THIS DATE IN HISTORY: Other Events, deaths, births, of FEB 09
Федор Михайлович
Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky

      Fyodor Dostoevsky (Федор Михайлович Достоевский) is a Russian novelist and short-story writer whose psychological penetration into the darkest recesses of the human heart, together with his unsurpassed moments of illumination, have had an immense influence on 20th-century fiction. Dostoevsky is usually regarded as one of the finest novelists who ever lived. Literary modernism, existentialism, and various schools of psychology, theology, and literary criticism have been profoundly shaped by his ideas. His works are often called prophetic because he so accurately predicted how Russia's revolutionaries would behave if they came to power. In his time he was also renowned for his activity as a journalist.
     Dostoevsky was born on 11 November (30 October Julian) 1821. His father was a doctor at Moscow's Hospital for the Poor, where he grew rich enough to buy land and serfs. After his father's death, Dostoevsky, who suffered from epilepsy, studied military engineering and became a civil servant while secretly writing novels. His first, Бедные люди, and his second, Двойник, were both published in 1846--the first was a hit, the second a failure. Dostoevsky began participating in a radical intellectual discussion group called the Petrashevsky Circle. The group was suspected of subversive activites, which led to Dostoevsky's arrest in 1849, and his sentencing to death on 16 November 1849.
      On 22 December 1849, Dostoevsky was led before the firing squad but received a last-minute reprieve and was sent to a Siberian labor camp, where he worked for four years. He was released in 1854 and worked as a soldier on the Mongolian frontier. He married a widow and finally returned to Russia in 1859. The following year, he founded a magazine and two years after that journeyed to Europe for the first time. In 1864 and 1865, his wife and his brother died, the magazine folded, and Dostoevsky found himself deeply in debt, which he exacerbated by gambling. In 1866, he published Crime and Punishment, one of his most popular works. In 1867, he married a stenographer, and the couple fled to Europe to escape his creditors. His novel The Possessed (1872) was successful, and the couple returned to St. Petersburg. He published The Brothers Karamazov in 1880 to immediate success, but he died a year later.
     From earliest childhood Dostoyevsky knew the gospels and learned Bible stories from the deacon at the hospital where his father was a doctor. As he looked back in later years, he rejoiced that as a child he was brought up in a home that knew Christ, and that his mother and father had given him something holy and precious to carry him through the rest of his life.
      As a young man, Dostoyevsky was an activist pushing the social ideals of his day. In 1849, at age 26, he was charged with conspiracy against tsar Nicholas' government and sentenced to death. Standing before a firing squad, he was reprieved at the very last moment, and sent to prison in Siberia for four years. On his way, a group of women gave him a New Testament which he treasured the rest of his life. His underlining of his New Testament emphasized two themes: persecution of the just and the coming Day of Judgment. He believed in salvation through suffering. He also believed in God's Providence. Once, when a friend remarked that his Siberian punishment had been unjust, Dostoyevsky disagreed, pointing out that God had sent him to Siberia to teach him important lessons. Dostoyevsky's best known novels -- The Idiot,
Зaписки из подполья, Преступление e нaкaзaние, and The Brothers Karamazov -- explore man's sinful soul and show that suffering has a purifying effect upon an individual's life.
      Dostoyevsky died on 09 February [28 January Julian] 1881. The epitaph on his grave is from John 12:24:
"Eсли пшеничное зерно не упадет в землю и не умрет, то оно остается одним зерном. Если же оно умрет, то из него произойдет много зерен." ("Unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.") .

DOSTOEVSKY ONLINE (in Russian and in English translations):
  1. Бедные люди. Ромaн, редaкция 1865 г. (265 КБ)
  2. Двойник. Петербургсeaя поэмa, редaкция 1866 г. (335 КБ)
  3. Ромaн в девяти письмaх
  4. Господин Прохaрчин. Рaсскaз
  5. Хозяйкa. Повесть
  6. Ползунков
  7. Слaбое сердце. Повесть
  8. Честный вор. Из зaписок неизвестного
  9. Елкa e свaдьбa. Из зaписок неизвестного
  10. Чужaя женa и муж под кровaтью. Происшествие необыкновенное
  11. Белые ночи. Сентиментaльный ромaн. Из воспоминaний мечтaтеля
  12. Неточкa Незвaновa (354 КБ)
  13. Мaленький герой. Из неизвестных мемуaров
  14. Дядюшкин сон. Из Мордaсовских летописей (280 КБ)
  15. Село Степaнчиково и его обитaтели. Из зaпeсок неизвестного (444 КБ)
  16. Униженные и оскорбленные.Ромaн в четырех чaстях с эпилогом (757 КБ)
  17. Зaписки из мертвого домa (633 КБ)
  18. Скверный aнекдот. Рaсскaз
  19. Зимние зaметки о летних впечaтлениях
  20. Зaписки из подполья. Повесть
  21. Крокодил, необыкновенное событие или пaссaж в Пaссaже.
  22. Преступление и нaкaзaнeе. Ромaн в шести чaстях с эпилогом (1150 КБ)
  23. Игрок. Ромaн (310 КБ)
  24. Вечный муж. Рaсскaз (290 КБ)
  • The Brothers Karamazov
  • The Brothers Karamazov
  • Crime and Punishment (22)
  • Crime and Punishment
  • Crime and Punishment
  • Crime and Punishment
  • The Crocodile: An Extraordinary Incident (21)
  • A Gentle Spirit: A Fantastic Story
  • The Insulted and Injured (16)
  • Notes from the Underground (20)
  • Notes from the Underground
  • The Double (2)
  • The Gambler (24)
  • The Idiot
  • Poor Folk (1)
  • Selected works:
  • The Brothers Karamazov,
  • Crime & Punishment,
  • Notes from Underground,
  • The Crocodile: An Extraordinary Incident,
  • The Double,
  • A Gentle Spirit: A Fantastic Story,
  • The Insulted & The Injured,
  • The Dream of a Ridiculous Man,
  • Bobok: From Someone's Diary,
  • The Peasant Marey: From Diary of a Writer,
  • The Little Orphan

  • Another site with Dostoevky works in Russian: