies near death in his cell. Zosima describes his rebellious youth and how he found his faith while in the middle of a duel, consequently deciding to become a monk. Some of Zosima's homilies and teachings are then described which preach that people must forgive others by acknowledging their own sins and guilt before others. He explains that no sin is isolated, making everyone responsible for their neighbour's sins. Zosima represents a philosophy opposite to Ivan's, which challenges God's creation in the previous book.

Book Seven: Alyosha

Begins immediately following the death of Zosima. It is a commonly held perception in the town, and the monastery as well, that true holy men's bodies do not succumb to putrefaction. Thus the expectation for the Elder Zosima is that his deceased body will also not decompose. It comes as a great shock to the entire town that Zosima's body not only decays, but begins the process almost immediately following his death. Within the first day the smell of Zosima's body is already unbearable. For many this calls into question their previous respect and admiration for Zosima. Alyosha is particularly devastated by the sullying of Zosima's name due to nothing more than the corruption of his dead body. One of Alyosha's companions in the monastery named Rakitin uses Alyosha's vulnerability to set up a meeting between him and Grushenka. The book ends with the spiritual regeneration of Alyosha as he embraces the earth outside the monastery and cries convulsively until finally going back out into the world, renewed.

Book Eight: Mitya

Deals primarily with Dmitri's wild and distraught pursuit of money so he can run away with Grushenka. Dmitri owes money to his fiancée Katerina and will believe himself to be a thief if he does not find the money to pay her back before embarking on his quest for Grushenka. This mad dash for money takes Dmitri from Grushenka's benefactor to a neighboring town on a fabricated promise of a business deal. All the while Dmitri is petrified that Grushenka may go to his father Fyodor and marry him because he already has the monetary means to satisfy her. When Dmitri returns from his failed dealing in the neighboring town, he escorts Grushenka to her benefactor's home, but quickly discovers she deceived him and left early. Furious, he runs to his father's home with a brass pestle in his hand, and spies on him from the window. He takes the pestle from his pocket. Then, there is a discontinuity in the action, and Dmitri is suddenly running away off his father's property, knocking the servant Gregory in the head with the pestle. Dmitri is next seen in a daze on the street, covered in blood, with thousands of rubles in his hand. He soon learns that Grushenka's former betrothed has returned and taken her to a lodge near where Dmitri just was. Upon learning this, Dmitri loads a cart full of food and wine and pays for a huge orgy to finally confront Grushenka in the presence of her old flame, intending all the while to kill himself at dawn. The "first and rightful lover", however, is a boorish Pole who cheats the party at a game of cards. When his chicanery is revealed, he runs away, and Grushenka soon reveals to Dmitri that she really is in love with him. The party rages on, and just as Dmitri and Grushenka are about to consummate their love, the police enter the lodge and inform Dmitri that he is under arrest for the murder of his father.

Book Nine: The Preliminary Investigation

Introduces the details of Fyodor's murder and describes the interrogation of Dmitri as he is questioned for the crime he maintains he did not commit. The alleged motive for the crime is robbery. Dmitri was known to have been completely destitute earlier that evening, but is suddenly seen on the street with thousands of roubles shortly after his father's murder. Meanwhile, the three thousand roubles that Fyodor Karamazov had set aside for Grushenka has disappeared. Dmitri explains that the money he spent that evening came from three thousand roubles Katerina gave him to send to her sister. He spent half that at his first meeting with Grushenka--another drunken orgy--and sewed up the rest in a cloth, intending to give it back to Katerina in the name of honour, he says. The lawyers are not convinced by this. All of the evidence points against Dmitri; the only other person in the house at the time of the murder was Smerdyakov, who was incapacitated due to an epileptic seizure he apparently suffered the day before. As a result of the overwhelming evidence against him, Dmitri is formally charged with the patricide and taken away to prison to await trial.

Book Ten: Boys

Reintroduces the story of the schoolboys and Ilyusha last referred to in Book Four. The book begins with the introduction of the young boy Kolya Krasotkin. Kolya is a brilliant boy who proclaims his atheism, socialism, and beliefs in the ideas of Europe. He seems destined to follow in the spiritual footsteps of Ivan Karamazov; Dostoevsky uses Kolya's beliefs especially in a conversation with Alyosha to pick fun at his Westernizer critics by putting their beliefs in what appears to be a young boy who doesn't exactly know what he is talking about. Kolya is bored with life and constantly torments his poor mother by putting himself in danger. As part of a prank Kolya lies underneath railroad tracks as a train passes over and becomes something of a legend for the feat. All the other boys look up to Kolya, especially Ilyusha. Since the narrative left Ilyusha in Book Four, his illness has progressively worsened and the doctor states that he will not recover. Kolya and Ilyusha had a falling out over Ilyusha's father's humiliation by Dmitri. But thanks to Alyosha's intervention the other schoolboys have reconciled with Ilyusha, and Kolya soon joins them at his bedside. It is here that Kolya first meets Alyosha and begins to reassess his nihilist beliefs.

Book Eleven: Brother Ivan Fyodorovich

Chronicles Ivan Karamazov's destructive influence on those around him and his descent into madness. It is in this book that Ivan meets three times with Smerdyakov, the final meeting culminating in Smerdyakov's dramatic confession that he had faked the fit, murdered Fyodor Karamazov, and stolen the money, which he presents to Ivan. Smerdyakov expresses disbelief at Ivan's professed ignorance and surprise. Smerdyakov claims that Ivan was complicit in the murder by telling Smerdyakov when he would be leaving Fyodor's house, and more importantly by instilling in Smerdyakov the belief that in a world without God "everything is permitted." The book ends with Ivan having a hallucination in which he is visited by the devil, who torments Ivan by mocking his beliefs. Alyosha finds Ivan raving and informs him that Smerdyakov killed himself shortly after their final meeting.

Book Twelve: A Judicial Error

Details the trial of Dmitri Karamazov for the murder of his father Fyodor. The courtroom drama is sharply satirized by Dostoevsky. The men in the crowd are presented as resentful and spiteful, and the women are irrationally drawn to the romanticism of Dmitri's love triangle between himself, Katerina, and Grushenka. Ivan's madness takes its final hold over him and he is carried away from the courtroom after telling of his final meeting with Smerdyakov and the aforementioned confession. The turning point in the trial is Katerina's damning testimony against Dmitri. Impassioned by Ivan's illness which she believes is a result of her assumed love for Dmitri, she reproduces a drunken letter Dmitri wrote to her saying that he would kill Fyodor. The book concludes with the impassioned closing remarks of the prosecutor and the defense, and the final verdict that Dmitri is guilty.


Opens with an ambiguous plan developed for Dmitri's escape from his sentence of twenty years of hard labor in Siberia. Dmitri and Katerina meet while Dmitri is in the hospital, recovering from an illness before he is due to be taken away. They agree to love each other for that one moment, and say they will love each other forever, even though they both love other people now. The novel concludes at Ilyusha's funeral, where Ilyusha's schoolboy friends listen to Alyosha's "Speech by the Stone." Alyosha promises to remember Kolya, Ilyusha, and all the boys and keep them close in his heart, even though he will have to leave them and may not see them again until many years have passed. He implores them to love each other and to always remember Ilyusha, and to keep his memory alive in their hearts, and to remember this moment at the stone when they were all together and they all loved each other. In tears, the boys promise Alyosha that they will keep each other in their memories forever, join hands, and return to the Snegirov household for the funeral dinner, chanting, "Hurrah for Karamazov!"


The novel explores the existence of God, the nature of truth, and the importance of forgiveness through the actions of its characters. The murder trial can be seen as a literal expression of whether or not any one man (Dmitri) can be held accountable for the death of another (Fyodor), a belief that directly contrasts with Zosima's maxim that everyone is guilty for every crime. Each of the brothers played a part in his father's murder: Dmitri had the motive, Ivan could justify the killing through rationalism, Smerdyakov finally carried it out, and Alyosha, an otherwise benign character, did not prevent the actions of his brothers although he clearly knew their true desires. Dmitri's sentence and the gleeful behaviour of the trial's spectators mirrors Ivan's argument in The Grand Inquisitor, that man is fundamentally weak and wants to be told the true nature of right and wrong (here supplied by the jury).

However, the novel can also be viewed as a parody of the argument of the existence of a supreme being. If the trial is the deciding of whether God exists or not, then the childish debate of the prosecutor and the defense lawyer can be seen as the pointless nature of arguing a problem unanswerable by pure logic. Alyosha's final "Speech by the Stone," the last chapter in the book, does not attempt to answer the question and merely implores the children to love each other and to never forget Ilyusha or each other, even while Ilyusha's death mirrors Ivan's argument that God cannot exist because of the death of children. Thus, the book's ultimate theological viewpoint may be seen as agnostic. However, this is only one interpretation, and the reader's true decision as to what philosophy the book endorses is a question of personal bias. Dostoyevsky was clearly aware of this, as the novel explores the concept of truth extensively, most prominently in the aformentioned example of who Fyodor Karamazov's true killer was.

It is important to note that no voice of authority explains who truly killed Fyodor. Most of the novel's major characters ultimately feel Smerdyakov killed him, which even Smerdyakov confesses to, but the choice to condemn one brother over another is, again, the reader's decision. (Though Smerdyakov's possession of the three thousand roubles is not otherwise explained.) This may imply that whichever brother actually killed Fyodor is meaningless, and that all must be forgiven if happiness is to exist after the act.

The novel's influence

The Brothers Karamazov has had a deep influence on some of the greatest writers and philosophers that followed it. Sigmund Freud called it "The most magnificent novel ever written" and was fascinated with the book for its Oedipal themes. In 1928 Freud published a paper titled "Dostoevsky and Patricide" in which he investigated Dostoevsky's own neuroses and how they contributed to the novel. Freud claimed that Dostoevsky's epilepsy was not a natural condition but instead a physical manifestation of the author's hidden guilt over his father's death. According to Freud, Dostoevsky (and all sons for that matter) wished for the death of his father because of latent desire for his mother; and as evidence Freud cites the fact that Dostoevsky's epileptic fits did not begin until he turned 18, the year his father died. The themes of patricide and guilt, especially in the form of moral guilt illustrated by Ivan Karamazov, would then obviously follow for Freud as literary evidence of this theory.

Franz Kafka is another writer who felt immensely indebted to Dostoevsky and The Brothers Karamazov for influencing his own work. Kafka called himself and Dostoevsky "blood relatives," perhaps because of Dostoevsky's existential motifs. Another interesting parallel between the two authors was their strained relationships with their fathers. Kafka felt immensely drawn to the hatred Fyodor's sons demonstrate toward him in The Brothers Karamazov and dealt with the theme of fathers and sons himself in many of his works, most explicitly in his short story "The Judgment".

In Kurt Vonnegut's novel Slaughterhouse-Five, the eccentric Eliot Rosewater, a science-fiction savant, says that "everything there was to know about life was in The Brothers Karamazov, by Feodor Dostoevsky [sic]."

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