Fyodor Dostoevsky

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Great Russian writer

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

The first success of the writer F.M. Dostoevsky

“Dostoevsky was not a beggar, his father left the family a small fortune, but he was neither practical nor frugal, and therefore was often in straitened circumstances.”

 After leaving the service, he decided to devote himself to literature and in the winter of 1844-1845 wrote Poor People. Grigorovich, an aspiring novelist of the new school, advised him to show his work to Nekrasov, who was just about to publish a literary almanac.

After reading the Poor People, Nekrasov was delighted and took the novel to Belinsky. “A new Gogol has been born!” he cried, bursting into Belinsky’s room. “Your Gogols will be born like mushrooms,” Belinsky replied, but he took the novel, read it and it made the same impression on him as on Nekrasov. A meeting was arranged between Dostoevsky and Belinsky; Belinsky poured out all his enthusiasm on the young writer, exclaiming: “Do you understand yourself what you wrote?”

Thirty years later, remembering all this, Dostoevsky said that it was the happiest day of his life. Poor people appeared in Nekrasov’s “Petersburg Collection” in January 1846. They were enthusiastically reviewed by Belinsky and other critics who were friendly to the new school, and were very well received by the public.

 Dostoevsky did not easily endure his success – he swelled with pride; funny anecdotes about his excessive vanity have been preserved.

The huge success did not last long. His second novel, a Double, which was published in the same year as Poor People, met with a much cooler reception.

Dostoevsky’s relationship with Belinsky and his friends began to deteriorate. The vanity that he showed in connection with his first novel was further intensified by the fact that they were disappointed by his subsequent work. Turgenev teased and ridiculed him – and Dostoevsky stopped seeing him.

His works continued to appear, but did not meet with much approval.

 But although his friendship with the progressive literary circle ended, Dostoevsky continued to remain a radical and a Westerner. He was a member of the Petrashevsky circle, which gathered to read Fourier, to talk about socialism and to criticize the existing system.

The government’s reaction to the revolution of 1848 was fatal for the Petrashevites: in April 1849 they were all arrested. Dostoevsky was imprisoned in a fortress and stayed there for eight months while a military court conducted an investigation and decided the fate of the “conspirators”.

Finally, the verdict was pronounced. Dostoevsky was found guilty of “complicity in criminal conversations, of distributing a letter from the writer Belinsky (to Gogol) filled with impudent expressions against the Orthodox Church and the supreme power, and of trying, together with others, to write articles against the government and distribute them through a home printing house.” He was sentenced to eight years of hard labor. The emperor reduced the term to four years, after which he had to be sent as a soldier.

But instead of simply announcing their sentence to the prisoners, a cruel tragicomedy was played out: the death sentence was read to them and all preparations were made for the execution. It was only when the first group was tied to the poles that the real verdict was read to the defendants. Of course, all the condemned took the death sentence quite seriously. One of them went mad (See: Experimental neurosis by I.P. Pavlov – Note by I.L. Vikentiev).

Dostoevsky never forgot this day: he recalls it twice in his works – in the Idiot and in the Writer’s Diary for 1873. It was December 22, 1849. Two days later Dostoevsky was taken to Siberia, where he was to serve his sentence.

He dropped out of literature for nine years.