Fyodor Dostoevsky a Russian novelist and short story writer was born on October 30, 1821 at the Marinsky Hospital for the poor in Moscow where his father Mikhail Andreevich Dostoevsky worked as a doctor. His mother was Maria Fyodorovna Nechaeva, the daughter of a wealthy Moscow merchant. Fyodor was the second son of seven children. He received a private education at home and at a private school. He grew up in an oppressive middle-class family in Moscow. His mother was very gentle and loving but his father on the other hand, was known to be a stingy and authoritative man as well as the main disciplinarian in the family. It was also speculated that after his father retired to his estate in the village of Darovoye situated in the district of Kashir, province of Tula, he was murdered by his own slaves due to his awful temper and fearful state of mind.
Fyodor Dostoevsky lived much of his childhood being reserved and alienated from his father, mother and family. Regardless of his relationship with his parents, he grew closer to his elder brother Mikhail. The two brothers joined the semi-boarding school of Drashusov in January of 1833 where they took different courses but never failed to meet for lunch every day. A year later in 1834, both Fyodor and Mikhail entered the Moscow private boarding school of Leonty Ivanovich Chermak. In 1837, Fyodor’s mother passed away just before he turned 16. After her death, Fyodor and his brother Mikhail decided to escape the tyrant atmosphere of his father’s household. They moved to Petersburg where they first entered the preparatory boarding school of Captain K.F. Kostmarov. Later on around 1838, Fyodor entered the Academy of Military Engineering while his brother Mikhail moved to Revel to join an Engineering detachment.
Fyodor graduated from the Academy of Military Engineering as a lieutenant but soon realized that working in the military gave him no profound satisfaction. He found that he would rather become an author and started devoting himself to writing. His writing career started as a translator. He translated Balzac’s Eugenie Grandet in 1843 and George Sand’s La Derniere Aldini in 1844. While working on the two translations, he also started writing his first novel called “Poor Folk”. Before its publication in 1846, Fyodor’s name became known in the Petersburg literary circles. In 1848, he began attending a group of young intellectuals to discuss political and literary matters. This type of group was not permitted at the time in Russia so in 1849, they were caught, imprisoned and sentenced to death. As they waited for the firing squad to proceed with the sentence, a miracle happened. Their lives were spared. The Czar announced the reducing of their sentence from death to hard labor in Siberia. He spent four years in hard labor in Siberia penitentiary and was released in 1858. While he was serving his sentence in the prison of Siberia, he became a soldier, a monarchist and a faithful follower of the Russian Orthodox Church.
He married his first wife the widowed Maria Dimitrievna Isaeva in the town of Kuznetsk in 1857. By an imperial decree, he regained his hereditary as a nobleman. In 1858, he was released from his military service and he returned to Petersburg where he started writing again. He published some of his popular novels called “The House of the Dead” 1862, “Notes from Underground” 1864, “Crime and Punishment” 1866, “The Idiot” 1868 and “Devils” 1971 which most of them describes his painful experiences in Siberia’s prison. In 1862, while visiting Europe, he started having an affair with a young college student Apollinaria Suslova while still married to his wife Dimitrievna. He later asked Apollineria to marry him but unfortunately, she declined. His wife Dimitrievna died in 1864 followed by his brother Mikhail. Now, he was left with no one to love and his brother’s debts up to his ears. This resulted in heavy gambling as a quick fix for his financial problems. He married his second wife Grigorievna Snitkina in February 15, 1867. They met when he desperately needed help with his novel called “The Gambler”. Together, they had 3 children. He died in January 29, 1881 in St. Petersburg.