Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Portrait of Dostoyevsky in 1872 painted by Vasily Perov
Notable work(s) Notes from Underground
Crime and Punishment
The Idiot
The Brothers Karamazov
Spouse(s) Maria Dmitriyevna Isayeva (1857–1864) [her death]

Anna Grigoryevna Snitkina (1867–1881) [his death]

Children Sonya (1868), Lyubov (1869–1926), Fyodor (1871–1922), Alexey (1875–1878)

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Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky[1] (Russian: Фёдор Миха́йлович Достое́вский; IPA: [ˈfʲodər mʲɪˈxajləvʲɪtɕ dəstɐˈjefskʲɪj]; 11 November 1821 – 9 February 1881[2]) sometimes translated as Dostoevsky, was a Russian writer of novels, short stories and essays. Dostoyevsky's literary works explore human psychology in the troubled political, social and spiritual context of 19th-century Russian society. A Slavophile, nationalist and monarchist, he criticised the bourgeois, pre-materialist West and nihilism in many of his works. Although Dostoyevsky wrote books in the mid-1850s which were influenced by realist and romanticist writers, most notably by Dickens, Gogol and Balzac, his best remembered work was done in his last years, including such masterpieces as Crime and Punishment, The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov. Dostoyevsky overall wrote 11 complete novels, 3 novellas, 17 short novels and 3 essays. He is often acknowledged by critics as one of the greatest and most prominent psychologists in world literature.[3]

Fyodor Dostoyevsky was born and raised within the grounds of the Mariinsky hospital. At an early age he was introduced to English, French, German and Russian literature, as well as to fairytales and legends. His mother's sudden death was devastating for Dostoyevsky, and he had to leave private school for a much-hated military school. After his graduation he worked as an engineer and briefly enjoyed a primarily liberal lifestyle. He soon began translating books to make up for money problems. Around the mid-1850s he wrote his first novel, Poor Folk, which brought him into the mainstream. Because of his involvement with the Petrashevsky Circle, he and other members were condemned to death, but the mock execution was overturned at the last moment, and the sentence was commuted to four years of imprisonment in Siberia, followed by a term of compulsory military service. After his release from prison he lived as a soldier and had his first affair, later returning to St. Petersburg to continue writing.

In the following years Dostoyevsky began working as a journalist, first for the conservatives and Slavophiles but later switching between left and right-wing periodicals. He also published and edited several magazines of his own, in which many of his fictional works first appeared, and later his serial A Writer's Diary. Beginning with his travels to Europe he struggled with money issues caused by his gambling addiction, and the resulting humiliation of being forced to beg for money. He also suffered from epilepsy throughout his adult life. Through his considerable productivity he eventually became one of the most widely read and renowned Russian writers. His books have been translated into more than 170 languages and have sold around 15 million copies.[4] Dostoyevsky left a lasting influence on other writers, ranging from Ernest Hemingway to Joseph Conrad, and had an influence on philospophers and psychologists like Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud.


  1. 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.
  2. Old Style date 30 October 1821 – 29 January 1881.
  3. Russian literature. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved on 11 April 2008. “Dostoyevsky, who is generally regarded as one of the supreme psychologists in world literature, sought to demonstrate the compatibility of Christianity with the deepest truths of the psyche.”
  4. Kjetsaa 1989, p. 7.


  • Rowan Williams, Dostoevsky Language, Faith and Fiction (2008)
  • Avsey, Ignat (2008). "Extra Material on Fyodor Dostoevsky's Humiliated and Insulted", Humiliated and Insulted, Trans. Avsey, London: Oneworld Classics. ISBN 978-1-84749-045-2. 
  • W. J. Leatherbarrow, A Devil's Vaudeville: the demonic in Dostoevsky's major fiction (2005)
  • The Cambridge Companion to Dostoevskii, ed. W. J. Leatherbarrow (2002)
  • Frank, Joseph (2009). Dostoevsky: A Writer in His Time. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-12819-1. 
  • Dostoevsky and the Christian tradition, ed. G. Pattison, D. O. Thompson (2001)
  • P. Evdokimov, Gogol et Dostoievski (2nd. ed. 1984)
  • New Essays on Dostoevsky, ed. M. Jones, G. M. Terry (1983)
  • V. Seduro, Dostoevski's Image in Russia Today (1975)
  • D. Capetanakis, 'Dostoevsky', in Demetrios Capetanakis A Greek Poet In England (1947), p. 103–116
  • P. Evdokimov, Dostoevski et le probleme du mal (1942; repr. 1978)
  • N. Berdyaev, Dostoevsky (1934; Russian original 1923)
  • L. Shestov, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and Nietzsche (1969; Russian original 1903)
  • Mochulsky, Konstantin [First published 1967] (1967). Dostoevsky: His Life and Work, Trans. Minihan, Michael A, Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-01299-7. 
  • Belinsky, Vissarion (1847). Polnoye sobranye (in Russian). 
  • Reber, Natalie (1964). Studien zum Motiv des Doppelgängers bei Dostojevskij und E.T.A. Hoffmann. 
  • Terras, Victor (1969). The Young Dostoevsky (1846–1849): A critical study, Slavistic printings and reprintings. University of Michigan. 
  • Kjetsaa, Geir (15 January 1989). A Writer's Life. Fawcett Columbine. 
  • Lavrin, Janko (1947). Dostoevksy. New York: New York The Macmillan Company. 
  • Müller, Ludolf (1982). Dostojewskij: Sein Leben, Sein Werk, Sein Vermächtnis (in German). Munich: Erich Wewel Verlag. 
  • Jones, Malcolm V. (2005). Dostoevsky And the Dynamics of Religious Experience. Anthem Press. ISBN 978-1-84331-205-5. 
  • Bloshteyn, Maria R. (2007). The Making of a Counter-Culture Icon: Henry Miller's Dostoevsky, G – Reference, Information and Interdisciplinary Subjects Series. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-0-8020-9228-1. 
  • Meier-Gräfe, Julius (1988). Dostoevsky: The Man and His Work. Frankfurt am Main: insel verlag. 
  • Lauer, Reinhard (2000). Geschichte der Russischen Literatur: von 1700 bis zur Gegenwart (in German). Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck. ISBN 978-3-406-50267-5. 
  • Neuhäuser, Rudolf (1993). F.M. Dostoejevskij: Die Grossen Romane und Erzählungen; Interpretationen und Analysen (in German). Vienna; Cologne; Weimar: Böhlau Verlag. ISBN 978-3-205-98112-1. 
  • (2010) New Essays on Dostoyevsky. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-15531-1. 
  • Lavrin, Janko (2005). Dostoevsky: A Study. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4179-8844-0. 
  • Bloom, Harold (2004). Fyodor Dostoevsky. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7910-8117-4. 
  • Breger, Louis (2008). Dostoevsky: The Author As Psychoanalyst. Transaction Publishers. ISBN 978-1-4128-0843-9. 
  • Burry, Alexander (2011). Multi-Mediated Dostoevsky: Transposing Novels Into Opera, Film, and Drama. Northwestern University Press. ISBN 978-0-8101-2715-9. 
  • Terras, Victor (1998). Reading Dostoevsky. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 978-0-2991-6054-8. 

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