Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-81), Russian novelist. At 16 he entered military engineering school, but later re-signed his commission in order to write. Poor Folk (1846) was a minor success. In 1849 Dostoyevsky was condemned to death as a revolutionary but reprieved at the last moment and sent to Siberia for four years hard labour, during which his tendency to epilepsy increased. During the 1860s he fell into debt but his first major novels, Crime and Punishment (1866) and The Idiot (1868-69), enabled him to pay off some of his creditors. After The Possessed (1871-72) and The Brothers Karamazov (1879-80), Dostoyevsky was recognized as one of the greatest Russian writers of the age.