Best known for writing the novel “Crime and Punishment” the Russian Novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky was born 11 November 1821 in the Mariinsky hospital in Moscow, Russia. Dostoyevsky was introduced to literature at an early age – fairy tales and legends, as well as books by English, French, German and Russian authors. His mother’s sudden death in 1837 devastated him. At around the same time, he left school to enter the Nikolayev Military Engineering Institute. Once he graduated, he worked as an engineer and briefly enjoyed a liberal lifestyle.
He soon began to translate books to earn extra money. Around the mid-1840s he wrote his first novel, Poor Folk, allowing him to join St Petersburg’s literary circles. He also wrote short stories and essays which explore human psychology in the troubled political, social and spiritual context of 19th-century Russia. Although Dostoyevsky began writing books in the mid-1840s. In 1849 he attracted controversy when he was arrested for his involvement with the Petrashevsky Circle, a secret society of liberal utopians as well as a literary discussion group. He and other members were condemned to death, but the penalty proved to be a mock execution and the sentence was commuted to four years’ hard labour in Siberia.
After his release, Dostoyevsky was forced to serve as a soldier, but was discharged from the military due to his ill health. In the following years Dostoyevsky worked as a journalist, publishing and editing several magazines of his own and later a serial, A Writer’s Diary. His best novels, including Crime and Punishment, The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov. He wrote eleven novels, three novellas, seventeen short novels and three essays, and has been acknowledged by many literary critics as one of the greatest and most prominent psychologists in universal literature. He also began to travel around western Europe, however his finances suffered because of his gambling addiction and he had to face the humiliation of begging for money.
Dostoyevsky also suffered from epilepsy throughout his adult life. But he persevered and though sheer energy and force of will he managed to publish a large volume of work. Fyodor Dostoyevsky sadly passed away on 9th February 1881, however he has since become one of the most widely read and renowned Russian writers, His books remain popular and have been translated into more than 170 languages and sold around 15 million copies. He has also influenced a vast range of writers, from Anton Chekhov and James Joyce to Ernest Hemingway, Jean-Paul Sartre and Ayn Rand, to name but a few.