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  • Published: 15 April 2016
  • ISBN: 9780307949875
  • Imprint: Knopf US
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $26.99

Notes From A Dead House



From the renowned translators: a new rendering—certain to become the definitive version—of the first great prison memoir, a fictionalized account of the writer’s life-changing penal servitude in Siberia.

In 1849, Dostoevsky was sentenced to four years at hard labor in a Siberian prison camp for participating in a socialist discussion group. The novel he wrote after his release, based on notes he smuggled out, not only brought him fame, but also founded the tradition of Russian prison writing. Notes from a Dead House (sometimes translated as The House of the Dead) depicts brutal punishments, feuds, betrayals, and the psychological effects of confinement, but it also reveals the moments of comedy and acts of kindness that Dostoevsky witnessed among his fellow prisoners. 
       To get past government censors, Dostoevsky made his narrator a common-law criminal rather than a political prisoner, but the perspective is unmistakably his own. His incarceration was a transformative experience that nourished all his later works, particularly Crime and Punishment. Dostoevsky’s narrator discovers that even among the most debased criminals there are strong and beautiful souls. His story is, finally, a profound meditation on freedom: “The prisoner himself knows that he is a prisoner; but no brands, no fetters will make him forget that he is a human being.” 

  • Published: 15 April 2016
  • ISBN: 9780307949875
  • Imprint: Knopf US
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $26.99

About the author

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Fyodor Dostoevsky was born in Moscow on 11th November 1821. He had six siblings and his mother died in 1837 and his father in 1839. He graduated from the St Petersburg Academy of Military Engineering in 1846 but decided to change careers and become a writer. His first book, Poor Folk, did very well but on 23rd April 1849 he was arrested for subversion and sentenced to death. After a mock-execution his sentence was commuted to hard labour in Siberia where he developed epilepsy.He was released in 1854. His 1860 book, The House of the Dead was based on these experiences. In 1857 he married Maria Dmitrievna Isaeva. After his release he adopted more conservative and traditional values and rejected his previous socialist position. In the following years he spent a lot of time abroad, struggled with an addiction to gambling and fell deeply in debt. His wife died in 1864 and he married Anna Grigoryeva Snitkina. In the following years he published his most enduring and successful books, including Crime and Punishment (1865). He died on 9th February 1881

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