Fyodor Dostoevsky strikes me as a person with an acute awareness of human feelings and he had a unique way of describing most subtle parts of human psyche. He was a very wise man in my opinion. He suffered from epileptic seizures and he had hypergraphia. Now, I often contend against anything like hypergraphia to be taken as a disease. At most compulsive scribbling might make you less sociable than others, but, as far as perceptiveness is concerned it’s a boon. For those interested in Graphology, he had a very tiny handwriting suggesting subtle thought process and acute intelligence along with introversion. You can access a sample of his handwriting from a letter he wrote to his brother Michael in 1838, here:
He was a very introverted writer. He examined his own thoughts and feelings with grim attention, as if, he was a meditator and this made him reach those regions of his own psyche where only a few reach and see bare emotions and feelings and roots of thoughts.
His ideas, as expressed first in The Notes from the Ground are often considered as precursors of twentieth century Existentialism. When it comes to the originality of insights, this man was second to none and can be compared only to Friedrich Nietzsche when it comes to the profundity of insights.
Friedrich Nietzsche referred to Dostoevsky as “the only psychologist from whom I have something to learn: he belongs to the happiest windfalls of my life, happier even than the discovery of Stendhal.” He said that Notes from Underground “cried truth from the blood.”
Even when you read his works translated into English from Russian, the quintessence of his profound thinking touches you deeply and moves you.
In spite of being a writer he surpasses almost all Psychologists when it comes to the richness of his intellect as a Psychologist. He excels when you compare him with Jung or Freud. His books are classics of Psychological fiction. Even as a philosopher there are very few who have been more profound.
James Joyce and Virginia Woolf praised his prose. Ernest Hemingway cited Dostoevsky as a major influence on his work, in his posthumous collection of sketches A Moveable Feast. In a book of interviews with Arthur Power (Conversations with James Joyce), Joyce praised Dostoevsky’s prose:
…he is the man more than any other who has created modern prose, and intensified it to its present-day pitch. It was his explosive power which shattered the Victorian novel with its simpering maidens and ordered commonplaces; books which were without imagination or violence.
In her essay The Russian Point of View, Virginia Woolf said:
The novels of Dostoevsky are seething whirlpools, gyrating sandstorms, waterspouts which hiss and boil and suck us in. They are composed purely and wholly of the stuff of the soul. Against our wills we are drawn in, whirled round, blinded, suffocated, and at the same time filled with a giddy rapture. Out of Shakespeare there is no more exciting reading
Sigmund Freud wrote an article titled Dostoevsky and Parricide, asserting that the greatest works in the world literature are all about parricide; though he is critical of Dostoevsky’s work overall, his inclusion of The Brothers Karamazov among the three greatest works of literature is remarkable.
image source: here