Passion for freethinking cost the greatest Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky four years in a forced-labor camp and a few years in exile during his most flourishing years.

Childhood and adolescence

Dostoevsky’s family was subscribed to the magazine “Library for reading”, which contained the most recent works of literature of the time. Dostoevsky was reading Alexander Pushkin, Nikolai Karamzin. His mother used to take her children for a prayer to the Trinity-Sergius Lavra, studied the New Testament with her kids.

Young Dostoevsky experienced two losses in a row: the death of his mother in 1837 and, two years later, his father’s death (according to other sources –he was killed: it is believed that Dostoevsky’s father had a very difficult character, and he became even more intolerable after the death of his wife).

Dostoevsky enrolled and graduated from the Petersburg Military Engineering College, but after graduation and a year in servicehe decided to retire and devote all of his time to literature.

“The emergence of extraordinary talent”

The first novel written by Dostoevsky”Poor People” (1845) received glowing reviews from critics, who noted psychologism and accurate description of the characters.

“… the novel reveals such mysteries of life and characters in Russia, which before him were not accomplished by anyone …”

Vissarion Belinsky (Russian philosopher and critic)

Forced-labor camp

Dostoevsky became interested in the ideas of utopian socialism and joined the group of Vasily Petrashevsky. By themselves, the ideas of utopian socialism would not have caused bad reaction. But Vasily Petrashevsky believed that development is possible only under the conditions of full freedom and “only after the revolution.”

In 1849, all the members of the group were arrested and sentenced to death. The sentence for the members of the group was replaced by different terms, and Dostoevsky got “penal servitude in a fortress for  … 4 years, and then as private to the army.”

Dostoevsky. V. Domogatskii 1956

 Dostoevsky / V. Domogatskii (1956)

Almost ten years of really hard life. He suffered, but most importantly, he saw a lot of suffering around him.

The return

Dostoevsky 1858

Dostoevsky (1858)

 A more liberal emperor ascended to the throne – Alexander II, which allowed Dostoevsky to terminate his service as a private in Siberia after prison, and even return his nobility status.

Soon Dostoevsky completed “Village Stepanchikovo and its Inhabitants” (1859), which was not appreciated in his lifetime, but later became so popular that it spawned in Russia a few memes still used today.

Dostoevsky 1861

Dostoevsky (1861)

The novel “The House of the Dead” (1862) describes the life in a camp in a very detailed and naturalistic way.

But the creative work of the great Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevskywas not limited totalented psychological description of social problems.

  • Pages:
  • 1
  • 2

We are glad to discover Russia together with you!

We put our heart into the project. Join us on Facebook or Twitter: