Author Topic: Fyodor Dostoevsky  (Read 10011 times)

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Offline zolishka

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Fyodor Dostoevsky
« on: March 23, 2007, 03:14:13 PM »
I am very interested in literature, and in the 19th century russian literature in general. And I have a question related to Fyodor Dostoevsky...

Does anyone know if he was read by any of the Romanovs? I mean, he was convicted and nearly executed for revolutionary actions by Nicholas I in 1848. But he totaly changed after this episode and became a very religious man and many of his later works have some sort of religious or moral theme. But was Dostoevsky generally disliked by the royals becous of his previous political views? I´m curious.

Leo Tolstoj had a very high status among the royal, I read that Nicholas II read "War and Peace" alound for his wife Alexandra.

Offline RichC

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Re: Fyodor Dostoevsky
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2007, 04:37:50 PM »
I am very interested in literature, and in the 19th century russian literature in general. And I have a question related to Fyodor Dostoevsky...

Does anyone know if he was read by any of the Romanovs? I mean, he was convicted and nearly executed for revolutionary actions by Nicholas I in 1848. But he totaly changed after this episode and became a very religious man and many of his later works have some sort of religious or moral theme. But was Dostoevsky generally disliked by the royals becous of his previous political views? I´m curious.

Leo Tolstoj had a very high status among the royal, I read that Nicholas II read "War and Peace" alound for his wife Alexandra.

I thought that Dostoevsky was very much admired by members of the Royal family -- I believe I have read that he was a guest of Alexander II -- he was friendly with Podbedonotsev. 

However, I do not recall Tolstoy being so popular amoung the royal family.   GD Ella was "forbidden" by her husband to read Anna K, (possibly the greatest novel ever written) because of it's subject matter.  And I have read Nicholas II's comments to his mother on the occasion of Tolstoy's death  -- not very complimentary.  But yes, Nicholas did read "War and Peace" to Alexandra shortly after they were married.

Offline zolishka

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Re: Fyodor Dostoevsky
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2007, 07:36:31 PM »
Yes, now I remember. The subject of Anna Karenina is adultery so... Believe it was banned in several circles. But I agree, it is probably one of the greatest novels ever written, along with let´s say Crime & Punishment. Do you know what Nicholas II said about Tolstoy?

Offline dunya

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Re: Fyodor Dostoevsky
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2007, 10:58:08 PM »
I think they were reading Turgenyev often a lot, and Dostoyevsky and Turgenyev were sort of like enemies, and their writing & state of minds were too different, too. I guess they fancied Turgenyev better? Dostoyevsky is more like a ''common''man you know, perhaps that they felt Turgenyev closer to their life style and whatnot. I cant quite imagine a Tsar reading Crime and Punishment eventhough he's well educated.

Offline dunya

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Re: Fyodor Dostoevsky
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2007, 10:59:58 PM »
Oh I love Dostoyevsky however people like Turgenyev more in Russia even now. ( i really dont know why)



« Last Edit: March 23, 2007, 11:10:39 PM by dunya »

Offline zolishka

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Re: Fyodor Dostoevsky
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2007, 11:02:11 PM »
I cant imagen so myself, but I just started to wonder since Dostoyevsky is such a cult icon of literature history. As of today I mean, dont really know what his status was back in the 19th century...

I read that Nicholas was a fan of Pushkin though, does anyone have more details on this? His daugther Olga was a big reader, what did she read?

Offline zolishka

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Re: Fyodor Dostoevsky
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2007, 11:04:59 PM »
About the new popularity of Turgenyev in Russia, I dont really know much about it but I think there is alot to do about trends and reprints really. And booksales! Here in Sweden the february booksale is a huge thing with reprints of old books that makes a huge fuzz about old authors.

Offline dunya

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Re: Fyodor Dostoevsky
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2007, 11:13:32 PM »
I couldnt modify my post properly, sorry about that.

Btw if Im not mistaken in early 1900's Tolstoy sends a letter to the Tsar, warning that autocracy is doomed and he has to give the nation its freedom to avoid a civil war. Maybe thats why Nkolay was not very complimentary.


Offline RichC

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Re: Fyodor Dostoevsky
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2007, 02:53:45 AM »
Yes, now I remember. The subject of Anna Karenina is adultery so... Believe it was banned in several circles. But I agree, it is probably one of the greatest novels ever written, along with let´s say Crime & Punishment. Do you know what Nicholas II said about Tolstoy?

I'll look it up and post it sometime this week!

Offline Mike

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Re: Fyodor Dostoevsky
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2007, 04:17:07 AM »
This is what Nicholas II had written on the report of Tolstoy's death:
"I earnestly regret the death of a great writer who, at the time when his talent was blooming, had created in his works dear images of one of the most glorious periods of Russian life. May God be his gracious judge".

For those who might wish to translate it more finely, here's the Russian text:
"Душевно сожалею о кончине великого писателя, воплотившего, во времена рассвета своего дарования, в творениях своих родные образы одной из славнейших годин русской жизни. Господь Бог да будет ему Милостивым Судиёю".

Offline RichC

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Re: Fyodor Dostoevsky
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2007, 10:36:19 AM »
I am very interested in literature, and in the 19th century russian literature in general. And I have a question related to Fyodor Dostoevsky...

Does anyone know if he was read by any of the Romanovs? I mean, he was convicted and nearly executed for revolutionary actions by Nicholas I in 1848. But he totaly changed after this episode and became a very religious man and many of his later works have some sort of religious or moral theme. But was Dostoevsky generally disliked by the royals becous of his previous political views? I´m curious.

Leo Tolstoj had a very high status among the royal, I read that Nicholas II read "War and Peace" alound for his wife Alexandra.

I thought that Dostoevsky was very much admired by members of the Royal family -- I believe I have read that he was a guest of Alexander II -- he was friendly with Podbedonotsev. 

However, I do not recall Tolstoy being so popular amoung the royal family.   GD Ella was "forbidden" by her husband to read Anna K, (possibly the greatest novel ever written) because of it's subject matter.  And I have read Nicholas II's comments to his mother on the occasion of Tolstoy's death  -- not very complimentary.  But yes, Nicholas did read "War and Peace" to Alexandra shortly after they were married.

I have to go to the library and check it out but the book is called:

The letters of Tsar Nicholas and Empress Marie; being the confidential correspondence between Nicholas II, last of the tsars, and his mother, Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna

Editied by Edward J. Bing and published in 1937

Offline Lyss

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Re: Fyodor Dostoevsky
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2007, 10:39:46 AM »
I've heared that the story about GD Ella being forbidden to read Anna Karenina was made up, just like thes story about Marie Antoinette telling "let them eat cake" when there was no bread.
About Dostojevski, I wonder if anyone here has read his 'Devils'. It's that I'm reading it now, and have heared that this was his best book in which he predicted the coming of the revolution. I'm not that far yet, but if anyone has read it, what do you think?
Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by ignorance or stupidity.

TheAce1918

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Re: Fyodor Dostoevsky
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2007, 03:11:37 PM »
My favorite quote by him was

"A Russian cannot be godless.  As soon as he becomes godless,
he ceases to be Russian"

He is one of my favorite Russian authors next to Tolstoy and Pushkin.

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Fyodor Dostoevsky
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2007, 06:14:44 PM »
One my personal favorites is:  “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons”. So true!

BTW, there is a Dostoevsky museum in St Petersburg in the building where he used to live just before his death, on - where else? - Dostoevsky Street... I will see if I can dig up the photos from my visit, as well as of his grave... 

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Fyodor Dostoevsky
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2007, 06:35:01 PM »
Just as an aside about Dostoevsky...

Dostoevsky Museum in St Pbg (in his former residence where he wrote Brothers Karamazov):



Dostoevsky's gravesite at Alexander Nevsky Lavra: