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The Legacy of Dostoevsky

The Russian writer Dostoevsky is best known for two popular works, namely “Crime and Punishment” and “The Brothers Karamazov”. He explored the human psychology and was said to have been the first to bring existentialism to light through his novel “Notes from Underground”. Dostoevsky left his mark on the literary world of Russia with thousands of scholars examining his work. Sites related to the famous writer and locations that inspired him have since become popular attractions in Russia.

This literary master was born Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky in Moscow, in the year 1821, where his father worked at the Mariinsky Hospital for the Poor while he was growing up. The depressing surroundings of the area, such as the lunatic asylum, the orphanage and the cemetery used to bury criminals, had a great influence on Dostoevsky. His compassion for the poor and underprivileged started in childhood, remaining with him into adulthood. Dostoevsky’s literary career and dedication to writing started after leaving the military, when he began writing his first novel in 1844. The next year “The Contemporary” was published, with raving reviews catapulting Dostoevsky into the limelight. He was confronted with many difficulties throughout his career, such as political arrest, exile, loss, gambling addiction and hard labor, but did not let the hardships rob him of his passion for writing. During his career he wrote a range of plays, short stories and novels including “The Gambler”, “The Raw Youth”, “A Writer’s Diary”, “The Idiot” and the “House of the Dead”. Dostoevsky died in 1881 from an epileptic seizure and emphysema.

In St. Petersburg, visitors to Russia will find many noteworthy sites and attractions associated with Dostoevsky. Included amongst these is the Dostoevsky Apartment Museum, which was established in the apartment in which Dostoevsky spent his final years and passed away. When the writer and a group of his literary colleagues were arrested, they underwent a horrific mock execution in 1849, and many tourist visit Pionerskaya Plashchad to walk over the area where this dramatic scene took place. In his novel “Crime and Punishment”, Sennaya Ploshchad is one of the main features, and it just so happens that Dostoevsky lived near the Hay Square for many years. Scholars of his work have been able to point out many other sites that may have inspired the author. Other places of interest are his burial site in St. Petersburg and his statue in Omsk. There is no doubt that his work still interests and fascinates present day readers and scholars and has left behind a legacy of literary genius.


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