Fyodor Dostoevsky Additional Biography


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevski was born in Moscow on November 11, 1821. His father, a member of the minor nobility, was a former army surgeon at the Marinksky Hospital for the poor; thus, very early in life, Dostoevski came into contact with poverty, disease, and death—topics that were to haunt his literary works. His father was a tyrannical man, while his mother was a meek, frail woman. During his education in Moscow, Dostoevski was attracted to literary studies, but at his father’s bidding, he entered the St. Petersburg Military Academy. While at school, he avidly studied the works of William Shakespeare, Sir Walter Scott, E. T. A. Hoffmann, Nikolai Gogol, and Honoré de Balzac, and especially the romantic dramas of Friedrich Schiller.

In 1839, Dostoevski’s father was murdered by his own serfs; thus, murder and its effects touched Dostoevski deeply, as borne out in his last and greatest novel, The Brothers Karamazov. Also, during his student days in St. Petersburg, he came into close contact with poverty, alcoholism, and prostitution as he wandered through the notorious Haymarket district of the city. After completing his education, Dostoevski embarked on a literary career, writing translations, articles, and novels. Soon he came under the influence of radical underground organizations and began publishing subversive articles and working with known revolutionaries. In 1849, he was arrested, imprisoned, condemned to death, and paraded...

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(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevski (dahs-tuh-YEHF-skee), novelist, journalist, religious polemicist, and political reformer, was born in Moscow, Russia, on November 11, 1821, the second child of Mikhail Andreevich Dostoevski and Marya Fedorovna Nechaeva. His father, a surgeon, had served for eight years in the army and, at Fyodor’s birth, held a staff position at St. Mary’s Hospital for the destitute of Moscow. An able and intelligent man who had succeeded in pulling himself out of generations of poverty, Dostoevski’s father was nonetheless often violent, moody, and given to bouts of heavy drinking that frightened his children. His mother was an engaging and attractive woman, practical, efficient, and cheerful in running her household.

Dostoevski had seven brothers and sisters. He was closest to his older brother, Mikhail, and the third child in the family, his sister Varvara. These three seem to have formed a closer relationship to their father than the youngest five, whose lives were centered almost entirely on their mother. Mikhail, Fyodor, and Varvara shared intellectual and literary interests, and Fyodor’s novels and stories reveal themes, types, and motifs closely linked to his lifetime experience with these two close siblings.

Dostoevski spent the first twelve years of his life at home, where he was schooled by his father and by private tutors. He finished his early education at the best boarding school in Moscow, an educational experience recorded in fictional alteration in his novel Podrostok (1875; A Raw Youth, 1916). At sixteen, he entered the St. Petersburg military engineering school, where he was an indifferent student of soldierly science, spending much of his time at musical and theatrical performances, on nights out with fellow cadets, and especially in reading. Dostoevski was a voracious reader, working his way through the classics, being particularly fond of Homer and William Shakespeare. So taken was he with the greatness of these authors that he determined to master the literary craft in a way never before done in the Russian language. This determination, coupled with his father’s murder at the hands of the peasants on a small family estate and his mother’s death from tuberculosis, led Dostoevski in 1844 to begin life anew. He resigned his engineering lieutenant’s commission and became a full-time writer.

His first two literary attempts illustrate the power that he was to manifest throughout his career. First, he translated into Russian the French novelist...

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(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevski (duhs-tuh-YAHF-skee), thought by many to be the greatest novelist of the nineteenth century, has had an enormous influence on modern literature not only by virtue of the style and content of his works but also in the example he set of a writer’s life. He was the son of a doctor and the second of eight children. Although he was trained as an engineer, his lifelong interest in literature was apparent before he reached the age of twenty. His mother died when he was sixteen, and Dostoevski’s loneliness and need for money at this time are evident in his letters to his father. The need for money became even more acute after he decided to become a professional writer upon his graduation in 1843.


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Fyodor Dostoevsky was born on November 11, 1821, in Moscow, Russia. His father was a doctor, and the family lived close to the hospital where the senior Dostoevsky worked. The neighborhood was one of the worst in Moscow and would mark the young boy, stimulating his compassion for the poor and oppressed of Russia. By the time Dostoevsky was seventeen, both his mother and father were dead. His mother died after suffering from consumption (a disease that is mentioned in Notes From Underground). His father—reportedly a very bitter, often harsh, and very domineering man—is rumored to have been murdered.

After his mother’s death, Dostoevsky was sent to a boarding school in St. Petersburg. He later entered...

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(Novels for Students)

When Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky wrote Crime and Punishment in the mid-1860s, he was already a well-known author. Nonetheless, he...

(The entire section is 851 words.)


(Short Stories for Students)

Fyodor Dostoevsky was born in Moscow, the capital of Russia, on October 20, 1821. The son of a Russian family of moderate privilege and...

(The entire section is 419 words.)


(Novels for Students)

Fedor Dostoevsky Published by Gale Cengage

Born in Moscow on October 30, 1821, Dostoevsky grew up in a privileged family. His father, a doctor, was a tyrannical disciplinarian; his...

(The entire section is 492 words.)