Fyodor Dostoevsky Books




Fyodor Dostoevsky



Easton Press Fyodor Dostoevsky books:
The Brothers Karamazov - 1979
Crime and Punishment - 1980
The Idiot - 1984
The Possessed - 1987
Notes From Underground / The Gambler - 1997
The House of The Dead


Franklin Library Fyodor Dostoevsky books:
Crime and Punishment - 100 Greatest Books of All Time - 1975
Crime and Punishment - World's Best Loved Books - 1978
The Brothers Karamazov - Great Books of the Western World - 1978
Stories - Collected Stories of the World's Greatest Writers - 1979



Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky, (1821-81), was a Russian novelist, born in Moscow, and educated at the School of Military Engineers, St. Petersburg (now Leningrad). He was commissioned a sub lieutenant in 1841 and upon his graduation in 1843 was appointed a government post. He resigned the following year todevote himself to literature.

Fyodor Dostoevsky's first novel, Poor Folf 1846, won him instant recognition as one of the most promising of the younger Russian writers. Despite poverty and incipient epilepsy, he produced another novel, The Double 1846, and several short stories in quick succession. However these writings disappointed the critics, and his popularity waned.

Alienated from other men of letters by their criticism and ridicule, Dostoevsky was prompted by loneliness to associate himself with a group of young revolutionary socialist known as the Petrashevski circle. He and other members of the group were arrested in the wave of repression that swept Russia following the revolts in Europe in 1848. After eight months of imprisonment, they were tried (1849) and sentenced to death. Moments before the condemned men were to be shot they received a reprieve, whichhad been signed by the czar three days earlier but had been kept secret on his orders until the time of execution. Fyodor Dostoevsky's sentence was commuted to four years of hard labor in a Siberian penal colony and four years of military service in the ranks. The ordeal before the firing squad greatly aggravated his epilepsy and for the rest of his life he suffered seizures of disabling intensity.

Fyodor Dostoevsky spent four years in a penal settlement near Omsk and an additional two and a halfyears as an army private and noncommissioned officer. During the period of his imprisonment he renounced his socialist dreams and became devoutly religious and ardently nationalistic. Fusing nationalism and religion, he virtually deified the Russian people, conceiving them as bearers of the Truth and as destined, through their sufferings, to save mankind.

Fyodor Dostoevsky married Maria Isaeva, a widow, while serving as a soldier in Siberia. The marriage was unhappy. Through the influence of an old school mate who had become a general, his commission was restored in 1856, but he was required to remain in Siberia three more years.

Returning to St. Petersburg in 1859, he resumed his literary career. In 1861 he published Memoirs from the House of the Dead, a thinly fictionalized account of his bitter experiences in Siberia. The same year Feodor Dostoevsky, together with his brother Mikhail, started a literary review, Vremya (Time), in which his novel The Insulted and Injured (1862) first appeared. Though its editorial policy was strongly nationalistic, the magazine aroused official suspicion, and in May, it was suppressed.

Fyodor Dostoevsky meanwhile had become intimate with Apollinaria Soslova, an emancipated, emotionally unstable girl twenty years his junior. He toured Europe with her, at the same time indulging a passion for gambling, but he lost both his mistress and his money. Upon his return to Russia late in 1863, Fyodor Dostoevsky and his brother started a new review, Epokha (Epoch). Mikhail died shortly there after, and Epokha failed, leaving Dostoevsky overwhelmed with debts. He was compelled to write at great speed to satisfy his creditors. During this period he also had to nurse his wife, who was dying of consumption. In spite of the pressures in which he worked, Fyodor Dostoevsky's genius quickly reached full maturity. In 1864, the year his wife died, the first of his great novels, Notes from the Underworld, was published, Crime and Punishment, probably his best known work, appeared in 1866.

Fyodor Dostoevsky married his 21-year-old secretary, Anna Snitkina, in 1867 and went to Europe with her to escape his creditors. He lived abroad until 1871, gambling and writing furiously. His wife's devotion and business ability enabled him eventually to put his finances in order.

After returning home, he wrote for a conservative weekly and published a journal of his own, A Writer's Diary, which achieved popularity. Toward the end of his life he became fairly affluent. His final triumph came when, in 1880, he was selected to deliver the main address at the unveiling of a memorial to the Russian poet Aleksander Sergeevich Pushkin. Fyodor Dostoevsky's death the following year occasioned a nationwide demonstration of homage and sorrow. His most important novels, in addition to Notes from the Underworld and Crime and punishment, and The Idiot (1868), The Possessed (1871), and the Brothers Karamazov (1880), which is generally considered his masterpiece.

Fyodor Dostoevsky ranks with Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy as the greatest of Russian novelist. Most critics regard him as among the three or four greatest of all novelists. He penetrated the minds and hearts of men with amazing insight, anticipating the scientific findings of Austrian psychiatrist Sigmund Freud and other pioneers in the field of abnormal psychology. Fyodor Dostoevsky's main characters, all vividly realized, lead lives of almost unbearable intensity. They ask anguished questions of God about the basic human concerns, about the problems of evil, of responsibility, of guilt, and of freedom. They do not merely discuss ideas; they suffer them, lacerating themselves and each other with the thoughts that possess them. For the sake of their thoughts, they form revolutionary conspiracies, commit horrible crimes, go mad, and destroy themselves. Most of Fyodor Dostoevsky's later novels are exciting stories of crime and suspense, thrillers; but what is most exciting about them is not so much the surface action as the momentous spiritual struggles that go on beneath. A seminal thinker who profoundly influenced the modern intellectual climate, Dostoevsky produced in his novels an amalgam of thought and feeling more perfect than any so far achieved in literature.







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