Immersion in the world of Dostoevsky can be painful, difficult, but it triggers something new in people, it is the kind of literature that is being educated. Dostoevsky is a phenomenon that needs to be studied for a long time and thoughtfully. A short biography of Fyodor Dostoevsky, some interesting facts from his life, and the work will be presented to your attention below.
Early Life and Education
Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky (Russian: Фёдор Михайлович Достоевский), also known as Dostoyevsky, was born on November 11, 1821, in St. Petersburg. He was a Russian writer of Ukrainian descent, a novelist, a publicist, and one of the most important writers in history.
One of the first known ancestors of Fyodor Dostoevsky on his father's side was Danilo Rtiscic, whose written trace was recorded in 1506 in the Ukrainian Polish village of Dostoev (today Belarus), after which Dostoevsky got his surname. It is only assumed that the Russian writer, on the one hand, had Tatar roots through the writer Aslan Murza, who arrived in the East Slavic area as part of the Golden Horde.
One part of the Dostoevsky family then moved to the Ukrainian region of Volyn, where the name Fedor Dostoevsky, who worked in the representative service of the fugitive Moscow Prince Andrei Kurbsky, is recorded for the first time in the 1570s. The surname from the Dostoevsky family then met again in 1664 in the smaller Ukrainian town of Serkunj, in the Volyn region. Also in the neighboring town of Klitschko, where they held the positions of local representatives for a while and then became landowners of the same place. In the same period, the names of Karl Dostoevsky and his son Homer were recorded.
In 1775, Dostoevsky sold the estates in Klitschko, and their descendant Grigory Homerovich Dostoevsky moved to a village near the town of Zhytomyr, where he became a priest. His son and grandchildren also became priests: son Jan served in the Ukrainian region of Podillya, and his sons Andriy and Mikhail served in the villages of Skala and the Vinnytsia region.
The grandfather of the Russian writer Andrei Dostoevsky was also a priest from 1782 to 1820. His love for Ukraine was highlighted primarily in his Ukrainian manuscript. After him, the Viitivtsi was ruled by his son Lev (1820-1829), and the other son Mikhail (otherwise the father of a Russian writer) attended school at the Shargorod Seminary (Vinnytsia region) where he was sent to the Medical Academy as one of the best students. After graduating, Mikhail Dostoevsky became one of the best doctors at Moscow's Mariinsky Hospital for the Poor.
Today, graves from the family of Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky can be found in the Ukrainian town of Kalnik. It is also known that in the cities of Kyiv, Odessa, Makiivtsi, and Vinnytsia live relatives of Fyodor Dostoevsky, and some of them do not bear his surname. A museum of Fyodor Dostoevsky was opened in Viitivtsi, where his connection with Ukrainian culture, Ukrainian social thinking, and Ukraine itself was presented.
Fyodor Dostoevsky is the son of an educated doctor born in Ukraine, a member of the lower nobility, who, according to some research, is only presumed to have been killed by his own serfs for cruel treatment and humiliation. Other investigations suggest that Mikhail was killed because of the financial interests of other neighboring powerful people he knew. The same powerful men allegedly took advantage of his weakness for alcohol and generally depressed mood and wanted to stage his suicide. In any case, Fyodor was very close to his father, which is especially read in their letters, and after his death, he became very upset and experienced an epileptic seizure for the first time.
Fyodor's mother, the Russian Maria Fedorovna, was a temperamental woman with a cheerful character, she loved poetry, but unfortunately, she died of drought in 1837.
Dostoevsky attended and completed his military engineering studies in St. Petersburg, but decided early on that he would dedicate himself to writing. He translated Honore de Balzac's Eugenie Grandet and, under the influence of Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol, wrote his first work, a longer epistolary short story Poor Folk (1846), which delighted the most important Russian critic Vissarion Bielinski and launched Dostoevsky into Russian literary circles.
At the time, Dostoevsky was approaching and entering the circle of utopian socialists led by Butashevich-Petrashevsky, whose "revolutionary" activities consisted mainly of private debates about Russia's future, social system reform, democratization, and liberation from serfdom.
At the literary level, the first was a really powerful, short novel The Double (1846), which depicts the disintegration of the personality of the clerk Goliathkin sinking into schizophrenia in a series of hallucinations that mix reality and mental projections. This original work did not meet with a satisfactory reception, mainly due to the psychological plunge and radical dissolution of reality in the protagonist's consciousness, which transcended the canons of contemporary aesthetics based mostly on social criticism.
The turning point in Dostoevsky's life came in 1849, after the banning of the Petrashevsky Circle, the arrest, and sadistic farce carried out by the imperial police: the author and his comrades were taken to a staged shooting at dawn, imperial pardon "by which they were allegedly pardoned and sentenced to Siberian imprisonment and exile". In fact, the tsarist authorities did not even intend to shoot the confused Petrashevsky, but it was only a matter of surviving the helpless people.
While in prison, Dostoevsky is experiencing an ideological transformation (about which there are different opinions). It is clear from the opposing views that Dostoevsky was inclined to Christian mysticism even before his imprisonment, and that his utopian socialism did not follow materialist doctrines like Feuerbach's, but from the idealistic views of Charles Fourier and Friedrich Schiller. New in Dostoevsky's worldview after the Siberian torture is the glorification of tsarism, Russian Orthodoxy and nationalism, and generally anti-Western attitudes in which Dostoevsky approached Slavophiles, but never completely.
The writer spent four years in prison, after which he had to serve for four years as an ordinary soldier in the harsh conditions of remote parts of Asian Russia.
After returning to St. Petersburg, Dostoevsky published The House of the Dead (1860 - 1862), a fictionalized description of his own slavery, full of realistic depictions of fellow prisoners. This book was a great success and brought the author a partial rehabilitation of the emperor. But unsettled family circumstances (first marriage to a hysterical widow who suffered and died of tuberculosis), as well as personal human drama (intensification of epilepsy symptoms, gambling passion that soon turns into an obsession, the death of his brother Mikhail with whom he co-edited the newspaper), put Dostoevsky in a difficult situation that partially slowed down his work - an example is a novel Humiliated and Insulted (1861) which, despite the writer's "representative" title, lags behind most of his previous, let alone future works.
To escape from creditors, the author goes on a trip to Europe (1862), where he resides in Germany, France, Italy, and England. In London, he visits Herzen and Bakunin. During the 1860s he visited Europe several more times, this time with his second wife, Anna Snitkin, who brought him family peace and happiness, and became the mother of his children (direct descendants of Dostoevsky still live in Russia, in miserable material circumstances in thrown away by communist totalitarianism and the consequences of capitalism after the collapse of the USSR) and weaned it from gambling addiction.
In 1864, Dostoevsky published the brilliant Notes from Underground - one of the most intense confessional short novels, the forerunner of similar works by Albert Camus or Louis-Ferdinand Céline. In it, the writer applied a series of procedures in which he innovated prose and set the pattern for his future great novels: an ideological confrontation with utopian and generally "humanistic" stereotypes. A journalistic style whose sole purpose is functionality in communicating the author's vision, not an aesthetic experience; psychological typology that includes the meekest and humble Christians (Sonia Marmeladova, Karamazov, Prince Mishkin), nihilistic cynics (Svidrigailov, Nikolai Stavrogin), radical intellectuals in the fight against all generally accepted values or "religious atheists" (Kirii Raskolznikov, ), children from "random families" and people whose dignity has been violated (hero of the novel The Adolescent).
Dostoevsky developed the technique of the current of consciousness long before it became popular in the 20th-century Anglo-American novel (an example is the longer narrative A Gentle Creature), and created a true "polyphonic novel" (as the prominent Russian theorist Mikhail Bakhtin called it) in which the polyphony of ideological and religious-philosophical struggle that tears the protagonists apart is expressed both in interiorized consciousness and in dramatic dialogues.
Most of Dostoevsky's novel is set in the gloomy atmosphere of the metropolitan underground, centered on exciting events inherited from a trivial novel and black chronicles (murder, paternity, crime, theft, scandals of various kinds) and revolves around humanity's "damned questions": the nature of evil, human suffering, mortality and immortality, the existence and non-existence of God, freedom, and responsibility, the fate of Russia and the West.
As some critics have noted, Dostoevsky is essentially a spiritual author, and his characterization of man as "the heart in which God and Satan fight, and human life are at stake" is perhaps an appropriate description of his own work. In the typology of heroes cited by Northrop Frye in Anatomy of Criticism, literary characters range from supernatural gods and demigods (mostly mythical and religious stories) to ordinary people (realistic novel) and, in the reader's discourse, inferior individuals below the level values of average people.
According to Pascal's dictionary, man is a being lower than an angel. However, Dostoevsky's characters are often lower than ordinary people, sometimes animals, but in moments of ecstasy they reach and exceed the level of angels, so this double optics is one of the secrets of Dostoevsky's work: both lower than animals and higher than angels, his archetypically divided the heroes radiate a spiritual vitality that is the foundation of a metaphysical and spiritual nature.
Dostoevsky's great novels usually include the following works: Crime and Punishment (1866), his technically most perfect work, about an ideologically motivated murder with the central character Rodion Raskolnikov, the prototype of Nietzsche's superman; The Idiot (1868), in which Dostoevsky gave the Christolic character of Prince Mishkin, as well as a realistically implicit commentary on the downfall of the unconditional good in the secular world; Devils/ Demons/Evil Souls (1872), Dostoevsky's novel about a group of nihilistic revolutionaries, the work of a metaphysical nimbus in the guise of a political novel; The Adolescent (1875), a Russian version of a German educational novel, which is characterized by chaotic events and does not lead, like the Bildungsroman, into any orderly civic existence; and the last, most extensive and greatest work, The Brothers Karamazov (1881), formally about a patricide in a family with a father and three brothers, but a novel in which the writer summed up all his obsessive themes, and which can be said to be defeated by a message of hope in the resurrection and eternal life with which the "Brothers Karamazov" end.
Dostoevsky died in 1881, suddenly, after bleeding caused by an epileptic seizure. His life has been settled in recent years, and it can be said that he got rid of the material scarcity and troubles that accompanied him for most of his life. He intended to write the rest of the Brothers Karamazov (conceived as part of a trilogy or even a tetralogy), but fate thwarted him.
He was given a magnificent funeral attended by 100,000 people, mostly students, according to police estimates, and the funeral itself turned into anti-tsarist demonstrations - despite the writer's ambiguous stance on the issue, as well as Dostoevsky's semi-official "canonization" by the tsarist regime.
Fyodor Dostoevsky belongs to the narrowest circle of the world's top writers, such as Dante Alighieri, William Shakespeare, Leo Tolstoy, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Marcel Proust, and several other authors. His influence on world literature is immeasurable - from Leonid Andreyev to Hermann Hesse, William Faulkner, Franz Kafka, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Rarely has a modern writer escaped his shadow, and the movements of expressionism and existentialism are especially indebted to him.
All of Dostoevsky's narrative works have been translated into many languages on several occasions, and several editions of his selected works have been published. Of the journalistic works, which form a less valuable part of his oeuvre, only a part has been translated.