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Dostoevsky Museum, Russia

Experienced voyagerExperienced voyagerExperienced voyagerExperienced voyager Joshua Brook
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Moscow's Dostoevsky Museum is situated in the famous Russian author's family home, a small, pokey house in the grounds of the Mariinsky Hospital for the poor, where the his father worked as a physician. Dostoevsky was born in the hospital on the 11th November1821 to a poor but devoutly pious family, whose father constantly aggravated their situation with alcoholism and violence. After a trying childhood and the death of his mother in 1837, the young Dostoevsky left the family home and was sent to St. Petersburg to attend the Academy of Military Engineering on the express wishes of his father, a retired military surgeon himself.

The future author, who alongside his brother Mikhail had long been fascinated with Romantic and Gothic literature, was entirely unsuited to a military career and on graduating in 1843 he resigned his commission to commence a hazardous career as a writer. The author finished his first novella "Poor Folk" in 1846 to great acclaim from the literary critic Vissarion Belinsky and the poet Nikolai Nekrasov, who praised him for the work's psychological insight and its ability to play on the reader's heartstrings. Dostoevsky was immediately hailed as the great new talent of Russian literature and went on to produce many more similarly insightful and psychologically probing tales of the country's poorer classes. The writer experienced a volatile and dramatic life, including an 8-month prison sentence after becoming involved in the political discussions of the Petrashevksy Circle in 1848, a mock execution, a 4-year sentence in a Siberian prison camp, acute epilepsy, a compulsion for gambling and numerous unlucky affairs. Dostoevsky died in January 1881 after a long, tumultuous but much acclaimed literary career.
Much of the museum's reconstruction of Dostoevsky's home was based on the writer's own diaries and descriptions of his childhood. Visitors can see the tiny bedroom which he shared with his brother and the modest drawing room which was considered so important to the family's social standing that Dostoevsky's parents were prepared to sleep in a narrow bed, jammed between a screen and a washstand.

The museum contains a wealth of family portraits, engravings and lithographs of various scenes in Moscow, a charming array of wooden toys and schoolbooks and the family library of classic Russian and European authors. The museum's prize exhibits are without a doubt the parish ledger recording Dostoevsky's birth in 1821, and his quill pen and signature preserved under glass. More info on: www.moscow-taxi.com

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