SAVED BY STENOGRAPHY (Illustration) Fiction Geography World History Education Film

Russian Stenography was a new skill which Anna Grigoryevna Snitkina had when she first met Fyodor Dostoevsky in 1866.  This image depicts a page from “Russian Stenography” as it was used in the time of Imperial Russia. Manual, by Elli Zelmer, published in 1907. Click on the image for a clearer view.


No one, least of all Stellovsky, believed Dostoevsky could write a complete book and deliver the polished manuscript in thirty days. Not wanting to give the author a way out, the publisher refused to grant an extension of time.

Friends offered to write parts of the new story, but Dostoevsky declined to take credit for words that weren't his. Besides, he was the one who had intimate knowledge about the book's subject: the joys and sorrows of gambling.

When the situation looked completely hopeless, Alexander Milyukov had an idea. What about the new science of stenography? Was it possible for his friend to dictate a novel?

Twenty-year-old Anna Grigoryevna Snitkina, newly graduated from stenography school, visited Fyodor at his St. Petersburg apartment on October 4th. With less than a month before his book was due, the writer was not sure he could work with a stenographer. But Anna - who greatly admired Dostoevsky's The House of the Dead - thought she could help.

If he were able to simultaneously develop the plot while dictating his book, the writer might be able to save himself from Stellovsky's clutches. At least he was familiar with his topic. A compulsive gambler, Dostoevsky's weakness was the roulette wheel. Losing thousands to a Wiesbaden casino had caused him to ask Stellovsky for money in the first place.

Desperate to deliver his novel on time, Dostoevsky began dictating to the new stenographer (who would later become his wife). The working title of his book was Roulettenburg.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5197stories and lessons created

Original Release: May 01, 2003

Updated Last Revision: Mar 19, 2018

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"SAVED BY STENOGRAPHY" AwesomeStories.com. May 01, 2003. Jun 02, 2020.
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