This Day In Literary History
On December 22nd, 1849, the legendary Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky was forced to suffer the psychological torture of a mock execution at the hands of the Czar.
Dostoyevsky was prepared for execution and made to stand in front of a firing squad. Just as he thought the soldiers were about to fire, he was given a reprieve, taken away, and sentenced to four years of hard labor at a prison camp in Omsk, Siberia.
He had been arrested for being a member of the Petrashevsky Circle, a liberal intellectual group founded by Mikhail Petrashevsky, a follower of French utopian socialist Charles Fourier.
The Petrashevsky Circle opposed the czarist autocracy and Russian serfdom. Their members included writers, teachers, students, government officials, military officers, and others.
Czar Nicholas I, fearful that the revolutions being waged in other countries would spread to Russia, mistakenly believed that the Petrashevsky Circle was a subversive revolutionary organization and ordered the arrest of its members.
While serving his time at the squalid, freezing, and filthy prison camp, Dostoyevsky became disillusioned with Western ideas and converted to Russian Orthodox Christianity, planting the seeds for the next phase of his literary career.
He would later become famous for his classic novels Crime and Punishment (1866), The Idiot (1869), and The Brothers Karamazov, (1881) cementing his legacy as one of the greatest novelists of all time.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky died of a lung hemorrhage from emphysema and an epileptic seizure on February 9th, 1881, at the age of 59.
Quote Of The Day
"It is not the brains that matter most, but that which guides them - the character, the heart, generous qualities, progressive ideas." - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Today's video features a complete reading of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's classic novel, Crime and Punishment. Enjoy!