8. Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Most celebrated stories: The Double (1846), The House Of The Dead (1862), Notes From The Underground (1864), Crime And Punishment (1866)
Life story: Fittingly, the literary trailblazer behind the epic novel Crime And Punishment was no stranger to harsh chastisement in real life. Along with several other free-thinking writers and intellectuals, the Moscow-born Dostoyevsky was sent to the slammer for his participation in a group known as the Petrashevsky Circle, a rebellious sect dedicated to pissing off and challenging Russia’s tsarist regime.
Dostoyevsky was sentenced to death, but when he and some fellow Circle members were forced to freeze their asses off before a patient firing squad, their captors decided to let the game-changing author live. Not that his next move was all that agreeable, though; Dostoyevsky was sent to a prison camp where he was stuck doing hard labor and living in filth for four years. Those days spent inside the wretched camp inspired some of his best stories, as did his later gambling addiction (see: 1867’s The Gambler).