Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky (11 November 1821 – 9 February 1881), sometimes transliterated Dostoevsky, was a Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, journalist and philosopher. Dostoyevsky's literary works explore human psychology in the troubled political, social, and spiritual atmosphere of 19th-century Russia, and engage with a variety of philosophical and religious themes.
He began writing in his 20s, and his first novel, Poor Folk, was published in 1846 when he was 25. His major works include Crime and Punishment (1866), The Idiot (1869), Demons (1872) and The Brothers Karamazov (1880). Dostoyevsky's oeuvre consists of 11 novels, three novellas, 17 short stories and numerous other works. Many literary critics rate him as one of the greatest psychologists in world literature. His 1864 novella Notes from Underground is considered to be one of the first works of existentialist literature.
Born in Moscow in 1821, Dostoyevsky was introduced to literature at an early age through fairy tales and legends, and through books by Russian and foreign authors. His mother died in 1837 when he was 15, and around the same time he left school to enter the Nikolayev Military Engineering Institute. After graduating, he worked as an engineer and briefly enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, translating books to earn extra money. In the mid-1840s he wrote his first novel, Poor Folk, which gained him entry into St. Petersburg's literary circles.
Arrested in 1849 for belonging to a literary group that discussed banned books critical of Tsarist Russia, he was sentenced to death but the sentence was commuted at the last moment. He spent four years in a Siberian prison camp, followed by six years of compulsory military service in exile.
In the following years, Dostoyevsky worked as a journalist, publishing and editing several magazines of his own and later A Writer's Diary, a collection of his writings. He began to travel around western Europe and developed a gambling addiction, which led to financial hardship. For a time, he had to beg for money, but he eventually became one of the most widely read and highly regarded Russian writers. His books have been translated into more than 170 languages. Dostoyevsky was influenced by an incredible variety of philosophers and authors including Pushkin, Gogol, Shakespeare, Dickens, Balzac, Lermontov, Hugo, Poe, Plato, Cervantes, Herzen, Kant, Belinsky, Hegel, Schiller, Solovyov, Bakunin, Sand, Hoffmann, and Mickiewicz. His writings were widely read both within and beyond his native Russia and influenced an equally great number of later writers including Russians like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Anton Chekhov as well as philosophers such as Friedrich Nietzsche and Jean-Paul Sartre.
The State Museum of City Sculptures was founded in 1932 dedicated to the study, restoration and protection of city sculptures and gravestones and the museum is responsible for the upkeep of many of St Petersburg's most famous sculptures. The museum has several branches around St Petersburg, but the main ones are concentrated within the former territory of the Aleksandro-Nevsky Lavra which was granted to the museum upon its founding.
The Aleksandro-Nevsky Lavra's Tikhvinskoe Cemetery was established in 1823 and named after the Our Lady of Tikhvin Church which was built here between 1869 and 1873. In 1931 the church was closed and in 1932 the cemetery became a branch of the State Museum of City Sculptures, known as the Necropolis of Masters of Culture. The branch is so named as many leading figures of Russian culture have been laid to rest here including: writers Fyodor Dostoevsky, Nikolai Karamzin and Ivan Krylov; composers Aleksandr Borodin, Mikhail Glinka, Modest Musorgsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Pyotr Tchaikovsky; and artists Boris Kustodiev, Ivan Kramskoy and Ivan Shishkin, among many more famous names.