Fyodor Dostoyevsky – The greatest psychologist in world literature


Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky
(November 11, 1821, Moscow, Russia – February 9, 1881, Saint Petersburg, Russia) (aged 59)
Nationality: Russia
Category: Art Creators
Occupation: Writers
Unique distinction: One of the greatest psychologists in world literature.
Specification:  Short-story, novel, literary fiction.
Gender: Male
1. Man is a mystery. It needs to be unravelled, and if you spend your whole life unravelling it, don’t say that you’ve wasted time. I am studying that mystery because I want to be a human being.
2. We are citizens of eternity.
3. Men are made for happiness, and he who is completely happy has the right to say to himself, ‘I am doing God’s will on earth.
4. Life is paradise, and we are all in paradise, but we refuse to see it.
5. If he’s alive he has everything in his power! Whose fault is it he doesn’t understand that. 6. Man is broad, too broad, indeed. I’d have him narrower.
7. …yes, all is in a man’s hands and he lets it all slip from cowardice, that’s an axiom.
8. Beauty will save the world.
9. The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.
10. If there is no God, everything is permitted.
11. Only to live, to live and live! Life, whatever it may be!
12. If you want to overcome the whole world, overcome yourself.

Achievements and contributions:

Social and professional position: Russian writer, essayist, philosopher and psychologist
The main contribution to (what is known): He is regarded as the greatest psychologist in world literature and the greatest author who strongly influenced 20th-century literature.

Contributions to World Culture: 

Dostoyevsky was a great Russian writer, essayist, philosopher and a prominent figure in world literature.
His writings explore deep themes of psychology, philosophy, politics, religion,  unexplored depths and mysteries of the world and the human soul. They are often cited as ‘existentialist’ in their general tendency. Dostoyevsky is often acknowledged by critics as one of the greatest psychologists in world literature.
The great variety of characters and points of view, diversity of opposite “voices”,  sealed by the unity of the author’s position, an unexpected turn of events, the paradoxes, scandals and detective plot are determined the success of Dostoevsky’s novels.
At the core of his worldview is an absoluteness of the intrinsic value of the human Self, superfluity of man in relation to the reality and the text, a potential infinity of its capabilities.
“Do not look at what our people do. Look at what they seek. The absoluteness of human  “Self” reach absurd in intellectual underground hero conclusions: “I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.”
Most of his mature novels are the whole Macrocosm, permeated and riddled by an existential and tragic vision of his creator. His attention to the essential basics of real human existence, an artistic revelation of the human sense of such concepts as good and evil, conscience, happiness made him a giant among novelists.
His understanding of depth, complexity and irrationalism of the human soul, the intricacies of character, enormously complex plot and powerful narrative style made him the greatest author who strongly influenced 20th-century literature.
Major works: Poor Folk (1846), Insulted and Injured (1861), The House of the Dead (1862), Notes from the Underground (1864), The Crime and Punishment (1867),  The Idiot (I869), Possessed (1872), The Adult (1875), The Meek One (1876), The Brothers Karamazov (1881), Diary of a Writer (1873-81).

Career and  personal life:

Origin: Fyodor Dostoyevsky was born in Moscow in 1821. He was the second of seven children born to Mikhail and Maria Dostoyevsky. His father was a staff doctor of a Mariinsky Hospital for the Poor and his mother was a very religious woman who used to read the Gospel to her children.
Education: Military Engineering Academy at Saint Petersburg (1938 -1843).

Career highlights:

 Dostoevsky began his writing career in the tradition of the “social tale” of the early 1840s, with his first novel, Poor Folk (1846). It was an immediate critical and popular success.
In his second novel, The Double (1846), he gave a profound analysis of the divided human mind.
The short stories and novels he wrote from 1846 to 1849 are for the most part experiments in different forms and different subject matters: Mr Prokharchin (1846), The Faint Heart (1847), The Landlady (1847), A Jealous Husband, an Unusual Event (1848) and Nine Letters (1847), White Nights (1848), Netochka Nezvanova (1847) are a mixture of Gothic, social, humoristic and sentimental elements.
After his arrest in 1849 for political activity, he escaped execution and spent nearly ten years isolated in Siberia before returning to St. Petersburg in 1859.
He records his experience in the penal colony, The House of the Dead (1862). It was known in an English translation as Buried Alive in Siberia (1881).
His Notes from the Underground (1864), a detailed study of neurotic suffering,  searching of life senses and alienated from society “underground hero,”  began the greatest period of Dostoyevsky’s literary career. According to  Walter Kaufmann, this story was the “best overture for existentialism ever written.”
It was followed by such great works as Crime and Punishment (1866), a brilliant portrait of sin, remorse, and redemption through sacrifice, The Idiot (1868). concerns a meek, Christ figure, The Possessed (1872), is a violent denunciation of the leftists and revolutionaries that Dostoyevsky had previously admired, A Raw Youth (1875), he insisted the inability of science to deal with the primary need of human beings, and his masterpiece, The Brothers Karamazov (1880), which is one of the finest novels ever written.
In 1863 Dostoyevsky made his second trip abroad, where he met with A. Suslova and was passionately carried away by this woman. Their complex painful relationships will inspire the type of the  “femme fatale” – the heroines of his future novels – Nastasia Filipovna (Idiot), Grushenka (The Brothers Karamazov), Polina (The Gambler).

Personal life:

Dostoyevsky was educated in Moscow. In 1837 his mother died of tuberculosis and in 1838 he and his brother were sent to the Military Engineering Academy at Saint Petersburg. His father, a cruel man, was died in 183. It is believed by some that he was murdered by his own serfs.
Dostoyevsky graduated from Engineering academy in 1843 with the grade of sub-lieutenant. He spent only one year in the army and in 1844 he left the service to devote himself to literature.

Arrest and exile

In the spring of 1849, the twenty-nine-year-old was arrested for his participation in a political group. On the 22nd of December condemned to death. As the soldiers were preparing to carry out the sentence, the prisoners were informed that their penalty was commuted to exile in Siberia. In his memory were clearly stamped “ten terrible, immensely horrible minutes of waiting for death.”
Dostoyevsky was sentenced to four years at hard labour in a Siberian penal colony. During deportation, he suffered great mental and physical pain, including repeated attacks of epilepsy.
He spent four years in the penal settlement of Omsk, and upon his release, he was forced to remain in exile. Since January 1854 he served as a soldier in Semipalatinsk, in 1855 produced an officer.
In 1856 he was returned to the nobility and the right of the print. In the same year, he fell in love with and married Marie Isaeva, a sensual woman who brought him little happiness.

Return from exile and trips to Europe

In 1859  Dostoyevsky was pardoned and allowed to return to St. Petersburg. The prison experience worked a profound change of heart in him.
Later he made several trips to Western Europe. A turbulent love affair and a passion for roulette in Baden-Baden gave the material for his short novel The Gambler (1866).
In 1864 his wife died, and although they were not happy in their marriage, he had suffered the loss. The same year his financial problems increased when his brother died and Dostoyevsky assumed responsibility for the remaining family.
Plagued by epilepsy, faced with financial ruin, he worked at superhuman speed to produce The Gambler, dictating the novel to eighteen-year-old stenographer Anna Snitkina. The manuscript was delivered to his publisher in time and in 1867 Anna and he was happily married.
From April 1867 until July 1871 Dostoevsky and his wife lived abroad (Berlin, Dresden, Baden-Baden, Geneva, Milan, Florence). There, in 1868, their daughter, Sophia was born, who died in the same year. In 1869, a second daughter, Lubov was born, which became a writer. Later, in Russia in 1871 their son Theodore was born, in 1875 – son Alex was born, who died at the age of three from an attack of epilepsy.
The last years of his life were spent in comparative prosperity at St. Petersburg, where he died on the 9th of February 1881.
He was buried in the Aleksandr Nevsky monastery, St. Petersburg, Russia.
Zest: In addition to the old Russian masters Gogol and Pushkin,  F. Schiller, E. Hofmann, W. Scott, George Sand, Victor Hugo,  Onore de Balzac and Eugene Sue supplied him with literary ideals.
Friedrich Nietzsche acknowledged that Dostoevsky was the only psychologist from whom he could learn something. Dostoevsky himself said by the Stavrogin words (Possessed, 1872): “.. I do not like spies and psychologists, at least those that climb into my soul.”