DOSTOIEVSKY'S father was a spendthrift and gave his sons a bad start in life. Fyodor became an epileptic, and suffered much through ill‐health. All his books reflect his hard lot; and they are also permeated by the spirit of fear which held in thrall the minds of the Russian intellectuals. This unhappy condition caused not only the writings of Dostoievsky, but also most of the Russian literature of the time, to be what it is: humorless, cruel, violent, and strained: saved only from utter hopelessness by the eternal element of pity.
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