The House of the Dead by Fyodor Dostoevsky is the result of his four-year period in the Omsk prison in Siberia.
Dostoevsky was arrested in 1849 for plotting against the government and sentenced to death along with other friends.
Of course, the offer of the death penalty, which was made by a military court, was not approved, but nevertheless, it was decided to hold a dramatic execution ceremony to teach the convicts a last-minute amnesty.
Dostoevsky was later transferred to a prison in Siberia.
Memoirs of the House of the Dead generally include memories of the last year of his sentence.
Critics also say that while the memoirs of the House of the Dead do not hide any of the horrors and hardships of the convicts’ lives, they are written in a softer tone.
Dostoevsky’s anger has waned in recent years, and censorship has not been ineffective.
The most vivid and objective picture of Dostoevsky’s four years in prison can be seen in his letters.
Letters sent by private courier were not at risk of censorship.
In one of the letters in Dostoevsky’s book, The Controversy of Doubt by Edward Holtcar, Dostoevsky wrote to his brother in the first weeks after his release:
The dilapidated wooden building, which was decided to be demolished many years ago, is no longer suitable for use.
Summers are unbearably suffocating, and winters are extremely cold.
The floors of the rooms are all rotten. A fingertip grabs the dirt on the floor and you slip on it and fall to the ground. The small windows are so frozen that not a word can be read all day long.
The diameter of the ice on the window frame is a fingertip. The roof is dripping – and there are blinds everywhere. We are like fish stuck in a barrel.
Six logs of firewood are placed in the stove; It has no heat (ice almost never melts in the room) and it smokes terribly, and it’s the same all winter.
Memoirs of the House of the Dead describe the situation of prisoners who live different lives.
In this book, the reader learns about what prisoners do, games and hobbies, sleep, health and illness, the chains on their feet, verbal fights, flogging of convicts, and much more.
as it mentioned,
This novel has a report-like state and it does not mention Dostoevsky’s psychological pen and in fact it is the power of this book in its narration and descriptions. Critics consider The Diary of the Dead to be Dostoevsky’s most non-Dostoyevsky work.
In a part of the novel, Dostoevsky writes about the book and the reports he presents:
Do I have to describe here all this life, all the years I spent in prison? I do not believe in that myself. If I had to describe regularly everything I have seen and experienced during this time, I could double or even triple the number of chapters in this book;
But inevitably such a description will be boring and all the circulatory events will be the same and uniform; Especially if the reader has a relatively clear picture of the lives of second-class convicts in his mind from previous seasons.
I wanted to portray in a very accurate picture, our prison and what I have endured for many years.
The novel Memoirs of the House of the Dead is narrated by Alexander Batrovich, who is originally a Russian nobleman.
In addition to describing his thoughts and spirits, Dostoevsky tells the story of other convicts. In my opinion, one of the most beautiful parts of the book is the description of the moment of entering prison, which says:
Yes, it is a long time. All of them are like a dream to me today.
I remember coming to prison again. The evening was one of the days of December.
The night was coming. The convicts returned from work hard and prepared for the present and the absent. A stubborn mustache opened the door to this strange residence, where I had to spend many years and see events that, if it had not happened to me, I would not have even imagined.
For example, I could never have imagined this horrible torture that a person could not be left alone for even a minute during his ten years in prison.
In the workshop, I was under the supervision of the guards, and in prison I was among two hundred other comrades, and once – even once – I was not alone! Still, I have to put up with it.
The picture on the cover of the book Diary of the Dead is by Ilya Ripen, a prominent Russian painter in the style of realism.
Those who are interested in Dostoevsky know that the works of this great author are divided into two categories.
Puberty works, which include his 5 major novels, and pre-puberty works, which are a few other novels.
But the turning point and maturity of Dostoevsky, after which Dostoevsky changed in general, is the period of his sentence.
During his four years in prison, Dostoevsky served a sentence he deeply believed was not commensurate with his crime. He was only present in a group, reading only letters and doing nothing else.
In fact, according to Dostoevsky – The Controversy of Doubt, the only definitive charge against Dostoevsky was that he read a famous letter at a rally on April 15, which, of course, was banned in Russia, in which Blinsky accused Gogol. His conversion to religion and political orthodoxy had been criticized.
Now consider that on this charge, Dostoevsky goes to a prison where the convicts were mostly murderers, thieves, and adulterers, and they do not regret any of what they did.
Throughout the book, the deadly grief and sorrow of a man who has to live in a strange and alien world, a man who has been deprived of all human rights, waves.
This sensitive and nervous man, with an unquenchable thirst, seeks bright faces, love and unity in this dreadful abyss, and weeps at the parting of his lost freedom.
His penetrating eyes read the dark thoughts and distant dreams of the prisoners beyond the sorrowful and gloomy foreheads of the prisoners, and bring them to paper with unparalleled skill and power.
Sentences from the text of the novel Memoirs of the House of the Dead
Prison is a good school for teaching patience to human beings.
The winters took us to the sanatorium very early. In the sanatorium, we had to stay at least four hours for all the prisoners to fall asleep. By that time, screams, laughter, and insults could be heard!
The sound of chains breaking, the stench of thick fumes and smoke, shaved heads, red-hot faces. The ragged and torn clothes were embarrassing and awful! Yes, man has a difficult life.
I think the best definition that can be given to man is: “Man is a creature that is accustomed to everything.”
Without work, without law, and without all things that belong to him, man is no longer human, and he perishes and returns as an animal.
The reality of everything creates an image in man that is completely different from the idea that man assumes or hears. My method was to behave as simply as possible, to be independent, to make no effort to approach them, and at the same time, if they wished to come to me, not to drive them away, not to be intimidated by their threats and kinetics. And behave as if I have not the slightest suspicion of them, sometimes I do not approach them and do not participate in some of their morals and habits; In short, I do not seek their friendship and camaraderie.
Although it seemed impossible to live like this, it was not long before I accepted it; Because I saw myself in the face of the inevitable.
Humanity, brotherly love and compassion for patients are sometimes more effective than medicine.
I wanted to know, to be precise, the different degrees of convictions and all the differences between the punishments and the opinions that the convicts express about it.
I was trying to imagine the mental state of those who were going to corporal punishment. As I have said before, it is very rare for a convicted person to be able to keep his composure at the moment of punishment;
Even if he has been flogged several times.
At that moment, he feels a completely natural and physical horror, acute, involuntary and unconscious, and this horror confuses him.
From the first day I was in prison, events like this explicitly confirmed all my views and brutally affected my nerves.
For the first summer, I had nothing but confusion and was almost always alone. My state of mind did not allow me to examine or even recognize the feelings of the prisoners who were closing in on me.
However, they also never treated me as an equal.
Only one thing, a burning desire for resurrection and resurrection and continuing to live a transformed life, gave me the courage to wait and hope.
“Memories of the House of the Dead” is one of Dostoevsky’s great works. Some consider it his masterpiece.
Dostoevsky paints the tragedy of human life well in this book.
Concerning the intensity of the effect that reading this book leaves on the reader, it is enough to mention the same thing that he cried when Emperor Nicholas, the same executioner who was the founder of the House of the Dead, read it!
In Dostoevsky’s Memoirs of the House of the Dead, he recounts part of his story of being imprisoned in a Siberian prison.
But at the same time, he introduces other prisoners, tells their sad story in a novel way, and scrutinizes their nature, and reveals many of the inner secrets of human beings.
These four years of imprisonment completely changed Dostoevsky. He was no longer a happy and fighting man. He no longer had any hope for mankind and had no choice but to surrender to the blind forces. These four years were not a joke: according to Dostoevsky himself, he had been buried alive during these four years.
These four years of forced death had crippled his will so much that he sometimes found nothing but eating and gambling to escape the pain of grief. The man was dark. His whole life was more like a blazing fire, a fire that gradually turned the essence of his being to ashes.
The horrific narratives of the prisoners and the horrible atmosphere of being associated with the criminals are a part of the atmosphere of the story.
“Dostoevsky is the only psychologist I have learned anything from,” says Nietzsche. He has been one of the best windmills in my life. “Our acquaintance with him was even better than the discovery of Stendhal.”
When a philosopher like Nietzsche praises the Russian genius in this way, we, the petty genius readers, must praise Dostoevsky a hundredfold. But until we read his works and understand it, we can not glorify him.
Dostoevsky’s writings are like opium, which is opium for the wise and a poison for the ignorant.
About the diary of the house of the dead
The House of the Dead by Fyodor Dostoevsky was published in 1860. The book is the life story of Alexander Batrovich, who kills his wife and then introduces himself to the police.
He was sentenced to ten years in prison with hard labor and sent to the convicts’ residence. With his descriptions, this character provides an in-depth picture of the closed and gray space of the prison and narrates the lives of other prisoners.
“Fyodor Dostoevsky” wrote this book based on his time in prison, which is why it is considered one of his most personal works.
In prison, he became very familiar with the bitterness and suffering, and in fact, he was buried alive at that time.
He narrates these observations of the prison environment in the story of the book “Memories of the House of the Dead”, which impresses every reader in such a way that “Emperor Nicholas”, the founder of the House of the Dead, cried after reading this work.
Russian novelist and writer Ivan Turgenev has compared some parts of this work with Dante Alighieri’s “Hell” and “Mehrdad Mehrineh”, the translator of this work into Persian, has considered this book a masterpiece of this author.
About Fyodor Dostoevsky
“Fyodor Dostoyevsky” Fyodor Dostoyevsky, a prominent Russian writer and translator, was born on November 11, 1821 in Moscow, the capital of Russia.
He spent his childhood in ordinary families and lost his mother at a young age. As a teenager, he passed the entrance exams for the St. Petersburg School of Military Engineering and graduated a few years later with the rank of officer.
He worked for a time in the Ministry of War, but after a while he started translating and writing stories. He studied the stories of Nikolai Gogol, one of the leading writers of nineteenth-century Russia, and under his influence published his first short stories.
In 1845 he wrote the story of the “poor” and pursued writing seriously. The books “Hamzad”, “Mr. Prokharchin”, “The Housewife”, and “Bright Nights” are among the other works of this author in this period.
The famous Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky was engaged in intellectual activities for some time, and for this reason he was arrested and imprisoned for overthrowing the regime.
He changed a lot during this period and wrote important and lasting stories. After his release, he traveled to Europe for a while and gambled. He died of pulmonary hemorrhage in February 1881 and was buried in Tikhvin Cemetery in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The magnificent works of “Fyodor Dostoevsky” were admired by many people and are still on the list of bestsellers in the world for more than a hundred years.
“Dostoevsky is the only psychologist I have learned anything from,” Nietzsche said. He has been one of the best windmills in my life. “Our acquaintance with him was even better than the discovery of Stendhal.”
Dostoevsky’s imprisonment is remembered as a turning point in his life. Where all of Dostoevsky’s moral values suddenly faded.
He has had works before this period, but the 5 works that have been written after this period are known as significant and prominent works. These works are as follows:
Crime and Punishment
2- Introducing the book The House of the Dead in Aparat