Zijn moeder had als koopmansdochter een voor meisjes van die klasse ongewoon brede culturele opvoeding genoten. In verhuisde het gezin Dostojevski naar het Marinski-Ziekenhuis voor de Armen, een filantropische instelling waar ze gingen wonen. Hier werd Fjodor, een van de zeven kinderen, geboren. In kocht Dostojevski sr. Terug thuis moest er hard worden gestudeerd.
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From there he was assigned to a Moscow hospital, where he served as military doctor, and in , he was appointed a senior physician. In he married Maria Nechayeva. The following year, he took up a post at the Mariinsky Hospital for the poor. Mikhail Dostoevsky and Maria Dostoevskaya born Nechayeva. He was raised in the family home in the grounds of the Mariinsky Hospital for the Poor, which was in a lower class district on the edges of Moscow.
From the age of three, he was read heroic sagas, fairy tales and legends by his nanny, Alena Frolovna, an especially influential figure in his upbringing and love for fictional stories. When a nine-year-old girl had been raped by a drunk, he was asked to fetch his father to attend to her. The incident haunted him, and the theme of the desire of a mature man for a young girl appears in The Devils, The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment, and other writings.
He was described as a pale, introverted dreamer and an over-excitable romantic. Dostoevsky felt out of place among his aristocratic classmates at the Moscow school, and the experience was later reflected in some of his works, notably The Adolescent.
The previous May, his parents had sent Dostoevsky and his brother Mikhail to St Petersburg to attend the free Nikolayev Military Engineering Institute , forcing the brothers to abandon their academic studies for military careers. Dostoevsky entered the academy in January , but only with the help of family members.
Mikhail was refused admission on health grounds and was sent to an academy in Tallinn , Estonia then known as Reval. As his friend Konstantin Trutovsky once said, "There was no student in the entire institution with less of a military bearing than F. He moved clumsily and jerkily; his uniform hung awkwardly on him; and his knapsack, shako and rifle all looked like some sort of fetter he had been forced to wear for a time and which lay heavily on him.
Although he was solitary and inhabited his own literary world, he was respected by his classmates. His reclusiveness and interest in religion earned him the nickname "Monk Photius ". Had the serfs been found guilty and sent to Siberia , Khotiaintsev would have been in a position to buy the vacated land. He visited Mikhail in Reval, and frequently attended concerts, operas, plays and ballets.
During this time, two of his friends introduced him to gambling. Rizenkampf, a friend of Mikhail. Rizenkampf characterised him as "no less good-natured and no less courteous than his brother, but when not in a good mood he often looked at everything through dark glasses, became vexed, forgot good manners, and sometimes was carried away to the point of abusiveness and loss of self-awareness".
None were successful, and his financial difficulties led him to write a novel. His friend Dmitry Grigorovich , with whom he was sharing an apartment at the time, took the manuscript to the poet Nikolay Nekrasov , who in turn showed it to the renowned and influential literary critic Vissarion Belinsky. Shortly thereafter, he wrote his second novel, The Double , which appeared in the journal Notes of the Fatherland on 30 January , before being published in February.
Around the same time, Dostoevsky discovered socialism through the writings of French thinkers Fourier , Cabet , Proudhon and Saint-Simon. Through his relationship with Belinsky he expanded his knowledge of the philosophy of socialism. He was attracted to its logic, its sense of justice and its preoccupation with the destitute and the disadvantaged.
Dostoevsky eventually parted with him and his associates. From to he released several short stories in the magazine Annals of the Fatherland, including " Mr. These stories were unsuccessful, leaving Dostoevsky once more in financial trouble, so he joined the utopian socialist Betekov circle, a tightly knit community which helped him to survive.
When the circle dissolved, Dostoevsky befriended Apollon Maykov and his brother Valerian. In , on the recommendation of the poet Aleksey Pleshcheyev ,  he joined the Petrashevsky Circle , founded by Mikhail Petrashevsky , who had proposed social reforms in Russia.
Mikhail Bakunin once wrote to Alexander Herzen that the group was "the most innocent and harmless company" and its members were "systematic opponents of all revolutionary goals and means". Dostoevsky never attempted to complete it. Dostoevsky was accused of reading works by Belinsky, including the banned Letter to Gogol,  and of circulating copies of these and other works. Antonelli, the government agent who had reported the group, wrote in his statement that at least one of the papers criticised Russian politics and religion.
Dostoevsky responded to these charges by declaring that he had read the essays only "as a literary monument, neither more nor less"; he spoke of "personality and human egoism" rather than of politics. Even so, he and his fellow "conspirators" were arrested on 23 April at the request of Count A. The members were held in the well-defended Peter and Paul Fortress , which housed the most dangerous convicts. They sentenced the members of the circle to death by firing squad, and the prisoners were taken to Semyonov Place in St Petersburg on 23 December where they were split into three-man groups.
Dostoevsky was the third in the second row; next to him stood Pleshcheyev and Durov. The execution was stayed when a cart delivered a letter from the Tsar commuting the sentence. Dostoevsky served four years of exile with hard labour at a katorga prison camp in Omsk , Siberia, followed by a term of compulsory military service.
After a fourteen-day sleigh ride, the prisoners reached Tobolsk , a prisoner way station. In Tobolsk, the members received food and clothes from the Decembrist women, as well as several copies of the New Testament with a ten-ruble banknote inside each copy. Eleven days later, Dostoevsky reached Omsk   together with just one other member of the Petrashevsky Circle, the poet Sergei Durov.
All the floors were rotten. Filth on the floors an inch thick; one could slip and fall We were packed like herrings in a barrel There was no room to turn around. From dusk to dawn it was impossible not to behave like pigs Fleas, lice, and black beetles by the bushel He was only permitted to read his New Testament Bible. In addition to his seizures, he had haemorrhoids , lost weight and was "burned by some fever, trembling and feeling too hot or too cold every night".
The smell of the privy pervaded the entire building, and the small bathroom had to suffice for more than people. Dostoevsky was occasionally sent to the military hospital, where he read newspapers and Dickens novels. He was respected by most of the other prisoners, and despised by some because of his xenophobic statements. Around November , he met Baron Alexander Egorovich Wrangel, an admirer of his books, who had attended the aborted execution.
They both rented houses in the Cossack Garden outside Semipalatinsk. Wrangel remarked that Dostoevsky "looked morose. His sickly, pale face was covered with freckles, and his blond hair was cut short. He was a little over average height and looked at me intensely with his sharp, grey-blue eyes. It was as if he were trying to look into my soul and discover what kind of man I was.
Alexander Isaev took a new post in Kuznetsk , where he died in August Maria and her son then moved with Dostoevsky to Barnaul. In Dostoevsky sent a letter through Wrangel to General Eduard Totleben, apologising for his activity in several utopian circles. As a result, he obtained the right to publish books and to marry, although he remained under police surveillance for the rest of his life.
Maria married Dostoevsky in Semipalatinsk on 7 February , even though she had initially refused his marriage proposal, stating that they were not meant for each other and that his poor financial situation precluded marriage. Their family life was unhappy and she found it difficult to cope with his seizures. Describing their relationship, he wrote: "Because of her strange, suspicious and fantastic character, we were definitely not happy together, but we could not stop loving each other; and the more unhappy we were, the more attached to each other we became".
They mostly lived apart. In London, he met Herzen and visited the Crystal Palace. He recorded his impressions of those trips in Winter Notes on Summer Impressions , in which he criticised capitalism, social modernisation , materialism , Catholicism and Protestantism. He met his second love, Polina Suslova , in Paris and lost nearly all his money gambling in Wiesbaden and Baden-Baden. The failure of Epoch , the magazine he had founded with Mikhail after the suppression of Vremya, worsened his financial situation, although the continued help of his relatives and friends averted bankruptcy.
Dostoevsky contacted stenographer Pavel Olkhin from Saint Petersburg, who recommended his pupil, the twenty-year-old Anna Grigoryevna Snitkina. The strangeness of his eyes gave Dostoyevsky some mysterious appearance. His face was pale, and it looked unhealthy.
The 7, rubles he had earned from Crime and Punishment did not cover their debts, forcing Anna to sell her valuables. On 14 April , they began a delayed honeymoon in Germany with the money gained from the sale. They continued their trip through Germany, visiting Frankfurt , Darmstadt , Heidelberg and Karlsruhe. They spent five weeks in Baden-Baden , where Dostoevsky had a quarrel with Turgenev and again lost much money at the roulette table. Memorial plaque to Dostoevsky in Baden-Baden In September , Dostoevsky began work on The Idiot , and after a prolonged planning process that bore little resemblance to the published novel, he eventually managed to write the first pages in only 23 days; the serialisation began in The Russian Messenger in January Their first child, Sonya, had been conceived in Baden-Baden , and was born in Geneva on 5 March The baby died of pneumonia three months later, and Anna recalled how Dostoevsky "wept and sobbed like a woman in despair".
In April , Dostoevsky made a final visit to a gambling hall in Wiesbaden. Anna claimed that he stopped gambling after the birth of their second daughter, but this is a subject of debate. During the trip, he burnt several manuscripts, including those of The Idiot, because he was concerned about potential problems with customs. The family arrived in Saint Petersburg on 8 July, marking the end of a honeymoon originally planned for three months that had lasted over four years. Their son Fyodor was born on 16 July, and they moved to an apartment near the Institute of Technology soon after.
They hoped to cancel their large debts by selling their rental house in Peski, but difficulties with the tenant resulted in a relatively low selling price, and disputes with their creditors continued.
Around early the family spent several months in Staraya Russa , a town known for its mineral spa. Demons was finished on 26 November and released in January by the "Dostoevsky Publishing Company", which was founded by Dostoevsky and his wife.
Although they only accepted cash payments and the bookshop was in their own apartment, the business was successful, and they sold around 3, copies of Demons. Anna managed the finances. In the summer of , Anna returned to Staraya Russa with the children, while Dostoevsky stayed in St Petersburg to continue with his Diary. In his fifteen months with The Citizen, he had been taken to court twice: on 11 June for citing the words of Prince Meshchersky without permission, and again on 23 March Dostoevsky offered to sell a new novel he had not yet begun to write to The Russian Messenger, but the magazine refused.