About Dostoevsky

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky's life was as dark and dramatic as the great novels he wrote.  He was born in Moscow in 1821, the son of a former army surgeon whose drunken brutality led his own serfs to murder him by pouring vodka down his throat until he strangled.  A short first novel, Poor Folk, brought him instant success, but his writing career was cut short by his arrest for alleged subversion against Tsar Nicholas I in 1849.  In prison he was given the "silent treatment" for eight months before he was led in front of a firing squad.  Dressed in a death shroud, he faced an open grave and awaited his execution, when, suddenly, an order arrived commuting his sentence.  He then spent four years at hard labour in a Siberian prison, where he began to suffer from epilepsy, and he only returned to St. Petersburg a full ten years after he had left in chains.
His prison experiences coupled with his conversion to a conservative and profoundly religious philosophy formed the basis for his great novels.  But is was his fotuitous marriage to Anna Snitkina, following a period of utter destitution brought about by his compulsive gambling, that gave Dostoevsky the emotional stability to complete Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, The Possessed, and The Brothers Karamazov.  When Dostoevsky died in 1881, he left a legacy of masterworks that influenced the great thinkers and writers of the Wester world and immortalized him as a giant among writers of world literature.

Biography by Bantam Books