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Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
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Crime and Punishment (original 1866; edition 2011)

by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Constance Garnett (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
28,84334032 (4.25)2 / 691
Member:mnorris3
Title:Crime and Punishment
Authors:Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Other authors:Constance Garnett (Translator)
Info:Simon & Brown (2011), Paperback, 446 pages
Collections:Read in 2012
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1866)

  1. 180
    Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (Booksloth)
  2. 180
    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
  3. 173
    The Trial by Franz Kafka (SanctiSpiritus, Kantar)
  4. 162
    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. 93
    Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky (SanctiSpiritus, Kantar)
  6. 51
    The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (infiniteletters)
  7. 40
    The Man Without Qualities, Volume 1: A Sort of Introduction, and Pseudo Reality Prevails by Robert Musil (ateolf)
  8. 31
    Hunger by Knut Hamsun (ateolf)
  9. 21
    Herzog by Saul Bellow (SanctiSpiritus)
  10. 76
    The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings by Edgar Allan Poe (GCPLreader)
  11. 610
    Perfume by Patrick Süskind (klerulo)
    klerulo: Both these works attempt to get inside the head of singularly amoral sociopathic murderers.
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English (291)  Spanish (14)  Italian (6)  Dutch (5)  Finnish (5)  German (4)  French (3)  Portuguese (2)  Danish (2)  Catalan (2)  Swedish (1)  Czech (1)  Tagalog (1)  All languages (337)
Showing 1-5 of 291 (next | show all)
A true masterpiece! Beautiful psycho-analysis and great prose.
  bartt95 | Apr 10, 2016 |
I was frustrated in the beginning by the character's perplexing antisocial behavior to the point of almost not continuing to read the book. But it progresses and develops into something absolutely beautiful. Very romantic notions, it is much more of a defense of what must have been the "old world" of Dostoyevsky against the "new and modern" ideas of the time. But in those romantic notions one often finds truth. ( )
  AZG1001 | Mar 31, 2016 |
Darkly mesmerising with a heady mix of murder and mayhem with morality and redemption with existentialism and philosophy, this perfect novel is a terrifying insight into the rationalising mind of a murderer combined with a thrilling psychological police chase, and elevated to impossible literature-heights by its visceral suspenseful prose and incredibly well-realised characterisations.

Only the all-encompassing phrase of the human condition can fully capture the essence of the novel. From the very first page, it immediately catapults its unsuspecting reader into the psychosis of Raskolnikov. The slow, tense reveal of the depth of his depravity and arrogance, reaches firstly a false-but-no-less-brilliant, gruesome climax, and tautens to a heart-palpitating protracted crescendo. Simultaneously, the reader is engaged in existentialist debates of mediocrity versus brilliance: how both advance humanity, yet the lives of the former often languishes in harsh conditions and not worthwhile to themselves, and the lives of the latter cannot be achieved without the former.

Even as a basic thriller, the novel succeeds with its obsessive game of criminal psychological oneupmanship, especially with the constant shift between Raskolnikov's real-life actions/words with his inner monologue, making his affectations at normalcy that much more frightening. For a book written 150 years ago, its philosophical meditations on existentialism and morality is surprisingly modern. Or pessimistically, humanity has stagnated. Recommended for twenty-three plus year olds in good heart conditions.

Aside: my edition is translated by Oliver Ready. ( )
1 vote kitzyl | Mar 20, 2016 |
Raskolnikov, a drop-out student, chooses to live in a tiny, rented room in Saint Petersburg. He refuses all help, even from his friend Razumikhin, and plans to murder and to rob an unpleasant elderly money-lender, Alëna—his motivation, whether personal or ideological, remains unclear. When Raskolnikov kills Alëna, however, he is also forced to kill her half-sister, Lizaveta, who happens to enter the scene of the crime.

After the bungled murder, Raskolnikov falls into a feverish state. He behaves as though he wishes to betray himself, and the detective Porfiry begins to suspect him purely on psychological grounds. At the same time, a chaste relationship develops between Raskolnikov and Sonya—a prostitute full of Christian virtue, driven into the profession by the habits of her father—and Raskolnikov confesses his crime to her. The confession is overheard by Svidrigaylov, a shadowy figure whose aim is to seduce Raskolnikov's sister, Dunya. Svidrigaylov appears to have a hold over Raskolnikov, but after realizing that Dunya could never love him, he unexpectedly ends his own life. Raskolnikov eventually goes to the police himself to confess. He is sentenced to penal servitude in Siberia; Sonya follows him, and the Epilogue holds out hope for Raskolnikov's redemption and moral regeneration under her influence.[21]


[edit] Characters
In Crime and Punishment Dostoevsky succeeds in fusing the personality of his main character, Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov (Russian: Родион Романович Раскольников), ​with his new anti-radical ideological themes. The main plot involves a murder as the result of "ideological intoxication," and depicts all the disastrous moral and psychical consequences that result from the murderer. Raskolnikov's psychology is placed at the center, and carefully interwoven with the ideas behind his transgression; every other feature of the novel illuminates the agonizing dilemma in which Raskolnikov is caught.[22] From another point of view, the novel's plot is another variation of a conventional nineteenth-century theme: an innocent young provincial comes to seek his fortune in the capital, where he succumbs to corruption, and loses all traces of his former freshness and purity. However, as Gary Rosenshield points out, "Raskolnikov succumbs not to the temptations of high society as Honoré de Balzac's Rastignac or Stendhal's Julien Sorel, but to those of rationalistic Petersburg".[23]

Raskolnikov is the protagonist, and the story is primarily told from his perspective. Despite its name, the novel does not so much deal with the crime and its formal punishment, as with Raskolnikov's internal struggle. The book shows that his punishment results more from his conscience than from the law. He committed murder with the belief that he possessed enough intellectual and emotional fortitude to deal with the ramifications, [based on his paper/thesis, "On Crime", that he is a Napoleon], but his sense of guilt soon overwhelms him. It is only in the epilogue that he realizes his formal punishment, having decided to confess and end his alienation.

Sofia Semyonovna Marmeladova (Russian: Софья Семёновна Мармеладова), ​variously called Sonia and Sonechka, is the daughter of a drunk, Semyon Zakharovich Marmeladov, whom Raskolnikov meets in a tavern at the beginning of the novel. She becomes the first person Raskolnikov confesses his crime to, and she supports him even though she was friends with one of the victims (Lizaveta). For most of the novel, Sonya serves as the spiritual guide for Raskolnikov. After his confession she follows him to Siberia where she lives in the same town as the prison.

Other characters of the novel are:

Porfiry Petrovich (Порфирий Петрович) – The detective in charge of solving the murders of Lizaveta and Aliona Ivanovna, who, along with Sonya, guides Raskolnikov towards confession. Unlike Sonya, however, Porfiry does this through psychological games. Despite the lack of evidence, he becomes certain Raskolnikov is the murderer following several conversations with him, but gives him the chance to confess voluntarily. He attempts to confuse and to provoke the unstable Raskolnikov in an attempt to coerce him to confess.
Avdotya Romanovna Raskolnikova (Авдотья Романовна Раскольникова) – ​Raskolnikov's strong willed and self-sacrificial sister, called Dunya, Dounia or Dunechka for short. She initially plans to marry the wealthy, yet smug and self-possessed, Luzhin, to save the family from financial destitution. She has a habit of pacing across the room while thinking. She is followed to Saint Petersburg by the disturbed Svidrigailov, who seeks to win her back through blackmail. She rejects both men in favour of Raskolnikov's loyal friend, Razumikhin.
Arkady Ivanovich Svidrigailov (Аркадий Иванович Свидригайлов) – ​Sensual, depraved, and wealthy former employer and current pursuer of Dunya, Svidrigailov is suspected of multiple acts of murder, and overhears Raskolnikov's confessions to Sonya. With this knowledge he torments both Dunya and Raskolnikov but does not inform the police. When Dunya tells him she could never love him (after attempting to shoot him) he lets her go and commits suicide. Whereas Sonya represents the path to salvation, Svidrigailov represents the other path towards suicide. Despite his apparent malevolence, Svidrigailov is similar to Raskolnikov in regard to his random acts of charity. He fronts the money for the Marmeladov children to enter an orphanage (after both their parents die), gives Sonya five percent bank notes totalling three thousand rubles, and leaves the rest of his money to his juvenile fiancée.
Marfa Petrovna Svidrigailova (Марфа Петровна Свидригайлова) – ​Arkady Svidrigailov's deceased wife, whom he is suspected of having murdered, and who he claims has visited him as a ghost. Her bequest of 3,000 rubles to Dunya allows Dunya to reject Luzhin as a suitor.
Dmitri Prokofich Razumikhin (Дмитрий Прокофьич Разумихин) – ​Raskolnikov's loyal and only friend. In terms of Razumikhin's contribution to Dostoevsky's anti-radical thematics, he is intended to represent something of a reconciliation of the pervasive thematic conflict between faith and reason. The fact that his name means reason shows Dostoevsky's desire to employ this faculty as a foundational basis for his Christian faith in God.
Katerina Ivanovna Marmeladova (Катерина Ивановна Мармеладова) – ​Semyon Marmeladov's consumptive and ill-tempered second wife, stepmother to Sonya. She drives Sonya into prostitution in a fit of rage, but later regrets it, and beats her children mercilessly, but works ferociously to improve their standard of living. She is obsessed with demonstrating that slum life is far below her station. Following Marmeladov's death, she uses Raskolnikov's money to hold a funeral.
Semyon Zakharovich Marmeladov (Семён Захарович Мармеладов) – ​Hopeless but amiable drunk who indulges in his own suffering, and father of Sonya. Marmeladov could be seen as a Russian equivalent of the character of Micawber in Charles Dickens' novel, David Copperfield.
Pulkheria Alexandrovna Raskolnikova (Пульхерия Александровна Раскольникова) – ​Raskolnikov's relatively clueless, hopeful and loving mother. Following Raskolnikov's sentence, she falls ill (mentally and physically) and eventually dies. She hints in her dying stages that she is slightly more aware of her son's fate, which was hidden from her by Dunya and Razumikhin.
Pyotr Petrovich Luzhin (Пётр Петрович Лужин) – A well-off lawyer who is engaged to Raskolnikov's sister Dunya in the beginning of the novel. His motives for the marriage is rather despicable, as he states more or less that he chose her since she will be completely beholden to him financially.
Andrey Semyenovich Lebezyatnikov (Андрей Семёнович Лебезятников) – ​Luzhin's utopian socialist roommate who witnesses his attempt to frame Sonya and subsequently exposes him.
Alyona Ivanovna (Алёна Ивановна) – Suspicious old pawnbroker who hoards money and is merciless to her patrons. She is Raskolnikov's intended target.
Lizaveta Ivanovna (Лизавета Ивановна) – Alyona's simple and innocent sister. Raskolnikov murders her when she walks in immediately after Raskolnikov had killed Alyona. Lizaveta was a friend of Sonya's.
Zosimov (Зосимов) – A friend of Razumikhin and a doctor who cared for Raskolnikov.
Nastasya Petrovna (Настасья Петровна) – Raskolnikov's landlady's servant and a friend of Raskolnikov.
Nikodim Fomich (Никодим Фомич)– The amiable Chief of Police.
Ilya Petrovich (Илья Петрович) – A police official and Fomich's assistant.
Alexander Grigorievich Zamyotov (Александр Григорьевич Заметов) – ​Head clerk at the police station and friend to Razumikhin. Raskolnikov arouses Zametov's suspicions by explaining how he, Raskolnikov, would have committed various crimes, although Zametov later apologizes, believing, much to Raskolnikov's amusement, that it was all a farce to expose how ridiculous the suspicions were. This scene illustrates the argument of Raskolnikov's belief in his own superiority as Übermensch.
Nikolai Dementiev (Николай Дементьев) – A painter and sectarian who admits to the murder, since his sect holds it to be supremely virtuous to suffer for another person's crime.
Polina Mikhailovna Marmeladova (Полина Михайловна Мармеладова) – ​Ten-year-old adopted daughter of Semyon Zakharovich Marmeladov and younger stepsister to Sonya, sometimes known as Polechka.
  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
It was too depressing/confusing for me when I first read it; I might just need to read it again. ( )
  katieloucks | Feb 26, 2016 |
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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
Kropotkin, AlexandraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuukasjärvi, OlliTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manger, HermienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meijer, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pevear, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prina, SerenaEditor and Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ready, OliverTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reedijk, LourensTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rydelius, EllenTranslatorsecondary 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 (2)

Book description
How Raskolnikov, a former student, deluded, kind, handsome, mercilessly intellectual, comes half-dreaming with a borrowed hatchet to murder an old woman money-lender, is the central action of Crime and Punishment.

From its opening pages Dostoyevsky attaches us unreservedly to his hero, creating an intimacy that is claustrophobic, full of tension, and as haunting and relentless as a love affair. Begun as a novel concerned with the psychology of a crime and the processes of guilt, it surpasses itself to take on the tragic force of myth.

It is the king of murder stories. And of detective stories. And of thrillers... writes John Jones in his classic study of Dostoyevsky, calling Crime and Punishment the most accessible and exciting novel in the world.

The cover shows a painting by an anonymous artist in the Russian Museum, Leningrad.
Haiku summary
Student with an axe:
Napoleon or madman?
Siberian gaol.

(Michael.Rimmer)
Good boy gone bad in

this novel: comic version

removes most drama.

(legallypuzzled)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553211757, Mass Market Paperback)

A desperate young man plans the perfect crime -- the murder of a despicable pawnbroker, an old women no one loves and no one will mourn. Is it not just, he reasons, for a man of genius to commit such a crime, to transgress moral law -- if it will ultimately benefit humanity? So begins one of the greatest novels ever written: a powerful psychological study, a terrifying murder mystery, a fascinating detective thriller infused with philosophical, religious and social commentary. Raskolnikov, an impoverished student living in a garret in the gloomy slums of St. Petersburg, carries out his grotesque scheme and plunges into a hell of persecution, madness and terror. Crime And Punishment takes the reader on a journey into the darkest recesses of the criminal and depraved mind, and exposes the soul of a man possessed by both good and evil ... a man who cannot escape his own conscience.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:28 -0400)

(see all 12 descriptions)

Determined to overreach his humanity and assert his untrammeled individual will, Raskolnikov, and 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 excruciating suspense, its atmospheric vividness, and its profundity of characterization and vision, is almost unequaled in the literatures of the world.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 33 descriptions

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