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FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY

1821-1889
Russian

"A real gentleman, even if he loses everything he owns, must show no emotion. Money must be so far beneath a gentleman that it is hardly worth troubling about. "

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky was born in Moscow in 1821, the second son of a former army doctor. Between 1838 and 1843 he studied at the St Petersburg Engineering Academy, from whence he graduated as a military engineer, but he resigned in 1844 to devote himself to writing. In 1849 he was arrested due to his membership of a socialist group. He was initially sentenced to death, but this was commuted to a prison sentence in a penal colony in Siberia, where he spent four years, followed by four years serving as a private soldier.

He returned to St Petersburg in 1854, having abandoned Socialism for a new belief in religion. In 1857 Dostoevsky married Maria Isaev and two years later he resigned from the army. During the early 1860s he travelled extensively in Europe, including a visit to London which he found very depressing because of his impressions of life in that city at the time. Both his wife and brother died in 1864-5 and Dostoevsky became loaded with debt, made worse by a personal addiction to gambling. In 1867 Dostoevsky married Anna Snitkin, with whom he travelled abroad until 1871.

By the time that his book The Karamazov Brothers was published, Dostoevsky had become recognised within his own country as one of Russia’s greatest writers. He suffered from epilepsy all his life and died in St Petersburg on February 9th, 1881.

Dostoyevsky's works of fiction include fifteen novels and novellas, seventeen short stories, and five translations. Apart from The Karamazov Brothers, his best known works are, Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, The House of the Dead and The Gambler.

During the twentieth century he became the most widely read Russian author in England.

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