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Dostoevsky Timeline



(1821) – Born in Moscow on October 30 (November 11 according to the Gregorian Calendar). Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky is the 2nd of 7 children to Mikhail Andreyevich, head physician at Mariinsky Hospital for the Poor, and Mariya Fyodorovna, daughter of a merchant family.

(1831) – begins boarding school in Moscow with his older brother Mikhail.

(1834) – Chermak Private High School in Moscow.

(1837) – Mother dies at age 37 and Fyodor & Mikhail are sent to a preparatory school in St. Petersburg

(1838) –  admitted to St. Petersburg Academy of Military Engineers as an army cadet. Described as a pensive, solitary student, prone to fits of depression. Reads all of Shakespeare and Pascal, most of Balzac, Goethe’s Faust and shorter poems, most of Victor Hugo’s novels, all (in both German and Russian) the novels of Hoffman.

(1839) – Father murdered by his own serfs at his estate Chermashnya in the province of Tula.


(1841) – obtains a commission and writes his first two dramas Mary Stuart and Boris Godunov (now lost)

(1842) – In the spring he moves to 11 Vladimirsky Prospect where he would live for 4 years until 1846.

(1843) – graduates from Military Academy as lieutenant and works as a draughtsman in St. Petersburg Army Engineering Corps. First published work is a translation of Honore de Balzac’s Eugenie Grandet.

(1844) – resigns his commission in the army to start writing seriously. Finishes “Poor Folk” and translates George Sand’s La derniere Aldini.

(1845) – hailed as Gogol’s successor by Russia’s most influential critic Vissarion Belinsky.

(1846) – publication of 1st novel Poor Folk, The Double (appearing 2 weeks later), and Mr. Prokharchin. Acquaintance with the utopian socialist Mikhail Petrashevsky. First time to live in the apartment on Kuznechny Lane 5/2 which he would also move back into at the end of his life 35 years later.

(1847) – writes for St Petersburg Gazette.  Publishes “A Novel in Nine Letters” as well as several short stories including “A Weak Heart”, “Polzunkov”, “The Landlady”, “The Honest Thief”, and “White Nights”. Starts visiting the Petrashevsky Circle. Moves to Voznesenskii prospekt 8/23 where he would live for 2 years.

(1848) – publishes “The Stranger-Woman”, “A Christmas Tree Party and a Wedding”, & “A Jealous Husband”.

(1849) – works on unfinished novel, “Netochka Nezvanova” but is arrested for alleged political crimes along with other Petrashevsky Circle members. Writes the children’s story “A Little Hero” while imprisoned for 8 months in the Alexis Ravelin of St. Petersburg’s Petropavlovsk Fortress. On December 22 he is taken, along with twenty others, to Semyonovsky Square to be executed by a firing squad but due to a last-second reprieve the sentence is commuted to an 8 year term of penal servitude in Siberia (later reduced to 4 years hard labour by Nicholas I).

(1850) – incarcerated at Omsk maximum security prison in western Siberia.

(1854) – released from prison but forced to enroll as a private in the Seventh Line Battalion at Semipalatinsk. Meets his future wife through friendship with Baron Vrangel. 1854-59 Military exile in Siberia Released from prison. Military service in Semipalatinsk.Compulsory military service in Semipalatinsk (southwest Siberia). Marriage to the widowed Marya Dmitrievna Isaeva in 1857. The couple are permitted to take up residence in European Russia in 1859, the year in which Uncle’s Dream, The Little Hero (composed in prison) and The Village of Stepanchikovo and Its Inhabitants appear. Forced to enroll as a private in the Seventh Line Battalion at Semipalatinsk (present day Kazakhstan)

(1855) – Alexander II succeeds Nicholas I to the Russian throne; state censorship is relaxed somewhat.

(1856) – promoted to lieutenant but still forbidden to leave Siberia

(1857) –  marries 29 year old widow Mariya Dmitriyevna Isayeva. Publishes “A Little Hero” (without signature).

(1858) – writes “The Village of Sepanchikovo” and “Uncle’s Dream”.  Begins work as editor of Time

(1859) – returns to St Petersburg after ten years’ exile.  Publishes Uncle’s Dream.  Between 1859 and 1861, publishes the serialized novella, “Village of Stepanchikovo”; it is not well received, and one critic proclaims Dostoevsky to be finished as a writer.

(1860) – becomes editor of Vremya (“Time”), a literary journal (though officially his brother Mikhail was editor, Dostoevsky being under police supervision due to his status as convict). April, Dostoevsky plays (to good reviews) the comic postmaster Shpekin in an amateur theatrical production of Gogol’s The Inspector-General (a charity performance with proceeds going to the Society for Aid to Needy Writers and Scholars). Autumn, the first two chapters of The House of the Dead are printed in an obscure weekly, Russkii Mir (“Russian World”). Returns to St. Petersburg  Publishes The House of the Dead Publication of the first part of House of the Dead.

(1861) – publishes “The Insulted and Injured” and “The House of the Dead“.  Starts literary Journal, Time. Publishes The House of the Dead.Mikhail and Fyordor begin publication of Time, which publishes Dostoevsky’s The Insulted and the Injured, and A Silly Story. Moves to Kaznacheiskaia ulitsa (Treasury Street) where he would live in 3 different apartments (#1,7,9) over the next 6 year.

(1862) – first trip abroad to Germany, England, Switzerland, and Italy. travels abroad for first time including Paris and several European countries. In London meets famous Russian political exile and writer, Alexander Herzen


(1863); is greatly horrified by “industrial society” he observes.The second part of House of the Dead and A Nasty Tale are published in Time. Dostoevsky makes his first trip abroad, visiting several western European countries, including England, France and Switzerland. Beginning of liaison with Apollinaria (Polina) Suslova. In London he meets the father of Russian socialism, Alexander Herzen

(1863) – Dostoevsky’s journal “Time” is banned by the authorities (ostensibly due to an article on the Polish uprising by Strakhov). Dostoevsky is elected secretary of the Society for Aid to Needy Writers and Scholars (aka the Literary Fund). Mariya Dmitriyevna seriously ill. “Winter Notes on Summer Impressions” is published in Time. Dostoevsky’s magazine Vremya (Time) is banned by authorities. Decides to travel abroad once again, where he meets Apollinaria Suslova, the model for the “proud women” found in his future novels

(1864) – Dostoevsky and brother Mikhail plan to launch a new monthly to be called Pravda (“Truth”), but the authorities consider the name too provocative, the new journal is entitled Epokha (“Epoch”): it lasts only a year and ends in failure.

 heavily in debt, as he will be for most of the rest of his life. Meets Tvhaikovsky. Epoch, successor to the banned magazine Time, publishes Notes from Underground. Death of Marya Dmitrievna, Fyodor’s wife, and of his brother Mikhail.

(1865) – publishes the first part of the story known as The Crocodile under the name A.Y. Poretsky. Dostoevsky resigns his secretariat of the Literary Fund to avoid appearance of undue influence, when he himself must apply to it for aid.  Lonely, in despair, still writing, Dostoevsky leaves Russia to escape his debts, and goes to Wiesbaden. Gambles and loses. Writes Crime and Punishment.The Complete Works of Dostoevsky published. Apollinaria Suslova declines marriage proposal. Epoch ceases publication, ending Dostoevsky’s five-year journalistic career. An Unusual Happening is published. Polina Suslova declines his marriage proposal.

(1866) – publishes “Crime and Punishment” and “The Gambler”.

(1867) – marries Anna Grigoryevna Snitkina, age 19, whom he had hired as a stenographer while working on The Gambler (hastily written to fulfill contractual obligation). The couple leave for western Europe, remaining abroad for four years. They live in Geneva, then Florence, Vienna, Prague, and finally Dresden. Move abroad to escape their creditors.

(1868) – first child Sofiya born but dies only months later. They move briefly to Italy. “The Idiot” published.

(1869) – daughter Lyubov born in Dresden. The family in great poverty.

(1870) – homesick works on The Devils (The Posessed); also The Eternal Husband. Franco-Prussian War. Publication of The Eternal Husband.

(1871) – returns to Russia. Stops gambling. Son Fyodor born in St Petersburg. Publishes Demons  The Devils is published serially.

(1873) – becomes editor of The Citizen but resigns a year later. Starts writing Diary of a Writer, a monthly column.

(1877) – imprisoned once again, this time for violation of censorship regulations.

(1874) – “A Raw Youth”. At Ems for a cure for emphysema, winters in Staraya Russa. Arrested and imprisoned once again, this time for violation of censorship regulations.

(1875) – son Aleksey born. Publishes The Raw Youth (The Adolescent). At Ems again for a cure.

(1876) – launches and becomes sole editor of a new monthly periodical a monthly journal called A Writer’s Diary composed of short stories, sketches, and articles. “The Peasant Marey” “A Gentle Creature” are published in the journal.

(1877) – publishes “The Dream of a Ridiculous Man” in Grazhdanin.

(1878) – second son Alexei dies at age 3.

(1879) – publishes first part of “The Brothers Karamazov”.

(1880) – delivers famous speech on Pushkin in Moscow to enormous crowds and wide acclaim.

(1881) – dies in St. Petersburg on January 28 at the age of 59 due to a lung hemorrhage (burst blood vessel in his lungs aggravated by an epileptic seizure). Buried in Alexander Nevsky Monastery cemetery.  (Died February 9th according to the Gregorian Calendar)

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