Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) was a Russian novelist, journalist, short-story writer whose psychological penetration into the human soul had a profound influence on the 20th century novel.
Dostoevsky was born in Moscow, as the second son of a former army doctor. He was educated at home and at a private school. Shortly after the death of his mother in 1837 he was sent to St. Petersburg, where he entered the Army Engineering College. In 1839 Dostoevsky's father died probably of apoplexy but there were strong rumors that he was murdered by his own serfs. Dostoevsky graduated as a military engineer, but resigned in 1844 to devote himself to writing. His first novel, Poor Folk appeared in 1846. It was followed by The Double, which depicted a man who was haunted by a look-alike who eventually usurps his position.