Fyodor Dostoevsky
Overview
 
Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky was a Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n writer of novel
Novel
A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

s, short stories
Short story
A short story is a work of fiction that is usually written in prose, often in narrative format. This format tends to be more pointed than longer works of fiction, such as novellas and novels. Short story definitions based on length differ somewhat, even among professional writers, in part because...

 and essay
Essay
An essay is a piece of writing which is often written from an author's personal point of view. Essays can consist of a number of elements, including: literary criticism, political manifestos, learned arguments, observations of daily life, recollections, and reflections of the author. The definition...

s. He is best known for his novels Crime and Punishment
Crime and Punishment
Crime and Punishment is a novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It was first published in the literary journal The Russian Messenger in twelve monthly installments during 1866. It was later published in a single volume. This is the second of Dostoyevsky's full-length novels following his...

, The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov
The Brothers Karamazov
The Brothers Karamazov is the final novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Dostoyevsky spent nearly two years writing The Brothers Karamazov, which was published as a serial in The Russian Messenger and completed in November 1880...

.

His name has been variously transcribed in English, his first name sometimes being rendered as Theodore. This is because, before the post-revolutionary orthographic reform which, amongst other things, replaced the cyrillic letter Ѳ ('th') with the cyrillic letter Ф ('f'), Dostoyevsky's name was written Ѳеодоръ (Theodor) Михайловичъ Достоевскій.

Dostoyevsky's literary works explore human psychology in the troubled political, social and spiritual context of 19th-century Russian society.
Quotations

To study the meaning of man and of life — I am making significant progress here. I have faith in myself. Man is a mystery: if you spend your entire life trying to puzzle it out, then do not say that you have wasted your time. I occupy myself with this mystery, because I want to be a man.

Personal correspondence (1839), as quoted in Dostoevsky : His Life and Work (1971) by Konstantin Mochulski, as translated by Michael A. Minihan, p. 17

If anyone could prove to me that Christ is outside the truth, and if the truth really did exclude Christ, I should prefer to stay with Christ and not with truth.

Letter To Mme. N. D. Fonvisin (1854), as published in Letters of Fyodor Michailovitch Dostoevsky to his Family and Friends (1914), translated by Ethel Golburn Mayne, Letter XXI, p. 71

The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.

The House of the Dead (1862) as translated by Constance Garnett|Constance Garnett

It is not as a child that I believe and confess Jesus Christ|Christ. My hosanna is born of a furnace of doubt.

As quoted in Kierkegaard, the Melancholy Dane (1950) by Harold Victor Martin.

The second half of a man's life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half.

As quoted in Peter's Quotations : Ideas for Our Time (1979) by Laurence J. Peter, p. 299.

Russia was a slave in Europe but would be a master in Asia.

As quoted in "Dilemmas of Empire 1850-1918: Power, Territory, Identity" by Dominic Livien in Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 34, No.2 (April 1999), pp. 180.

If you want to be respected by others the great thing is to respect yourself. Only by that, only by self-respect will you compel others to respect you.

I am a sick man… I am a spiteful man. I am an unpleasant man. I think my liver is diseased.

To be acutely conscious is a disease, a real, honest-to-goodness disease.

Encyclopedia
Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky was a Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n writer of novel
Novel
A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

s, short stories
Short story
A short story is a work of fiction that is usually written in prose, often in narrative format. This format tends to be more pointed than longer works of fiction, such as novellas and novels. Short story definitions based on length differ somewhat, even among professional writers, in part because...

 and essay
Essay
An essay is a piece of writing which is often written from an author's personal point of view. Essays can consist of a number of elements, including: literary criticism, political manifestos, learned arguments, observations of daily life, recollections, and reflections of the author. The definition...

s. He is best known for his novels Crime and Punishment
Crime and Punishment
Crime and Punishment is a novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It was first published in the literary journal The Russian Messenger in twelve monthly installments during 1866. It was later published in a single volume. This is the second of Dostoyevsky's full-length novels following his...

, The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov
The Brothers Karamazov
The Brothers Karamazov is the final novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Dostoyevsky spent nearly two years writing The Brothers Karamazov, which was published as a serial in The Russian Messenger and completed in November 1880...

.

His name has been variously transcribed in English, his first name sometimes being rendered as Theodore. This is because, before the post-revolutionary orthographic reform which, amongst other things, replaced the cyrillic letter Ѳ ('th') with the cyrillic letter Ф ('f'), Dostoyevsky's name was written Ѳеодоръ (Theodor) Михайловичъ Достоевскій.

Dostoyevsky's literary works explore human psychology in the troubled political, social and spiritual context of 19th-century Russian society. With the embittered voice of the anonymous "underground man", Dostoyevsky wrote Notes from Underground
Notes from Underground
Notes from Underground is an 1864 short novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Notes is considered by many to be the first existentialist novel...

 (1864), which has been called the "best overture for existentialism
Existentialism
Existentialism is a term applied to a school of 19th- and 20th-century philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual...

 ever written" by Walter Kaufmann. He is often acknowledged by critics as one of the greatest and most prominent psychologists in world literature
World literature
World literature refers to literature from all over the world, including African literature, American literature, Arabic literature, Asian literature, Australasian literature, Caribbean Literature, English literature, European literature, Indian literature, Latin American literature, Persian...

.

Early life and studies

Dostoyevsky's father Mikhail and grandfather, Andrey, were born in modern central Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

. Mikhail was a doctor and a devout Christian, who practised at the Mariinsky Hospital for the Poor in Moscow.

Dostoyevsky was born in Moscow to Mikhail and Maria Dostoyevsky, the second of seven children. The family lived in a small apartment in the Mariinsky Hospital grounds. The hospital was located in one of the city's worst areas near a cemetery for criminals, a lunatic asylum, and an orphanage for abandoned infants. This urban landscape made a lasting impression on the young Dostoyevsky, whose interest in and compassion for the poor, oppressed and tormented was apparent in his life and works. Although it was forbidden by his parents, Dostoyevsky liked to wander out to the hospital garden, where the patients sat to catch a glimpse of the sun. The young Dostoyevsky appreciated spending time with these patients and listening to their stories.

Stories of Dostoyevsky's father's despotic treatment of his children may be tempered by records of his care for his children and their upbringing. After returning home from work, the father would take a nap while his children, ordered to keep absolutely silent, stood by in shifts and swatted the flies that came near his head. But he was also careful to send his children to private schools where they would not be beaten. In the opinion of the biographer Joseph Frank, the father figure in The Brothers Karamazov
The Brothers Karamazov
The Brothers Karamazov is the final novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Dostoyevsky spent nearly two years writing The Brothers Karamazov, which was published as a serial in The Russian Messenger and completed in November 1880...

 is not based on Dostoyevsky's own father. Letters and personal accounts demonstrate that they had a fairly loving relationship.

In 1837 shortly after his mother died of tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

 Dostoyevsky and his brother were sent to St Petersburg to attend the Nikolayev Military Engineering Institute
Military Engineering-Technical University
The Saint Petersburg Military Engineering-Technical University , previously known as the Saint Petersburg Nikolaevsky Engineering Academy, was established in 1810 under Alexander I...

, now called the Military Engineering-Technical University
Military Engineering-Technical University
The Saint Petersburg Military Engineering-Technical University , previously known as the Saint Petersburg Nikolaevsky Engineering Academy, was established in 1810 under Alexander I...

.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky's father died in 1839. Though it has never been proven, it is believed by some that he was murdered by his own serf
SERF
A spin exchange relaxation-free magnetometer is a type of magnetometer developed at Princeton University in the early 2000s. SERF magnetometers measure magnetic fields by using lasers to detect the interaction between alkali metal atoms in a vapor and the magnetic field.The name for the technique...

s. According to one account, the serfs became enraged during one of his drunken fits of violence, and after restraining him, poured vodka
Vodka
Vodka , is a distilled beverage. It is composed primarily of water and ethanol with traces of impurities and flavorings. Vodka is made by the distillation of fermented substances such as grains, potatoes, or sometimes fruits....

 into his mouth until he drowned. A similar account appears in Notes from Underground. Another story holds that Mikhail died of natural causes, and a neighboring landowner invented the story of his murder so that he might buy the estate at a cheaper price. Some, like Sigmund Freud in his 1928 article, "Dostoevsky and Parricide", have argued that his father's personality had influenced the character of Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov, the "wicked and sentimental buffoon", father of the main characters in his 1880 novel The Brothers Karamazov
The Brothers Karamazov
The Brothers Karamazov is the final novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Dostoyevsky spent nearly two years writing The Brothers Karamazov, which was published as a serial in The Russian Messenger and completed in November 1880...

, but such claims fail to withstand scrutiny.

From the age of nine Dostoyevsky suffered sporadically from epilepsy
Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a common chronic neurological disorder characterized by seizures. These seizures are transient signs and/or symptoms of abnormal, excessive or hypersynchronous neuronal activity in the brain.About 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, and nearly two out of every three new cases...

 throughout his life and his experiences are thought to have formed the basis for his description of Prince Myshkin's epilepsy in his novel The Idiot and that of Smerdyakov in The Brothers Karamazov, among others.

At the Saint Petersburg Institute of Military Engineering
Military Engineering-Technical University
The Saint Petersburg Military Engineering-Technical University , previously known as the Saint Petersburg Nikolaevsky Engineering Academy, was established in 1810 under Alexander I...

 Dostoyevsky was taught mathematics, a subject he despised. However, he also studied literature by Shakespeare, Pascal
Blaise Pascal
Blaise Pascal , was a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Catholic philosopher. He was a child prodigy who was educated by his father, a tax collector in Rouen...

, Victor Hugo
Victor Hugo
Victor-Marie Hugo was a Frenchpoet, playwright, novelist, essayist, visual artist, statesman, human rights activist and exponent of the Romantic movement in France....

 and E.T.A. Hoffmann
E.T.A. Hoffmann
Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann , better known by his pen name E.T.A. Hoffmann , was a German Romantic author of fantasy and horror, a jurist, composer, music critic, draftsman and caricaturist...

. Though he focused on areas different from mathematics, he did well in the exams and received a commission in 1841.

Early publications

In 1841, influenced by the German poet/playwright Friedrich Schiller
Friedrich Schiller
Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was a German poet, philosopher, historian, and playwright. During the last seventeen years of his life , Schiller struck up a productive, if complicated, friendship with already famous and influential Johann Wolfgang von Goethe...

, Dostoyevsky wrote two romantic plays: Mary Stuart
Maria Stuart (play)
Mary Stuart , a play by Friedrich Schiller, depicts the last days of Mary, Queen of Scots. The play consists of five acts, each divided into several scenes. The play had its première in Weimar, Germany on 14 June 1800...

 and Boris Godunov
Boris Godunov
Boris Fyodorovich Godunov was de facto regent of Russia from c. 1585 to 1598 and then the first non-Rurikid tsar from 1598 to 1605. The end of his reign saw Russia descend into the Time of Troubles.-Early years:...

. The plays have not been preserved. Dostoyevsky described himself as a "dreamer" when young. In the years when he wrote his great masterpieces he sometimes made fun of Schiller.

In 1842 Dostoyevsky was made a lieutenant.

In 1843 he left the Engineering Academy. In the same year he completed a translation into Russian of Balzac's novel Eugénie Grandet
Eugénie Grandet
Eugénie Grandet is an 1833 novel by Honoré de Balzac about miserliness, and how it is bequeathed from the father to the daughter, Eugénie, through her unsatisfying love attachment with her cousin. As is usual with Balzac, all the characters in the novel are fully realized...

, but it brought him little attention.

Dostoyevsky started to write his own fiction in late 1844 after leaving the army. In 1846 his first work, the epistolary short novel, Poor Folk
Poor Folk
Poor Folk , sometimes translated as Poor People, is the first novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, which he wrote over the span of nine months when he was 25 years old. It was originally published on January 15, 1846 in the almanac St...

, printed in the almanac A Petersburg Collection, met with great acclaim. As legend has it, the editor of the magazine, poet Nikolai Nekrasov, walked into the office of liberal critic Vissarion Belinsky
Vissarion Belinsky
Vissarion Grigoryevich Belinsky was a Russian literary critic of Westernizing tendency. He was an associate of Alexander Herzen, Mikhail Bakunin , and other critical intellectuals...

 and announced, "A new Gogol
Nikolai Gogol
Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol was a Ukrainian-born Russian dramatist and novelist.Considered by his contemporaries one of the preeminent figures of the natural school of Russian literary realism, later critics have found in Gogol's work a fundamentally romantic sensibility, with strains of Surrealism...

 has arisen!" Belinsky, his followers, and many others agreed. After the novel was published in book form at the beginning of the next year, Dostoyevsky became a literary celebrity at the age of 24.

In 1846 Belinsky and others reacted negatively to his novella, The Double
The Double: A Petersburg Poem
The Double: A Petersburg Poem is a novella written by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The novella was first published on January 30, 1846 in Fatherland Notes....

, a psychological study of a bureaucrat whose alter ego overtakes his life. Dostoyevsky's fame began to fade. Much of his work after Poor Folk
Poor Folk
Poor Folk , sometimes translated as Poor People, is the first novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, which he wrote over the span of nine months when he was 25 years old. It was originally published on January 15, 1846 in the almanac St...

 received ambivalent reviews, and it seemed that Belinsky's prediction that Dostoyevsky would be one of the greatest writers of Russia was mistaken.

Exile in Siberia

Dostoyevsky was incarcerated on 23 April 1849 for being part of the liberal
Liberalism
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

 intellectual group the Petrashevsky Circle
Petrashevsky Circle
The Petrashevsky Circle was a Russian literary discussion group of progressive-minded commoner-intellectuals in St. Petersburg organized by Mikhail Petrashevsky, a follower of the French utopian socialist Charles Fourier. Among the members were writers, teachers, students, minor government...

. Emperor Nicolas I
Nicholas I of Russia
Nicholas I , was the Emperor of Russia from 1825 until 1855, known as one of the most reactionary of the Russian monarchs. On the eve of his death, the Russian Empire reached its historical zenith spanning over 20 million square kilometers...

, after seeing the Revolutions of 1848
Revolutions of 1848
The European Revolutions of 1848, known in some countries as the Spring of Nations, Springtime of the Peoples or the Year of Revolution, were a series of political upheavals throughout Europe in 1848. It was the first Europe-wide collapse of traditional authority, but within a year reactionary...

 in Europe, was harsh on any type of underground organization which might put autocracy
Autocracy
An autocracy is a form of government in which one person is the supreme power within the state. It is derived from the Greek : and , and may be translated as "one who rules by himself". It is distinct from oligarchy and democracy...

 in jeopardy. On November 16 of that year Dostoyevsky, with other members of the Petrashevsky Circle, was sentenced to death
Death Sentence
Death Sentence is a short story by the American science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov. It was first published in the November 1943 issue of Astounding Science Fiction and reprinted in the 1972 collection The Early Asimov.-Plot summary:...

. After a mock execution
Mock execution
A mock execution is a stratagem in which a victim is deliberately but falsely made to feel that his execution or that of another person is imminent or is taking place. It may be staged for an audience or a subject who is made to believe that he is being led to his own execution...

, in which he and other members of the group stood outside in freezing weather waiting to be shot by a firing squad, Dostoyevsky's sentence was commuted to four years of exile
Exile
Exile means to be away from one's home , while either being explicitly refused permission to return and/or being threatened with imprisonment or death upon return...

 with hard labour at a katorga
Katorga
Katorga was a system of penal servitude of the prison farm type in Tsarist Russia...

 prison camp in Omsk
Omsk
-History:The wooden fort of Omsk was erected in 1716 to protect the expanding Russian frontier along the Ishim and the Irtysh rivers against the Kyrgyz nomads of the Steppes...

, Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

. Later Dostoyevsky described his years of suffering to his brother, as being, "shut up in a coffin." In describing the dilapidated barracks which "should have been torn down years ago", he wrote:
This experience inspired him to write The House of the Dead
The House of the Dead (novel)
The House of the Dead is a novel published in 1861 in the journal Vremya by Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky, which portrays the life of convicts in a Siberian prison camp...

.

Dostoyevsky was released from prison in 1854, and was required to serve in the Siberian Regiment. He spent the following five years as a private (and later lieutenant) in the Regiment's Seventh Line Battalion, stationed at the fortress of Semipalatinsk
Semey
Semey , formerly known as Semipalatinsk and Alash-kala , is a city in Kazakhstan, in the northeastern province of East Kazakhstan, near the border with Siberia, around north of Almaty, and southeast of the Russian city of Omsk, along the Irtysh River.-History:The first settlement was in 1718,...

, now in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

.

While there, he began a relationship with Maria Dmitrievna Isayeva, the wife of an acquaintance in Siberia. After her husband's death, they married in February 1857.

Post-prison maturation as a writer

Dostoyevsky's experiences in prison and the army changed his political and religious convictions. First, his ordeal caused him to repudiate contemporary Western European philosophical movements and to pay greater tribute in his writings to traditional, rustic Russian values, exemplified in the Slavophile
Slavophile
Slavophilia was an intellectual movement originating from 19th century that wanted the Russian Empire to be developed upon values and institutions derived from its early history. Slavophiles were especially opposed to the influences of Western Europe in Russia. There were also similar movements in...

 concept of sobornost
Sobornost
Sobornost is a term coined by the early Slavophiles, Ivan Kireevsky and Aleksey Khomyakov, to underline the need for cooperation between people at the expense of individualism on the basis that the opposing groups focus on what is common between them. Khomyakov believed the West was progressively...

. Even more significantly he had what his biographer Joseph Frank describes as a conversion
Religious conversion
Religious conversion is the adoption of a new religion that differs from the convert's previous religion. Changing from one denomination to another within the same religion is usually described as reaffiliation rather than conversion.People convert to a different religion for various reasons,...

 experience in prison, which greatly strengthened his Christian, and specifically Orthodox, faith. Dostoyevsky would later depict his conversion experience in the short story, The Peasant Marey
The Peasant Marey
"The Peasant Marey" is a short story by Fyodor Dostoyevsky written in 1876. Though framed as an autobiographical recount of some of his time spent in prison , the story is preoccupied with a childhood memory from when Dostoyevsky was nine and living in the Tula province with his father...

 (1876).

In his writings Dostoyevsky started to extol the virtues of humility, submission, and suffering. He now displayed a more critical stance on contemporary European philosophy and turned with intellectual rigour against the Nihilist
Nihilist movement
The Nihilist movement was a Russian movement in the 1860s which rejected all authorities. It is derived from the Latin word "nihil", which means "nothing"...

 and Socialist movements; and much of his post-prison work—particularly the novel, The Possessed, and the essays, The Diary of a Writer
A Writer's Diary
A Writer's Diary is a collection of non-fiction and fictional writings by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Taken from pieces written for a periodical which he founded and produced, it is normally published in two volumes: the first covering those published between 1873 and 1876, the second from 1877 and 1881....

—contains both criticism of socialist and nihilist ideas, as well as thinly veiled parodies of contemporary Western-influenced Russian intellectuals (Timofey Granovskiy
Timofey Granovsky
Timofey Nikolayevich Granovsky was a founder of mediaeval studies in the Russian Empire.Granovsky was born in Oryol, Russia. He studied at the universities of Moscow and Berlin, where he was profoundly influenced by Hegelian ideas of Leopold von Ranke and Friedrich Karl von Savigny...

), revolutionaries (Sergey Nyechayev
Sergey Nechayev
Sergey Gennadiyevich Nyechayev was a Russian revolutionary associated with the Nihilist movement and known for his single-minded pursuit of revolution by any means necessary, including political violence.-Early life in Russia:...

), and even fellow novelists (Ivan Turgyenyev
Ivan Turgenev
Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev was a Russian novelist, short story writer, and playwright. His first major publication, a short story collection entitled A Sportsman's Sketches, is a milestone of Russian Realism, and his novel Fathers and Sons is regarded as one of the major works of 19th-century...

). In social circles Dostoyevsky allied himself with known conservatives, such as the statesman Konstantin Pobyedonostsyev
Konstantin Pobedonostsev
Konstantin Petrovich Pobyedonostsyev was a Russian jurist, statesman, and adviser to three Tsars...

. His post-prison essays praised the tenets of the Pochvyennichyestvo
Pochvennichestvo
Pochvennichestvo was a late 19th century Russian nativist movement tied in closely with its contemporary ideology, the Slavophile movement...

 movement, a late-19th century Russian nativist ideology closely aligned with Slavophilism
Slavophile
Slavophilia was an intellectual movement originating from 19th century that wanted the Russian Empire to be developed upon values and institutions derived from its early history. Slavophiles were especially opposed to the influences of Western Europe in Russia. There were also similar movements in...

.

Dostoyevsky's post-prison fiction abandoned the Western European-style domestic melodramas and quaint character studies of his youthful work in favor of dark, more complex story-lines and situations, played-out by brooding, tortured characters—often styled partly on Dostoyevsky himself—who agonized over existential
Existentialism
Existentialism is a term applied to a school of 19th- and 20th-century philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual...

 themes of spiritual torment, religious awakening, and the psychological confusion caused by the conflict between traditional Russian culture and the influx of modern, Western philosophy. Nonetheless, this does not take from the debt which Dostoyevsky owed to earlier Western-influenced writers such as Gogol, whose work grew from the irrational and anti-authoritarian spiritualist ideas contained within the Romantic movement which had immediately preceded Dostoyevsky in West Europe. However, Dostoyevsky's major novels focused on the idea that utopia
Utopia
Utopia is an ideal community or society possessing a perfect socio-politico-legal system. The word was imported from Greek by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt...

 and positivist ideas were unrealistic and unobtainable.

Later literary career

In December 1859 Dostoyevsky returned to Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

, where he ran a series of unsuccessful literary journals, Vremya
Vremya (magazine)
Vremya was a monthly magazine published by Fyodor Dostoyevsky under the editorship of his brother Mikhail Dostoyevsky, as Fyodor himself, due to his status as a former convict, was unable to be the official editor.-Publication history:...

 (Time) and Epokha
Epoch (Russian magazine)
Epoch was a Russian literary magazine published in 1864-65 by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and his brother Mikhail.-Publication history:The first two combined numbers of Epoch, for January and February, 1864, were published in March,1864, containing the opening chapters of Notes from Underground by Fyodor...

 (Epoch), with his older brother Mikhail
Mikhail Dostoyevsky
Mikhail Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky , , was a Russian short story writer, publisher, literary critic and an elder brother of Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The two of them were only a year apart in age and spent childhood and youth together...

. The former was shut down as a consequence of its coverage of the Polish Uprising of 1863
January Uprising
The January Uprising was an uprising in the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth against the Russian Empire...

.

In 1863 Dostoyevsky traveled to western Europe, and frequented gambling casinos. There he met Apollinaria Suslova
Polina Suslova
Apollinaria Prokofyevna Suslova , commonly known as Polina Suslova, was a Russian short story writer, who is perhaps best known as a mistress of writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky, wife of Vasily Rozanov and a sister of Russia's first female physician Nadezhda Suslova...

, the model for his "proud women", such as the two characters named Katerina Ivanovna, in Crime and Punishment
Crime and Punishment
Crime and Punishment is a novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It was first published in the literary journal The Russian Messenger in twelve monthly installments during 1866. It was later published in a single volume. This is the second of Dostoyevsky's full-length novels following his...

 and in The Brothers Karamazov
The Brothers Karamazov
The Brothers Karamazov is the final novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Dostoyevsky spent nearly two years writing The Brothers Karamazov, which was published as a serial in The Russian Messenger and completed in November 1880...

.

In 1864 Dostoyevsky was devastated by his wife's death; which was followed shortly thereafter by his brother's death. He was financially crippled by business debts; furthermore, he decided to assume the responsibility of his deceased brother's outstanding debts, as well providing for his wife's son from her earlier marriage and his brother's widow and children. He sank into a deep depression, frequenting gambling parlors and accumulating massive losses at the tables. He became dominated by his gambling compulsion. He completed Crime and Punishment in a hurry because he was in urgent need of an advance from his publisher, having been left practically penniless after a gambling spree. He wrote The Gambler
The Gambler (novel)
The Gambler is a short novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky about a young tutor in the employment of a formerly wealthy Russian general. The novella reflects Dostoyevsky's own addiction to roulette, which was in more ways than one the inspiration for the book: Dostoyevsky completed the novella under a...

 simultaneously in order to satisfy an agreement with his publisher, Stellovsky who, if he did not receive a new work, would claim the copyrights to all Dostoyevsky's writings.

Wishing to escape creditors at home and to visit casinos abroad, Dostoyevsky traveled to western Europe. There he attempted to rekindle a love affair with Suslova, but she refused his marriage proposal. Dostoyevsky was heartbroken, but soon met Anna Grigorevna Snitkina
Anna Dostoyevskaya
Anna Grigoryevna Dostoyevskaya was a Russian memoirist, stenographer, assistant, and the second wife of Fyodor Dostoyevsky . She was also one of the first female philatelists in Russia...

, a twenty-year-old stenographer. Shortly before marrying her in 1867, he dictated The Gambler to her.

From 1873 to 1881 he published the Writer's Diary, a monthly journal of short stories, sketches, and articles on current events. The journal was an enormous success.

Dostoyevsky influenced, and was himself influenced by, the philosopher Vladimir Sergeyevich Solovyov. Solovyov was a source for the characters Ivan Karamazov and Alyosha Karamazov
Alyosha Karamazov
Alyosha Karamazov is the protagonist in The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. His full name is given as Alexei Fyodorovich Karamazov and he is also referred to as Alyosha, Alyoshka, Alyoshenka, Alyoshechka, Alexeichik, Lyosha, and Lyoshenka. He is the youngest of the Karamazov brothers,...

.
In 1877 Dostoyevsky gave a eulogy
Eulogy
A eulogy is a speech or writing in praise of a person or thing, especially one recently deceased or retired. Eulogies may be given as part of funeral services. However, some denominations either discourage or do not permit eulogies at services to maintain respect for traditions...

 at the funeral of his friend, the poet Nekrasov
Nikolai Alekseevich Nekrasov
Nikolay Alexeyevich Nekrasov was a Russian poet, writer, critic and publisher, whose deeply compassionate poems about peasant Russia won him Fyodor Dostoyevsky's admiration and made him the hero of liberal and radical circles of Russian intelligentsia, as represented by Vissarion Belinsky and...

, to much controversy.

On 8 June 1880, shortly before he died, he gave his famous Pushkin speech at the unveiling of the Pushkin monument in Moscow
Pushkin Square
Pushkinskaya Square or Pushkin Square in Moscow, historically known as Strastnaya Square and renamed for Alexander Pushkin in 1937, is located at the junction of the Boulevard Ring and Tverskaya Street, 2 km northwest of the Kremlin...

. In his later years Dostoyevsky lived for an extended period at the resort of Staraya Russa
Staraya Russa
Staraya Russa is a town in Novgorod Oblast, Russia, located south of Veliky Novgorod. It is a wharf on the Polist River in the Lake Ilmen basin. It serves as the administrative center of Starorussky District, although administratively it is not a part of it...

 in northwestern Russia, which was closer to Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

 and less expensive than German resorts.

Death

Dostoyevsky died in St. Petersburg on of a lung hemorrhage associated with emphysema
Emphysema
Emphysema is a long-term, progressive disease of the lungs that primarily causes shortness of breath. In people with emphysema, the tissues necessary to support the physical shape and function of the lungs are destroyed. It is included in a group of diseases called chronic obstructive pulmonary...

 and an epileptic seizure. The copy of the New Testament given to him in Siberia sat on his lap. He was interred in Tikhvin Cemetery
Tikhvin Cemetery
Tikhvin Cemetery is located at the Alexander Nevsky Monastery, in Saint Petersburg, Russia.Established in 1823, some of the notables buried here are:* Mily Balakirev - , composer* Alexander Borodin - , composer...

 at the Alexander Nevsky Monastery in Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

. Forty thousand mourners attended his funeral. His tombstone is inscribed with the words of Christ, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. (from the Gospel According to John
Gospel of John
The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

 12:24) - which are also the epigraph
Epigraph (literature)
In literature, an epigraph is a phrase, quotation, or poem that is set at the beginning of a document or component. The epigraph may serve as a preface, as a summary, as a counter-example, or to link the work to a wider literary canon, either to invite comparison or to enlist a conventional...

 of his final novel, The Brothers Karamazov.)

The rented apartment where Dostoevsky spent the last few years of his life and wrote his last novel, The Brothers Karamazov, and where he died is situated at 5 Kuznechnyi pereulok. It has been restored, by reference to old photographs, as it looked when he lived there, and opened in 1971 as the Dostoyevsky House Museum. It is a popular tourist attraction in Saint Petersburg.

Influence

Some, like journalist Otto Friedrich, consider Dostoyevsky to be one of Europe's major novelists, while others like Vladimir Nabokov
Vladimir Nabokov
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov was a multilingual Russian novelist and short story writer. Nabokov wrote his first nine novels in Russian, then rose to international prominence as a master English prose stylist...

 maintain that from a point of view of enduring art and individual genius, he is a rather mediocre writer who produced wastelands of literary platitude
Platitude
A platitude is a trite, meaningless, biased, or prosaic statement, often presented as if it were significant and original. The word derives from plat, the French word for "flat." Whether any given statement is considered to have meaning is highly subjective, so platitude is often—but not...

s.

Dostoyevsky investigated in his novels religious concerns, particularly those of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. "Dostoyevsky and the Religion of Suffering," the essay devoted to Dostoyevsky in Eugène-Melchior de Vogüé's Le roman russe (1886), was an influential early analysis of the novelist's work, introducing Dostoyevsky and other Russian novelists to the West. Nabokov argued in his University courses at Cornell
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

, that such religious propaganda, rather than artistic qualities, was the main reason Dostoyevsky was praised and regarded as a 'Prophet' in Soviet Russia.

James Joyce
James Joyce
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century...

 and Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf
Adeline Virginia Woolf was an English author, essayist, publisher, and writer of short stories, regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century....

 praised his prose. Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American author and journalist. His economic and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the...

 cited Dostoyevsky as an influence on his work, in his posthumous collection of sketches A Moveable Feast
A Moveable Feast
A Moveable Feast is a set of memoirs by American author Ernest Hemingway about his years in Paris as part of the American expatriate circle of writers in the 1920s. The book describes Hemingway's apprenticeship as a young writer in Europe during the 1920s with his first wife, Hadley...

. Kurt Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. was a 20th century American writer. His works such as Cat's Cradle , Slaughterhouse-Five and Breakfast of Champions blend satire, gallows humor and science fiction. He was known for his humanist beliefs and was honorary president of the American Humanist Association.-Early...

 in his novel Slaughterhouse-Five
Slaughterhouse-Five
Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death is a satirical novel by Kurt Vonnegut about World War II experiences and journeys through time of a soldier called Billy Pilgrim...

 mentions Dostoevsky in such way:
According to Arthur Power's Conversations with James Joyce, Joyce praised Dostoyevsky's prose:
In her essay The Russian Point of View, Virginia Woolf said:
Dostoyevsky displayed a nuanced understanding of human psychology in his major works. He created an opus of vitality and almost hypnotic power, characterized by feverishly dramatized scenes where his characters are frequently in scandalous and explosive atmospheres, engaged in passionate dialogue. The quest for God, the problem of evil
Problem of evil
In the philosophy of religion, the problem of evil is the question of how to explain evil if there exists a deity that is omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient . Some philosophers have claimed that the existences of such a god and of evil are logically incompatible or unlikely...

 and the suffering of the innocent are the themes which haunt the majority of his novels.

His characters fall into a few distinct categories: humble and self-effacing Christians (Prince Myshkin
Prince Myshkin
Prince Lev Nikolaevich Myshkin is the protagonist of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Idiot.Dostoyevsky wanted to create a character that was "entirely positive... with an absolutely beautiful nature," and a good way to make such a character plausible in 19th century St Petersburg society was to make him...

, Sonya Marmeladova, Alyosha Karamazov
Alyosha Karamazov
Alyosha Karamazov is the protagonist in The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. His full name is given as Alexei Fyodorovich Karamazov and he is also referred to as Alyosha, Alyoshka, Alyoshenka, Alyoshechka, Alexeichik, Lyosha, and Lyoshenka. He is the youngest of the Karamazov brothers,...

, Saint Ambrose of Optina
Saint Ambrose of Optina
Venerable Ambrose of Optina was a starets and a hieroschemamonk in Optina Monastery, canonized in 1988 by the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church.-Biography:...

), self-destructive nihilists
Nihilism
Nihilism is the philosophical doctrine suggesting the negation of one or more putatively meaningful aspects of life. Most commonly, nihilism is presented in the form of existential nihilism which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value...

 (Svidrigailov, Smerdyakov, Stavrogin, the underground man
Notes from Underground
Notes from Underground is an 1864 short novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Notes is considered by many to be the first existentialist novel...

), cynical debauchees (Fyodor Karamazov, Dmitri Karamazov), and rebellious intellectuals (Raskolnikov, Ivan Karamazov, Ippolit); also, his characters are driven by ideas rather than by biological or social imperatives. In comparison with the realistic
Literary realism
Literary realism most often refers to the trend, beginning with certain works of nineteenth-century French literature and extending to late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century authors in various countries, towards depictions of contemporary life and society "as they were." In the spirit of...

 characters of Tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy
Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. His two most famous works, the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist...

 those of Dostoyevsky are more symbolic of the ideas they represent; thus Dostoyevsky is often cited as a forerunner of Literary Symbolism
Symbolism (arts)
Symbolism was a late nineteenth-century art movement of French, Russian and Belgian origin in poetry and other arts. In literature, the style had its beginnings with the publication Les Fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire...

, especially Russian Symbolism
Russian Symbolism
Russian symbolism was an intellectual and artistic movement predominant at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. It represented the Russian branch of the symbolist movement in European art, and was mostly known for its contributions to Russian poetry.-Russian symbolism in...

 (see Alexander Blok
Alexander Blok
Alexander Alexandrovich Blok was a Russian lyrical poet.-Life and career:Blok was born in Saint Petersburg, into a sophisticated and intellectual family. Some of his relatives were literary men, his father being a law professor in Warsaw, and his maternal grandfather the rector of Saint Petersburg...

).
Dostoyevsky's novels are compressed in time (many cover only a few days); and this enables him to get rid of one of the dominant presentations of realist
Realism (arts)
Realism in the visual arts and literature refers to the general attempt to depict subjects "in accordance with secular, empirical rules", as they are considered to exist in third person objective reality, without embellishment or interpretation...

 prose, that of the corrosion of human life in the process of the time flux; his characters embody spiritual values that are timeless. Other themes include suicide, wounded pride, collapsed family values, spiritual regeneration through suffering, rejection of the West and affirmation of the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

 and of tsarism. Literary scholars such as Mikhail Bakhtin
Mikhail Bakhtin
Mikhail Mikhailovich Bakhtin was a Russian philosopher, literary critic, semiotician and scholar who worked on literary theory, ethics, and the philosophy of language...

 have characterized his work as "polyphonic
Polyphony (literature)
In literature, polyphony is a feature of narrative, which includes a diversity of points of view and voices. The concept was introduced by Mikhail Bakhtin, based on the musical concept polyphony....

": Dostoyevsky does not appear to aim for a "single vision", and beyond simply describing situations from various angles, Dostoyevsky engendered fully dramatic novels of ideas, where conflicting views and characters are left to develop unevenly into unbearable crescendo.

Dostoyevsky and the other giant of late 19th century Russian literature
Russian literature
Russian literature refers to the literature of Russia or its émigrés, and to the Russian-language literature of several independent nations once a part of what was historically Russia or the Soviet Union...

, Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, never met in person, though each praised, criticized, and influenced the other (Dostoyevsky remarked of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina
Anna Karenina
Anna Karenina is a novel by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, published in serial installments from 1873 to 1877 in the periodical The Russian Messenger...

 that it was a "flawless work of art"; Henri Troyat
Henri Troyat
Henri Troyat was a Russian born French author, biographer, historian and novelist.-Biography:Troyat was born Lev Aslanovich Tarasov, in Moscow to parents of mixed heritage, including Armenian, Russian, German and Georgian...

 reports that Tolstoy once remarked of Crime and Punishment
Crime and Punishment
Crime and Punishment is a novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It was first published in the literary journal The Russian Messenger in twelve monthly installments during 1866. It was later published in a single volume. This is the second of Dostoyevsky's full-length novels following his...

 that, "Once you read the first few chapters you know pretty much how the novel will end up"). A meeting was arranged but there was a confusion about where the meeting was to take place; and the two never rescheduled. Tolstoy wept when he learned of Dostoyevsky's death. A copy of The Brothers Karamazov
The Brothers Karamazov
The Brothers Karamazov is the final novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Dostoyevsky spent nearly two years writing The Brothers Karamazov, which was published as a serial in The Russian Messenger and completed in November 1880...

 was found on the nightstand next to Tolstoy's deathbed at the Astapovo
Lev Tolstoy (settlement)
Lev Tolstoy is a settlement in the northern part of Lipetsk Oblast, Russia. It is the administrative center of Lev-Tolstovsky District. Population: 8,800 ; 9,035 ; 9,139 ....

 railway station.

Dostoyevsky on Jews in Russia

Several writers and critics (including Joseph Frank, Maxim D. Shrayer
Maxim D. Shrayer
Shrayer, Maxim D. is a bilingual Russian-American author, translator, and literary scholar, and a professor of Russian, English, and Jewish Studies at Boston College.-Biography:...

, Stephen Cassedy, David I. Goldstein, Gary Saul Morson
Gary Saul Morson
Gary Saul Morson is an American literary critic and Slavist, currently Frances Hooper Professor of the Arts and Humanities at Northwestern University. He was Chair of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pennsylvania for many years prior to leaving for...

, and Felix Dreizin) have offered insights and suppositions regarding Dostoyevsky’s views on Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 and organized Jewry in Russia. One view is that Dostoyevsky perceived Jewish ethnocentrism
Ethnocentrism
Ethnocentrism is the tendency to believe that one's ethnic or cultural group is centrally important, and that all other groups are measured in relation to one's own. The ethnocentric individual will judge other groups relative to his or her own particular ethnic group or culture, especially with...

 and influence to be threatening the Russian peasantry in border regions. In A Writer's Diary
A Writer's Diary
A Writer's Diary is a collection of non-fiction and fictional writings by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Taken from pieces written for a periodical which he founded and produced, it is normally published in two volumes: the first covering those published between 1873 and 1876, the second from 1877 and 1881....

, Dostoyevsky wrote:

Thus, Jewry is thriving precisely there where the people are still ignorant, or not free, or economically backward. It is there that Jewry has a champ libre. And instead of raising, by its influence, the level of education, instead of increasing knowledge, generating economic fitness in the native population—instead of this the Jew, wherever he has settled, has still more humiliated and debauched the people; there humaneness was still more debased and the educational level fell still lower; there inescapable, inhuman misery, and with it despair, spread still more disgustingly. Ask the native population in our border regions: What is propelling the Jew—and has been propelling him for centuries? You will receive a unanimous answer: mercilessness. He has been prompted so many centuries only by pitilessness to us, only by the thirst for our sweat and blood.



And, in truth, the whole activity of the Jews in these border regions of ours consisted of rendering the native population as much as possible inescapably dependent on them, taking advantage of the local laws. They have always managed to be on friendly terms with those upon whom the people were dependent. Point to any other tribe from among Russian aliens which could rival the Jew by his dreadful influence in this connection! You will find no such tribe. In this respect the Jew preserves all his originality as compared with other Russian aliens, and of course, the reason therefore is that status of status of his, that spirit of which specifically breathes pitilessness for everything that is not Jew, with disrespect for any people and tribe, for every human creature who is not a Jew...



Dostoyevsky has been noted as both having expressed antisemitic sentiments as well as standing up for the rights of the Jewish people. In a review of Joseph Frank's book, The Mantle of the Prophet, Orlando Figes
Orlando Figes
Orlando Figes is a British historian of Russia, and Professor of History at Birkbeck, University of London.-Overview:Figes is the son of the feminist writer Eva Figes. His sister is the author and editor Kate Figes. He attended William Ellis School in north London from 1971-78...

 notes that A Writer's Diary is "filled with politics, literary criticism, and pan-Slav diatribes about the virtues of the Russian Empire, [and] represents a major challenge to the Dostoyevsky fan, not least on account of its frequent expressions of anti-semitism." Frank, in his foreword for David I. Goldstein's book Dostoevsky and the Jews, attempts to place Dostoyevsky as a product of his time. Frank notes that Dostoyevsky made antisemitic remarks, but that Dostoyevsky's writing and stance, by and large, was one where Dostoyevsky held a great deal of guilt for his comments and positions that were antisemitic.

Steven Cassedy alleges in his book, Dostoevsky's Religion, that much of the depiction of Dostoyevsky's views as antisemitic omits that Dostoyevsky expressed support for the equal rights of the Russian Jewish population, an unpopular position in Russia at the time. Cassedy also notes that this criticism of Dostoyevsky also appears to deny his sincerity when he said that he was for equal rights for the Russian Jewish populace and the serf
Russian serfdom
The origins of serfdom in Russia are traced to Kievan Rus in the 11th century. Legal documents of the epoch, such as Russkaya Pravda, distinguished several degrees of feudal dependency of peasants, the term for an unfree peasant in the Russian Empire, krepostnoi krestyanin , is translated as serf.-...

s of his own country (since neither group at that point in history had equal rights). Cassedy again notes when Dostoyevsky stated that he did not hate Jewish people and was not antisemitic. Even though Dostoyevsky spoke of the potential negative influence of Jewish people, Dostoyevsky advised emperor Alexander II of Russia
Alexander II of Russia
Alexander II , also known as Alexander the Liberator was the Emperor of the Russian Empire from 3 March 1855 until his assassination in 1881...

 to give them rights to positions of influence in Russian society, such as allowing them access to Professorships at Universities. According to Cassedy, labeling Dostoyevsky anti-Semitic does not take into consideration Dostoyevsky's expressed desire to reconcile Jews and Christians peacefully in a single universal brotherhood of mankind.

Dostoyevsky and existentialism

With the publication of Crime and Punishment
Crime and Punishment
Crime and Punishment is a novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It was first published in the literary journal The Russian Messenger in twelve monthly installments during 1866. It was later published in a single volume. This is the second of Dostoyevsky's full-length novels following his...

, in 1866, Dostoyevsky became one of Russia's most prominent authors. Will Durant
Will Durant
William James Durant was a prolific American writer, historian, and philosopher. He is best known for The Story of Civilization, 11 volumes written in collaboration with his wife Ariel Durant and published between 1935 and 1975...

, in The Pleasures of Philosophy (1953), called Dostoyevsky one of the founding fathers of the philosophical movement known as existentialism
Existentialism
Existentialism is a term applied to a school of 19th- and 20th-century philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual...

, and cited Notes from Underground
Notes from Underground
Notes from Underground is an 1864 short novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Notes is considered by many to be the first existentialist novel...

 in particular as a founding work of existentialism. For Dostoyevsky, war is the people's rebellion against the idea that reason
Reason
Reason is a term that refers to the capacity human beings have to make sense of things, to establish and verify facts, and to change or justify practices, institutions, and beliefs. It is closely associated with such characteristically human activities as philosophy, science, language, ...

 guides everything, and reason is not the ultimate guiding principle for history or mankind
Human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

. After his 1849 exile to the city of Omsk
Omsk
-History:The wooden fort of Omsk was erected in 1716 to protect the expanding Russian frontier along the Ishim and the Irtysh rivers against the Kyrgyz nomads of the Steppes...

, Siberia, Dostoyevsky focused on questions of suffering
Suffering
Suffering, or pain in a broad sense, is an individual's basic affective experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with harm or threat of harm. Suffering may be qualified as physical or mental. It may come in all degrees of intensity, from mild to intolerable. Factors of duration and...

 and despair in many of his works.

Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a 19th-century German philosopher, poet, composer and classical philologist...

 referred to Dostoyevsky as "the only psychologist from whom I have something to learn: he belongs to the happiest windfalls of my life, happier even than the discovery of Stendhal
Stendhal
Marie-Henri Beyle , better known by his pen name Stendhal, was a 19th-century French writer. Known for his acute analysis of his characters' psychology, he is considered one of the earliest and foremost practitioners of realism in his two novels Le Rouge et le Noir and La Chartreuse de Parme...

." He said that Notes from Underground "cried truth from the blood." According to Mihajlo Mihajlov
Kontinent
Kontinent was an émigré dissident journal which focused on the politics of the Soviet Union and its satellites. Founded in 1974 by writer Vladimir Maximov, its first editor-in-chief, it was published in German and Russian and later translated into English...

's "The Great Catalyzer: Nietzsche and Russian Neo-Idealism", Nietzsche constantly refers to Dostoyevsky in his notes and drafts throughout the winter of 1886–1887. Nietzsche also wrote abstracts of several of Dostoyevsky's works.

Freud wrote an article titled Dostoevsky and Parricide, asserting that the greatest works in world literature are all about parricide
Parricide
Parricide is defined as:*the act of murdering one's father , mother or other close relative, but usually not children ....

. Though critical of Dostoyevsky's work overall, he regarded The Brothers Karamazov
The Brothers Karamazov
The Brothers Karamazov is the final novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Dostoyevsky spent nearly two years writing The Brothers Karamazov, which was published as a serial in The Russian Messenger and completed in November 1880...

 as among the three greatest works of literature.

Fiction

Dostoyevsky's works of fiction includes 2 translations, 15 novels and novellas, and 17 short stories. Many of his longer novels were first published in serialized form
Serial (literature)
In literature, a serial is a publishing format by which a single large work, most often a work of narrative fiction, is presented in contiguous installments—also known as numbers, parts, or fascicles—either issued as separate publications or appearing in sequential issues of a single periodical...

 in literary magazine
Literary magazine
A literary magazine is a periodical devoted to literature in a broad sense. Literary magazines usually publish short stories, poetry and essays along with literary criticism, book reviews, biographical profiles of authors, interviews and letters...

s and journal
Journal
__FORCETOC__A journal has several related meanings:* a daily record of events or business; a private journal is usually referred to as a diary....

s (see the individual articles). The years given below indicate the year in which the novel's final part or first complete book edition was published. in English many of his novels and stories are known by several titles.

Translated books

  • Eugénie Grandet
    Eugénie Grandet
    Eugénie Grandet is an 1833 novel by Honoré de Balzac about miserliness, and how it is bequeathed from the father to the daughter, Eugénie, through her unsatisfying love attachment with her cousin. As is usual with Balzac, all the characters in the novel are fully realized...

    ', (Honore de Balzac
    Honoré de Balzac
    Honoré de Balzac was a French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus was a sequence of short stories and novels collectively entitled La Comédie humaine, which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the 1815 fall of Napoleon....

    ) (1843)
  • La dernière Aldini (George Sand
    George Sand
    Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, later Baroness Dudevant , best known by her pseudonym George Sand , was a French novelist and memoirist.-Life:...

    ) (1843)

Novels and novellas

  • Poor Folk
    Poor Folk
    Poor Folk , sometimes translated as Poor People, is the first novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, which he wrote over the span of nine months when he was 25 years old. It was originally published on January 15, 1846 in the almanac St...

     (Бедные люди [Bednye lyudi], 1846)
  • The Double: A Petersburg Poem
    The Double: A Petersburg Poem
    The Double: A Petersburg Poem is a novella written by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The novella was first published on January 30, 1846 in Fatherland Notes....

     (Двойник: Петербургская поэма [Dvoynik: Peterburgskaya poema], 1846)
  • Netochka Nezvanova
    Netochka Nezvanova (novel)
    Netochka Nezvanova is Fyodor Dostoyevsky's first but unfinished attempt at writing a novel. The first completed section of the book was published in the end of 1849. According to translator Jane Kentish, this first publication was intended as "no more than a prologue to the novel"...

     (Неточка Незванова [Netochka Nezvanova], 1849)
  • Uncle's Dream (Дядюшкин сон [Dyadyushkin son], 1859)
  • The Village of Stepanchikovo
    The Village of Stepanchikovo
    Село Степанчиково и его обитатели or The Village of Stepanchikovo is a novel written by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and first published in 1859...

     (Село Степанчиково и его обитатели [Selo Stepanchikovo i ego obitateli], 1859)
  • Humiliated and Insulted (Униженные и оскорбленные [Unizhennye i oskorblennye], 1861)
  • The House of the Dead
    The House of the Dead (novel)
    The House of the Dead is a novel published in 1861 in the journal Vremya by Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky, which portrays the life of convicts in a Siberian prison camp...

     (Записки из мертвого дома [Zapiski iz mertvogo doma], 1862)
  • Notes from Underground
    Notes from Underground
    Notes from Underground is an 1864 short novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Notes is considered by many to be the first existentialist novel...

     (Записки из подполья [Zapiski iz podpolya], 1864)
  • Crime and Punishment
    Crime and Punishment
    Crime and Punishment is a novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It was first published in the literary journal The Russian Messenger in twelve monthly installments during 1866. It was later published in a single volume. This is the second of Dostoyevsky's full-length novels following his...

     (Преступление и наказание [Prestuplenie i nakazanie], 1866)
  • The Gambler
    The Gambler (novel)
    The Gambler is a short novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky about a young tutor in the employment of a formerly wealthy Russian general. The novella reflects Dostoyevsky's own addiction to roulette, which was in more ways than one the inspiration for the book: Dostoyevsky completed the novella under a...

     (Игрок [Igrok], 1867)
  • The Idiot (Идиот [Idiot], 1869). Translated into English by Henry Carlisle
    Henry Carlisle
    Henry Coffin Carlisle was a translator, novelist, and anti-censorship activist.Carlisle, with his wife Olga Andreyeva Carlisle, was notable for translating Alexander Solzhenitsyn's work into English...

     and Olga Carlisle.
  • The Eternal Husband
    The Eternal Husband
    The Eternal Husband is a novel by Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky that was first published in 1870 in Zarya magazine. The novella's plot revolves around the complicated relationship between Velchaninov and Trusotsky, the husband of his deceased former lover.-Plot summary:Alexei Ivanovich...

     (Вечный муж [Vechnyj muzh], 1870)
  • Demons (Бесы [Besy], 1872)
  • The Adolescent (Подросток [Podrostok], 1875)
  • The Brothers Karamazov
    The Brothers Karamazov
    The Brothers Karamazov is the final novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Dostoyevsky spent nearly two years writing The Brothers Karamazov, which was published as a serial in The Russian Messenger and completed in November 1880...

     (Братья Карамазовы [Brat'ya Karamazovy], 1880)

Short stories

  • "Mr. Prokharchin
    Mr. Prokharchin
    Mr. Prokharchin is a short story written in 1846 by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It appeared among others in the volume "Poor folk and other stories". It is inspired by a true story....

    " ("Господин Прохарчин" ["Gospodin Prokharchin"], 1846)
  • "Novel in Nine Letters" ("Роман в девяти письмах" ["Roman v devyati pis'mah"], 1847)
  • "The Landlady" ("Хозяйка" ["Hozyajka"], 1847)
  • "The Jealous Husband" ("Чужая жена и муж под кроватью" ["Chuzhaya zhena i muzh pod krovat'yu"], 1848)
  • "A Weak Heart" ("Слабое сердце" ["Slaboe serdze"], 1848)
  • "Polzunkov" ("Ползунков" ["Polzunkov"], 1848)
  • "The Honest Thief
    An Honest Thief
    "An Honest Thief" is an 1848 short story by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The story recounts the tale of the tragic drunkard Emelyan Ilyitch.- Synopsis :...

    " ("Честный вор" ["Chestnyj vor"], 1848)
  • "The Christmas Tree and a Wedding
    A Christmas Tree and a Wedding
    "A Christmas Tree and a Wedding" is a short story written by Fyodor Dostoyevsky in 1848. The piece is narrated by an awkward outcast attending a Christmas party. The man, although invited, knows only the host and talks to no one...

    " ("Елка и свадьба" ["Elka i svad'ba"], 1848)
  • "White Nights
    White Nights (short story)
    "White Nights" is a short story by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, originally published in 1848, early in the writer's career. Film adaptations have been made by Russian director Ivan Pyryev , by Italian director Luchino Visconti , by French director Robert Bresson , by Iranian director Farzad Motamen...

    " ("Белые ночи" ["Belye nochi"], 1848)
  • "A Little Hero" ("Маленький герой" ["Malen'kij geroj"], 1849)
  • "A Nasty Anecdote
    A Nasty Story
    "A Nasty Story" , also translated as "A Disgraceful Affair", as well as "A Most Unfortunate Incident", is a satirical short story by Fyodor Dostoyevsky concerning the escapades of a Russian civil servant.-Plot introduction:...

    " ("Скверный анекдот" ["Skvernyj anekdot"], 1862)
  • "The Crocodile
    The Crocodile (short story)
    "The Crocodile" is a short story written by Fyodor Dostoyevsky that was first published in 1865 in his magazine Epoch.-Synopsis:The story opens with the narrator telling the purportedly true events that happened to his friend Ivan Matveich, who is swallowed alive by a crocodile...

    " ("Крокодил" ["Krokodil"], 1865)
  • "Bobok
    Bobok
    Bobok is a short story by Fyodor Dostoyevsky that first appeared in 1873. The title can be translated from the Russian as meaning "little bean," and in the context of the story is taken to be synonymous with "nonsense."-Synopsis:...

    " ("Бобок" ["Bobok"], 1873)
  • "The Heavenly Christmas Tree" ("Мальчик у Христа на ёлке" ["Mal'chik u Hrista na elke"], 1876)
  • "The Meek One
    A Gentle Creature
    "A Gentle Creature" , sometimes also translated as "The Meek One", is a short story written by Fyodor Dostoyevsky in 1876. The piece comes with the subtitle of "A Fantastic Story", and it chronicles the relationship between a pawnbroker and a girl that frequents his shop. The story was inspired by...

    " ("Кроткая" ["Krotkaja"], 1876)
  • "The Peasant Marey
    The Peasant Marey
    "The Peasant Marey" is a short story by Fyodor Dostoyevsky written in 1876. Though framed as an autobiographical recount of some of his time spent in prison , the story is preoccupied with a childhood memory from when Dostoyevsky was nine and living in the Tula province with his father...

    " ("Мужик Марей" ["Muzhik Marej"], 1876)
  • "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man
    The Dream of a Ridiculous Man
    "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man" is a short story by Fyodor Dostoyevsky written in 1877. It chronicles the experiences of a man who decides that there is nothing to live for in the world, and is therefore determined to commit suicide...

    " ("Сон смешного человека" ["Son smeshnogo cheloveka"], 1877)

Non-fiction

  • A Writer's Diary
    A Writer's Diary
    A Writer's Diary is a collection of non-fiction and fictional writings by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Taken from pieces written for a periodical which he founded and produced, it is normally published in two volumes: the first covering those published between 1873 and 1876, the second from 1877 and 1881....

    , collected essays
  • Winter Notes on Summer Impressions (1863)
  • A Writer's Diary
    A Writer's Diary
    A Writer's Diary is a collection of non-fiction and fictional writings by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Taken from pieces written for a periodical which he founded and produced, it is normally published in two volumes: the first covering those published between 1873 and 1876, the second from 1877 and 1881....

     (Дневник писателя [Dnevnik pisatelya], 1873–1881)
  • Letters (collected in English translations in five volumes of Complete Letters)

See also

  • Albert Camus
    Albert Camus
    Albert Camus was a French author, journalist, and key philosopher of the 20th century. In 1949, Camus founded the Group for International Liaisons within the Revolutionary Union Movement, which was opposed to some tendencies of the Surrealist movement of André Breton.Camus was awarded the 1957...

  • Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
    Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was aRussian and Soviet novelist, dramatist, and historian. Through his often-suppressed writings, he helped to raise global awareness of the Gulag, the Soviet Union's forced labor camp system – particularly in The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of...

  • Existentialism
    Existentialism
    Existentialism is a term applied to a school of 19th- and 20th-century philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual...

  • List of Russian philosophers
  • Lev Shestov
    Lev Shestov
    Lev Isaakovich Shestov , born Yehuda Leyb Schwarzmann , was a Ukrainian/Russian existentialist philosopher. Born in Kiev on , he emigrated to France in 1921, fleeing from the aftermath of the October Revolution. He lived in Paris until his death on November 19, 1938.- Life :Shestov was born Lev...

  • Nikolai Berdyaev
    Nikolai Berdyaev
    Nikolai Alexandrovich Berdyaev was a Russian religious and political philosopher.-Early life and education:Berdyaev was born in Kiev into an aristocratic military family. He spent a solitary childhood at home, where his father's library allowed him to read widely...

  • Nikolay Strakhov
    Nikolay Strakhov
    Nikolay Nikolayevich Strakhov, also transliterated as Nikolai Strahov , was a Russian philosopher, publicist and literary critic who shared the ideals of pochvennichestvo. He was a long-time friend and correspondent of Leo Tolstoy....

  • Russian Orthodox Church
    Russian Orthodox Church
    The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

  • Vasily Rozanov
    Vasily Rozanov
    Vasily Vasilievich Rozanov was one of the most controversial Russian writers and philosophers of the pre-revolutionary epoch. His views have been termed the "religion of procreation", as he tried to reconcile Christian teachings with ideas of healthy sex and family life and not, as his adversary...



External links

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