Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky, Dostoyevsky also spelled Dostoevsky (FYOH-dahr dahs-tah-YEHVS-kee) (born November 11, (October 30, Old Style), 1821, Moscow; died February 9, (January 28, O.S.), 1881, St. Petersburg, Russia), Russian writer, one of the major figures in Russian literature. He is sometimes said to be a founder of existentialism.
Born to parents Mikhail and Maria, Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky was the second of seven children. Fyodor's mother died of an illness in 1837.
Fyodor and his brother Michael were sent to the Military Engineering Academy at St. Petersburg shortly after their mother's death, though these plans had begun even before she became ill.
It was not long before his father, a retired military surgeon who served as a doctor at the Mariinsky Hospital for the Poor in Moscow, also died in 1839. While not known for certain, it is believed that Mikhail Dostoyevsky was murdered by his own serfs, who reportedly became enraged during one of Mikhail's drunken fits of violence, restrained him, and poured vodka into his mouth until he drowned.
Dostoyevsky was arrested and imprisoned in 1849 for engaging in revolutionary activity against Tsar Nicholas I. On November 16 that year he was sentenced to death for anti-government activities linked to a radical intellectual group. After a mock execution in which he faced a staged firing squad, Dostoyevsky's sentence was commuted to a number of years of exile performing hard labor at a katorga prison camp in Siberia. The incidents of epileptic seizures, to which he was predisposed, increased during this period. His sentence was completed in 1854, at which point he enrolled in the Siberian Regiment.
This was a turning point in the author's life. Dostoyevsky abandonded his earlier radical sentiments and became deeply conservative and extremely religious. He began an affair with, and later married, Maria Dmitrievna Isaeva, the wife of an acquaintance in Siberia.
In 1860, he returned to St. Petersburg, where he ran a series of unsuccessful literary journals with his older brother Mikhail. Dostoyevsky was devastated by his wife's death in 1864, followed shortly thereafter by his brother's death. He was financially crippled by business debts and the need to provide for his brother's widow and children. Dostoyevsky sunk into a deep depression, frequenting gambling parlors and blithely accumulating massive losses at the tables.
To escape creditors in St. Petersburg, Dostoyevsky traveled to Europe. There, he attempted to rekindle a love affair with Apollinaria (Polina) Suslova, a young university student with whom he had had an affair several years prior, but she refused his marriage proposal. Dostoyevsky was heartbroken, but soon met Anna Snitkina, a nineteen-year-old stenographer whom he married in 1867. This period resulted in the writing of his greatest books.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky died on January 28 (O.S.), 1881 and was interred in Tikhvin Cemetery at the Alexander Nevsky Monastery, St. Petersburg, Russia.
- Netochka Nezvanova (1849)
- The Village of Stepanchikovo (or The Friend of the Family) (1859)
- The House of the Dead (1862)
- A Nasty Story (1862)
- Notes from the Underground (or Letters from the Underworld) (1864)
- Crime and Punishment (1866)
- The Gambler (1867)
- The Idiot (1868)
- The Possessed (or Demons or The Devils) (1872)
- The Raw Youth (1875)
- The Brothers Karamazov (1880)
- http://www.fyodordostoevsky.com/ - The Definitive Dostoevsky fan site
- Fyodor Dostoevsky's brief biography and works
- Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. Vintage Classics, 1992, New York.
- Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky, translated by Constance Garnett, introduction by Joseph Frank. Bantam Books, 1987, New York.
- Project Gutenberg e-texts of some of Fyodor Dostoevsky's works