On my recent trip to St. Petersburg, I balanced out the vodka and caviar with some slightly more edifying museum visits. Given Russia’s rich literary heritage, you could hardly walk a block without coming across a sign or historical marker that had a connection to some famous novelist or other.
There’s something about seeing an author’s home, though, that seems especially significant. I’m no Dostoyevsky expert—that title belongs to the friend with the Russian lit degree whom I was traveling with—but of the writer’s homes we visited in St. Petersburg, my favorite was the Dostoyevsky Memorial Museum. Located in a corner flat (which Dostoyevsky reportedly preferred) not far from the Vladimirskaya metro station, this was Dostoyevsky’s home from 1878 to 1881. He wrote The Brothers Karamozov here, and it was where he died on January 28, 1881.
Since it cost 200 rubles (about $7) to take pictures inside (a common practice at Russian tourist sites), I thought I’d get my money’s worth by sharing them here—so after the jump, pictures and notes on the Dostoyevsky Museum.
According to my Walkman audio guide, Dostoyevsky was a real family man and ate supper with his wife and children every night at 6 o’clock. The apartment’s most touching relics were the handwritten notes from his children (who were all quite young when he died) asking for sweets and telling him they loved him.
Accounts of Dostoyevsky’s death vary, but the story told here is that during a late-night writing session, the author dropped his pen, which rolled under the bookcase behind the desk. He tried to move the bookcase and suffered a pulmonary embolism. Two days later, he was dead. The clock on the right is set for the date and time of his death.
Which writers’ homes have you visted and especially enjoyed, and what made them special?