The bare events of Dostoevsky’s life – his father murdered by peasants, his own ordeal before a firing squad, then exile in Siberia, his epilepsy, gambling, poverty and debts – go far to account for his strange intensity of vision. This biography, first published in 1931, traces his wayward development, from his strict and secluded childhood to his debut as ‘literary pimple’, through his years of anguish, to his maturity as artist and final apotheosis as Russian patriot.

Written some fifty years after Dostoevsky’s death, when the material necessary for a full study first became available, Carr’s classic study reflects an approach to the life and genius of Dostoevsky dominated by the concerns of the mid-twentieth century. With its illuminating chapters on each of the great novels and its stylistic precision, this treatment of Dostoevsky remains a perfect introduction to the man, both as a novelist and as a human being.

part 1|48 pages

Years of Growth (1821–1854)

chapter I|9 pages


chapter II|11 pages

Early Years in Petersburg

chapter III|7 pages


chapter IV|8 pages


chapter V|11 pages

The House of the Dead

part 2|54 pages

Years of Ferment (1854–1865)

chapter VI|9 pages

Exile and First Marriage

chapter VII|10 pages

Journalistic Experiment

chapter VIII|12 pages

Intimate Life

chapter IX|9 pages

Years of Anguish

chapter X|12 pages

Interludes mainly Sentimental

part 3|70 pages

Years of Creation (1866–1871)

chapter XI|10 pages

Annus Mirabilis

chapter XII|13 pages

First Months Abroad

chapter XIII|11 pages

Residence Abroad Continued

chapter XIV|11 pages

The Ethical Problem—Crime and Punishment

chapter XV|11 pages

The Ethical Ideal—The Idiot

chapter XVI|12 pages

Ethics and Politics—The Devils

part 4|69 pages

Years of Fruition (1871–1881)

chapter XVII|12 pages

Return to Russia

chapter XVIII|11 pages

Dostoevsky as Psychologist—A Raw Youth

chapter XXI|11 pages


chapter XXII|6 pages