Study Guide

The Brothers Karamazov Genre

By Fyodor Dostoevsky


Family Drama, Philosophical Literature, Mystery, Realism, Literary Fiction

The Brothers Karamazov spans almost 800 pages (at least in its English translation) – which leaves plenty of room for various literary genres. The novel's way of turning characters into symbols of ideas inspired the genre of symbolist novels in Russia, but The Brothers Karamazov is widely considered a realist novel for its detailed portrayal of the mores and controversies of its time. The tempestuous Karamazovs provide the core family drama that explodes into a suspenseful whodunit over the murdered Fyodor Karamazov. Alongside this juicy plot runs an intense debate about weighty philosophical questions such as the existence of God, free will, and the fate of humanity. The Brothers Karamazov masterfully orchestrates these various genres into a comprehensive literary work, making it one of the great classics of literary fiction.