Notes from a Dead House
Publisher: Adelphi Press
Aleksandr Petrovich Goryanchikov, has been sentenced to penalty deportation to Siberia and ten years of hard labour for murdering his wife. 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; Dostoevsky portrays the inmates of the prison with sympathy for their plight, and also expresses admiration for their energy, ingenuity and talent. This semi-autobiographical text is a loosely-knit collection of facts, events and philosophical discussion organised by theme. Dostoevsky himself spent four years in exile following his conviction for involvement in the Petrashevsky Circle.