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Dostoyevsky was a Russian writer and missionary whose psychological analysis of the human faith and soul is recognised as that of a genius by theologians psychologists and literary critics alike Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky was born November 11th 1821 in Moscow Dostoyevsky was epileptic but this did not hamper his career In fact detailed accounts of how complex this illness is made some of his works even more fascinating He focused on the analysis of pathological states of mind that lead to insanity murder and suicide and in the exploration of the emotions of degradation and self-destruction Unlike the majority of other Russian writers at the start of the 19th century Dostoyevsky was not born into nobility He often stressed the difference between his background and that of Leo Tolstoy and the evidence of that in his work Dostoyevsky was constantly in need of money and had to hurry to publish his works He also stressed that unlike writers of the gentry who described life of their own class as poetic notions and settled traditions he depicted the lives of the insulted the unfaithful and the humiliated He received a Military Engineering education in St Petersburg but soon realised he was much more suited to a career as a writer Not long after finishing his degree and becoming a sub-lieutenant Dostoyevsky resigned his position In 1847 Dostoyevsky joined the Petrashevsky Circle a group of socialists who discussed utopian Marxism On April 23 1849 he and the other members of the Petrashevsky Circle were arrested They spent eight months in prison until on December 22 the prisoners were escorted without notice to the Semyonovsky Square A sentence of death by firing squad was announced At the last minute the guns were lowered as a courier arrived from the Tzar saying their lives were spared The mock-execution was in fact part of the penalty This experience led Dostoyevsky to appreciate the gift of life
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