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Main page » Fiction literature » The House of the Dead and Poor Folk

The House of the Dead and Poor Folk


Arrested in 1849 for belonging to a secret group of radical utopians, Fyodor Dostoevsky was sentenced to four years in a Siberian labor camp - a terrible mental, spiritual, and physical ordeal that inspired him to write the novel The House of the Dead.

Told from the point of view of a fictitious narrator - a convict serving a ten-year sentence for murdering his wife - The House of the Dead describes in vivid detail the horrors that Dostoevsky himself witnessed while in prison: the brutality of guards who relish cruelty for its own sake; the evil of criminals who enjoy murdering children; and the existence of decent souls amid filth and degradation. More than just a work of documentary realism, The House of the Dead also describes the spiritual death and gradual resurrection from despair experienced by the novel’s central character - a reawakening that culminates in his final reconciliation with himself and humanity.

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Tags: novel, House, spiritual, describes, himself, House, novel, Dostoevsky