Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Published by MobileReference (mobi).
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Published by MobileReference (mobi).

 
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Translated by Constance Garnett. Crime and Punishment is a novel written by Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky. First published in a journal named The Russian Messenger, it appeared in twelve monthly installments in 1866, and was later published as a novel. Along with Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, the novel is considered one of the best-known and most influential Russian novels of all time.
- Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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The talented Alex Jennings creates an atmosphere of gripping psychological tension and brings a variety of characters to life in this new audio edition of a crime classic. When the student Raskolnikov puts his philosophical theory to the ultimate test of murder, a tragic tale of suffering and redemption unfolds in the dismal setting of the slums of czarist, prerevolutionary St. Petersburg. While Jennings's adept repertoire of British accents works to demonstrate the varying classes of characters, it occasionally distracts the listener from the Russian setting. However, Dostoyevsky's rendering of 18th-century Russia emerges unscathed, bringing the dark pathos (such as wretched poverty and rampant suffering) to life. (Running time: 315 minutes; 4 cassettes)

Customer Reviews:

  • Pure masterpiece.
    This wordy book is easily one of the best i have ever read and really allows you to see the consequences of the crime.

    Raskolnikov, Sonya, Razumukin, and the rest are all extremely likeable and sympathetic characters. Each one has their own problems and struggles told in this beautiful book. And the work of the investigator Porfiry is wonderful to read.

    Every literature fan should own a copy of this book....more info

  • Raskolnikov Meets Dr. Phil
    Dr. Phil: My first guest tonight is a man who has some impulse-control problems.

    Raskolnikov: What do you want? When will you leave off tormenting me?

    Dr. Phil: Hold it right there. Seems to me you need an attitude adjustment.

    (Raskolnikov turns abruptly and stares at the wall.)

    Dr. Phil: Says here you murdered an old lady for her money. You murdered her, and then you murdered her sister. What were you thinking?

    Raskolnikov: (Making a violent effort to understand what it all means) I murdered myself, not them! It was the Devil that killed them. Enough, enough! I killed a noxious insect of no use to anyone, so what is the object of these senseless sufferings?

    Dr. Phil: You need to get a grip on yourself, and you need to take some responsibility and make healthier choices.

    (Applause from studio audience.)

    Raskolnikov: (Breathing heavily, his upper lip twitching.) My choice was to be a great man dedicated to improving the lot of humanity. The vast mass of mankind is mere material, and only exists in order by some mysterious process to bring into the world at last one man out of a thousand with a spark of independence.

    Dr. Phil: Let's talk about the independence thing, since you brought it up. You're still receiving money from your mother, isn't that right? And you have a college degree but no job? And recently you've embarked on a life of crime?

    Raskolnikov: The extraordinary man has the right to find in his own conscience a sanction for murder, if it is essential to the practical fulfillment of his idea. Our rulers destroy men by millions themselves and look on it as a virtue. They are knaves and scoundrels.

    Dr. Phil: Ho ho, well I'm not an expert on politics, but don't you think you have enough problems of your own to keep us busy here? I understand you're in love with a prostitute?

    Raskolnikov: Sonia is a woman of the utmost purity whom I love with a Christ-like intensity that drives me to torment and humiliate her.

    Dr. Phil: Be honest with me now. Don't you think she'd prefer a relationship in which two healthy people come together because they complement each other on an equal footing of respect and love?

    (Applause from studio audience.)

    Raskolnikov: (Grinds his teeth.) A dull animal rage boils within me.

    Dr. Phil: We need to extinguish these self-defeating behavior patterns of yours.

    Raskolnikov: Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart.

    Dr. Phil: I one-hundred percent disagree. You can do better than that. Now I understand Sonia can't be here tonight because she's ministering to the needs of plague victims, but once you get out of prison for those murders, supposing this Sonia's still waiting for you, what do you think
    you'll have to do to repair the damage you've already done to the relationship?

    Raskolnikov: My mind is clouded and I am almost unconscious of my body.

    Dr. Phil: I'm sending you to the green room to do some figuring.

    Raskolnikov: Why must you persecute me with kindness, when I would rather boil over with a rapturous agony. (Laughs insanely.) Perhaps I am really mad, and all this happens only in my imagination.

    Dr. Phil: Nope, you ain't getting you off the hook that easy. Fact is, you are accountable for your actions. What I'm asking you to do is take responsibility. Are you willing to give that a try?

    Raskolnikov: (Bows down to kiss the earth.) Good God, man is a vile creature.

    Dr. Phil: Do we have a deal or not?

    Raskolnikov: I could strangle you at this moment. Why must you torture me? I feel a physical hatred for you, cannot bear you near me, and am becoming convinced that you are the most aggravating bully on the face of the Earth.

    Dr. Phil: You see, now we're getting somewhere. Pain, once it's acknowledged, can be a powerful motivator.

    Raskolnikov: Be silent, I beg of you. (Shuddering nervously, a malignant expression in his black eyes.) I am a louse, a wretch, a fool.

    Dr. Phil: It's time for you to identify and confront the behaviors that are making you unhappy. I always tell people, you don't need a diploma to hose down a mule.

    (Standing ovation from studio audience.)

    Raskolnikov: I feel sublimely indifferent to your opinion. (Walks toward the exit.) No, I retract everything I have said, your words make perfect sense, you are a seer, a god. (Bounding out of the studio, his voice carrying from afar.) If only I had met you before I became an axe
    murderer, perhaps I would now be among the saints.

    Dr. Phil: Oh boy.

    (Raskolnikov returns after a tumultuous inner struggle, pushing his way through a dense crowd of peasants.)

    Dr. Phil: We're going to take a break now.

    Raskolnikov: (Strikes Dr. Phil repeatedly on the head with the blunt side of an axe, then leaves overcome with remorse.)
    ...more info
  • You may love the muzhik without becoming overwrought and sentimental
    This review is a spoiler, so don't read it if you don't know how the book ends! But I want to focus on the ending--Tolstoy famously remarked of it that "once you start it, you immediately know how it will end." And he was serious. And this sheds a great deal of light on this work and how it fits in with some of Dostoevsky's other masterpieces, such as the more restrained and better crafted Brothers Karamazov.

    Understanding Dostoevsky without Tolstoy is like understanding Levi-Strauss without Sartre. They were the two poles between which Russian literature was arraigned. They are treated as a binary opposition: the abstract vs. the concrete, the philosophical vs. the historical, the intellect vs. the soul, the symbolic vs. the sentimental.

    So how did Tolstoy know how it would end? Because the core of C&P, as Tolstoy understood, was a Slavophilic call for a "return"--perhaps not a return to the land, but a return to orthodox Christian concepts and basic moral orderings. Since there is a cross-roads, one might as well kneel there. There is nothing else.

    So Tolstoy understood that once a crime has been committed, it ineluctably pushes the plot towards discovery, recognition and repentance. To have a plot break away from this would be either grasping for cheap effects or the grossest immorality, and no truly great Russian writer, no matter how philosophically inclined, could follow either of these paths.

    And yes, that does necessarily imply something sentimental. Because we are--as Dostoevsky beautifully says in The Brothers Karamazov--simple. ("As a general rule, people, even the wicked, are much more naive and simple-hearted than we suppose. And we ourselves are, too.") Getting to the core of the matter will unveil simplicity--philosophy can get us to the point of throwing away false complications, but it cannot forever distract us from the fundamental simplicity of the opposition: right/sin.

    And yet, that is what most of us do--we use abstraction and symbolism to hold these simple truths at bay. When, like Raskolnikov, we find ourselves alone with our thoughts too much, these thoughts can seem more important than the simple issues of human life. Dwelling in a room in which he could reach out and touch opposite walls with each hand, the only expanse in which his soul could dwell was that of abstraction. (I know this feeling well, from living in a tent [see my review!] that was just about the size of his room, and with a substantially lower ceiling.) But no matter how you let your fancy fly, the chickens of violence always come home to roost.

    Perhaps because Dostoevsky was the one prone to symbolism, to craftiness as opposed to the rude directness that sometimes was the guiding impulse of Tolstoy's almost histrionic philosophizing, this admission of the fundamental Christian simplicity is truly moving. Dostoevsky is often considered a precursor of the existentialists but for very trivial reasons (e.g., serious mood swing issues). But one must see him as pursuing themes very similar to those of his rough contemporary Kierkegaard--can we free ourselves of excessive formal thinking and focus on the core issues of sin and repentance?

    I think the answer in both cases is actually no. Kierkegaard himself certainly couldn't [see my review!], and Dostoevsky was in some ways more of a ethnocentrist than Tolstoy. But more importantly, his characters only become in harmony with the world when they have some sort of lobotomy, not an enlightenment. He lacks the true sense of the emotional nature of repentance--something that occurs in humans who are by nature limited in their capacity to feel and comprehend--that we see in Tolstoy.

    I admit to being unusually interested in these themes. I've spent a long time repenting for a crime, even though it was, in the scheme of things, a minor one. No old ladies chopped, just some stretched--okay, false--testimony. But the reason for the crime was even more immoral than the crime itself. Too cowardly to just leave someone who loved me, I thought of an elaborate scheme to get her to reject me as too bothersome to put up with. Just the kind of thing Kierkegaard would do.

    Instead I found her, like Sonya in C&P, clinging to me all the harder and shaming me with her decency, loyalty, and simplicity. And it is the character of Sonya that I find most perplexing. Her dogged insistence and her "sancta simplicitas" sometimes make her seem foolish (in contrast to the "wonderfulness" of Alyosha in the Brothers Karamazov, to whom she is often compared). She is friends with one of Raskolnikov's victims, Lizaveta, who is borderline retarded. (Here is also helps to compare to the Lizaveta in the Brothers Karamazov to get insight on what Dostoevsky is thinking.) It seems that there aren't too many viable options between stupid and bad. It's too Groucho Marx, but Raskolnikov on his way to Siberia must have wondered, "OK, I love you and you love me and that can be a form of redemption, or, maybe, it just means you are irredeemably stupid." [45]...more info
  • Crime and Punishment ~ Kindle eBook
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment is one of the greatest novels of all times. I love this book! ...more info
  • Delectably Disturbing
    This book is amazing, truly one of Dostoyevsky's greatest works. Dostoyevsky has an amazing talent for creating characters. Great authors can be recognized by their ability to create characters that the reader can identify with. However Dostoyevsky is not a great author, great is to meek a word; he creates characters that the reader identifies with so completely that, as a reader you 'Become' his character! This is a must read for any reader!
    Crime and Punishment follows the endeavers of Raskolnikov as he attempts to transcend humanity. We are taken along a psychological journey of life itself, that begins first and foremost with death....more info
  • Simply, the masterwork.
    As an avid reader of Dostoevsky, this book was that which inspired me to pursue him completely, this book is widely recognized as one of his two masterworks (the other being The Brothers Karamazov). His philosophy is simply splendid, the plot is perfect. I believe that this is not a book which you can read just once and fully understand all the nuances of the philosophy. You cannot read this book without full concentration either. Simply put, this book is an essential (truly) to any reader, or to anyone remotely interested in philosophy....more info
  • The perils of moral relativism
    First be aware that this is not a philosophy book. As every great literary achievement is, it's a book that's hard to classify. Raskolnikov is a young, intelligent, but emotionally unstable young man who has had to quit school for lack of money and a depressive crisis. He seems to be mad at the world for the injustice which prevails in it. During this difficult and sad time, a very dangerous idea starts moving around his mind. There is this old lady pawnbroker, a bad woman who cheats on the desperate people who approach her. She has money she doesn't use for the benefit of his fellow humans. On the other hand, Raskolnikov is sure that he could be a great man and achieve things that would benefit the humankind... if only he had the means to jumpstart his career to glory and fame. From these two thoughts, Raskolnikov begins a road towards rationalizing his potential crime. He poses good questions (how come people who kill a lot of persons are called heroes and achieve fame and governments erect statues to honor them, but poor bastards who kill someone for money to eat are put in prison?) and finds bad answers: some extraordinary people are above the common laws and moral rules that guide the rest of humans. These extraordinary characters can not be subject to those vulgar rules, lest they could not achieve the great things destiny has them in store. So, we get to the crime: Raskolnikov deserves that money to reach greatness, and anyway the woman he will kill is harmful to society. So he goes and kill not only the pawnbroker, but also her good, half-witted sister.

    What follows is the truly fascinating story of the aftermath of the crime, with a very clever, wise and interesting police detective playing cat and mouse with Raskolnikov, at the same time his life is crumbling down in guilt, paranoia, and inoportune events happening around him, to his family and friends. The story ends and begins within only a few days. Raskolnikov's mother and sister arrive in Saint Petersburg looking for him. His sister is about to marry an older, egotistic man whom Raskolnikov reads from day one as a future bad husband for his sensible, wise and beautiful sister. Meanwhile, Raskolnikov gets involved in the tragic end of the Marmeladov family. Marmeladov is a drunkard whom Raskolnikov befriends ina low-budget bar, where they have a conversation on morals that will be central to the philosophical background of the story. He dies and leaves her family broke. His wife is very near death from tuberculosis, and the eldest girl has been forced to become a prostitute, in spite of being an angelical and saintly girl.

    So events unfold and the logical end arrives. The plot is great and it moves faster and faster, with tension reaching exasperating heights. The book is filled with unforgettable characters: the dark, troubled but in the end good Raskolnikov, a good guy with bad ideas; his mother and sister; the sinister Petrovich, who wants to be adored by the sister; the police detective, a great guy; Sonia, the saintly prostitute; and Svidrigailov, former boss and harasser of Raskolnikov's sister, a man so degenerate, perverse and evil.

    Other reviewers are right that Raskolnikov's philosophy is a twisted and evil one, but some go so far as to say that this philosophy is espoused by Dostoevsky himself. I am convinced this is not the case. The novel clearly shows that moral relativism can only conduce to crime, tragedy, death, guilt and... punishment. In the best case, after the crime is committed, there is the hope of redemption through repent and love, as well as by the Christian values and faith. I think there is no doubt that, by every possible standard, this is one of the best pieces of literature ever penned. It has everything a masterpiece must have: a plot that hooks you up right from the start, deep, well-rounded characters. a dark moral and everything tightly knitted together by a master of the craft. Come stay a few days in this hotttest of summers in Petersburg....more info

  • Good, but overrated
    The novel is a very good one, and compared to the crap that passes as literature these days it is a classic, however, it is not a great piece of literature. The book has too many manifest flaws, such as being far too long, far too `talky', and most of all, aside from the belief that it's a `Christian tract', the biggest misread of the book is that it is somehow a work of `social realism'. Nothing could be less true- it is primarily a work of symbolism. This is evident from its title, as the very punishment referred to is not that of the legal variety, but that of internal guilt. Yes, when it was first published, in pre-Freudian 1866, it may have seemed a work of psychological depth, but even compared to the fiction of Anton Chekhov, just a few decades later, it is utterly Neolithic in its approach to the human psyche....If Dostoevsky's novel can be considered great, by some, it is not because of the things he intended within it that manifest its greatness, but that which was unwitting, and beyond him at the time, such as the real key to understanding the work, its great insight, that people do not change at a fundamental level. I was recently watching the Up documentary film series, by Michael Apted, on DVD, and those films are premised on the very notion that Crime And Punishment is, the Jesuit saying of `Give me the child till he is seven, and I shall give you the man.' We do not glimpse Raskolnikov at seven, but given what we know becomes of him it is not difficult to extrapolate that he was as amoral then as his twentysomething self appears in the book. If Dostoevsky intended this work to be an allegory on Christianity's redemptive power he clearly failed, so I posit that that was not his intent at all, and that the psychological and ethical stasis of most human beings was his major theme.

    Regardless, the book is not a great piece of art. It contains great moments, some brilliant writing, and is a very good work of art, however primitive, but it is certainly not great. A modern reader can simply not ignore all its manifest flaws, such as the awkward and heavy-handed symbolism, the stilted and unrealistic dialogue, which reinforces the truth of the characters' symbolism, as it veers between mawkishness during some of the death scenes and Raskolnikov's several confession scenes, and preachiness in many of the philosophical engagements.
    Another problem with the work, one not in the actual work, but in its willful misinterpretation by critics with axes to grind, is that, aside from the confusion over the literary value of the work, all the poor theories regarding psychology and the fundaments of criminality have somehow found their way into pop culture, and done much to lead people astray in their ideas of true good and evil. Yet, the many fundamental questions that Raskolnikov deals with are never directly addressed, and are only used as a flawed premise for the main action of the novel to go off on. Raskolnikov ponders why those who have power or mass murder in war are labeled heroes, gain fame and respect, have paeans and monuments made for them while the low born, who have to struggle with and against each other, are jailed if they kill. In Part Five, Chapter Four, he rationalizes not confessing to the murders by using this defense: `What wrong have I done them? Why should I go to them? What should I say to them? That's only a phantom....They destroy men by millions themselves and look on it as a virtue. They are knaves and scoundrels, Sonia! I am not going to them. And what should I say to them- that I murdered her, but did not dare to take the money and hid it under a stone?' he added with a bitter smile. `Why, they would laugh at me, and would call me a fool for not getting it. A coward and a fool! They wouldn't understand and they don't deserve to understand. Why should I go to them?' This is a philosophically legitimate point, yet, instead of plumbing this, and applying it to the social caste he exists within, Raskolnikov flies off into mere pop sociological dementia with his ideas on supermen and exceptionalism, never realizing that exceptionalism in one or two fields, no matter how exceeding, brilliant, nor gifted, does not imply any sort of reciprocal ethical exceptionalism.

    Yet, throughout the book, despite moments of brilliance, whenever Dostoevsky gets too close to the core, the nub of what the book is really about, he backs away. Whether because he lacked the answer or lacked the desire to deal with its clash with his own belief systems I do not know. But it is a flaw, and one that results in banal and bland sermonizing, such as that which ends the book in a very trite Hollywood film fashion:



    He did not know that the new life would not be given him for nothing, that he would have to pay dearly for it, that it would cost him great striving, great suffering.

    But that is the beginning of a new story- the story of the gradual renewal of a man, the story of his gradual regeneration, of his passing from one world into another, of his initiation into a new unknown life. That might be the subject of a new story, but our present story is ended.



    To end, Crime And Punishment is certainly a milestone work in the development of both Dostoevsky and the art of the novel, but a work's cultural or artistic import is not equivalent to its artistic excellence. Therefore, while it may be a great representation of its time, artistically and culturally, it is not a great book- neither as a social tract nor as a novel. It reads more like a mid-stage version of better models to come, which is exactly what it really is. The very fact that such gross misreadings of it has taken root is a testament to the laziness of most readers, and the unwillingness of most to think for themselves. It is this problem with readers, their own anomic stasis, writ into the larger society, that Dostoevsky actually deals with. Raskolnikov, however, still smiles. ...more info
  • This soldier's favorite book
    If you read one murder novel in the rest of your life, read "Crime and Punishment" by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It's only 500 pages but it speaks volumes.

    I discovered Dostoyevsky a few months ago while I was deployed to Iraq and my literary world will never been the same.

    I found a copy of "The Brothers Karamazov" in a pile of miscellenious books that had been dedicated to troops to boost morale and took it to a literary savvy Lt. Col. I knew. When I showed him my find, he insisted I read Crime and Punishment first. I'm certainly glad I decided to take his advice.

    Crime and Punishment tells the story of a brutal murder in pre- revolutionary Russa and the emotional torment of the eccentric murderer, Raskolnikov. The book is as dark and suspenseful as anything I've ever read, but it also manages to convey things on the opposite end of the emotional spectrum like redemption and love. My favorite passage of the book (a hard pick, for sure) is when Porfiry, a jovial but formitable detective, interrogates Raskolnikov.

    The deployment is over, but my infatuation with Dostoyevsky's books has just begun. I'm now reading "The Idiot" and enjoying it, though it's too early to see if it matches "Crime and Punishment."

    Whether you are deployed to the farthest reaches of the world or sitting comfortably at home, "Crime and Punishment" promises to be an exhilerating read.

    ...more info
  • Breathlessly Exciting
    I love the way Dostoyevsky writes with a headlong passion that is difficult to find in more modern, over-edited books. For me this is his most exciting work, and the one I've read the most times. I remember one time when I read it in a single night (to refresh my mind for a class the next day) and felt so exhilerated that I wasn't even tired. I've never come across another artist that could create such violent tension. I love the characters in this book, although the only one I can spell without looking the names up is Roskolnikov. (My husband is a slow reader, but he found that listening to it on booktape as he drove to and from work was a wonderful way to escape the L.A. traffic.)...more info
  • Not Dostoevsky's philosophical apogee, but still a literary masterpiece
    Raskolnikov, the main character in Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, is presented as a pure nihilist. Dostoevsky, through his telling of Raskolnikov's inner struggle and his first encounter with love and compassion, is clearly rejecting nihilism. The murder committed by Raskolnikov might be an act related to utilitarianism, but the great agony and guilt that the main character suffers is Dostoevsky's idea of real punishment that leads the final conclusions that good beats evil, religion beats atheism, and right overpowers wrong.

    Granted, Crime and Punishment is considered great literature devoted to the psychology of criminals and their imprisonments within their own guilt. However, the novel is an immature way of stereotyping criminals and simplifying a very complex human puzzle. Dostoevsky attempts to show us that only love, redemption and righteousness will rule, but he over simplifies and generalizes.

    Crime and Punishment is another way that Dostoevsky tried to resolve his feelings about chaos and corruption in his society, and solve all dilemmas and conflicts by turning to God, or accepting Christ as Dostoevsky did in reality.
    ...more info
  • An exposition into the reality resulting from discordance between the application of a theory and the consience of a man
    Crime and Punishment is, at surface and in heart, a psychological investigation into the mind of a man who commits a crime - a crime he feels justified in doing - but ultimately, a crime he fails to reconcile. As a student, the protagonist (a man named Raskolnikov) is well versed in the philosophical theories of his day, and has even written a published paper - specifically on the idea of the 'extraordinary' man. Raskolnikov's 'extraordinary man' is tantamount to Nietzsche's 'superman,' in that both represent a man of the modern era: The godless man, the man who suffers not from pangs of morality or conscience but is able to shape his will and coerce the world into supplication. There are other factors that fuel Raskolnikov's motives; he is impoverished, he is indebted to his family to be their savior...but still, he seems to cite his 'theory' most of all - and indeed, the novel, to a great extent, deals with the incompatibility between his theory on paper and its practical application. More obtusely, what happens when the incalculable nature and conscience of a man is entered into an otherwise elegant equation or theory? Dostoyevsky portrays the protagonist as not only a typical man, but an overly generous one...someone who partially justifies his act as not only beneficial to himself, but also, to the good of humanity. This is where the idea of the 'extraordinary man' and the main character diverge, as the protagonist observes the affects of his action on his surroundings, friends, and loved ones. Perhaps if Raskolnikov were more rational, cold, or calculating, he would have been able to murder without conscience, succeed in his theory and plan - the author seems to suggest - at the same time proposing that such men are, if not impossible, very unlikely. There is much to the book besides this idea however, and often the narrative focuses on other characters or strays into sub-plots to further illustrate minor points or arguments...or just to tell an interesting story, for this work is nothing if not entertaining. It is also interesting to note that, at the end of the novel, and be warned this is something of a spoiler, the protagonist reaps inadvertent benefits that otherwise would not have come to pass...as beauty from ugliness, light from darkness, ect. This is a very good novel, and Dostoyevesky is adept at obscuring his point, so much so that the novel lends itself to a wide variety of interpretations (some of which are cited at the end of the Pocket Books edition.) As far as the translation and notes go, they serve their purpose and the narrative remains clear to the English reader. There are however, a few phrases in German and French that receive no notes, but you can ascertain their meaning from the context. ...more info
  • One of the greatest...
    Fyodor Dostoevky is in my mind, the greatest writer ever to walk the earth, and this book is agrued to be his best, behind The Brothers Karamazov. The reason this book is so great, is because no one wrote characters like Dostoevky; no one explored morality and actions like Dostoevky; no one before or since has had the thinking capacity of Dostoevsky. Unlike nearly every other Victorian era book, this one is a complete page turner, and will have you on the edge of your seat til the very end, and then you will be hard pressed to hold back a few tears. If you have not read or heard of Dostoevky, I suggest reading "Notes From Underground" first, then reading C&P and the Bro's Karamazov. ...more info
  • One of the Best I have ever read
    This book is one of my favorites... it's one I think everyone should read and give a change....more info
  • Wow!
    Excellent book, timeless story. Forget about all the 'over-analyzing' that seems to follow this book and just read it. It is a great story, hang in there for 100 pages (about the time you get comfortable with the characters and writing style) and enjoy! Definitely within my top 5 books of all time....more info
  • Poorly Abridged!
    The book does not even make sense due to the poor abridgement. I would not recommend this edition, though the book is a wonderful classic....more info
  • One of Dostoyevsky's very best
    "Crime and Puishment" is the story of an intellectual young man who decides to kill an old woman for purely philosophical reasons. It's about how this philosophy doesn't hold up once he actually goes through with the murder, and about the horrible physical and psychologial effects that commiting such a violent crime has on the young man's mind.
    The book does an excellent job of getting the reader inside the main character's head, and as you read you'll find yourself rooting for him, for this murderer who just killed two people. It's unbearably suspenseful at times.
    The book examines crime, morality, repentance, and the theory that maybe there are people who can commit crimes without the crimes being wrong as long as those people are mentally strong enough--people like Napoleon.
    The book's characters are excellently drawn, and the story is much more focused and directed and streamlined than "The Brothers Karamazov" or "The Idiot."
    I've read this book multiple times, and every time I've found something new in it. Like many of Dostoyevsky's books, it's like an entire world that can never be completely explored--and it's a world worth exploring. ...more info
  • Living Translation of an Alive Novel
    Anyone who has delved into Russian literature knows the critical importance of the translator(s) - Tolstoy can be made brilliant or a bore, and the same goes for Dostoevsky.

    Translating one of the world's foremost novels is no small task, but Pevear and Volkhonsky do the work invisibly and artfully, capturing the dark but vivid language of Dostoevsky's ever-modern novel. From the psychosis of Raskolnikov to the cold calculations of Luzhin, this translation captures Dostoevsky's unbelievably believable, sometimes disturbingly accurate portrayal of humanity's nuerosis.

    "Crime and Punishment" inspired everything from modern crime fiction to Sigmund Freud - it is a must-read for readers, students of Russian, and would-be criminals alike. Thanks to Pevear and Volokhonsky for making it so readable....more info
  • Redemption
    Raskolnikov lives in a small garret in a run-down apartment building in St. Petersburg. He is sickly, dressed in rags, short on cash, and talks to himself. A wall of ideas and pride keep him alienated from society. Dostoevsky submerges the reader in Raskolnikov's psychology. R L Stevenson on finishing this novel said: "All I can say is, it nearly finished me. It was like having an illness." Although we do take a bath in Raskolnikov's psyche we emerge cleansed as does our protagonist in the end. Raskolnikov much like Gardner's Grendel has got hold of some bad philosophy and he and others pay for it. He in nihilistic fashion kills two people and robs them thinking to better himself and the world. Dostoevsky writes a facinating scene of reversal from predator to prey. Raskolnikov is standing at Alyona's door waiting to get in and murder her. "Someone was standing silently just inside the door listening, just as he was doing outside it, holding her breath and probably also with her ear to the door." After the murder, it happens again, this time with Raskolnikov inside the apartment. "The unknown visitor was also at the door. They were standing now, opposite one another, as he and the old woman had stood with the door dividing them" Our proud protagonist does slowly come to repentance and like in much of Dostoevsky suffering plays a major role. Sonia is a prostitute who sells herself to support her family and she loves Raskolnikov. Against Sonia's meekness and love, Raskolnikov begins to break. At first, he is resistant, mocking Sonia's childlike faith, "She's a holy fool!", yet his heart begins to open. The detective Porfiry Petrovitch asked Raskolnikov if he believed in the story of the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Later Raskolnikov asks Sonia to read him that same story from the New Testament. Lazarus had been dead four days before returning to life, likewise it has been four days since Raskolnikov's crime. Through Christ, Lazarus came back to life and through Sonia, Raskolnikov hopes to again assume his place among the living. She gives him a cross when he goes to turn himself in, this cross represents suffering. In the final pages, Raskolnikov, who at this point is in the prison infirmary, has a feverish dream about a plague of nihilism that strikes man and spreads self centered dissent and fanatic devotion to new ideas that unravel the very fabric of civilization. So the dream doesn't bode well for mankind but Raskolnikov has Sonia who has followed him to his Siberian prison camp. Through her love the wall Raskolnikov has built around himself is broken down and he begins to experience redemption....more info
  • Not Good
    Lord have mercy this book is terrible. I read a lot and am quite capable of reading a long & complex book, but this just makes no sense. Russian loner sulks in his apartment. Oh and then on the street. Then he goes to some other folks' apartments & sulks. In between he has hundreds of pages of guilt-filled introspective thoughts. In the beginning there is a boring murder. On top of all of this, you must keep your thumb on the "character key" in the back of this giant brick of a novel in order to keep the names straight; always fun whilst attempting to read to relax. ...more info
  • one of my favorite books.
    I'm not fantastically well-read, but to imply that this book is somehow inferior (as one review has), because it makes use of such 'embarassingly conventional' techniques as PLOT, is kinda arrogant.

    'Crime and punishment' is able to integrate the readers' logic with the emotive as a way to illuminate his philosophical preoccupations which are by no means trite. (And anyways, for Dostoevesky's time, the style of writing is far less elaborate than, say...Tolstoy or Dickens).

    You can read this as simply a thrilling crime drama, but more than that, it delivers an essay on meaning in modernity. You may scoff at its end implications ( by all means, please do), but i believe it was written by a refined artistic mind--no post-modern cynic could hope to equal such an achievement. ever... so filled with smug contempt that the Literary Snob is incapable of producing anything with sincerity and truth....more info

  • Well done production
    An important and readable translation of a difficult book. The translation carries along better than the older ones I read in the past. My only complaint is that the printing is a little fuzzy, which challenges my 67 year old eyes, but not enough to abandon the book, as I sometimes must do....more info
  • Dostoyevski at his best unfortunately this translation did him no favors.
    Truly one of the greatest books of all time. This is definately something that is useful in almost everyday life. The struggle between the grand and the ordinary is something that most of us can relate to on an individual level. The translation left a little to be desired but do not hesitate to read this work you will be glad that you did....more info
  • Great Literature
    Dostoyevsky is amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book because it presents many ideas about life and motives that are intriguing. Also, I really liked this edition because it has a pronunciation key in the beginning to help those of us with no knowlege of Russian be able to come close to correctly pronouncing the characters' names, which helped me keep them straight....more info
  • Good, but overrated
    The novel is a very good one, and compared to the crap that passes as literature these days it is a classic, however, it is not a great piece of literature. The book has too many manifest flaws, such as being far too long, far too `talky', and most of all, aside from the belief that it's a `Christian tract', the biggest misread of the book is that it is somehow a work of `social realism'. Nothing could be less true- it is primarily a work of symbolism. This is evident from its title, as the very punishment referred to is not that of the legal variety, but that of internal guilt. Yes, when it was first published, in pre-Freudian 1866, it may have seemed a work of psychological depth, but even compared to the fiction of Anton Chekhov, just a few decades later, it is utterly Neolithic in its approach to the human psyche....If Dostoevsky's novel can be considered great, by some, it is not because of the things he intended within it that manifest its greatness, but that which was unwitting, and beyond him at the time, such as the real key to understanding the work, its great insight, that people do not change at a fundamental level. I was recently watching the Up documentary film series, by Michael Apted, on DVD, and those films are premised on the very notion that Crime And Punishment is, the Jesuit saying of `Give me the child till he is seven, and I shall give you the man.' We do not glimpse Raskolnikov at seven, but given what we know becomes of him it is not difficult to extrapolate that he was as amoral then as his twentysomething self appears in the book. If Dostoevsky intended this work to be an allegory on Christianity's redemptive power he clearly failed, so I posit that that was not his intent at all, and that the psychological and ethical stasis of most human beings was his major theme.

    Regardless, the book is not a great piece of art. It contains great moments, some brilliant writing, and is a very good work of art, however primitive, but it is certainly not great. A modern reader can simply not ignore all its manifest flaws, such as the awkward and heavy-handed symbolism, the stilted and unrealistic dialogue, which reinforces the truth of the characters' symbolism, as it veers between mawkishness during some of the death scenes and Raskolnikov's several confession scenes, and preachiness in many of the philosophical engagements.
    Another problem with the work, one not in the actual work, but in its willful misinterpretation by critics with axes to grind, is that, aside from the confusion over the literary value of the work, all the poor theories regarding psychology and the fundaments of criminality have somehow found their way into pop culture, and done much to lead people astray in their ideas of true good and evil. Yet, the many fundamental questions that Raskolnikov deals with are never directly addressed, and are only used as a flawed premise for the main action of the novel to go off on. Raskolnikov ponders why those who have power or mass murder in war are labeled heroes, gain fame and respect, have paeans and monuments made for them while the low born, who have to struggle with and against each other, are jailed if they kill. In Part Five, Chapter Four, he rationalizes not confessing to the murders by using this defense: `What wrong have I done them? Why should I go to them? What should I say to them? That's only a phantom....They destroy men by millions themselves and look on it as a virtue. They are knaves and scoundrels, Sonia! I am not going to them. And what should I say to them- that I murdered her, but did not dare to take the money and hid it under a stone?' he added with a bitter smile. `Why, they would laugh at me, and would call me a fool for not getting it. A coward and a fool! They wouldn't understand and they don't deserve to understand. Why should I go to them?' This is a philosophically legitimate point, yet, instead of plumbing this, and applying it to the social caste he exists within, Raskolnikov flies off into mere pop sociological dementia with his ideas on supermen and exceptionalism, never realizing that exceptionalism in one or two fields, no matter how exceeding, brilliant, nor gifted, does not imply any sort of reciprocal ethical exceptionalism.

    Yet, throughout the book, despite moments of brilliance, whenever Dostoevsky gets too close to the core, the nub of what the book is really about, he backs away. Whether because he lacked the answer or lacked the desire to deal with its clash with his own belief systems I do not know. But it is a flaw, and one that results in banal and bland sermonizing, such as that which ends the book in a very trite Hollywood film fashion:



    He did not know that the new life would not be given him for nothing, that he would have to pay dearly for it, that it would cost him great striving, great suffering.

    But that is the beginning of a new story- the story of the gradual renewal of a man, the story of his gradual regeneration, of his passing from one world into another, of his initiation into a new unknown life. That might be the subject of a new story, but our present story is ended.



    To end, Crime And Punishment is certainly a milestone work in the development of both Dostoevsky and the art of the novel, but a work's cultural or artistic import is not equivalent to its artistic excellence. Therefore, while it may be a great representation of its time, artistically and culturally, it is not a great book- neither as a social tract nor as a novel. It reads more like a mid-stage version of better models to come, which is exactly what it really is. The very fact that such gross misreadings of it has taken root is a testament to the laziness of most readers, and the unwillingness of most to think for themselves. It is this problem with readers, their own anomic stasis, writ into the larger society, that Dostoevsky actually deals with. Raskolnikov, however, still smiles. ...more info
  • Incredibly Gripping
    The first 50 pages of this novel are as gripping as anything Stephen King writes....more info
  • keepin' it real
    The negative reviews of "Crime and Punishment" seem to fall into two catagories: those that found the book "boring," "full of digressions," and "not believable," and those that took issue with the underlying message, confirmed at the very end, that Christianity promises a new life for misguided souls like Raskolnikov who have been corrupted by immoral modern ideas.

    I once counted myself among those who were bored with the book. Back when I was in college, it did not hold my interest and I set it aside after ten pages or so. I preferred more "realistic" novels, i.e. those that felt exactly like my small world. Fifteen years later, I found the book absorbing and insightful, but not because I thought Raskolnikov's crime and subsequent states of delerium were exactly "true-to-life" in all their specifics. I agree with those who were perplexed by Raskolnikov's erratic behavior. At times, it was tiring to follow along with his endlessly agitated moods and continual exhaustion. It seems as if he's at the end of his rope from the first page to the last. However, taking a broader view, he is a young man who rationalizes premeditated murder as a way for him and his mother and sister to escape lives dogged by humiliating poverty. His philosophical notions about crime are a smokescreen and basically immaterial - they're a mishmash of trendy ideas about 'progress' that will enable mankind to escape from 'beastly' fears. Blah, blah, Nietzsche, whatever. What really sets him off is the belief that his sister, whom he obviously loves, is forcing herself to enter a loveless marriage to a wealthy jerk so her family can get a few handouts because her brother is a loser and can't support them. So for me, the book is not about Christian values triumphing over athiestic modern philosophies, and readers who get caught up in this (very thin) thread in the novel are missing the point. I don't even care to know that Dostoevsky's religious beliefs at the time were such and such, and those ideas were simplistic, and they are evident in the novel and... therefore the novel is no good and Dostoevsky is not a great writer... Hunh? If you like fiction and appreciate fully-realized characters whose behavior--Raskolnikov's fits notwithstanding--is rooted in basic human emotions that everyone can identify with like fear, pride, love, guilt, and shame, I think you will enjoy this book. Imagine having to face your own sister after she learns that you murdered two people. The religious angle is not as prominant or as distracting as some of the reviews would lead you to believe.

    As for the book's "meaningless digressions" and improbable coincidences, I felt that the author was mainly concerned with the psychological struggles going on within and among the characters and that he stuck to that theme unwaveringly. I read that the published version was 'cut down considerably' from the serialized version by Dostoevsky himself, and I never had the sinking feeling that he was stretching the soup just to fill pages. It's not a sleek modern detective story. It's about people. Admittedly, there were a few 'chance' meetings that felt contrived, but nothing really incredible that made you lose faith in plot--and they usually served to heighten the drama.

    Here's a teaser: "Generally speaking, Mr Luzhin belonged to the class of people who are apparently extremely courteous in society, and indeed extremely anxious to be courteous, but who, if anything should happen to upset them, immediately lose all their airs and graces and become more like sacks of flour than breezy gentlemen whose very presence brings a breath of fresh air into society." Nice, right? ...more info
  • A very poor translation
    I read this novel 15 years ago, and loved it. It was one of my favorites. But when I was reading the Larissa Volokhonsky, Richard Pevear translation I found myself losing interest in the book quickly. So I compared a few translations, switched to the David McDuff translation and really began to enjoy the book again.
    I think that Volokhonsky and Pevear don't write English very well. Frankly, there are frequent times when their translations make no sense at all. There was a big marketing effort behind the publications of their translations, and I bought into it. I liked the blurbs on the back covers, and tried reading some of their russian translations. But once I got into the habit of comparing translations, I saw that McDuff, Jessie Coulson, and others write much more readable translations.
    These books aren't easy to get through, and I would hate to see someone discouraged by a poor translation. I recommend comparing one paragraph in two translations if you can. You'll notice the difference, and be able to pick out the translation that's right for you....more info
  • A look at a twisted soul
    Rodia, the main character of the book, divides humans into two groups- 1) those that must obey the laws and 2) those that are laws unto themselves, to which to other law is applicable. Using this idea, he rationalizes the murder of a pawn broker, which led to the incidental murder of the pawn broker's sister. He saw the first woman as a parasite on humanity, so rationalized her killing, then rationalized killing the other woman because she walked in on the first murder.

    I found Rodia to be a dispicable person and didn't really like anybody else in the book. The only person I found somewhat likeable was the cop that solved the crime. The cop understood man's (and Rodia's) many faults, yet still liked him.

    Dostoyevsky likes to find and dwell on the faults of people, which, as mentioned above, doesn't make any character sympathetic. The book is depressing, so it took me over a month to finish, but is an excellent book, looking at the dark side of men....more info
  • A book written by ourselves
    Crime and Punishment", published in 1866, is one of those books that one reads many times in his/her lifetime and which impregnates your spirit and soul with the self-imprecatory and dense prose of a deranged and disillusioned man, its author being the greatest of the Russian prose writers, Fiodor Dostoievski (1821-1881).This is my second time reading and I am sure I will get back to it eventually many times still.

    Despite the deep density of all its characters, all of them unabashedly portraying and surrendering themselves to the reader's judgement, sometimes even anticipating them, in the most clear-cut and realistic way - but at the same time seemingly disdaining the pity that one should visit upon them - this is one of those very few books you read with the weird sensation that you are the author, not Dostoievski, something that can only be ascribed to the profoundly realistic knowledge of the human dramas that surround human condition at its worst, in this case, the poor inhabitants of czarist Saint Petersburgo of the XIX century. Also, besides being essentially Russian and universal at the same time, it is auto-biographical at its core, where the protagonist Raskolnikov is easily identified with the man Dostoievsky not only for the Oedipus complex open ajar to the reader discretion.

    In my opinion, this is one of the 10 best prose books of the Occidental Classical Literature ever written and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did....more info

  • An Immersion of the Soul
    The author draws you in slowly, cunningly, and with great precision. Never have I read a novel where the characters are so real. It's as if the author is painting a masterpiece from the impressionist period. The author has exclaimed on paper what every man feels. Every man believes what they feel, no other man has felt or shared. The author has made human the emotions between good and evil, light, and darkness, shallowness, and depth, depravity, and fortitude.

    The author has also illuminated and underscored the premise that to suffer, is good. He is right. Would Spring be so welcome if we had no Winter? The guile the author gives the characters is amazing considering this is a novel of the 19th century. That said, this book is such an easy read compared to the fright I had upon beginning it. ...more info
  • great classic novel
    I have heard of this book for years but did not think I would like it. I got it in a lot of books I bought cheap and decided to give it a try. It is the translation by Magarshack and is highly readable. What a great story! It has a little of everything: crime, social commentary, feminism, romance, intrigue, comedy, ethnicism, class wars and religion. I could not put it down! The main character murders a couple obnoxious women for their money, believing at first that he is doing society a favor, and later is tortured by guilt. Throughout several subplots, many different types of people are drawn into his life with varying degrees of intrigue and he tries desperately to hide what he has done in the midst of all of this. There is a lot of dialogue in this book but it is interesting and engaging; one is drawn into the lives of the characters and feels like they are in the room with them.

    Please don't bypass this one because of its age and being a "classic". How refreshing to read an intellectual, well-written book! ...more info
  • A bad read
    The Drive-By Truckers' CD "Southern Rock Opera" contains a good song called "Ronnie and Neil." It's about Ronnie Van Zant and Neil Young. It was good enough for me to go back, indeed, and re-listen to both Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neil Young. I had dismissed both in the 1970s and 1980s. I listened to them both again. I dismissed both again. Despite how good Drive-By Truckers are, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neil Young are both bad.
    This is like the situation with "Crime and Punishment": for going on 40 years now I've been an active reader and all that time "Crime and Punishment" has had a pretty solid place in the canon. Its place in the canon is not deserved, and it is much more interesting to read _about_ the book (or, precisely, to read about the place of the book in literary history) than to actually read the book, which task is rather a chore, given that it is poorly written and plotted, had shallow characters, and runs on 500 or so pages longer than it should. I would be very surprised, actually, if it would even be published these days.
    If you want to read something considered a classic, look at Proust, say, or _Genji Monogatari_, or "Paradise Lost" or War and Peace or...just about anything but this. Maybe other of Dostoyevsky's works are better, but I'm not itching to find out.
    If you _have_ to read this (e.g., for a university class), choose another translation. I have now read two translations into English and parts of another into Japanese, and McDuff's is much worse than the other two. The Constance Garnett translation--excuse me if I've botched the spelling--is to be preferred to McDuff's.
    Neil Young and Lynyrd Skynyrd had some interesting, fresh ideas, but they didn't translate them into practice well. Whaterver the place of "Crime and Punishment" in the history of the novel, as a novel it just is not worth your time....more info
  • A masterpiece from cover to cover
    Dostoevsky has crafted a monolithic work of literature in every respect here. This book contains all the elements of vintage Dostoevsky--unforgettable characters, a gripping plot, layers of meaning, captivating style and poignant sprinkles of humor. The book is broad in its scope, exploring numerous themes--alienation from society, criminal psychology, poverty, benevolence, confession, spirituality, redemption, love and more. As typical of Dostoevsky, however, it is the spiritual journey of one character that provides the central focus of the narrative. If you don't know much about Dostoevsky, I advise reading some about his life before beginning this novel (a good starting point is wikipedia.org/wiki/Dostoevsky). This novel will take you on a thought-provoking journey about the human heart and experience that you will not forget. Highly recommended....more info
  • A great novel
    This is, of course, one of the great novels of all time. Fyodor Dostoyevsky created a number of truly wonderful works over time, such as "The Brothers Karamazov," "The Gambler," and "The Devils" (or "The Possessed"). The "Translator's Introduction" to "Crime and Punishment" provides useful context. David Magarshack, the translator, observes that (page 11) ". . .the main theme. . .had occupied Dostoyevsky ever since he gave up his career in the army to devote himself to literature." Shortly thereafter, Magarshack quotes Dostoyevsky himself from an earlier work, "White Knights," with the author saying (page 11): "'It is said that the proximity of punishment gives rise to real repentance in the criminal and sometimes arouses remorse in the most hardened heart; it is said to be chiefly due to fear." Thus, there is a psychological element to this novel, whether is approximates reality or not (I have my doubts that a lot of criminals really repent and show remorse, but that is neither here nor there).

    The novel itself was important for Dostoyevsky since, as was not uncommon, he was in dire financial straits. He signed a contract to provide a serialization of the work to a literary publication. This is apparent at some points, when different parts of the novel may not fit together so well or when certain strands of discourse aren't fully developed.

    The protagonist, Raskolnikov, faces a series of problems. For one thing, he is a student who faces dire poverty and has a difficult time just making ends meet. At another level, he has a sense that special human beings can be above the law and so on to do great deeds. These two factors plus others are interlinked to lead him to murder a pawnbroker to help gain enough money to survive. On being "superman," Raskolnikov says at one point (page 276): "I simply hinted that the `extraordinary' man has a right--not an officially sanctioned right, of course--to permit his conscience to step over certain obstacles, but only if it is absolutely necessary for the fulfillment of his idea on which possibly the welfare of all mankind may depend." And, in a following commentary (page 277): ". . .I maintain that all men who are not only great but a little out of the common. . .must by their very nature be criminals. . . ."

    After committing the murder, he begins to come apart, as he suspects that people know of his deed. In another plot twist, after meeting a civil servant, Marmalodov, he comes to be attracted to his daughter, Sonya. He comes to confess to her of his deed. Later, he falls in love with her, but his imprisonment means that they would need to delay a life together. She follows him to Siberia, and the novel ends with hope for the future.

    This is one of the great novels, no doubt. There are problems, as noted above, with the development of the story and with its ending (almost deus ex machine). Nonetheless, an interesting psychological analysis of the human mind. Still worth reading long after he completed writing it in 1866. Raskolnikov remains one of the great characters in literature, and his slow unraveling after the murder creates gripping drama.
    ...more info
  • It Worked
    I have been trying to get my wife to read Crime and Punishment, a true masterpiece, for years with no success. So I thought let's try this CD as she listens to books-on-CD during her commute - well it worked and she loved the CDs and said it was like the speaker was acting out the parts not merely reading them, so it clearly deserves 5 Stars....more info
  • Not Good
    Lord have mercy this book is terrible. I read a lot and am quite capable of reading a long & complex book, but this just makes no sense. Russian loner sulks in his apartment. Oh and then on the street. Then he goes to some other folks' apartments & sulks. In between he has hundreds of pages of guilt-filled introspective thoughts. In the beginning there is a boring murder. On top of all of this, you must keep your thumb on the "character key" in the back of this giant brick of a novel in order to keep the names straight; always fun whilst attempting to read to relax. ...more info
  • A Russian Master
    After reading this book, it is very clear to me why Dostoevsky was one of the most influential writers ever. Nietzsche was in love with him, and valued his insight into the psychology of human nature. Even though I read a translation, it was still a work of brilliance. I can only imagine how great the original is. ...more info
  • A towering work of criminal psychology
    It's seldom that I root for the evildoer of a novel or movie, but Dostoyevsky definitely had me doing it with "Crime and Punishment". Early in the novel, impoverished student Raskolnikov murders two innocent older women in order to make a quick buck (and also for deeper reasons revealed later in the novel). We then accompany Raskolnikov through the tumultuous aftermath, during which his feelings towards his evil deed revolve between complete indifference, intense guilt, and a rational desire to hide from the law. A formal investigation by the city, led by the effusive and enigmatic detective Porfiry Petrovich, comprises much of the novel.

    It's interesting that by a couple hundred pages following the murders, I'd begun to stop thinking of Raskolnikov as an evildoer but rather as someone who was simply insane half the time. At some point I began to sympathize with him and by the end of the novel I was positively rooting for him to escape apprehension and punishment. This is a testament to Dostoyevsky's skill at rendering his characters' thoughts and beliefs so well that the reader internalizes them to some degree.

    I found the Penguin edition translated by David McDuff to be very readable, not stilted at all like I'd heard that many translations of Dostoyevsky into English can be. In addition to many humorous turns of phrase that came through fine in the translation, dialogue in general seemed to flow naturally. The sense of oppressive gloom so prevalent in Dostoyevsky's works seemed to also be faithfully replicated by McDuff, as was Dostoyevsky's detached matter-of-fact style of narration. Of course, it's difficult to remain cheerful when reading about murder and people driven to desperate measures because of the abject poverty they're in.

    A must read for fans of serious fiction prepared to step away from the lighthearted for a while!...more info
  • A Complex Tale of Mind, Soul & Spiritual Redemption
    The protagonist of this famous tale, Raskolnikov, has fallen to the depths of emotional and physical despair. Is there a way out of his abject poverty; a mind that will not shut off; his alcoholism; his fantasies of evil-acts, his utter Resentment of existence? In his mind, finally, there is hope, to bring his soul out from the gutter, an act of pure Will, that can lift him to a place where he is "meant" to be...and that is, pre-meditative Murder.

    It can be dangerous reading Dostoevsky because, as a writer, he has that uncanny ability to put the reader's mind into the mind of his characters.

    Reading Crime and Punishment, for me at least, had me agreeing with Raskolnikov, at times pushing him along to commit the act: commit murder because the writing had me truly believing that this most hidious act would bring him at least a glimmer of redemption. But, of course, after the 'act' (with an axe of all weapons), the guilt sets in and his life becomes even more a living hell. (Guilt is hell.)

    The paranoia of getting caught reaches mammoth levels, and he cannot live in his own skin anymore; in his mind he now IS in living hell.

    The protagonist finally admits to the crime and, comedically, (Dostoevsky's hate of any type of Russian bureaucracy) do not believe him!

    The most horrific scenes in literature of all time, for me, is the beating, on a busy street in St. Petersburg, of a horse by its sadistic owner to its slow and painful death. A beating that would turn anyone into a rage...

    This terrible image, so graphically written in detail, will remain with me forever.

    Does Raskolnikov finally attain his sought after redemption?

    There is something that changes within the man, but it is up to the individual reader to decide...one of the greatest books written in the twentieth century.



    ...more info
  • A few subjective impressions
    This is generally acknowledged as one of the great works of Literature and perhaps after 'The Brothers Karamazov ' Dosteovsky's second best work. I did not like the work, and not because I did not find parts of it absorbing and moving. I do not like crime. I do not like murder and violence. I found it difficult to sympathize with Raskolnikov and understand why I should give somuch of my attention to such a person. The murder of the old woman is in my perhaps simplistic mind, an evil for which one should be silenced. Instead we get hundreds of pages of the hero's remorse. If I were asked what I really remember about the work it is the confession of the drunken character who tells his whole life story and suffering to a total stranger. The dialogue of Dostoevsky is always one of his strong points, and in this speech too one feels great power. The suffering of the child, the single child which stands out against the Heavens as evidence of an unjust world and God also moved me deeply. I admit I am far from the best reader of this work. Dostoevsky has always repelled me a bit even before I knew of his anti- Semitism. The fascination with the morbid and the criminal has never been mine. But the power of the work and the word and the comprehension of character and experience are very great indeed. I suggest the reader turn to far other reviews for more full and more objective informatiion....more info
  • One of the great works of all time
    Crime and Punishment happens to be the first Dostoevsky novel I've read, but it certainly won't be my last. I was engrossed in this book from the first page until the last.

    The books begins with Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, the character who's path we will follow from the beginning till end. He isn't the classic hero--he's actually quite far from it. He is an impoverished student of the young age of 23, barely surviving. His clothes are torn and ragged; he rarely eats... He is at war with himself over whether he should go through with *it*. This thing, this theory, will decide who he is. Raskolnikov aspires to be a great man, and is a great admirer of Napolean Bonaparte. He wishes to be one of the great revolutionaries of his time, to do great good to society. But then we learn that this thing, this "it" is the murder of an old, wretched woman. This will be the first step, the first act. With the old woman's wealth he wishes to begin...

    ...But he only succeeds in part--and from there things go quite awry. This is the real point at which the novel settles in for a good, consistent pace. Ras. falls into delirium, his mother, Pulkheria Aleksandrovna, and sister, Avdotya Romanovna (called Dunya for the greater part of the work) show up in his room. His sister announces that she is going to marry a wealthy man that Ras. hates, a Pyotr Petrovich--a man 30 years older than Dunya herself is... And Porfiy Petrovich is getting closer and closer to discovering that Raskolnikov is the murdererer... in fact he may already know.

    But about the characterization... I didn't come across one character who wasn't completely real and believable to me, so much so that I know this book will remain with me for a long time. Sonya, Raskolnikov, Dunya, Razumikhin, Svidrigailov... all impeccably real. My only personal complaint would be the extreme similarities between Pulkheria Aleksandrovna and Katerina Ivanovna's persons, but that may have been intended, and therefore is no discredit to the author.

    The book is also chock full of intensity and as far as I know, is the only classic author to actually written something that had a degree of horror in it, especially in the dreams of Svidrigailov... so, if you also like a bit of suspense, you'll especially like this novel. Each scene is so real and intense that you can feel the pain with each of Katerina Ivanovna's coughs, the heat of Sonya's every tear, and Razumikhin's enthusiastic outlook on life. It also possesses a very epic-build feel during the last 60 or so pages, so much so that you might suddenly here the themes to the Lord of the Rings flash through your head.

    McDuff's translation is very good, and easy to read, and the notes are nothing if not very helpful. This easily breaks my top 3 all time classic novels (or modern ones, for that matter), and is awesome to behold the story of one man's struggle with himself, those who tried to bring him down, and those who tried to lift him up. The humanity is wonderfully inspiring.

    Note to first time readers: whenever a character breaks into a dialogue that lasts several pages (Marmeladov in the drinking den, Pulkheria Aleksandrovna's letter, etc.) make sure you pay attention, even make notes if you have to, because they are usually very important and give a lot of background that is extremely helpful.
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  • Gripping!
    Dostoyevsky has an amazing way of forcing the audience to ponder the philosophical notions of this situation and not those only of civil law. ...more info
  • If Dickens were disturbed... and philosophical... and Russian
    Dostoyevsky's "Crime and Punishment" is a classic for a reason. It draws you in with a set of inter-woven stories and well-developed characters that really are reminiscent of something written by Charles Dickens.

    But "Crime and Punishment" certainly isn't Dickens. I've heard people say that reading Dostoyevsky is like having a disease or decending into hell. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't go that far, but Dostoyevsky brilliantly places you inside the mind of a man who is undergoing the most agonizing kind of psychological suffering and holds you there for the duration of the book. You literally become Dostoyevsky's character. Given his circumstances, it is a less than pleasant experience.

    Dostoyevsky's work also captures the Russian political debates of the late 19th Century and that uniquely Russian philosophy of the virtue of enduring suffering.

    This is a book that you can't put down, but at the same time, can't wait for it to end. What a statement that is for its author, who has captured the inner world of the mind of a man who has gone badly off course and is paying the inevitable price.

    Highly recommended....more info
  • Brain Food!
    This book was an experience. I was completely engulfed by it to the point where I thought about it constantly. It almost became an obsession.

    Simply, the novel is about a man, Raskolnikov, who murders two women. I felt if this was a movie, I'd have been watching with my hands over my face, between the cracks of my fingers. The reader knows Raskolnikov has committed this heinous crime, yet you never hate him. Quite the opposite, actually. Dostoyevsky creates such a complex character in Raskolnikov that the reader looks forward to seeing him chapter after chapter. What will he do? What will he say? Who will he visit? What is he thinking? There are times in the novel when people are in a jam, and you want Raskolnikov to show up. It's amazing considering what he has done.

    This is the type of book you will feel compelled to read and reread. There is so much philosophy in it, you can't grasp it all the first time through. I know I'm not doing it's description justice. It's a wild experience! Don't waste another minute reading reviews go get it and experience it for yourself!! ...more info
  • Correct Edition?
    I just purchased and received this product from Amazon and am not quite certain it is the edition as listed here. The one I received clearly indicates being published in 2007 and there is no indication of it being the NEW edition (July1, 2008) noted in the description. Given the date, this would appear a valid question. Can anyone enlighten me, or should this product be returned pending the release of the actual advertised edition?...more info
  • Lost in translation?
    The title translated into German used to be 'Schuld und Suehne' which translates into 'Guilt and Attonement'. The book appears now with the new translated title of 'Verbrechen und Strafe' which translates into 'Crime and Punishment'. What was the author really thinking by almost excusing the crime? Are we now less forgiving?...more info
  • Top 5 of all time
    Brilliant book. I just got done reading "Pillars of the Earth" and read the glowing reviews so I am writing this review just to get the bad taste out of my mouth.

    Also, how can people give this book 1 star? Are you kidding. Please stick with television if you think this book is anything but sublime....more info
  • Crime and Punishment
    The book arrived in excellent condition. I have not read it yet, but am anxiously waiting to read it. I am very happy that it had arrived in plenty of time....more info
  • A towering work of criminal psychology
    It's seldom that I root for the evildoer of a novel or movie, but Dostoyevsky definitely had me doing it with "Crime and Punishment". Early in the novel, impoverished student Raskolnikov murders two innocent older women in order to make a quick buck (and also for deeper reasons revealed later in the novel). We then accompany Raskolnikov through the tumultuous aftermath, during which his feelings towards his evil deed revolve between complete indifference, intense guilt, and a rational desire to hide from the law. A formal investigation by the city, led by the effusive and enigmatic detective Porfiry Petrovich, comprises much of the novel.

    It's interesting that by a couple hundred pages following the murders, I'd begun to stop thinking of Raskolnikov as an evildoer but rather as someone who was simply insane half the time. At some point I began to sympathize with him and by the end of the novel I was positively rooting for him to escape apprehension and punishment. This is a testament to Dostoyevsky's skill at rendering his characters' thoughts and beliefs so well that the reader internalizes them to some degree.

    I found the Penguin edition translated by David McDuff to be very readable, not stilted at all like I'd heard that many translations of Dostoyevsky into English can be. In addition to many humorous turns of phrase that came through fine in the translation, dialogue in general seemed to flow naturally. The sense of oppressive gloom so prevalent in Dostoyevsky's works seemed to also be faithfully replicated by McDuff, as was Dostoyevsky's detached matter-of-fact style of narration. Of course, it's difficult to remain cheerful when reading about murder and people driven to desperate measures because of the abject poverty they're in.

    A must read for fans of serious fiction prepared to step away from the lighthearted for a while!...more info
  • Philosophy, Psychology, or Theology? No, Just Great Literature
    Raskolnikov, an impovershed student in 19th Century St. Petersburg, conceives a plan to kill and rob a shrewish hag of a pawnbroker. He justifies his plan because he is an ubermensch and she is a louse. The world will be better off if she is dead and he is able to finish his education. Killing and robbing her will accomplish both purposes. After all, the ubermensch owes it to society to commit any crime that will ultimately benefit society. The crime is perpetrated and the rest of the book deals with Raskolnikov's angst over his guilt and his redemption through suffering. Almost every major character in the book is more likeable that Raskolnikov.

    The philosophy of Dostoyevsky's book seems to be primarily a refutation of Hegelian and proto-Nietschian philosophy and an affirmation of Christian values. Along the way he also manages to work in a rebuttal of social-Darwinism.

    Having known, prosecuted, and defended hundreds of murderers, I was much taken by Raskolnikov's psychological progression from crime to atonement. Much of his self justification rang true to my experience. I have known many killers who thought of themselves as superior beings above the law, and many others who justified killing on the grounds that the victim lacked human worth. So long as the killer can keep the victim dehumanized, the killer can live with the deed. When the killer begins to regard the victim as a fellow human, guilt sets in and many confess--often years later. Raskolnikov's behavioural symptoms did not, however, ring true to my experience. Although some killers are guilt-ridden to the point of distraction, they can usually control themselves much better than Raskolnikov. His actions practically shouted his guilt.

    The interplay of the large cast of characters gave the book great psychological depth, but Dostoyevsky didn't beat the reader over the head with the psychology. He didn't tell you what the characters were thinking. Their actions showed you what they were thinking. In my experience, most modern psycho-dramas ladle out the psychology in huge dollops. Modern writers would do well to re-read Dostoyevsky.

    The abridged audio edition read by Michael Sheen is three hours long, and the tale does not suffer much from the massive abridgement necessary to get the story on three CD's. My greatest complaint with the edition is that Sheen reads the story with a British accent, and the characters all speak with British accents. It was somewhat hard to adjust to a Russian novel read with a British accent. ...more info
  • BEST BOOK I'VE EVER READ!
    I simply can't put it any better than in the title. READ THIS BOOK. If you like psychology and love suspense, read it. I got the same suspense from this that i would from a great movie, and for me, that's amazing. I'm really not an avid reader by any stretch, i chose to read this for a summer reading list at school, and i simply thought it was amazing, i really did have that "can't put it down" feeling. Dostoyevsky is a master at suspense and getting you to connect with the character. Do yourself a favor you'll never regret and read this!...more info
  • Crime and Punishment is Dostoevsky's masterpiece on the criminial mind, repentance and redemption in Tsarist Russia
    Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1880) is along with Count Leo Tolstoy the greatest Russian novelist His study of criminal mind is without peer in world literature.
    "Crime and Punishment" (1866) is set in Saint Petersburg located on the Neva River near the Finnish border. This fog enshrouded capital of Peter the Great is the site of the murder story. A young, penniless former law student Rodion Raskolnikov is a scholastic dropout who spends his days in the squalor of a small apartment in the slums. He has been imbued with the philosophy of Nietzche and the nihilism which were popular beliefs nineteenth century Russian intellectual circles. Raskolnikov believes he is superior to the vast majority of humankind. To implement this hubristic stance he decides to kill a greedy pawnbroker. He kills the old lady and her sister with an ax. He robs them and believes he will never be punished for the crime.
    In addition to this major story we meet Raskolnikov's sister who has been seduced by a rich aristocrat and is living at home with their mother. We also meet the saint-like Sonya a poor girl forced into prostitution as a means to feed her starving family. All of the major characters are undergoing poverty, illness and suffering through their tormented lives. Countless pages of the long novel deal with their various philosophies concerning life, the fate of Russia and the Christian gospel's relevance and importance in modern life.
    The novel ends with hope as Raskolnikov repents of his crimes; is sentenced to eight years in Siberia and wins the love of the prostitute Sonya. Dostoevsky is adept at exploring the minid of his characters. His descriptions of St. Petersburg life are detailed bringing his tale to life.
    This is a pyschological novel which has influenced the course of the introspective novel of the twentieth century. Dostoevsky had been banished to Siberia and understood human suffering perhaps better than any major novelist. It was refreshing to this reviewer that the novel is written from a Christian perspective giving sinners home for forgiveness through the grace of Jesus Christ.
    Due to the long Russian names, the complicated plot and the number of characters the book is not an easy read. It is, however, worthy of your time and attention. Dostoevsky is an author well worth knowing. The book can be read and re-read throughout life with profit to the reader. It is a spiritual odyssesy through the rings of hell culminating in the joy experienced by earthly and heavenly love.
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  • Overrated...but a glad read
    While reading this I couldn't take it, i think it took me about 3 months to read becaue the translation just began to get on my last nerves and i was also trying to read Camus "the plague" but i quit to finish this beast. After finishing the novel i did feel a sense of accomplishment and you really look at the book to justify killing a woman for society well and at Russia at the time that Dosto wrote the novel so it is really everyone's opinion on the novel if you like it or not. To me it was a long novel with a poor translation with a good story and good idea....more info
  • On the nature of great literature
    Crime and Punishment is my favorite book, but that's not what I want to say here. What I must say is simply this: you are not required to read this book, and you are certainly not required to *like* this book, but to dismiss it, to disrespect the fantastic amount of painstaking artistic labor that Dostoeyevsky put into his masterpiece is both ignorant and wrong.

    On a side note, I do recognize that some people actually *are* required to read Crime and Punishment for their course work. I find this deeply regrettable; I probably would have hated it too if I hadn't read it by choice....more info

 

 
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