- The House of the Dead (novel)
The House of the Dead (Russian: Записки из Мёртвого дома) is a novel published in 1861 in the journal Vremya by Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky, which portrays the life of convicts in a Siberian prison camp. The novel has also been published under the titles Memoirs from the House of The Dead and Notes from the Dead House.
The book is a loosely-knit collection of facts and events connected to life in a Siberian prison, organised by "theme" rather than as a continuous story. Dostoyevsky himself spent four years in exile in such a camp following his conviction for involvement in the Petrashevsky Circle. This experience allowed him to describe with great authenticity the conditions of prison life and the characters of the convicts.
After his mock execution on the 22nd of December 1849, Dostoevsky was spared his life in exchange for 4 years of servitude in one of Siberia’s prison labour camps. Though he was often met with hostility from the other prisoners due to his status of “gentleman,” his views on life had changed and this precious gift, he did not take for granted. Ten years later, Dostoevsky returned to Russia to write, The House of the Dead. This novel mirrors several of the horrifying experiences he witnessed while in prison. He recalls the guards’ brutality and relish in performing unspeakably cruel acts, the crimes that the convicted criminals committed, and the fact that tousled amongst these great brutes were good and decent individuals. However, he also displays admiration for the convicts’ abilities to commit murders without the slightest change in conscience. It was a stark contrast to himself and his high sensitivity levels. It was during his time in prison that he first began experiencing his epileptic seizures. House of the Dead led Dostoevsky to include the theme of murder in his later works, a theme not found in any of his works preceding House of the Dead.
The narrator, Aleksandr Petrovich Goryanchikov, has been sentenced to penalty deportation to Siberia and ten years of hard labour. Life in prison is particularly hard for Aleksandr Petrovich, since he is a "gentleman" and suffers the malice of the other prisoners, nearly all of whom belong to the peasantry. Gradually Goryanchikov overcomes his revulsion at his situation and his fellow convicts, undergoing a spiritual re-awakening that culminates with his release from the camp. It is a work of great humanity; Dostoyevsky portrays the inmates of the prison with sympathy for their plight, and also expresses admiration for their energy, ingenuity and talent. He concludes that the existence of the prison, with its absurd practices and savage corporal punishments is a tragic fact, both for the prisoners and for Russia itself.
Many of the characters in the novel were very similar to the real-life people that Dostoevsky met while in prison. While many of the characters do mirror real-life people, he has also made it so that some of the characters appear more interesting than their real-life counterparts.
- ^ Joseph Frank, Introduction to The House of the Dead and Poor Folk, Barnes and Noble, 2004
- ^ "Fyodor Dostoyevsky." Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2011. Web. 23 Oct.2011
- ^ Dostoevsky, Fedor. Memoirs From the House of the Dead. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1956. Print.
- Full text of The House of the Dead in the original Russian
- Full text of The House of the Dead in English at the Internet Archive
Works by Fyodor Dostoyevsky Novels and
Poor Folk (1846) · The Double: A Petersburg Poem (1846) · Netochka Nezvanova (1849) · Uncle's Dream (1859) · The Village of Stepanchikovo (1859) · Humiliated and Insulted (1861) · The House of the Dead (1862) · Notes from Underground (1864) · Crime and Punishment (1866) · The Gambler (1867) · The Idiot (1869) · The Eternal Husband (1870) · Demons (1872) · The Adolescent (1875) · The Brothers Karamazov (1880)
"Mr. Prokharchin" (1846) · "Novel in Nine Letters" (1847) · "The Landlady" (1847) · "The Jealous Husband" (1848) · "A Weak Heart" (1848) · "Polzunkov" (1848) · "The Honest Thief" (1848) · "The Christmas Tree and a Wedding" (1848) · "White Nights" (1848) · "A Little Hero" (1849) · "A Nasty Anecdote" (1862) · "The Crocodile" (1865) · "Bobok" (1873) · "The Heavenly Christmas Tree" (1876) · "The Meek One" (1876) · "The Peasant Marey" (1876) · "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man" (1877)
Winter Notes on Summer Impressions (1863) · A Writer's Diary (1873–1881)
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
City of the Dead (novel) — City of the Dead Author(s) Brian Keene Country United States … Wikipedia
Procession of the Dead (novel) — Procession of the Dead is a book written by Darren O Shaughnessy (more commonly known by his pen name Darren Shan) that was originally published in February 1999 in the UK under the name of Ayuamarca. It is the first hpopularity under the new… … Wikipedia
The Silence of the Lambs (novel) — infobox Book | name = The Silence of the Lambs title orig = translator = image caption = deletable image caption author = Thomas Harris cover artist = country = United States language = English series = Hannibal Lecter genre = Thriller, Horror… … Wikipedia
The House of the Dead — may refer to:* The House of the Dead (novel) , a novel published in 1862 by Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky* The House of the Dead (series) , a light gun video game series made by Sega: ** The House of the Dead (arcade game) ** The House of the… … Wikipedia
The Shining (novel) — The Shining First edition … Wikipedia
The Dead Zone (TV series) — The Dead Zone Format Science fiction Thriller Suspense Drama Created by Stephen King Developed … Wikipedia
The Dead (Higson novel) — The Dead (The Enemy 2) Author(s) Charlie Higson … Wikipedia
The Dead (short story) — The Dead Author James Joyce Country Ireland Language English Genre(s) Short story or Novella … Wikipedia
The Dreamers (novel series) — The Dreamers is the title of a fantasy series by David Eddings and his wife Leigh Eddings. The story revolves around four beings known as The Elder Gods residing in the land of Dhrall: Dahlaine of the North, Veltan of the South, Zelana of the… … Wikipedia
The Collectors (novel) — The Collectors is a thriller by David Baldacci. It was released in 2006 by Warner Books. Plot The Speaker of the House and the head of the rare books collection in Washington are both found dead. The Speaker has been killed by a sniper at a party … Wikipedia