Little Bits of History


Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 16, 2012

Fyodor Dostoevsky

November 16, 1849: Fyodor Dostoevsky is sentenced to death by the Russian courts at the age of 28.  His father had grown wealthy enough to buy land and serfs working as a doctor at Moscow’s Hospital for the Poor. Fyodor suffered from epilepsy. He studied military engineering and became a civil servant. However, while working in that capacity he also secretly wrote novels. His first, Poor People, was a success. His second, The Double, was a flop. Both were published in 1846. He began to get involved with radical intellectual group called Petrashevsky Circle. They were a discussion group but suspected of subversive activities. This led to Dostoevsky’s arrest and sentencing.

Dostoevsky was led before the firing squad on December 22, 1849 but received a last-minute reprieve. He was instead sent to a Siberian labor camp with his sentence commuted to hard labor; four years passed before he was released. During that time, he also managed to write one novel which would published until 1860 and then in journal form. Upon his release, he worked as a soldier on the Mongolian frontier. He met a widow and married her and they eventually returned to Russia in 1859. Back home, he started up a magazine, Time, and eventually began to travel. In 1862, he first went west to Europe.

His magazine was successful and had more than 4,000 subscribers, but it was closed in 1863 by the Tsarist regime. After the magazine was shut down, Dostoevsky went back to Europe again, this time to Paris. There he found the second love of his life. His brother and then his wife died in 1864. Dostoevsky had lost all his money gambling while in Europe and suddenly was in charge of both his stepson and his brother’s family. He was destitute and in need of money, having borrowed from all his friends and out of sources.

He wrote and published his sixth and most famous novel, Crime and Punishment. The first two parts of the books were published in January and February 1866 in the periodical The Russian Messenger. The teasers worked and as one critic said, “Only Crime and Punishment was read during 1866.” The next year, Dostoevsky married his French lover and yet all was not bliss. She did not get along well with his family, and when they finally could honeymoon, he spent the time gambling away all her money. He continued to write and produced some other great works, The Brothers Karamazov among them. He died in 1881 after several pulmonary hemorrhages brought on, perhaps, by stress.

A real gentleman, even if he loses everything he owns, must show no emotion. Money must be so far beneath a gentleman that it is hardly worth troubling about.

Happiness does not lie in happiness, but in the achievement of it.

Men do not accept their prophets and slay them, but they love their martyrs and worship those whom they have tortured to death.

The formula ‘Two and two make five’ is not without its attractions. – all from Fyodor Dostoevsky

Also on this day:

The Fugitive? – In 1966, Dr. Sam Sheppard was finally acquitted of his wife’s 1954 murder.
UNESCO – In 1945, UNESCO was founded.
Wagons, Ho – In 1821, the first Santa Fe trail crossing was completed.

One Response

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  1. Bobby Dias said, on November 16, 2012 at 9:52 am

    The more some Americans try to convince others that they are different they are still the same- some in the United States of America have been tried and convicted and sentenced and have been executed for the same as Dostoevsky was sentenced for- treason, a universal punishment on Earth is death. Dostoevsky was actually luckier than all others on Earth.

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