Fyodor Dostoevsky

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Great Russian writer

"To love someone means to see them as God intended them"

Dostoevsky and Turgenev

We are used to looking for good role models in the biographies of great poets and writers. But the classics are living people, overcome by the same passions and vices as everyone else.

They swore and quarreled no less enthusiastically than they created. Amazingly, as a result, humanity only benefited! Because the finale of the quarrels of two talents is not a black eye, but another masterpiece composed at the peak of the vis-a-vis for all time.

Dostoevsky: “Turgenev has become a German from a Russian writer!”


It was hard to imagine any more dissimilar young people: the hypochondriac, some kind of crumpled, self-absorbed Fyodor Dostoevsky and the sleek, already recognized Ivan Turgenev.

Declared a genius by Belinsky, the future author of “Crime and Punishment” seemed to the literary crowd, and not unreasonably, a braggart. The snide Turgenev encouraged Nekrasov to compose an offensive epigram for a couple: “The Knight of a sorrowful figure! / Dostoevsky, young pysch, / On the nose of literature / You jumped up like a bright pimple.”

Dostoevsky was terribly worried. But he managed to forget the offense. And 20 years after they met, after losing at a casino in Wiesbaden, the author of “The Gambler” timidly asked him for money: “I’m both disgusted and ashamed to bother you… I am addressing you as a person to a person and asking you for 100 (one hundred) thalers. My soul is bad (I thought it would be worse), and most importantly, it’s a shame to bother you; but when you’re drowning, what to do.”

The amount for Turgenev is a trifle, but Ivan Sergeyevich sent only half. By the way, Dostoevsky paid off the debt only after 11 years…

Mutual rejection has been accumulating for years. Turgenev lived abroad for a long time and set an example of the way of life there. The ardent patriot Dostoevsky fancied in this neglect of the Motherland.

“Turgenev became a German from a Russian writer – that’s what a crappy person is known for,” Fyodor Mikhailovich was heated in a letter to his friend, the poet Apollon Maykov. Dostoevsky even advised Turgenev to buy a telescope so that he could look through it at Russia far from him.

But the reading public was ecstatic – as it is now from gossip about Baskov and Kirkorov.

Even Dostoevsky’s death did not make Turgenev forget the past – he compared the deceased with the Marquis de Sade, spreading groundless rumors about the allegedly indecent personal life of the writer.

And yet, years later, biographers agreed: no matter what remarks Dostoevsky and Turgenev exchanged, they perfectly understood the scale of each other’s talent.