• Carmen Milligan

Literary History Calendar

I love the Flavorwire Literary Calendars. Daily literary goodness for the entire year, broken off into bite-sized monthly pieces!

Let's see what's on tap for today ... goodness! Not a great day for one of Russia's best-known authors. Fyodor Dostoevsky is sentenced to death for antigovernment activities in 1849. And, as any good historical tidbit does, I felt compelled to do a little research.

Evidently, Fyodor had been participating in a radical intellectual discussion group called the Petrashevsky Circle. The term "radical intellectual discussion group" made me smile because, basically, it was a book club. The Circle was a group of liberals (my word for "progressively minded people" which were almost certainly all men because, in 1849, women weren't really considered "people") who met to discuss literature and philosophy.

Nicholas I knew what we all know now: readers are thinkers. And thinkers are something he did NOT want. He had them rounded up, arrested, and brought before a firing squad. However, it was a planned deception to scare the bejeezus out of them because Nicholas had already commuted their sentences to incarceration either to Siberia work camps or prison.

November in Siberia? No, thank you!

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