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Crime and Punishment (Enriched Classics) by…

Crime and Punishment (Enriched Classics) (original 1867; edition 2004)

by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
35,77440438 (4.24)2 / 922
Determined to overreach his humanity and assert his untrammelled individual will, Raskolnikov, an impoverished student living in the St. Petersburg of the Tsars, commits an act of murder and theft and sets into motion a story which, for its excrutiating suspense, its atmospheric vividness, and its profundity of characterization and vision, is almost unequaled in the literatures of the world. The best known of Dostoevsky's masterpieces, Crime and Punishment can bear any amount of rereading without losing a drop of its power over our imagination.… (more)
Title:Crime and Punishment (Enriched Classics)
Authors:Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Author)
Info:Simon & Schuster (2004), Edition: Enriched Classic, 704 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1867)

  1. 220
    The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky (PrincessPaulina, zasmine)
    PrincessPaulina: "The Idiot" is overlooked compared to Dostoevsky's other work, but in my opinion it's the most engaging. Deals with upper crust society in pre-revolutionary Russia
    zasmine: For more of his social dissection
  2. 191
    Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (Booksloth)
  3. 183
    The Trial by Franz Kafka (SanctiSpiritus, Kantar)
  4. 164
    The Stranger by Albert Camus (chrisharpe, DLSmithies)
    DLSmithies: A compare-and-contrast exercise - Raskolnikov is all nervous energy and hypertension, whereas Meursault is detatched, calm, and won't pretend to feel remorse. Two masterpieces.
  5. 103
    Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky (SanctiSpiritus, Kantar)
  6. 51
    Hunger by Knut Hamsun (ateolf)
  7. 51
    The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (infiniteletters)
  8. 51
    The Man Without Qualities: A Sort of Introduction; Pseudo Reality Prevails {Vol. 1 of 2} by Robert Musil (ateolf)
  9. 87
    The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings [Bantam Classics] by Edgar Allan Poe (GCPLreader)
  10. 22
    The Lost Highway by David Adams Richards (figsfromthistle)
    figsfromthistle: Both novels show the unravelling of the human conscience and the lengths the main protagonists go to convince themselves that their crime was necessary.
  11. 22
    Herzog by Saul Bellow (SanctiSpiritus)
  12. 610
    Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind (klerulo)
    klerulo: Both these works attempt to get inside the head of singularly amoral sociopathic murderers.
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» See also 922 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 353 (next | show all)
I really enjoyed this psychological character study. The main character was not likable, but I still found myself mesmerized by his story. The ending was perfect for the true nature of the novel and I enjoyed that, too. The supporting characters were interesting, too. I enjoyed the twists and turns, as they mirrored human nature. ( )
  jguidry | Oct 24, 2020 |
Classic struggle between impulsive behavior and psychological consequences. ( )
  mldavis2 | Sep 27, 2020 |
I started this book because a son was reading it before the school year started. He finished it when I had just barely started, and my reading languished as I read other books in my queue. Part of my delay was some debate over which translation to read. Once I got going again in it, I found it very interesting, and lost all fear that I was reading the "wrong" translation. I am delighted that the translation was good enough that I forgot that I was reading a translation.

There are so many classics that I have not read & until now, this was one of them. Reading a summary of a book just doesn't convey the depth of thought and feeling found in the original, although I did find the character summary (included in the Kindle version) useful in keeping track of who was who.

I think I need to start a Russian literature shelf. I think I need to read enough of them for a Russian literature shelf to make sense.
( )
  bread2u | Jul 1, 2020 |
Dostoevsky's masterpiece of phycological portraiture, moral depth, and intimate proto-existentialism remains a broadly studied work in not just Literature but History, Theology, Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, Political Science and Economics. It is a frighteningly accurate exposition of the internal monologue of the individual, the ethical-psychological duality of mere human existence. Crime & Punishment is his most well written and structurally congruent work; the characters are clean and manageable; the chronological cadence is easy to follow; the structure is symmetrical and balanced. He weaves in analysis and warning of Nihilism, Altruistic-Utilitarianism, Fatalism, the Aristotelian-medieval Rationalism within Western Christianity, and Utopian Socialism within the narratives of his characters.

Historically, this work is of tremendous importance as it is a firsthand account of how post-protestant central European Atheism of the mid 19th century superimposed itself onto Russia from the top down in the 20th. He provides a detailed, intimate, and personalized analysis of these ideas and how they spread through the elite and began to eat away at the foundation of a historically profoundly religious nation. The dreams the characters have (Raskolnikov's visions and Svidrigailov's nightmare) are powerful windows of symbolism to view Lenin, Stalin, and Trotsky through. Dostoevsky: come for the literature, stay for the Prophesy.

Written mostly in third person omniscient, the narrative is deeply embedded in the internal monologue of Raskolnikov. It begins myopically focused on his perception of reality for the first half of the novel, but the aperture begins to open up to explore the personalities surrounding Rask, and the narration shifts from limited third person to second person and then back to Omniscient third. The narration is dynamic, but the chronology is linear and easy to follow, making this novel accessible to even a grade school reader.

Our murderous, layered Protagonist is built from Dostoevsky's experiences as a young radical himself and when he was a friend of murders in his years of hard labor in Siberian gulags. Raskolnikov himself is not so much a critique or a polemic, but a lament. Rask is not a villain; he is a tragic character. Yet he is not merely a victim of his environment as the St. Petersburg Progressives of Dostoevsky's time would claim, but of his internal besy, demons, a cacophonic legion which inhabits him through the ideology of the Progressivist European intelligentsia.

When confronted by Rask over the engagement to Luzhin, Dunya/ Dunechka asks her brother directly, "why do you demand a heroism of me that you may not even have in yourself?" But the chief moral duty he carried in his heart about stopping the engagement of his sister Dunya to Luzhin was proven entirely correct, and without his intervention, it would have ended in ruining many lives. This is one of the only things the omnipotent narrator tells us point-blank after it is discovered by our band of protagonists; that Luzhin is filled with despicable perceptions and narcissistic malintent in seeking to marry Dunya. Rask's motives here are selfless, in sharp contrast to his other impulses.

Rask is a functional Atheist, not because he denies anything ideologically as his conversation with Porfiry unfolds, but rather through the practice of nascent Nihilistic Utilitarianism he inadvertently replaces himself as the ultimate good, i.e., God. In the anguish of recalling his transgression, "he fell on his knees to pray but burst out laughing instead... Not at praying, but at himself". He does not take Theism as a relevant reality; in all his lucid ramblings, he does not call on God nor is there a desire to repent. When he forces Sonya to read the passage concerning Lazarus out of her Russian New Testament, he only finds phenomenological importance in it; the metaphor, not the metamorphosis. Rask is embodiment of moral synergism: the interaction of action and belief within human psychology.

Raskol (Раскóл) means schism in Imperial Russian. The religious undertone of this word is overshadowed by the psychological; his internal world is a phenomenological tug-of-war between Nihilism, Rationalism, and associated Utilitarian Humanism, Christian concepts of redemption, and trans-societal absolutes, Judeo-Christian Phenomenological archetypes found in Lazarus and Judas; pagan Greek Rationalism and the antipodal Mysticism. His actions seem chaotic without this explanation of his internal state; he is incredibly cold and calculating but moved to self-sacrificial charity and defense of his family. The omniscient narrator writes, "Bits and scraps of various thoughts kept swarming in his head, but he could not grasp any one of them."

Normative literary criticism and textual analysis fail when encountering Dostoevsky's characters for precisely this reason. Psychoanalysis alone fails to adequately frame Rask because he is internally schismed in a perpetual state of existential diatribe against himself. His internal universe seems to drive his actions, not a pre-meditated external motif applied by the writer. And he is influenced by encountering the internal worlds of others around him, to varying degrees. And herein is what makes Dostoevsky's writings as fascinating to Freud as he was to Camus.

We see our Protagonist commit a brutal double murder right out of the gate, yet pages later, we find ourselves accidentally rooting for him, hoping he doesn't get caught. And here is the renowned genius of Dostoevsky; in the subtlety of making the reader understand, if only parenthetically and unconsciously, that 'I too am capable of unspeakable horrors.' And Dostoevsky does not let the reader off of this moral hook by blaming society or the environment, as Svidrigailov argues, "Everything depends on what circumstances and what environment lives in. The environment is everything, and the man himself is nothing." We see the result of Svidrigailov's Fatalism and rejection of personal agency all too graphically. This evil is not the result of external circumstance; it is in our souls, and it is a real and living entity to be struggled against, not a societal framework that can be de-constructed through science into non-existence.

Woven through the narrative is a dialectic on Determinism. Within all, evil action is a disengagement from personal agency proceeding from the distortion of providence. Whether it be Materialistic Determinism, individualized Predestinarianism, or all of the above, this is always a precursor to evil through the denial of personal agency and ultimate culpability. In the case of Raskolnikov, it is not religious Fatalism or Predestinarianism but an underdeveloped feeling of fate; that somehow, the universe has identified him as someone that the normal rules don't apply to. He remarks about the events proceeding the murder "the way it falls together so nicely...like a stage play," and without this serendipity, he most likely would not have gone through with it. Subsequently, his inability to repent is preceded by his inability to take full and complete responsibility for his actions: "It wasn't a human being I killed, it was a principle! I was not undertaking it not to satisfy my own flesh and lust, but with a splendid and agreeable goal in mind."

Other characters such as Svidrigailov hold to a well-developed Material Determinism. Still, others hold to a Catholic/ Protestant Augustinian Anthropology, and corresponding Theological Predestinarianism found within the Aristotelian-medieval Rationalism of the West. He sketches out the dark side of this horrifying Fatalism whitewashed with pleasant phrases like how wonderful it is to "live a story that God has already written." Within this facade lies the terrible potential for the soul; whether the portal is Atheism or militant Religion, it makes no difference.

Dostoevsky takes clear aim at Humanistic/ Altruistic Utilitarianism in its most elemental form, encompassing both the Western Benthamite variety and the particular Nihilistic Russian variety of the youth of st. Petersburg. Raskolnikov's double homicide is very clearly the result of the Hendonic (felicific) calculus, albeit a half-baked version of it. Porfiry notes that his awkward nascent Utilitarianism was the source of his actions: "If you'd come up with a different theory, you might have done something a hundred million times more hideous." Luzkhin's thinking and pieces of the internal monologue of other characters reflect this as well. All the varieties of Utilitarianism lead to different kinds of disasters.

While Rash is having tea with Porfiry, it comes to light that he wrote an article some time back on morality and societal progress, arguing that there exists a natural law between the ordinary and the extraordinary and that what is right and wrong varies depending on which category a person falls into. This naturalistic dichotomy between those who have no inclination to commit crimes for the better good, and those that do and must "remove obstacles" to their great endeavors. Later we see Rash justifying his actions along this philosophy "The true master, to whom all is permitted, sacks Toulon, makes a slaughterhouse of Paris, forgets an army in Egypt, expends half a million men in a Moscow campaign, and gets off with a pun in Vilno; and when he does they set up monuments to him- and thus everything is permitted." Later he exclaims, "What is noble is whatever is useful for mankind!" Mere decades later, Stalin, Hilter and Mao would mirror this logic nearly word-for-word.

The Benthamite variety, which has survived broadly in Western Society, still has many of the elements Dostoevsky levels his intellect at here in C&P. Through the reactionism of the exposed horrors of Utilitarianism + Social Darwinism which helped shape the National-Socialists of the Third Reich and the subsequent failing of "the great experiment" of the USSR, the Western world identified and expelled a great amount of Utilitarian thought throughout the latter half of the 20th century. Genetic purity, equality at the price of individual liberty, and the collective good are placed above all else were all concepts with a target on their back only because of the reaction against the Soviets and Nationalsozialismus.

A very specific pop-culture example of this "cleaning up" of Utilitarianism from modern Western society can be seen in Star Trek. In the original series, the phrase "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" was a frequent axiom clearly Utilitarian in nature, through the thinking of John Stewart Mill. In the moves that came out in the 2000s directly by the Jewish-American JJ Abrams, the dialogue explicitly states that this was a mistake of Starfleet to believe; that individual lives are not less important than the collective. This re-building of the internal mythology of a media franchise is a fascinating and clear return to Judeo-Christian thinking from Utilitarianism; Dostoevsky would approve.

Dost points out that Genocide is easily the conclusion of the calculus within Utilitarian Mathematics; eradicating inconvenient individuals behind closed doors is an even easier conclusion. Currently in American society, the only strong and clear remnant of Utilitarian Nihilism which survived that can be traced back explicitly through self-described Benthamite Utilitarians like Margaret Sanger is the redefinition of humanity for people at the fetal and sometimes infant stage of development and rephrasing this horror, as Raskolnikov does, as an individual right and moral necessity separate from societal approval. That is put simply ‘the ends justify the means’. The ideology and medical procedures were simultaneously perfected in under the reign of Nationalsozialismus; they were handed down to the educated Western world, all the way down to Tuft University re-writing the Hippocratic Oath. Previous to these American Progressives, the only doctors who re-wrote the Hippocratic Oath in Utilitarian fashion were those of the Third Reich. As Dostoevsky notes in Demons, this Hedonic calculus solves many problems in society but creates one or two issues where a even the most highly educated and socio-economically stable individuals become desensitized and detached to the point that they cannot see the living horrors before them.

In an early dream Rask has, a horse owner publicly beats his old mare to death as he looks on in horror at the brutal scene. All those around him look on with detached apathy, however. This metaphor for the horrors committed through the Utilitarian calculus under a thousand enlightened mottos: "They have the right to their own property/ bodily autonomy/ nation." For if a single human life is de-humanized in order to be considered disposable for the greater good, the tyranny of the Cult of Progress has begun.

We know from letters to friends that Dostoevsky's analysis of history pits him against the influence of the Pagan Greek philosophers in the whole of Western Christianity (particularly the former Platonist Augustine). He viewed Western Christianity as fundamentally tainted with pagan logic, particularly subjective individualism resulting in Fatalistic re-interpretations of the Pauline Epistles. This Theological Fatalism, which developed in Catholicism and was fully developed in Protestantism, directly transferred into Material Determinism. His long diatribes against Catholicism in both The Idiot and Demons put this on display. Subsequently, he sees Protestantism as not a reform, but further development of Catholicism. That is, Protestantism is not Reformed Christianity, but Reformed Catholicism. Zwinglianism, Calvinism, Lutheranism, Anglicanism, and their subsequent de-evolutions are the unwitting product of medieval legalism (via Anselm) stemming from Platonic individualism (via Augustine) and not substantively different than Papal logic; only some of the format changed. This Rationalist Platonic logic leads directly to Protestantism's proclivity to transmute into Atheism, as seen in history throughout Western Europe: Calvin's France and Luther's Germany were the first Atheistic countries that began outsourcing their new secular religions to a once deeply Orthodox Russia throughout the 19th century.

The manner in which Western Europe secularized was completely different from how Russia was forcibly secularized. Western Europe secularized from the inside out as the society itself changed; Catholics became Protestants, and Protestants became Atheists one-by-one until the whole nation had no God. It was the newly minted secularist Socio-political ideologies of this new Atheist Faith that was superimposed onto the religious North. Russia was forcibly secularized by a tiny, powerful elite that eliminated Faith with the military, executing thousands... ( )
  tnewcomb | Jun 5, 2020 |
Whew. It's difficult to consolidate my thoughts about this book, they're just churning.

Well, first off, there were a couple of really visceral sequences that stand out to me: when Raskolinikow murders the pawnbroker and its immediate aftermath when he's in a delirium, as well as the second time talking with Porfirij. And at the second last chapter, when he says goodbye to Pulcheria and the way she frets for him was really touching.

I admit I enjoyed this more than the Brothers Karamazov, as the latter contained too much theological debating for my taste. The philosophical discussions in this one were quite easy to follow through. I wasn't a big fan of him falling in love with Ssonja though, as it didn't seem really logical to me. ( )
  SVY | May 25, 2020 |
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» Add other authors (51 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dostoevsky, Fyodorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Björkegren, HansTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Borja, CorinneIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Borja, RobertIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brockway, HarryIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brodal, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Canon, Raymond R.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coulson, JessieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eggink, ClaraEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eichenberg, FritzIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garnett, ConstanceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Geier, SwetlanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoffmann, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hollo, J. A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jullian, PhilippeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Katzer, JuliusTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Konkka, JuhaniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kropotkin, AlexandraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuukasjärvi, OlliTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manger, HermienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meijer, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meyer, PriscillaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pampaloni, Genosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pevear, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prina, SerenaEditor and Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ready, OliverTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reedijk, LourensTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rydelius, EllenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scammell, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Volokhonsky, LarissaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vuori, M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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On an exceptionally hot evening early in July a young man came out of the garret in which he lodged in S. Place and walked slowly, as though in hesitation, towards K. bridge. (Garnett translation)
Toward the end of a sultry afternoon early in July a young man came out of his little room in Stolyarny Lane and turned slowly and somewhat irresolutely in the direction of Kamenny Bridge. (Coulson translation)
On a very hot evening at the beginning of July a young man left his little room at the top of a house in Carpenter Lane, went out into the street, and, as though unable to make up his mind, walked slowly in the direction of Kokushkin Bridge.
At the beginning of July, during an extremely hot spell, towards evening, a young man left the closet he rented from tenants in S____y Lane, walked out to the street, and slowly, as if indecisively, headed for the K______n Bridge. (Pevear and Volokhonsky translation)
In het begin van juli, het was tegen de avond en bijzonder warm, verliet een jongeman het kamertje dat hij aan de S-steeg in onderhuur bewoonde, en begaf zich traag, besluiteloos bijna, in de richting van de K-brug.
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The original Russian title is “Преступление и наказание”.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Determined to overreach his humanity and assert his untrammelled individual will, Raskolnikov, an impoverished student living in the St. Petersburg of the Tsars, commits an act of murder and theft and sets into motion a story which, for its excrutiating suspense, its atmospheric vividness, and its profundity of characterization and vision, is almost unequaled in the literatures of the world. The best known of Dostoevsky's masterpieces, Crime and Punishment can bear any amount of rereading without losing a drop of its power over our imagination.

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Book description
Haiku summary
Student with an axe:
Napoleon or madman?
Siberian gaol.

Good boy gone bad in

this novel: comic version

removes most drama.

Young murderer
Meets pious prostitute
No hilarity

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