Dostoevsky: Crime and Punishment
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Share your thoughts and commentary on Dostoevsky's work Crime and Punishment.
I'm reading Crime and Punishment just now (I'm roughly on one fifth) and though I like it far better than I expected (I feared it would be good, but cumbersome, but only the first part of my expectation came true), all the names are already starting to get messy in my head! All these people who are referred to by different names... I'm thinking I might post a list with all the characters' names to keep track of them.
I'll be racing down slopes and drinking glühwein next week in the Alps (and hopefully reading a good deal), so unfortunately I won't be able to join in this discussion for a week, but I'm looking forward to finding a blossoming discussion on my return!
tardenz> This will be my first one as well since I started it and stopped half way through. This time I am DEFINITELY making a list of names. I found this book to be grueling the first time around, and since I'm stuck with him for a year I want to make it as pleasant as possible this time.
This is going to be my first one too as it's already on my list for this year and in the bookcase. One of those, 'I should have read it' books. Maybe if I'm good this year, I'll treat myself to the Folio Society copy of Karamazov later on ...
I read this just last year so (September maybe?) so I'll go back through the book and post some of my thoughts from it. And follow the discussion which I think might make me like it more than I liked it the first time I read it. Usually discussing and pondering books afterwards really seals the deal on liking it. :)
This is the first and only Dostoevsky book I have read, found it interesting enough to list it in my Top 10 books of the year which incidentally contained quite a few classics, including another Russian lit, Anna Karenina.
I will read Crime and Punishment, too, as I have a copy. My girls studied this in school. But I'll read BK first.
I read Crime & Punishment many years ago and was looking forward to a reread but like #9Billiejean I will be reading BK first with the 999 Challenge group.
I read this way back in high school (but on my own) and I definitely made a list of names on an index card that I used as a book mark to keep track of the characters. It made a world of difference for me. I might just check back on this thread - and even maybe read the book? to see what you all have to say.
I'm about half way through and I'm glad to say that it doesn't seem as onerous this time around. (The first time I tried to read it, a few months ago, I quit midway with no intention of ever trying again.) I still find some of the characters to be rather extreme, which makes them hard to relate to. They seem like they're just symbols to me, standing in for D's ideas rather than being characters of their own. Marmeladov is the main example of this.
This page, by the way, lists what various characters names mean in Russian, if you scroll all the way down past the plot summary.
Finished C&P yesterday. I'm prepping a longer series of thoughts to post in my blog later. For now just some general comments.
The beginning does really start off slowly. I realized this when I discovered how much I was enjoying the book. The beginning had made me dread it so, but once the police investigation took off, everything intensified. The conversations between Porfiry and Roddy really built up the intensity of Roddy's anguish. Quite surreal too, Porfiry's near-psychic abilities and the way he was able to utilize them to torment Roddy. Crime novels are so ubequitious today that it's enjoyable to see that the most classic one is an upside-down one-- we follow the criminal rather than the detective. (The Talented Mr. Ripley is like that as well.)
I read this many years ago (anything up to eighteen years ago!) but I have never forgotten it and the impact it had on me. I really believed in Roddy's phychological torment and found it be an excellent examination of the conscience of this man. I have been recommending it ever since.
I am jealous of those of you discovering it for the first time. I will try to reread it this year as part of this project but am going to read as many of his other novels as I can fit in along with my other reading projects this year (I don't know about you guys but what with the Annual Author, the Quarterly Author, the Monthly Author, the Ulysses endeavour and all the little books that interfere with these targets by sneaking into your bag because they just happen to suit the mood you're in at that time, not to mention work and life and play- I'm finding it hard to make the progress at the rate I had hoped for).
I only started the Demons last night so more than half of Feb has passed without me even commencing this challenge - mainly because (a) the Demons (my chosen first read) is a brick and therefore not particularly handbag friendly and (b) Nam Le's short story collection (which slinked unnoticed into my bag at the start of the week) has proven to be unputdownable.
Anyway, I digress. To fix the first problem. I am making the Demons the book I read in bed.
At least I've made a start...!
Posted my final thoughts about C&P on my blog, along with a post comparing it to the movie Osaka Elegy.
Yeeeh! I finished it!! Though I rather enjoyed reading it, I just wish I had read it for some sort of class with an old-fashioned professor who would have explained all deeper issues... I just suspect that there's a lot more to the story than I can see.
By the way, what did all of you think about the issue of "free will"? Dostoevsky refers to it a couple of times, as if Rodion doesn't have a will of his own, but acts out of temporary insanity or something--though he does plan the murder very carefully. How much do you think he did it out of free will?
And doesn't Rodion's theory in the magazine article strike you as very Nietscheskian, in that Rodion considers Napoleon (and himself) as an Übermensch, who is not bound by the laws that bind ordinary people? Is it possible that Dostoevky tries to illustrate what would happen if you'd believe in Nietsche's theories? (Probably this point has been raised a million times already...)
I'd like to know what the rest of you think!
I'm starting this one today (in my reading of D's major works in publication order). My first reading of Crime and Punishment!
The character Porfiry reminds me of the character Lt. Columbo from the television show of the same name, because of the humorous way in which the detective acts as if he is very confused and needs help from the main suspect, so much so that the criminal is less guarded than perhaps he should be. Maybe those TV writers used Porfiry as an archetype. :)
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