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Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Biography

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Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky (also spelt Dostoevsky) was born in Moscow on October 30, 1821.

When Fyodor Dostoyevsky was sixteen his mother died and just two years later his father was murdered by his serfs.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky's first published story was 'Poor Folk' in 1846 and it proved a great success, but just three years later Fyodor Dostoyevsky was sentenced to death for being part of the 'Petrashevsky Circle' - a socialist group. His sentence was eventually commuted to spending time in a Siberian jail.

There, Dostoyevsky read some of the works of Dickens, and just like the English author many of his works feature social deprivation, and injustice; crime and the exploitation of children.

Dostoyevsky produced some of his greatest works in the 1860s - notably 'Notes from the Underground' (1864), 'Crime and Punishment'(1865-66), 'The Gambler' (1866) and 'The Idiot' (1869).

In fact, the 1860s had proved an eventful decade in Dostoyevsky's life. He and his brother, Michael had been running a well-received monthly journal called Time, but an article on the Polish rising in April 1863 angered the censors and the magazine was suppressed.

At the beginning of 1864 Michael started a new magazine, but Fyodor was preoccupied with the health of his first wife, Masha, who eventually died of consumption in April 1864. And then a few months later, Michael died, leaving debts from the formation of the new magazine.

Dostoyevsky was not permitted to take over as he had been a political prisoner and yet he had to support his late brother's family (as well as his own step-son, Pasha).

Fyodor Dostoyevsky carried on with the magazine without his name appearing, but it proved financially impossible. As a result he made a deal that he would write a book for a man called Stellovsky and receive 3000 roubles. The deadline loomed, Stellovsky would not budge - if Dostoyevsky defaulted than Stellovsky would have the rights to all past and future works of the great author.

And so, somehow Dostoyevsky had to get out a work ('The Gambler') with no time at all. He worked round the clock and engaged the services of a star pupil at shorthand school, Anna Grigoryevna Snitkina.

Every cloud has a silver lining, it appears, and not only did they manage to get the book out in the nick of time, but they also ended up getting married a few months later.

Dostoyevsky died in St Petersburgh on January 29, 1881.

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