Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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Dostoyevsky was a Russian writer and missionary whose psychological analysis of the human faith and soul is recognised as that of a genius by theologians, psychologists and literary critics alike.

Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky was born November 11th, 1821 in Moscow. Dostoyevsky was epileptic, but this did not hamper his career. In fact, detailed accounts of how complex this illness is made some of his works even more fascinating. He focused on the analysis of pathological states of mind that lead to insanity, murder, and suicide and in the exploration of the emotions of degradation and self-destruction.

Unlike the majority of other Russian writers at the start of the 19th century, Dostoyevsky was not born into nobility. He often stressed the difference between his background and that of Leo Tolstoy and the evidence of that in his work. Dostoyevsky was constantly in need of money and had to hurry to publish his works.

He also stressed that, unlike writers of the gentry who described life of their own class as poetic notions and settled traditions, he depicted the lives of the insulted, the unfaithful and the humiliated.

He received a Military Engineering education in St. Petersburg, but soon realised he was much more suited to a career as a writer. Not long after finishing his degree and becoming a sub-lieutenant, Dostoyevsky resigned his position.

In 1847 Dostoyevsky joined the Petrashevsky Circle, a group of socialists who discussed utopian Marxism. On April 23, 1849, he and the other members of the Petrashevsky Circle were arrested. They spent eight months in prison until, on December 22, the prisoners were escorted without notice to the Semyonovsky Square. A sentence of death by firing squad was announced. At the last minute, the guns were lowered as a courier arrived from the Tzar, saying their lives...