Born November 11, 1821, to parents Mikhail and Maria, Fyodor Dostoyevsky was the second of seven children. His mother died of an illness in 1837, and his father died two years later, reportedly murdered by his own serfs. Shortly after his mother’s death Dostoyevsky was enrolled at the Military Engineering Academy at St. Petersburg, which served as a recruiting pool for the Russian bureaucracy. However, even as he was studying the trade of government, he was honing his skills as a writer, inking drafts of what would become his first novel, Poor Folk, which was published in 1846 to warm critical response. Dostoyevsky was arrested and imprisoned in 1849 for anti-government activities linked to a radical intellectual group, the Petrashevsky Circle, and on November 16 that year he was sentenced to death. After a mock execution in which he faced a staged firing squad, Dostoyevsky’s sentence was commuted to a number of years of exile performing hard labor at a katorga prison camp in Omsk, Siberia. He was released from prison in 1854, and was required to serve another four years in the Siberian Regiment. This was a turning point in the author’s life. Dostoyevsky abandoned his earlier radical sentiments and became deeply conservative and extremely religious. Released from his imprisonment and service by 1858, he began a fourteen-year period of furious writing, in which he published many significant texts. Among these are: The House of the Dead (1862), Notes from the Underground (1864), Crime and Punishment (1866), The Idiot (1868), and Devils (1871). In 1860, he returned to St. Petersburg, where he ran a series of unsuccessful literary journals with his older brother Mikhail. Dostoyevsky was devastated by his first wife’s death in 1864, followed shortly thereafter by his brother’s death. On February 15, 1867, Dostoyevsky married his stenographer, Anna Grigorevna Snitkina, who would manage his affairs until his death in 1881. Two months before he died, Dostoyevsky completed the epilogue to The Brothers Karamazov (1880), which was published in serial form in the “Russian Messenger.” He died on February 9, 1881.