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Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) was born in Moscow and later lived in St. Petersburg. In 1849 Dostoevsky was arrested for his involvement in the Petrashevsky Circle, a literary group that was critical of the Tsarist government. He was sentenced to death by firing squad, but the sentence was stayed at the last moment. Dostoevsky spent the next four years in a Siberian prison camp, followed by six years of compulsory military service. Before his arrest, Dostoevsky had gained some notoriety when Vissarion Belinsky, the renowned literary critic, lauded Dostoevsky’s Poor Folk as the first truly “social novel.” However, returning after years in exile, Dostoevsky became less concerned with addressing social issues directly, focusing instead on themes that would become central to existentialist thought - specifically individual psychology, suffering, absurdity, agency, and the formation of meaning. Dostoevsky’s novels, short stories, and essays have had an immeasurable influence on many of the 20th century’s greatest thinkers. Albert Einstein wrote, “Dostoevsky gives me more than any scientist,” and “The Brothers Karamazov is the most wonderful book that I have ever laid my hands on.” Nietzsche called Dostoevsky “the only psychologist from whom I have anything to learn,” and Freud declared that “The Brothers Karamazov is the most magnificent novel ever written.” Dostoevsky’s work continues to be widely read, speaking to each new generation with a freshness and vision that refuses political, philosophical, and religious classification.