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Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky, 1821 - 1881

portrait of Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Oil on canvas by Vassilly Grigorovich Perov (1872)
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Born: 11 November 1821, Moscow, Russian Empire
Died: 9 February 1881, Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire

Dostoyevsky was born at the Mariinsky Hospital for the poor, where his despotic alcoholic father was a surgeon. Despite his parents, Dostoyevsky enjoyed talking to the patients in the hospital garden. His early education was provided by his mother, when she died of tuberculosis in 1837 Odor and his brother were sent to the Military Engineering Academy at St Petersburg. In 1839 his father died, by some accounts killed by his own serfs. No good documentation exists, but the story is that the serfs grabbed him in one of his drunken rages and poured vodka into his mouth until he drowned. After graduation, Dostoyevsky soon lost interest in his trade and resigned his commission to write. One of his publishing ventures attracted the anger of Tsar Nicholas I and he was sentenced to death. After the firing squad was assembled, a messenger rushed in with word that the sentence was commuted to four years at hard labor. After he served his term he was conscripted into the Siberian Regiment for five years. Between fits of epilepsy and a gambling problem his life was rocky until forced to deliver a novel or surrender all his copyrights to the publisher. A month before the deadline he hired a young stenographer, Anna Grigorevna Snitkina; working long hours they got the novel done on the day of the deadline, falling in love in the process. They married in 1867 and Anna managed to keep the rest of his life productive. Dostoyevsky died of a lung hemorrhage related to emphysema and complicated by an epileptic seizure.

Biography from Wikipedia and Christianity Today

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