Although not the most prolific author in history, Dostoevsky is largely lauded by those writers and thinkers who followed him, from Hemingway through to Sartre. Seen by some as more of a psychologist than as an author his work is still relevant to the human condition today; although the casual reader may still find his work somewhat laborious.
Like so many Russian authors of the time, a number of his works were first printed in serial form in the Russian Messenger periodical (copies of which are extremely unusual) before being produced in full novel format. Later, collectable English language versions of his work tend to stem from the early twentieth century translations – most notably those of Constance Garnett.
Novels, short stories and collections of essays all form part of Dostoevsky’s catalogue and most are very accessible to the collector. Always assuming of course that they are willing to carry out the usual intrepid sift through the good, the bad and the ugly that various auctions offer.
Prices are reasonably consistent across his entire collection and, for such a highly regarded author, surprisingly economical. A 1948 limited edition copy of Crime and Punishment for example can be picked up for less than $70-80 while a copy of The Brothers Karamazov (a much larger piece of work) can be yours for $120 to $300 (for the 1949 and 1933 versions respectively)
His posthumously published notebooks, Stavrogin’s Confession, from 1922 were partially translated/ edited by Virginia Woolf. One may be forgiven for thinking that this high-profile literally link may increase the price significantly but even an original 1922 Hogarth Press copy in reasonable condition can still be obtained for $250.
Dostoevsky endured huge hardship and poverty during his life, and of course this contributed towards his understand of the human psyche. While his work may not have had the social impact of some authors he has become much respected by scholars and students. While the general populous may not know the specifics of his work, Dostoevsky has a highly accessible and largely affordable catalogue of works that collectors may well feel presents an opportunity for them to invest.
Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Brothers Karamazov. Limited Editions Club, New York (1933). 1500 copies ; 3 vols; translated by Constance Garnett, with an introduction by Avrahm Yarmolinsky, illustrations by Alexander King; printed by D.B. Updike at The Merrymount Press
Dostoevsky, Fyodor. The Greatest Masterpieces of Russian Literature: Crime and Punishment, The Possessed, The Brothers Karamazov, Poor Folk, The Gambler, Letters from the Underworld, The House of the Dead, The Idiot, Anna Karenina, Resurrection, Smoke, Fathers and Sons, Virgin Soil, Oblomov, Foma Gordyeeff, Tales, The Artamonov Business, The Captain's Daughter and Other Stories, Through Russia, Taras Bulba, The Golovlyov Family. Heron Books, London (1960). 16 volumes
Dostoevsky, Fyodor. A Raw Youth. Translated by Constance Garnett with an introduction by Konstantin Mochulsky and illustrated with wood engravings by Fritz Eichenberg.. Stamperia Valdonega, Limited Editions Club (1974).
Dostoevsky, Fyodor. The House Of The Dead. Limited Editions Club, New York (1982). Limited Editions Club; Designed by Michael Bixler; Bound by Robert Burlen and Son in full French dark-gray Toile Athena cotton stamped in copper with cover typography by Antonie Eichenberg; With an extra engraving by Fritz Eichenberg; 2000 copies