Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


Skotoprigonyevsk (sko-to-prihg-ON-ih-ehfsk). Russian town in which the Karamazovs’ home is located and the location of the worst debauchery commonly blamed on Fyodor Karamazov—the rape of the mentally disabled Lizavita. Dostoevski’s narrator withholds the name of the town until almost the very end of the novel, at the beginning of the trial of Dmitri Karamazov. Otherwise, the narrator refers to it only as “the town” or “our town.” The name Skotoprigonyevsk is most likely derived from the Russian word skotoprigony, meaning a stockyard. It is a generic Russian rural town of the time, located somewhere in the broadleaf-forest belt that is the heart of old Russia. For the people of Skotoprigonyevsk, the bright lights and Western fashions of the capital in St. Petersburg are almost unimaginably distant, talked about but never seen.

Karamazov home

Karamazov home. Dwelling of Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov, patriarch of the Karamazov family. As befits a wealthy landowner, it is a spacious house, tended by a faithful servant and his wife. However, it is also in notable disrepair, with crumbling wallpaper. These signs of decay reflect the moral dissolution of the elder Karamazov and are likely a deliberate touch of Dostoevski’s art. Although the house is the family home, it is not a place where Karamazov’s sons find nurturing or comfort. All three of his legitimate sons are fostered by...

(The entire section is 466 words.)

Historical Context

(Novels for Students)

The Russian Orthodox Church of the Resurrection in St. Petersburg, Russia. Published by Gale Cengage

The Romanovs
In 1689 Peter the Great assumed the throne in Russia. His attempts to modernize Russia were not entirely...

(The entire section is 633 words.)

Literary Style

(Novels for Students)

Like many other novels of the nineteenth century, The Brothers Karamazov is composed of a diverse...

(The entire section is 753 words.)

Literary Techniques

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

As usual, Dostoevsky lays out the plot, a complex one, in a fairly orderly fashion. The author apologizes for the family history that he...

(The entire section is 408 words.)

Ideas for Group Discussions

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

A fruitful exercise might be a comparison of this novel with the preceding ones, with an eye to the "progress" that the author made in...

(The entire section is 564 words.)

Social Concerns

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The principal social aspect of The Brothers Karamazov is the integrity of the family. As the tide suggests, there is great emphasis on...

(The entire section is 689 words.)

Compare and Contrast

(Novels for Students)

Late 1800s: The forefather of Russian communism and Marxist philosopher, Georgy Plekhanov, fled to Western Europe in 1880....

(The entire section is 124 words.)

Topics for Further Study

(Novels for Students)

Dostoyevsky had a profound impact on many twentieth-century authors like Albert Camus

(The entire section is 124 words.)

Literary Precedents

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

As critic Vyacheslav Ivanov has indicated, there is a Faustian quality to the mythic features of The Possessed (1871- 1872; see...

(The entire section is 231 words.)

Related Titles

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Nearly all of Dostoevsky's titles can be viewed as related to the others. In the case of this novel, however, perhaps the most closely...

(The entire section is 149 words.)


(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Apart from the Moscow Art Theatre production of The Brothers Karamazov, there was a French version done by J. Copeau in 1911 and an...

(The entire section is 136 words.)

Media Adaptations

(Novels for Students)

The Brothers Karamazov was made into a silent film in 1918 by Dmitri Buchowetzki and Carl Froelich in Germany. Irmgard Bern and Fritz...

(The entire section is 128 words.)

What Do I Read Next?

(Novels for Students)

Notes from the Underground (1864) marks a turning point in Dostoyevsky's thought. It was written in reaction to Nikolay...

(The entire section is 189 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Sources for Further Study

Belknap, Robert L. The Genesis of “The Brothers Karamazov”: The Aesthetics, Ideology, and Psychology of Text Making. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1990. Considers the reading and experiences of Dostoevski that appear in the novel. A study of the mind behind the book.

Bloom, Harold, ed. Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov.” New York: Chelsea House, 1988. Selection of critical interpretations of the text. Essays printed in chronological sequence from 1971 to 1977. Includes an extended chronology of Dostoevski.

Frank, Joseph....

(The entire section is 255 words.)

Bibliography and Further Reading

(Novels for Students)

Mikhail Bakhtin, "Toward a Reworking of the Dostoyevsky Book," in Problems of Dostoyevsky's Poetics,...

(The entire section is 323 words.)