Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky was born October 30, 1821, in Moscow's Hospital for the Poor. He was the second of
seven children born to a former army surgeon, who was murdered in 1839 when his own serfs poured vodka down his throat
until he died.
Following a boarding school education in Moscow with his older brother Mikhail, Fyodor was admitted to the Academy of
Military Engineers in St. Petersburg in 1838. He completed his studies in 1843, graduating as a lieutenant, but was quickly
convinced that he preferred a career in writing to being mired in the bureaucratic Russian military. In 1844 he published a
translation of Balzac's Eugenie Grandet, and he followed this two years later with his first original published work, Poor
Folk, a widely-acclaimed short novel championed by the influential critic Vissarion Belinsky.
On April 23, 1849, Dostoevsky was arrested with other members of the Petrashevsky circle and was sentenced to death to
work as materialist atheism. He was placed in solitary confinement in the Petropavlovsky Fortress for eight months. During
this time, Tsar Nikolai I changed his sentence but ordered that this change only be announced at the last minute. On
December 22, Dostoevsky and his fellow prisoners were led through all the initial steps of execution, and several of them
were already tied to posts awaiting their deaths when the reprieve was sounded.
Dostoevsky’s harrowing near-execution and his terrible years of imprisonment made an indelible impression on
him,converting him to a lifelong intense spirituality. These beliefs formed the basis for his great novels.
Time passed, and Dostoevsky, preoccupied with a longer, serialized novel, did no work on the book he had promised
Stellovsky until at last, on the advice of friends, he hired the young Anna Grigorievna Snitkin as his stenographer. He
dictated The Gambler to her, and the manuscript was delivered to Stellovsky on the very day their agreement was to expire.
Through November, Dostoevsky completed the longer novel Crime and Punishment, which was published that year to
immediate and abundant success. Fyodor proposed to Anna, and they soon were wed on February 15, 1867.
Fyodor Dostoevsky died on January 28, 1881, of complications related to his epilepsy. At the funeral procession in St.
Petersburg, his coffin was followed by thirty to forty thousand people. His epitaph reads, “Verily, verily, I say unto you,
except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” which is the
quotation Dostoevsky chose for the preface of The Brothers Karamazov.
Dostoevsky is one of the first writers to explore the ideas of psychoanalysis in his works. His religious ideas are still
relevant in theological debate. He also is one of the seminal creators of the ideas of existentialism. Despite his varying
success during his lifetime, today Dostoevsky is considered to be one of the preeminent Russian novelists—indeed, one of the
preeminent novelists—of all time.

Above all, don't lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to
a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect
for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.
What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.
The darker the night, the brighter the stars,
The deeper the grief, the closer is God!
People speak sometimes about the "bestial" cruelty of man, but that is terribly unjust
and offensive to beasts, no animal could ever be so cruel as a man, so artfully, so
artistically cruel.
The soul is healed by being with children.
Nothing in this world is harder than speaking the truth, nothing easier than flattery.
Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.
The awful thing is that beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and the devil are
fighting there and the battlefield is the heart of man.
The cleverest of all, in my opinion, is the man who calls himself a fool at least once a
month.
The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.
It's the great mystery of human life that old grief passes gradually into quiet tender joy.
Love a man, even in his sin, for that love is a likeness of the divine love, and is the
summit of love on earth.
The greatest happiness is to know the source of unhappiness.

Destroy my desires, eradicate my ideas, show me something better, and I will follow you.
A fool with a heart and no sense is just as unhappy as a fool with sense and no heart.
If he's honest, he'll steal; if he's human, he'll murder; if he's faithful, he'll deceive.
Truly great men must, I think, experience great sorrow on the earth.
When reason fails, the devil helps!
The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding
something to live for.
If someone proved to me that Christ is outside the truth, and that in reality the truth
were outside of Christ, then I should prefer to remain with Christ rather than with the
truth.
What do you think, would not one tiny crime be wiped out by thousands of good
deeds?
Every ant knows the formula of its ant-hill,
every bee knows the formula of its beehive.
They know it in their own way, not in our way.
Only humankind does not know its own formula.
Grown-up people do not know that a child can give exceedingly good advice even in
the most difficult case.
Life is paradise, and we are all in paradise, but we refuse to see it.
Neither man nor nation can exist without a sublime idea.
Compassion was the most important, perhaps the sole law of human existence.