Profile of The Brothers Karamazov
It’s pronounced “ka-ra-MA-zov”… The brothers are the offspring of two marriages: Ivan is half-brother to the other two. Another character, Pavel Smerdyakov, is rumored to be an illegitimate son of Fyodor… The setting is most likely inspired by a real town, Staraya Russa, where Dostoevsky lived while writing the novel… The brothers’ names appear both formally, with the family middle name, Fyodorovich, and informally in many variations, including Vanya, Vanka, Vanechka, Mitya, Mitka, Mitenka, Mitri, Alyoshka, Alyoshechka, Alexiechik, Lyosha, and Lyoshenka. These and other character names are so famously challenging to the first-time reader that Charles Schulz brought it up in a 1964 Peanuts comic strip. Linus is reading the book when his sister, Lucy, asks, “Don’t all those Russian names bother you?” “No,” he says, “when I come to one I can’t pronounce, I just bleep right over it!”… A California-based juggling and theatrical troupe, “The Flying Karamazov Brothers,” took its name in 1975 in honor of the novel.
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