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Novalis Including Hymns to the Night

Novalis, George MacDonald, Thomas Carlyle

The Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Thomas Carlyle, Rudolf Steiner

The Diplomatic Background of the War

Charles Seymour

The Bhagavad Gita


Letters of Fyodor Michailovitch Dostoevsky to his family and friends

by Fyodor Dostoyevsky



In the German translator's1 preface to this volume it is pointed out that a complete collection of Dostoevsky's letters does not yet exist. " The first volume of the first collected edition of Dostoevsky's works (St. Petersburg, 1873), contains only a selection, which is usually lacking in the later editions." Herr Eliasberg goes on to tell us that " a series of letters which were to have been included in the present work was at the last moment withdrawn by the novelist's widow; the corrected proofs of these are to be preserved in a sealed portfolio at the Dostoevsky Museum in Moscow."

The present volume derives chiefly from the book by Tchechichin: " Dostoevsky in the Reminiscences of his Contemporaries, and in his Letters and Memoranda " (Moscow, 1912). The letters here numbered XXXVIII., XLIV., L., LVI., and LVIII. are lacking in Tchechichin's book, and were taken from a Russian monthly journal, Rousskaya Starina. Those numbered XXXIX., XLVI., XLVIII., and LIX., which are incompletely given by Tchechichin, are here given in full.

From Tchechichin's work were also taken a number

1 Herr Alexander Eliasberg (R. Hper and Go., Munich). of notes, as well as the reminiscences of Dostoevsky by his contemporaries, which here form an Appendix.

The present text, therefore, while it contains much that is relatively " inedited," yet cannot pretend to full completeness. On comparing it with a French translation of some of the letters, issued by the Soci£te du Mercure de France in 1908, it is seen to be a good deal the more judiciously edited of the two—the German translator has pared away many repetitions, much irrelevant and uninteresting matter, while he has used material of the highest biographical value which the French editor either unaccountably omitted, or, it may be, had not at disposal. Of such are the letters enumerated above; and, more than all, the peculiarly interesting passage in Letter XXXIV., which relates Dostoevsky's historic quarrel with Turgenev.

A word about the punctuation. It has been, so far as was thought at all feasible, left as Dostoetsky offered it. Like Byron, he " did not know a comma; at least, where to put one "—or rather, in Dostoevsky's case, where not to put one, for his lavish use of the less important and lucid sign is very remarkable. Here and there, this predilection has been departed from by me, but only when it too deeply obscured the sense ; elsewhere, since even punctuation has its value for the student of character, Dostoevsky's " system " is retained in all its chaotic originality.



1821. " In the parish of St. Peter and Paul at Moscow was born on October 30 of the year 1821, in the dwellinghouse of the Workhouse Hospital, to Staff-Physician Michail Andreyevitch Dostoevsky, a male child, who was named Fyodor. Baptised on November 4."

1831. Dostoevsky's parents purchase a country-house in the Tula Government, where the family henceforth spends the summer.

1834. Dostoevsky enters the boys' school of L. J. Tchermak at Moscow.

1836. Great influence of the Literature-master upon the boys. Enthusiasm for Pushkin.

1837. On February 27, Maria Fyodorovna Dostoevsky, his mother, dies. Early in the year, Fyodor Dostoevsky goes with his elder brother Michael to Petersburg, and enters the Preparatory School of K. F. Kostomarov. In the autumn, he is admitted to the Principal College of Engineering.

I837-43- Study at the College of Engineering.

1838. Summer in camp. Enthusiasm for Balzac, Hugo, E. T. A. Hoffmann. In the autumn, failure in the examinations; is not promoted. In the winter, friendly relations with Schidlovsky and Berechetzky. Interest in Schiller.

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