Crime and Punishment


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(1866)



Translated by Constance Garnett (1861-1946) in 1914.




First published in the literary journal The Russian Messenger in twelve monthly installments during 1866. It was later published in a single volume. It is the second of Dostoyevsky's full-length novels following his return from ten years of exile in Siberia. It focuses on the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of Rodion Raskolnikov, an impoverished ex-student in St. Petersburg who formulates and executes a plan to kill an unscrupulous pawnbroker for her cash. Raskolnikov argues that with the pawnbroker's money he can perform good deeds to counterbalance the crime, while ridding the world of a worthless vermin. He also commits this murder to test his own hypothesis that some people are naturally capable of such things, and even have the right to do them. Several times throughout the novel, Raskolnikov justifies his actions by comparing himself with Napoleon Bonaparte, believing that murder is permissible in pursuit of a higher purpose. Crime and Punishment has been adapted for the stage and screen numerous times.



This is a work which analyses not only the mind of a young man but a whole community. I was deeply affected by the 30th chapter where Raskolnikolf opens his heart to Soniya...who can give such a description...--Submitted by anil



Crime and Punishment is by truth the best book ever written. It talks about Raskolnikov, a foreign student troubled by money woes who commits a heinous crime. Then he gets sick of himself and has all of that guilt in his heart and can't let go of it.--Submitted by Laura



This book was written by Fyodor Dostoevsky to help outline the life of a young man struggling with insanity. It is powerful and moving as he takes you into the psyche and behavior of one of the most deranged characters of any fictional tale.--Submitted by Matthew Stankowicz



Does madness turn a man into a criminal or does crime turn a criminal mad?--Submitted by Craig Fleming



This is an indisputable classic, with insight into the lives of poverty stricken Russians during the late 19th century. Although on the surface it appears to be a nothing more than a stretched out story line, the depth of psychological premises and the existentialist nature of the novel create a picture of true suffering and enable the reader to question the basic moralities of both historical and modern cultures. With continuing fatalities and guilt stricken chapters, Crime and Punishment brings forth an autobiographical aspect of Fyodor Dostoevsky and allows for the reader to gain insight and learn to question the systems of society.--Submitted by morgs



This novel is a psychological account of a man steeped in poverty. The biggest question is--is it the poverty that leads him to kill? Or is he just a man who believes that one can choose to be like Napoleon; to take what they want and not feel remorse? This 19th Century classic asks fundamental questions about humanity, and gets you about as close to the answers as you may get.--Submitted by Kate O'Reilly



Crime and Punishment is a psychological study of a man who explored the limits of crime and then Dostoevsky shows what really happens when a man commits a crime. Theorizing and justifying crime and intentions does not satisfy the human soul. The soul has its own way of working and Dostoevsky shows that starkly, with utter honesty. It is a profound study and at the end you realize, learn deeply about the human soul of what morality psychologically means, what crime means at the root. It is an action story and a psychological story integrated and it is a thriller and deeply intellectual at the same time. Read it. It is a book you can't but read with total attention. It is about the human soul and it concerns us all. Dostoevsky is a master story teller.--Submitted by Narendra Vellanki



St. Petersburg, 1866. An ex-student, currently out of a job and living in a sickly-yellow penthouse in total squalor, is having issues with an old pawnbroker down the street. He suddenly decides to play God and pass ultimate judgment of right and wrong, and having determined the pawnbroker's lifetime worth of guilt, he hunts her down. Thus begins the story of Rodion Raskolnikov, his friends, and his enemies as he faces the aftermath of his decisions and undergoes an epic transformation.--Submitted by MPL







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Recent Forum Posts on Crime and Punishment

"You don't need to be a saint to make pipkins/pots"???

I've always been confused by Razumhikin's line in Part four, chapter IV: While discussing how he has gained enough publishing experience to start a publishing company, he says: "For nearly two years I’ve been scuttling about among the publishers, and now I know every detail of their business. You need not be a saint to make pots, believe me! And why, why should we let our chance slip!" (from the Garnett) In another translation (the Coulson), he uses "pipkins" instead of "pots". I assume the change was made for a specific reason- maybe idiomatic clarity- but I still don't have any clue what it means.


thoughts on porfiry?

i'm not yet done with the book, but I just finished the section where porfiry basically accuses rody of the murder (in the last section). An idea occurred to me (:hurray:) that porfiry might be a godlike figure in some ways. I might be totally off track, but it seems that even though his psychological analysis is brilliant, he seems to also push rody to seek salvation through confession and suffering. also, he seems to be omniscient and watches rody's every move in relating to the murder, like God. I just can't think of any other explanation as to why Porfiry would think so kindly for rody's goodwill, saying that he still 'has a long life before him' ... or is this all just another psychological mind trick, trying to get rody to confess faster so that the case is off his back? haha. blah! someone help :sick:


Conflicting renderings in Part II, ch.2

I am directing my thread to someone who reads Crime and Punishment in Russian. I am teaching a small adult education class, the members of which are using different translations. Today toward the end of Part II, ch.2 Coulson translates a sentence as follows: "He felt that in that moment he had cut himself from everybody and everything, as with a knife." Another translation substitutes "as with a scissors" for "as with a knife" and a third translation omits any reference to a cutting tool. If you can locate the passage in question would you confirm for me what the Russian text says.


Why was Raskolnivkov wrong

I have been obsessing over the meaning of this book (see my other crime and punishment thread). What my question basically comes down to is: why was he wrong? Why does he think his theory was unsuccessful? The author (can't spell it from memory) does such a great job presenting WHY he does the murders, but a short or poor job on why he should not have done them. Please help


What is the meaning of Crime and Punishment!

I have finished this book and left with 100 times the amount of questions I came in with. Here is the list: Is this the story of a man learning he is common? That he is not extraordinary like Napoleon? Is this the main theme of the book? That he failed due to his nature? Why was his theory unsuccessful? Because he felt guilt? Because he didn’t get the funding he “wanted,” although he could have? His theory was never disproven. Did he simply give it up based on emotion? That his theory didn’t make him happy, but Sonia did? That Sonia (love) was the reason for life and not to be extraordinary? Did he not kill himself because he felt a little doubt and thought he would outgrow his theories? WHY did he turn himself in? Why did Svidrigailov kill himself? What did the horse dream represent? What was the relation between his theory and the dream of the infection in the epilog? Why was Luzhin important? If anyone can answer any of these, my mind can finally be at rest. I can't stop thinking... ahhh!!!


Different Translations

I am reading Crime and Punishment and finding it very unsatisfying. I am at the start of Part IV, having just read something else to get away from it for a while. I have enjoyed Dickens and Joyce before, so the length and density of the text do not phase me. I find the characters very difficult to relate to. They seem impenetrable. I do not care either way for any of them. I also find the dialogue jars. "There are ellipses...everywhere..., (brackets are also used while people speak), and when they laugh, haha, it is done mid-speech." I've never seen this in a novel before. I picked up War and Peace to browse through the other day, a novel I would like to read one day. Seeing ellipses...in the text... (haha), it made my stomach turn and I put it down again. I am reading the Wordsworth Classics translation by Constance Garnett. Are there great differences between the different translations available? Is it possible I have a bad one? C&P. Starts with a crime and the rest is just punishment?


Just finished C&P - bit of a muddle?

I guess I am a heretic for saying this, but I wasn't entirely impressed with the novel. It just seemed to drag on and on much longer than necessary. And I was struck by a sense of redundancy and repetition - how many times do we read of a character becoming pale, lips trembling, face contorted, overcome by a sudden thought or feeling, etc. Don't get me wrong, there is much to like here. But am I stupid or is this novel a bit of a muddle at times, even disjointed? It's almost like a manuscript that needs a bit more editing. I read the Pevear/Volokhonksy translation, BTW.


Pevear's Foreword to C&P - confusing?

I'm about to read C&P for the first time (first Russian novel actually) and I just read the Foreword to the P/V translation, written by Pevear. Found it rather confusing and incoherent in parts. Wondering if others found it useful in understanding the novel? Feel like I should go back over it so that I'm sufficiently prepared, but I'm probably being obsessive. Thanks.


What is everyone's opinion on the Epilogue?

So i just finished reading Crime and Punishment for the first time today and I loved every second of it. It was a brilliantly written novel that almost perfectly balanced character and story. I just have what i think is an interesting question which could lead to a good discussion possibly. Do you think the novel is better with or without the epilogue at the end? Personally I think the novel is best without the epilogue. I feel that Roskolnikov's confession is a more fitting end to the novel. I like the fact that upon finishing the book (minus the epilogue) there was some ambiguity which made me enjoy the ending more. Upon reading the epilogue i felt that questions that didn't really need to be answered were answered. This is just my initial thought and i'd be more than happy to debate about this tomorrow once i have time to sleep on in and decide for sure my opinion, but until then I'm interested in getting some other opinions on the epilogue as to whether or not it was really needed.


Part IV ch4-6 questions

Hey guys! Im going to discuss Part IV chapter 4-6 in class. But, I cant think of any other questions that I can ask the class about the stuffs from Part IV chapter 4-6 of C and P. So do you guys have any suggestions? Thanks in advance!!!:]


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