Fyodor Dostoevsky

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Great Russian writer

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

Dostoevsky ‘s Muse – Apollinaria Suslova

As you know, the classic of Russian literature was married twice. Undoubtedly, the spouses (especially the second wife Anna, to whom the writer dedicated the novel “The Brothers Karamazov”) influenced Dostoevsky’s work.

However, the real muse of Fyodor Mikhailovich was Apollinaria Suslova, who refused to marry Dostoevsky.

Biography of the girl

Apollinaria’s father was a serf of the Sheremetyevo family. Prokofy Grigorievich managed to redeem himself and engaged in trade. He was so successful in this business that he soon became a well-known entrepreneur and opened his own cotton factory. The financial situation allowed Suslov to give his daughters Nadezhda and Apollinaria a decent education. Only Nadezhda, who has forever remained in history as the first female doctor in Russia, took advantage of this opportunity. As for Apollinaria, she could not decide on a profession in any way. And she didn’t have any special abilities. It is also important that in those years, female representatives attended classes at universities only as free listeners and often only with the permission of the management of the educational institution. That’s how Nadezhda Suslova studied. Apollinaria also went to various lectures, but for her it was more entertainment than a life’s work. It is clear that Nadezhda Suslova has always defended her right to receive an education. Apollinaria liked the image of a feminist sister, and she tried it on herself. Moreover, she could afford a certain independence. At least, her father’s funds were quite enough for her to live quite a decent life in St. Petersburg and travel abroad.

The writer’s mistress

In the early 1860s, Apollinaria found herself at a lecture by Fyodor Dostoevsky. The writer was very interested in the girl. At that moment Suslova was barely 20, Fyodor Mikhailovich was twice her age. Then Dostoevsky was married to his first wife Maria Constant. Maria Dmitrievna was ill with tuberculosis. However, both the presence of a wife and her fatal diagnosis did not become obstacles to the development of a romantic relationship between Dostoevsky and Suslova. Although, it should be noted that Apollinaria was the initiator of this connection after all. It was she who sent Fyodor Mikhailovich a letter full of admiration and delight.

And so this strange romance began. Dostoevsky, apparently, had very strong feelings for his passion. Otherwise, why would he publish a rather mediocre story by Apollinaria called “As Long as” in the magazine founded by his older brother. Being not faithful to the writer herself, Suslova regularly arranged scenes of jealousy for him and demanded that Dostoevsky divorce his seriously ill wife. Nevertheless, when Maria Dmitrievna died in 1864, and Fyodor Mikhailovich proposed to Suslova, Apollinaria refused.

Suslova on the pages of novels

Eventually Dostoevsky met the stenographer Anna Snitkina, who became his 2nd wife and gave birth to his children. Apollinaria also married the critic and publicist Vasily Rozanov, who turned out to be 16 years younger than Suslova. It is noteworthy that Anna Dostoevskaya and Apollinaria Suslova passed away in the same year, in 1918. Both were over 70. Despite the fact that the writer’s novel with Suslova cannot be called happy, Dostoevsky could not forget Apollinaria. According to literary critics, it was Apollinaria who became the prototype of the heroines of at least 2 of the writer’s works. Her image is seen in Nastasia Filippovna from the novel “The Idiot” and in Polina from “The Gambler”. Curiously, in the work “The Player” Fyodor Mikhailovich used the real name of his beloved. After all, relatives called Apollinaria Polina.