Mikhail Dostoyevsky

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Mikhail Dostoyevsky
Mikhail Dostoyevsky.jpg
Born (1820-11-25)November 25, 1820
Died July 22, 1864(1864-07-22) (aged 43)
Saint Petersburg
Occupation publisher, writer, translator, literary critic
Period 1848 to 1864
Literary movement Sentimentalism, Pochvennichestvo

Mikhail Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky (Russian: Михаи́л Миха́йлович Достое́вский), (November 25, 1820 – July 22, 1864), was a Russian short story writer, publisher, literary critic and the elder brother of Fyodor Dostoyevsky.[1] The two of them were less than a year apart in age and spent their childhood together.[2]


Mikhail Dostoyevsky was born on November 25, 1820 in Moscow, where his father was a surgeon at the Mariinsky Hospital. Mikhail received a home education. He began to write poetry at the age of nine.[2] In 1834 he was sent to the boarding school of L. Chermak,[2] where he stayed until 1837. Then his father took him and his younger brother Fyodor to Saint Petersburg. He intended to enter the Petersburg's Academy of Engineering, but was not accepted because he was diagnosed a consumptive after medical examinations.

In 1842 he married Emily von Ditmar with whom he had two sons, Fyodor and Mikhail, and three daughters, Catherine, Maria and Varvara. In 1849 he was arrested, along with his brother, because of his connections to the Petrashevsky Circle.[3]

In 1861 he started a magazine titled Vremya (Russian: Время, lit. Time). Dostoyevsky wanted to create a fresh independent publication, impartial, freestanding, sustainable, and not bowing to any authority.[4] At the same time, it would appeal to common people and inspire the study of their lives and life principles. Mikhail Dostoyevsky was convinced that all flaws in Russian society had come from "apathetic" cosmopolitanism.[4]

Vremya became one of the most popular magazines in the early 1860s with approximately 4000 subscribers.[5] Officially Mikhail was publisher and editor, but the editorial work was mostly borne by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, who worked as columnist, critic, essayist and writer all at once.[5] Vremya was banned in April 1863 for publishing one of Nikolay Strakhov's articles. In 1864 Dostoevsky established the magazine Epokha (Epoch). He died that year in Saint Petersburg, on July 22 from a bilious attack[clarification needed].[4] He was 45 years old.[6]

Fyodor Dostoyevsky recalled his brother as a persistent, hard-working and energetic man, "a connoisseur of European languages and literature", and a harsh critic of his own writing. According to Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Mikhail did not consider himself an accomplished writer, and for that reason he stopped writing fiction and concentrated on publishing activities.[4] They were close friends.[7]


Mikhail Dostoyevsky.

In the 1840s Mikhail Dostoyevsky's short stories were published in Notes of the Fatherland:

  • A Daughter (Дочка; 1848)
  • Mr. Svetelkin (Господин Светелкин; 1848)
  • Sparrow (Воробей; 1848)
  • Two Old Men (Два старичка; 1849)
  • Fifty Years (Пятьдесят лет; 1850)
  • The Older and the Younger (Старшая и меньшая, 1851)

He translated many European literature classics, including Goethe's Reineke Fuchs and Schiller's Don Carlos.


  1. ^ Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd edition.
  2. ^ a b c Lantz, K. A. (2004). The Dostoevsky Encyclopedia. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 110. ISBN 0-313-30384-3. 
  3. ^ Potashev, I. Ярославские зодчие. Андрей Михайлович Достоевский [Yaroslavl architects. Andrei Dostoyevsky] (in Russian). Retrieved 20 September 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d "A few words about Mikhail Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky". F. M. Dostoyevsky. Collection of works in 15 volumes. 11. Leningrad: Nauka. 1993. pp. 361–365. 
  5. ^ a b "Dostoevsky as a professional writer: profession, occupation, ethics" (in Russian). Zhurnalnyj zal. 2002. Retrieved 18 June 2010. 
  6. ^ Sergeev, Pavel (2005). "New books" (in Russian). Zhurnalnyj zal. Retrieved 18 June 2010. 
  7. ^ Dostoyevsky, A. "Introductory article by A.A. Dostoevsky". Memoirs of Andrey Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky (in Russian). Retrieved 20 September 2010. 

Further reading[edit]

  • De Lazari, Andrzej (2004). V krugu Fedora Dostoevskogo (in Russian). Nauka. ISBN 5-02-033377-8. 
  • Lobas, Vladimir (2000). Dostoevskij, Volume 1. Vsemirnaja istorija v licah (in Russian). AST. ISBN 5-17-003089-4. 

External links[edit]