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Fyodor Dostoevsky is the Russian author famous for exploring psychological and existential depths in his work, most notably in The Brothers Karamazov and this here Crime and Punishment. It focuses on the mental and moral wrangling of Raskolnikov, a poor St. Petersburg ex-student who plans and acts out the murder of a conniving scoundrel - a low life pawn broker who's got some desperately needed cash. Raskolnikov justifies his act by comparing himself to Napoleon, thinking that some murder is committed for a higher purpose. He also sets out to perform good acts with the money to outweigh his crime.

Crime and Punishment was written in 6 parts, and it's fascinating to note that the novel has a clear, almost mathematical balance to it. It's said to look like a "flattened X" in its structure, and Raskolnikov changes directly in the middle. If you haven't read any Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment is a murder mystery to end all murder mysteries.

Published: Sheba Blake Publishing an imprint of Vearsa Limited on
ISBN: 9781312357792
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Great writing, preposterous "protagonist"...slow to start, annoying ending ( I thought). A whole cast of deplorable characters, but interesting once you get to the crime. Fantastically suspenseful in parts, but action often stalled by huge monologues (many interior) - although these are certainly integral to the story. WTF to give this? hmmmm I guess it makes you think...maybe all the way to the shotgun cabinet, and as you write the suicide note... 3.75? A book to remind me how much I can't stand human beings. :/ But I liked it, & am glad I read it! Maybe best if you think of it more as a philosophical exercise & less as a believable novel?more
I found this book to be much easier to read than most classics. The personalities and culture took a little getting used to, but became endearing after a while. The language was sometimes confusing, but not unbearably so. I do think this book is worth reading.more
It took me a long time to read Crime and Punishment. Partly because I was moving away from home at the time, and partly because it's quite intense, and thoughtful, and, well, psychological. I found it interesting how realistic parts of it were, in terms of how people act: Dostoyevsky knew what he was writing about, certainly. At the same time, the people are quite strange -- the investigator, always talking and spilling out his thoughts; the main character, always talking to himself; Mrs Marmeladov with her strange delusions... They all seem a little bit larger than life. It certainly gives them a life of their own, anyway.

In terms of the writing, the repetitions of things and the stating of the obvious and the sameness to the eccentricity of the characters somewhat bored me. Large chunks of it are just Raskolnikov dithering around and being delirious.

I can see why this is considered a great book, but I can't quite give it a whole-hearted "it was amazing" rating. It's something I might read again to ponder over some more.more
This book surprised me...some may look down on me for not reading any Dostoevsky novels until I was 30 but honestly I thought it might be a bit over my head. I found this to be as easy as reading someone like Hemingway, though, only with more of a Dickens meets Hesse in Russia sort of feel to it. In any case, it was very easy to understand with the exception of the names of the characters at times.


Crime and Punishment is one of those books you feel is incredibly relevant and probably will be so as long as there are humans existing on the planet. Dostoevsky's insight on humanity, consequences, and even social structures are advanced and quite profound. The moral arguments within this text are fascinating to read in the same way many of the best philosophy texts are, only this is applied to a situation one must imagine has occurred hundreds of times both before and after the novel is written. I don't think Dostoevsky's goal was to stop people from committing crimes but delve deep within the psyche of one murderer and show us the mirror he brought with him on the dive.more
A brilliant searing narrative of Raskolnikov who is driven to murder for money. Dotsoevsky paints a grim picture of life amongst the Russian underclass making one wish not to live the same life.more
I can't believe I donated my copy to my high school after reading it. Dostoevsky's psychological thriller has many imitators; I've yet to read any who surpass him.more
This book is not what I expected it be. It is sad but very comical. In fact, some time it is so sad that it is comical. But it's realism is not marred by cartoonish antics. The writing is operatic but supremely smart and witty. There are monologues upon monologues, but these monologues are page turners, building to wonderful observations upon life, some I most certainly did not believe our present day have in common with Russian society in the 1860s. Most importantly, even though this book is completely popular and is said to be THE book, it is still quite unpredictable as far as plot lines go. And the writing is wonderfully digestible. And even more, what a wonderfully horrible slash smart slash kind slash petty slash stubborn slash generous main character. There is no denying that we all identify with Raskolnikov at one point in the book.more
Surprisingly brilliant"Brother, brother, what are you saying? Why, you have shed blood?" cried Dunya in despair. "Which all men shed," he put in almost frantically, "which flows and has always flowed in streams, which is spilt like champagne, and for which men are crowned in the Capitol and are called afterwards benefactors of mankind... If I had succeeded I should have been crowned with glory, but now I'm trapped."A surprising book. A book whose reputation overshadows it with those dreaded words "a worthy classic". A book of social commentary, a discussion of philosophy, of morality and justice, a plea for the Christian faith. But it’s also a playful crime novel, a crime of The Why, a wry look at art of catching criminals and with the number one genre attribute: a gripping plot. It is also beautifully written; discussion and descriptions slip of the page and their gems lurk in your brain. It is far too easy a read for such a chewy book.“It would be interesting to know what it is men are most afraid of. Taking a new step, uttering a new word is what they fear most.” Of course it's not without its faults, Personally (and though open to interpretation) the epilogue with its religion as a panacea felt a like a let down to the topics explored, a simplistic choice God or Nihilism. Sexism is endemic, although female characters abound they all lean towards self sacrificing end of the spectrum (yes Sonia is the embodiment of self sacrifice but every female character?) Racism is littered throughout too with throw away anti Semitic comments and for some reason a dislike of Germans. I can ignore these things, there is too much good stuff to take away but it depends on your sensitivity. Where is it?" thought Raskolnikov. "Where is it I've read that someone condemned to death says or thinks, an hour before his death, that if he had to live on some high rock, on such a narrow ledge that he'd only room to stand, and the ocean, everlasting darkness, everlasting solitude, everlasting tempest around him, if he had to remain standing on a square yard of space all his life, a thousand years, eternity, it were better to live so than to die at once! Only to live, to live and live! Life, whatever it may be!... How true it is! Good God, how true! Man is a vile creature!... And vile is he who calls him vile for that," he added a moment later. Overall highly recommended. Ignore the overly academic introductions and essays and dive right it, take away what you will and most of all wallow and enjoy (unless you’re a Nihilist)more
Brilliant, and (though I don't have any Russian) seems to be a truly excellent translation.more
Crime and Punishment is a psychological thriller that takes the reader deep into the mind of Raskolnikov. Raskolnikov is a former student who is doing nothing with his life until he devises a radical theory. This theory hypothesizes that there are such men who are extraordinary enough to actually be above the law. He finally tests his theory, which spirals his life into a story of suffering and redemption. It is set in 18th century Russia, and draws the reader into the poverty and suffering filled world of a Russian peasant. It explores a large range of classes while also developing intricate characters, such as the borderline mad Raskolnikov, and the deeply religion Sonia. This is a book that everyone should read; Dostoevsky brings the reader on an incredible journey through the mind of Raskolnikov. While I will admit it does get slightly sluggish at times because there is a lot of Raskolnikov thinking to himself, it is quite necessary to the story and pays off in the character development.Evan B.more
**Warning: Spoilers**I don't think I've ever come across a book quite like Crime and Punishment. Usually, I can at the very least quickly classify a book in the broad terms of "I liked it" or "I didn't like it." Crime and Punishment doesn't really fit in this paradigm. I can't tell you if I liked it or not, because I don't know. In fact, it almost defies description at all. Nevertheless, I will say what I can about Dostoyevsky's novel.The basic plot centers on a young man named Raskolnikov who commits a double murder early on in the story. The rest of the book details the slow, agonizing punishment of that crime, which for him is an internal battle between his intellect, which says that he has done no wrong, and his conscience, which informs him that what he did was in fact very wrong. His internal strife slowly eats away at Raskolnikov to the point where he confesses his crime and is sent to Siberia for hard labor. While in Siberia, his suffering for his misdeeds reaches a climax, and as a result he finds redemption and is reanimated as a person. His soul is restored.The positive elements of the book are several: First, there are multiple scenes which evoked strong emotional reactions as I read. Dostoyevsky had an amazing ability to write viscerally. Second, the novel displays (accurately, in my view) the destructiveness of adhering to a false worldview. Raskolnikov came close to breaking down throughout the story, precisely because he could not reconcile his worldview with reality. Conversely, the author represents well the transformation or regeneration that occurs with true repentance--a lesson that will forever ring true.There are several negative elements of the book, though. As is typical with Russian literature, it is a heavy, long read. I personally could not say that I enjoyed reading it, but while hard, it was worthwhile. (Perhaps it is the literary equivalent to eating one's vegetables?) In addition, Dostoyevsky had several side stories that dealt with the current events of the day--events with which I was completely in the dark. I admit, this is probably more of a commentary on myself than the book, but since I am not in academia and have precious little time to read as it is, it makes little sense for me to study up on such details just to read a book.Overall, I am just not sure what to do with this book. It speaks to the reader on multiple levels and contains much that is good, but it was not particularly a "good read" in the sense that it was not a book I would recommend to curl up with next to a fire. Reading it was more like running a marathon without knowing where the finish line was. On balance, I am rating this book 3 stars, which I freely admit may reflect more on me than Dostoyevsky's classic work.more
It's a daunting task to review a masterpiece such as Dostoyevsky's "Crime and Punishment", and yet I am attempting it, in a very small way. I first read this book years ago in my youth as part of high school curriculum, and even then it produced an overwhelming impression on me. Re-reading it now, the effect is similar, even though I understand and appreciate it more intensely. The depth with which Dostoyevsky delves into human feelings is incomparable, his depiction of Russian soul, with all its idiosyncrasies, is unparalleled . Love or hate - by a Russian it's felt to the extreme possible degree. And how typical of one of his characters to observe that "suffering is a great thing...". The idea that prompts Raskolnikov to commit his crime is both shocking and daring, and though one cannot justify any killing, one can see from his tormenting ruminations and his published article that he drew his lessons from history - it's just that he interpreted them in too drastic a manner. Apart from this main story line, Dostoyevsky thoroughly mocks certain layers of Russian society and yet professes feelings of harrowing pain for the suffering multitude. Dostoyevsky is always true to his genius - one cannot afford to skip a single line...Not to mention what a joy it is to read him in the original.--more
An idea possessed Raskolnikov. He believed there are supermen, Newton’s and Napoleon’s, who transcend ordinary men and women, who could act without moral constraint to judge evil and levy punishment, and to determine whether he belonged to this superior race, he killed the greedy and usurious pawn-broker. But unlike Napoleon in Austerlitz he didn’t execute his plan coldly and tactically. Rather, he nauseatingly dreamed his way into a double murder, the pawnbroker’s sister had returned because he had tarried, and, at the sight of blood, was so terrified that his hands could not stop trembling. He discovered that he wasn’t upright or courageous, that he could not transcend the law, and that he was just a louse, a member of the inferior class. As psychological fiction, Crime and Punishment showcases Raskolnikov’s contradictory actions and emotions that revealed a split psyche fighting for wholeness. He despised others but was preoccupied with bringing about good. After reading his mother’s letter about his sister’s misfortune, he shed sympathetic tears but also donned an evil spiteful smile. He gave the little he had to help the Marmeladovs but immediately regretted helping them. He killed the pawnbroker to prove an idea but took her money and valuables. He was detached in the first interview with the head detective Porfiry but in the second was angry and spiteful toward him.His punishment did not begin in Siberia after the verdict but immediately after killing the pawnbroker, his irritability, nervousness, suspiciousness, delusion, and mania tormenting an already fragile psyche, not allowing him to eat, drink, sleep, work or socialize, and pressing him to hide in his coffin-like apartment trying escaping from reality and to curl up under his blanket, feverish and delusional. His conscience was tormenting and implicating him even before the law did so. Only through Sonya’s help and guidance was he able to find strength to confess his crime. Through this novel’s outcome, Dostoyevsky rejected any social system that tried to replace the jagged path of life with linear reason to save people from their predicament. Although the author’s moral heavy-handedness in Raskolnikov’s repentance and redemption seemed to scar the artistry of the mental battle, Crime and Punishment is psychological novel at its best.more
Raskolnikov was a poor student in St. Petersburg. When he was in school, he manifested an idea that truly great men should be allowed to do more. They are above the law and that if someone or something stands in his way, he has every right to remove them by any means necessary, even if it means murder. Napoleon was a great man, he crushed and killed thousands, why not Raskolnikov? This rash and dangerous theory provides justification for the murder of two women, one a greedy usurer that Raskonikov is heavily indebted, and her sister, in the wrong place at the wrong time. It seems that this theory is just a way for him to get out of debt. He fantasizes about killing her and redistributing her funds all for a good cause, justifying his actions. However, he finds that those terrible actions weigh heavier on his soul than he bargained for. He doesn't redistribute the funds and doesn't even use them. And the guilt, the guilt weights on him, and when a detective discovers his guilt, it becomes a psychological game of cat and mouse. It's an exploration of guilt and how we need to punish ourselves for the wrong that we do. From murder, to neglect of duties, the wrong committed by the perpetrators will result in a dose of their own punishment. An ultimate exploration on how we punish ourselves. The real strength in this story is the character development and the internal dialogue. It's one of the first stories to get such an in-depth look inside a character's head. Each painstaking thought, insecurity, fear, and worry is etched in detail. I also loved the cat and mouse game with the detective. It's that type of dialogue that could fit into a police procedural today, the detective trying to crush the suspect without making a direct accusation, trying to wear him down so he will just give up. The psychological warfare is intense and very enjoyable. Russian literature is always a great study of people. Each character is fleshed out. It has those same qualities that make Huckleberry Finn such a classic; the characters are just as good as the story. The problems and travails of the common person of the day are told in so much detail. In one case, a dream sequence demonstrates the struggle of the common peasant of the day; an old horse is pulled out attempting to pull a full cart of drunkards as the master whips him again and again thinking he should be able to pull such a heavy load. When he cannot do it, he stands to shoot it and at that point Raskolnikov wakes from his dream (it may have been the dream that pushes him over).A very dense read, not as dense as Anna Karenina (where you definitely need a list of the cast of characters to keep up), but not as heavy as Fathers and Sons, which is more of a straightforward story. I may want to re-read this in the future to get more out of it.In short, I maintain that all great men or even men a little out of the common, that is to say capable of giving some new word, must from their very nature be criminals—more or less, of course. Otherwise it's hard for them to get out of the common rut; and to remain in the common rut is what they can't submit to, from their very nature again, and to my mind they ought not, indeed, to submit to it.""He will lie—that is, the man who is a special case, the incognito, and he will lie well, in the cleverest fashion; you might think he would triumph and enjoy the fruits of his wit, but at the most interesting, the most flagrant moment he will faint. Of course there may be illness and a stuffy room as well, but anyway! Anyway he's given us the idea! He lied incomparably, but he didn't reckon on his temperament. That's what betrays him! Another time he will be carried away by his playful wit into making fun of the man who suspects him, he will turn pale as it were on purpose to mislead, but his paleness will be too natural , too much like the real thing, again he has given us an idea! Though his questioner may be deceived at first, he will think differently next day if he is not a fool, and, of course, it is like that at every step! He puts himself forward where he is not wanted, speaks continually when he ought to keep silent, brings in all sorts of allegorical allusions, he-he! Comes and asks why didn't …"You knew I was ill and tried to work me into a frenzy to make me betray myself, that was your object! Produce your facts! I understand it all. You've no evidence, you have only wretched rubbishly suspicions like Zametov's! You knew my character, you wanted to drive me to fury and then to knock me down with priests and deputies.... Are you waiting for them? eh! What are you waiting for? Where are they? Produce them?"""She was only fourteen, but her heart was broken. And she had destroyed herself, crushed by an insult that had appalled and amazed that childish soul, had smirched that angel purity with unmerited disgrace and torn from her a last scream of despair, unheeded and brutally disregarded, on a dark night in the cold and wet while the wind howled...."Raskolnikov took the magazine and glanced at his article. Incongruous as it was with his mood and his circumstances, he felt that strange and bitter sweet sensation that every author experiences the first time he sees himself in print; besides, he was only twenty-three. It lasted only a moment. After reading a few lines he frowned and his heart throbbed with anguish. He recalled all the inward conflict of the preceding months. He flung the article on the table with disgust and anger.""Perhaps it was only from the force of his desires that he had regarded himself as a man to whom more was permitted than to others." p. 544more
I somehow made it through high school and a college English Lit degree without having read Crime and Punishment. Many years later, I finally read it though the help of an audiobook, and conclude I was not missing out on much. It's a good book and certainly hooked me in. The ending, however, seemed rushed and didn't leave me with any great thoughts or contemplations. Perhaps that was the point, but I would have liked a bit more.more
This was a great book. I loved the relationship between Raskolnikov and Porfiry Petrovich. Excellent dialogue, excellent characters, flat ending. If Dostoevsky knew how to end a novel, this would've gotten a rating even higher than 4 stars. As it stands, it is still better than 90% of the books out there, and therefore I recommend reading it.more
This is my favorite among Dostoevsky's last great novels. In it the reader finds a man filled with fear, desperation, and anguish. Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment is a shockingly intimate tale of a murder and a murderer. Raskolnikov is a man seemingly on the brink of madness as he plots and carries out a grisly killing. Although he evades the police, Raskolnikov's dark deed weighs heavily on him (in a way reminiscent of Poe's The Tell-tale Heart). The aftermath of his crime takes the young man on a journey through the range of human emotion and experience. Good and evil, guilt and redemption, agony and joy—this novel is an invitation to explore and question many of the ideas and judgments we take for granted.The characterization and discussion of ideas in both this novel and Dostoevsky's final work, The Brothers Karamazov are as good as any in literature. If you like Hamlet, Les Miserables or War & Peace you will like this book.more
This book is an in-depth look at the psychology that drives someone towards committing a brutal crime and the subsequent impact. Rodion Raskolnikov is a law student that can no longer afford his education. He's living in abject poverty and devises a method to continue his education by murdering and robbing a pawnbroker. During the crime, it goes awry and he unintentionally murders the old woman's sister too.The first part of the book leads up to the murder as Rodion plans and practices for the crime. The act will obviously be premeditated. He wrestles with the guilt of his intended actions but his feelings of hopelessness combined with a sense of megalomania (exposed later in the book) drive him forward.The murder is described in detail to express the brutality and to provide the reader with facts needed to understand the "cat and mouse" that will follow. Once completed, Rodion is immediately disgusted with his actions. He hides all of the items he stole and sinks into a deep depression manifesting as illness. A great portion of the book describes his contemplation of his actions and attempts to justify them to remove his deep sense of guilt (but interestingly, not remorse.)Rodion is a complex character. While a sociopath, he exhibits incredible empathy and caring for others. This is demonstrated in his actions towards an injured man and later this man’s family. He is also protective of his mother and sister and this all provides material for several side stories. As the book progresses, Rodion's guilt (possibly combined with his confidence in being able to evade prosecution) builds to a point where he confesses to the murder to close friends. They do not believe him. A police inspector also takes interest and begins pursuing Rodion. We learn that Rodion wrote a paper as a student where he analyzed the criminal mind (setting the premise for the murder he committed) and came to the conclusion that some people he calls "extraordinary men" are not subject to laws. These men are free to commit crimes because their intellect supersedes that of law makers and they can sufficiently justify the crime. The reader is left wondering if this crime was committed merely to test his hypothesis. We also learn that Rodion believes he is one of these extraordinaries and therefore will never be remorseful of his crime because he feels he had an innate right and even duty to rid the world of the pawnbroker.The inspector continues to investigate Rodion even after another man falsely admits to the crime. There are a number of instances when we think Rodion has convinced him of his innocence but he is eventually arrested. While titled Crime AND Punishment, only the last few pages, the Epilogue, detail the events surrounding the trial and imprisonment. We're left feeling that he may still have redeeming values because his love interest, Sonia, follows him to Siberia and awaits his eventual release.This book took me four times longer to read than it should. I had a horrible time with sentence structure and the publisher tried to save some printing costs by using a small font causing eye strain. This wasn't an introduction to Russian literature for me but it was my first taste of Dostoevsky. I'll definitely try another of Dostoevsky’s works but I'll look for something that allows for a shorter commitment and I’ll use my eReader.more
In this classic novel, Dostoyevsky explores the psychology of murder through the eyes of a young man who kills a pawnbroker and her sister, feeling that they are of little value to society. However, the guilt of murder eats away at Raskolnikov and eventually compels him to confess to his crime. While not a page turner and often dense, this novel gives an unparalleled view of the workings of the main character's mind and delves into the psychological reasoning behind his actions.more
Summary:This book was about Raskolnikov who lives in St. Petersburg who does not have a job nor an income. Because of his awful experience at the pawnshop with a lady who lends him money at crippling rates, he decides to kill her. Instead of seeing her death as a sin, he envokes the deaths caused by powerful men, leaders such as Napoleon. No one remembers them as murderers, nor the names of the countless that die both on and off the battlefield as a result of their military decisions. Raskolnikov plays the character who does not see punishment as we see legally see it but he sees it as his conscience. He kills a woman who he thinks profits from other people’s misery and this makes him mad and miserable himself. He seems to be upset with the social system and blames it for his unemployment which adds to his misery. This keeps him bound and prevents him from even grabbing hold to the financial opportunities that may be available to him. Even though Raskolnikov is desparate for finances, his actions portray someone who is mentally ill as he leaves the pawn shop and went to a bar nearby and spend his last dime there. From the social interaction with his friends, family and associates, Dostoevsky shows Raskolnikov there was an obvious fight between self which had a great impact on his physical and mental capabilities. Personal Reaction:Crime and Punishment is one of those classics suggested by educators to teens as a novel to be read in school. In my opinion, this book might need a brief or even indepth introduction before placing it in the hands of teenagers to read. I think it would be better if there is actually a unit of study for example, pychological areas of a unit that would prepare them for attacking this novel. It seems to me that each of the characters have at least 3 tones or personalities which caused me to review page after page in order to ensure I am keeping up with the daunting characters. The plot builds tension relating to the main crime and his mental health. Extensions:The KWL strategy can be used for this book for high school kids where they are asked to predict what the book will be about then after reading it they can be told to write what they now know about the book and what they have learned. This would definitely help them to use and develop their critical thinking skills and make their own judgments about the book. Students can also be asked to write about their views about the ways in which punishment was used in the story and discuss alternative measures that could have been taken to resolve issues. Another activity that can be done with this novel is to ask students to give a summary of it by writing out the characters, the plot and the ending of the book. This will help them to get an unerstanding of the book.more
Long on my to-read list (as almost all of the Russian literary cannon is), Dostoevsky definitely delivers. The psychology and philosophical argument behind Raskolnikov's crime is complex, but somehow the story unfolds in a very clear and straightforward manner. There is definitely something dated and something inherently Russian about this novel, but I don't think it suffers as a result.more
Several years ago I made a concerted effort to upgrade the quality of my reading material. I wasn’t exactly a comic book aficionado; however I had failed to read most of the classics during my years of formal education. Since that time, I’ve read more than my fair share of Dickens, Steinbeck and Hemingway. I’ve also dabbled in some of the more recently highly acclaimed literature, happily in some cases, in others not so much. It is with that background that I decided to delve just a little bit deeper and take on this Dostoyevsky work.In retrospect, I found reading this novel to be similar to taking on a Dickens novel, in that a period of acclimation is required before ultimately becoming familiar and comfortable with the speech and style of both the period and the culture from which the author hails. As with Dickens, I was initially disappointed and at times lost within the narrative. After a while, however, I began to feel more comfortable and find myself enjoying the work quite a bit. Some may warm to the effort more quickly, while others may never reach a comfort level. I’m glad I did.In addition to being a very intriguing and interesting story, the novel is a journey into the diseased mind of a 19th century Russian murderer in the capital of St. Petersburg and his interrelation with friends, family, strangers and the police inspector that becomes his protagonist. The book is a fine education on the customs, mores and history of 19th century Russian society, on a number of levels.In the reviews, I read some discussion pertaining to the various translations of this classic. The version I read was the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation. Having read no other, I can’t give a relative comparison, but can say that the edition I read was certainly very readable, and while different in style than I am used to, was likely a result of the author’s prose more so than the translators work.Inasmuch as a period of acclimation was required in order to become comfortable with this work, it seems advisable to proceed directly to the author’s other renowned masterpiece The Brothers Karamazov, and that is where you can find me next.more
My translation is fabulous. This is a great book reflecting Russia of another era.more
Very well read by Alex Jennings. The abridgement was a bit jumpy and seemed to lose some of the story's details, but it was still an entertaining and enlightening picture of 19th Century Russian life.more
Setting: This story is set in St. Petersburg during the reign of the czar and explores the consequences of crime.Plot: A young student reasons and commits a crime from which he must deal with his guilt.Characters: Raskolnikov (protagonist)- the student; Pawnbroker- victim of the crime; Marmiledov- drunk, ox clerk; Katerina- M's wife; Sonia- M's daughter who is a prostitute; Profiry- unconventional detective; Dounia- R's sister; Svidrigailov- wealth, morally depraved manSymbols: dreams, political theories, crossCharacteristics: insightful, intelligentResponse: I enjoyed the intellectual and psychological aspects of this book.more
Crime and Punishment: it’s one of those books you find on lists like 100 Best Books and Books to ReadBefore You Die. I’ve always wanted to know why it is still considered so important. Riddled with tongue-twisting names, Crime and Punishment is ideal material for audiobooks. My local library carries an edition with the talented British actor, Michael Sheen, as narrator. Listening to the different accents he chose for each character helped me understand their respective place in Russian society of the time and gave meaning to their actions.The novel begins with young student, Rodion Raskolnikov, planning the murder of an old pawnbroker woman. He’s been pawning small items with her to keep afloat and as an intellectual, he chafes under the power this ignorant woman wields over his life. As he is committing the murder, the pawnbroker’s sister arrives. Raskolnikov has no grievance against her but must kill her anyway: she is a witness. The remainder of Crime and Punishment unveils the motivation for his crime and the effect it has on him psychologically. Exposition comes from long conversations with various characters, particularly the investigating detective, Porfiry Petrovich. Aside: porphyry is a type of igneous rock as well as a 3rd century Syrian philosopher famous for his contribution to the development of logic.The detective is a refined, well-read man who plays head games on the feverish Raskolnikov, using the student’s own published essay to convict him of the murder. At this point the reader discovers that Raskolnikov has posited the premise that throughout history, there have been certain people who,in order to progress civilization, have actually broken fundamental rules of society. These individuals are not to be judged in the same way as the rest of common humanity. Raskolnikov had argued that bloodshed and loss of life was indeed necessary to bring on the desired growth.As Porfiry unhurriedly plays cat-and-mouse,on a visit to a tarvern Raskolnikov meets a destitute, alcoholic clerk named Marmeladov who tells him his pitiful life story. During the narrative, the drunk Marmeladov asks insistently:“Do you understand, sir, do you understand what it means when you have absolutely nowhere to turn?”Michael Sheen lays special emphasis on these words and they are later repeated. I find them going through my head still. Obviously this is the place where Raskolnikov finds himself after the murder…. Was it also the place he found himself before the murder? Porfiry repeats several times that this new “psychology cuts both ways”.When Marmeladov is fatally run over in the street, Raskolnikov has him carried home, pays for the clerk’s funeral and meets the eldest daughter about whom the old drunk bears the most guilt: to help pay for the family’s expenses, Sonya has been forced into prostitution. Her work has not yet degraded her soul, however, and Raskolnikov pursues an acquaintance with her. But not because he loves her, he assures himself.Eventually (and before Raskolnikov descends into madness) he is convicted of murder and sent to prison in Siberia. Sonya follows him. The Epilogue finds them still 7 years away from being together:Crime and Punishment: through the mouth of Porfiry, Dostoevsky says: “If he has a conscience, he will suffer for his mistake. That will be punishment—as well as the prison.” At the beginning, Raskolnikov believes that intellect trumps conscience. Once he commits the murders however, he struggles bitterly against the claims of his conscience. What began with murder now ends with resurrection. Raskolnikov and Sonya during a clandestine meeting at the prison:“They wanted to speak, but could not; tears stood in their eyes. They were both pale and thin; but those sick pale faces were bright with the dawn of a new future, of a full resurrection into a new life. They were renewed by love; the heart of each held infinite sources of life for the heart of the other.” 10 out of 10, of course! Recommended to readers/listeners who admire great writers and essential stories.more
I admit, I read this because it was a 'Classic'. And I only give it 3 stars because...WHERE WAS THE EDITOR? If this novel went to a publisher today, without the aura of 'classic' I guarantee it would have been cut by a third, and been better for it.I know I come across as a philistine, but I didn't see the protagonist progress: he was self-absorbed, alienated with a severe case of adolescent angst before he committed the murder, and afterwards he carried on just the same with a mixture of wanting to retire to his bed with not wanting to wash too much or communicate with his relatives. Typical university student. How many pages of this reiteration did I have to read - I got it, he wasn't a happy bunny. (And ok yes, in the afterword he surprisingly decided to grow up and see beyond himself).I just think this relentlessness was a shame, because it got in the way of the wonderful characterisations, the depiction of horrific poverty, especially where it concerned dependent women and children (the later revolution began to make sense in this context). The idea of the novel was fascinating - to carry out murders being acceptable if you are a winning 'Napoleon'. The atmosphere was dark and powerful. The ideas thought-provoking.Just sometimes, less is more.more
No one needs to hear MY review Raskolnikov and Porfiry for goodness sake. It's work for sure, but well worth it all. Top 50 all timers for sure.more
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Reviews

Great writing, preposterous "protagonist"...slow to start, annoying ending ( I thought). A whole cast of deplorable characters, but interesting once you get to the crime. Fantastically suspenseful in parts, but action often stalled by huge monologues (many interior) - although these are certainly integral to the story. WTF to give this? hmmmm I guess it makes you think...maybe all the way to the shotgun cabinet, and as you write the suicide note... 3.75? A book to remind me how much I can't stand human beings. :/ But I liked it, & am glad I read it! Maybe best if you think of it more as a philosophical exercise & less as a believable novel?more
I found this book to be much easier to read than most classics. The personalities and culture took a little getting used to, but became endearing after a while. The language was sometimes confusing, but not unbearably so. I do think this book is worth reading.more
It took me a long time to read Crime and Punishment. Partly because I was moving away from home at the time, and partly because it's quite intense, and thoughtful, and, well, psychological. I found it interesting how realistic parts of it were, in terms of how people act: Dostoyevsky knew what he was writing about, certainly. At the same time, the people are quite strange -- the investigator, always talking and spilling out his thoughts; the main character, always talking to himself; Mrs Marmeladov with her strange delusions... They all seem a little bit larger than life. It certainly gives them a life of their own, anyway.

In terms of the writing, the repetitions of things and the stating of the obvious and the sameness to the eccentricity of the characters somewhat bored me. Large chunks of it are just Raskolnikov dithering around and being delirious.

I can see why this is considered a great book, but I can't quite give it a whole-hearted "it was amazing" rating. It's something I might read again to ponder over some more.more
This book surprised me...some may look down on me for not reading any Dostoevsky novels until I was 30 but honestly I thought it might be a bit over my head. I found this to be as easy as reading someone like Hemingway, though, only with more of a Dickens meets Hesse in Russia sort of feel to it. In any case, it was very easy to understand with the exception of the names of the characters at times.


Crime and Punishment is one of those books you feel is incredibly relevant and probably will be so as long as there are humans existing on the planet. Dostoevsky's insight on humanity, consequences, and even social structures are advanced and quite profound. The moral arguments within this text are fascinating to read in the same way many of the best philosophy texts are, only this is applied to a situation one must imagine has occurred hundreds of times both before and after the novel is written. I don't think Dostoevsky's goal was to stop people from committing crimes but delve deep within the psyche of one murderer and show us the mirror he brought with him on the dive.more
A brilliant searing narrative of Raskolnikov who is driven to murder for money. Dotsoevsky paints a grim picture of life amongst the Russian underclass making one wish not to live the same life.more
I can't believe I donated my copy to my high school after reading it. Dostoevsky's psychological thriller has many imitators; I've yet to read any who surpass him.more
This book is not what I expected it be. It is sad but very comical. In fact, some time it is so sad that it is comical. But it's realism is not marred by cartoonish antics. The writing is operatic but supremely smart and witty. There are monologues upon monologues, but these monologues are page turners, building to wonderful observations upon life, some I most certainly did not believe our present day have in common with Russian society in the 1860s. Most importantly, even though this book is completely popular and is said to be THE book, it is still quite unpredictable as far as plot lines go. And the writing is wonderfully digestible. And even more, what a wonderfully horrible slash smart slash kind slash petty slash stubborn slash generous main character. There is no denying that we all identify with Raskolnikov at one point in the book.more
Surprisingly brilliant"Brother, brother, what are you saying? Why, you have shed blood?" cried Dunya in despair. "Which all men shed," he put in almost frantically, "which flows and has always flowed in streams, which is spilt like champagne, and for which men are crowned in the Capitol and are called afterwards benefactors of mankind... If I had succeeded I should have been crowned with glory, but now I'm trapped."A surprising book. A book whose reputation overshadows it with those dreaded words "a worthy classic". A book of social commentary, a discussion of philosophy, of morality and justice, a plea for the Christian faith. But it’s also a playful crime novel, a crime of The Why, a wry look at art of catching criminals and with the number one genre attribute: a gripping plot. It is also beautifully written; discussion and descriptions slip of the page and their gems lurk in your brain. It is far too easy a read for such a chewy book.“It would be interesting to know what it is men are most afraid of. Taking a new step, uttering a new word is what they fear most.” Of course it's not without its faults, Personally (and though open to interpretation) the epilogue with its religion as a panacea felt a like a let down to the topics explored, a simplistic choice God or Nihilism. Sexism is endemic, although female characters abound they all lean towards self sacrificing end of the spectrum (yes Sonia is the embodiment of self sacrifice but every female character?) Racism is littered throughout too with throw away anti Semitic comments and for some reason a dislike of Germans. I can ignore these things, there is too much good stuff to take away but it depends on your sensitivity. Where is it?" thought Raskolnikov. "Where is it I've read that someone condemned to death says or thinks, an hour before his death, that if he had to live on some high rock, on such a narrow ledge that he'd only room to stand, and the ocean, everlasting darkness, everlasting solitude, everlasting tempest around him, if he had to remain standing on a square yard of space all his life, a thousand years, eternity, it were better to live so than to die at once! Only to live, to live and live! Life, whatever it may be!... How true it is! Good God, how true! Man is a vile creature!... And vile is he who calls him vile for that," he added a moment later. Overall highly recommended. Ignore the overly academic introductions and essays and dive right it, take away what you will and most of all wallow and enjoy (unless you’re a Nihilist)more
Brilliant, and (though I don't have any Russian) seems to be a truly excellent translation.more
Crime and Punishment is a psychological thriller that takes the reader deep into the mind of Raskolnikov. Raskolnikov is a former student who is doing nothing with his life until he devises a radical theory. This theory hypothesizes that there are such men who are extraordinary enough to actually be above the law. He finally tests his theory, which spirals his life into a story of suffering and redemption. It is set in 18th century Russia, and draws the reader into the poverty and suffering filled world of a Russian peasant. It explores a large range of classes while also developing intricate characters, such as the borderline mad Raskolnikov, and the deeply religion Sonia. This is a book that everyone should read; Dostoevsky brings the reader on an incredible journey through the mind of Raskolnikov. While I will admit it does get slightly sluggish at times because there is a lot of Raskolnikov thinking to himself, it is quite necessary to the story and pays off in the character development.Evan B.more
**Warning: Spoilers**I don't think I've ever come across a book quite like Crime and Punishment. Usually, I can at the very least quickly classify a book in the broad terms of "I liked it" or "I didn't like it." Crime and Punishment doesn't really fit in this paradigm. I can't tell you if I liked it or not, because I don't know. In fact, it almost defies description at all. Nevertheless, I will say what I can about Dostoyevsky's novel.The basic plot centers on a young man named Raskolnikov who commits a double murder early on in the story. The rest of the book details the slow, agonizing punishment of that crime, which for him is an internal battle between his intellect, which says that he has done no wrong, and his conscience, which informs him that what he did was in fact very wrong. His internal strife slowly eats away at Raskolnikov to the point where he confesses his crime and is sent to Siberia for hard labor. While in Siberia, his suffering for his misdeeds reaches a climax, and as a result he finds redemption and is reanimated as a person. His soul is restored.The positive elements of the book are several: First, there are multiple scenes which evoked strong emotional reactions as I read. Dostoyevsky had an amazing ability to write viscerally. Second, the novel displays (accurately, in my view) the destructiveness of adhering to a false worldview. Raskolnikov came close to breaking down throughout the story, precisely because he could not reconcile his worldview with reality. Conversely, the author represents well the transformation or regeneration that occurs with true repentance--a lesson that will forever ring true.There are several negative elements of the book, though. As is typical with Russian literature, it is a heavy, long read. I personally could not say that I enjoyed reading it, but while hard, it was worthwhile. (Perhaps it is the literary equivalent to eating one's vegetables?) In addition, Dostoyevsky had several side stories that dealt with the current events of the day--events with which I was completely in the dark. I admit, this is probably more of a commentary on myself than the book, but since I am not in academia and have precious little time to read as it is, it makes little sense for me to study up on such details just to read a book.Overall, I am just not sure what to do with this book. It speaks to the reader on multiple levels and contains much that is good, but it was not particularly a "good read" in the sense that it was not a book I would recommend to curl up with next to a fire. Reading it was more like running a marathon without knowing where the finish line was. On balance, I am rating this book 3 stars, which I freely admit may reflect more on me than Dostoyevsky's classic work.more
It's a daunting task to review a masterpiece such as Dostoyevsky's "Crime and Punishment", and yet I am attempting it, in a very small way. I first read this book years ago in my youth as part of high school curriculum, and even then it produced an overwhelming impression on me. Re-reading it now, the effect is similar, even though I understand and appreciate it more intensely. The depth with which Dostoyevsky delves into human feelings is incomparable, his depiction of Russian soul, with all its idiosyncrasies, is unparalleled . Love or hate - by a Russian it's felt to the extreme possible degree. And how typical of one of his characters to observe that "suffering is a great thing...". The idea that prompts Raskolnikov to commit his crime is both shocking and daring, and though one cannot justify any killing, one can see from his tormenting ruminations and his published article that he drew his lessons from history - it's just that he interpreted them in too drastic a manner. Apart from this main story line, Dostoyevsky thoroughly mocks certain layers of Russian society and yet professes feelings of harrowing pain for the suffering multitude. Dostoyevsky is always true to his genius - one cannot afford to skip a single line...Not to mention what a joy it is to read him in the original.--more
An idea possessed Raskolnikov. He believed there are supermen, Newton’s and Napoleon’s, who transcend ordinary men and women, who could act without moral constraint to judge evil and levy punishment, and to determine whether he belonged to this superior race, he killed the greedy and usurious pawn-broker. But unlike Napoleon in Austerlitz he didn’t execute his plan coldly and tactically. Rather, he nauseatingly dreamed his way into a double murder, the pawnbroker’s sister had returned because he had tarried, and, at the sight of blood, was so terrified that his hands could not stop trembling. He discovered that he wasn’t upright or courageous, that he could not transcend the law, and that he was just a louse, a member of the inferior class. As psychological fiction, Crime and Punishment showcases Raskolnikov’s contradictory actions and emotions that revealed a split psyche fighting for wholeness. He despised others but was preoccupied with bringing about good. After reading his mother’s letter about his sister’s misfortune, he shed sympathetic tears but also donned an evil spiteful smile. He gave the little he had to help the Marmeladovs but immediately regretted helping them. He killed the pawnbroker to prove an idea but took her money and valuables. He was detached in the first interview with the head detective Porfiry but in the second was angry and spiteful toward him.His punishment did not begin in Siberia after the verdict but immediately after killing the pawnbroker, his irritability, nervousness, suspiciousness, delusion, and mania tormenting an already fragile psyche, not allowing him to eat, drink, sleep, work or socialize, and pressing him to hide in his coffin-like apartment trying escaping from reality and to curl up under his blanket, feverish and delusional. His conscience was tormenting and implicating him even before the law did so. Only through Sonya’s help and guidance was he able to find strength to confess his crime. Through this novel’s outcome, Dostoyevsky rejected any social system that tried to replace the jagged path of life with linear reason to save people from their predicament. Although the author’s moral heavy-handedness in Raskolnikov’s repentance and redemption seemed to scar the artistry of the mental battle, Crime and Punishment is psychological novel at its best.more
Raskolnikov was a poor student in St. Petersburg. When he was in school, he manifested an idea that truly great men should be allowed to do more. They are above the law and that if someone or something stands in his way, he has every right to remove them by any means necessary, even if it means murder. Napoleon was a great man, he crushed and killed thousands, why not Raskolnikov? This rash and dangerous theory provides justification for the murder of two women, one a greedy usurer that Raskonikov is heavily indebted, and her sister, in the wrong place at the wrong time. It seems that this theory is just a way for him to get out of debt. He fantasizes about killing her and redistributing her funds all for a good cause, justifying his actions. However, he finds that those terrible actions weigh heavier on his soul than he bargained for. He doesn't redistribute the funds and doesn't even use them. And the guilt, the guilt weights on him, and when a detective discovers his guilt, it becomes a psychological game of cat and mouse. It's an exploration of guilt and how we need to punish ourselves for the wrong that we do. From murder, to neglect of duties, the wrong committed by the perpetrators will result in a dose of their own punishment. An ultimate exploration on how we punish ourselves. The real strength in this story is the character development and the internal dialogue. It's one of the first stories to get such an in-depth look inside a character's head. Each painstaking thought, insecurity, fear, and worry is etched in detail. I also loved the cat and mouse game with the detective. It's that type of dialogue that could fit into a police procedural today, the detective trying to crush the suspect without making a direct accusation, trying to wear him down so he will just give up. The psychological warfare is intense and very enjoyable. Russian literature is always a great study of people. Each character is fleshed out. It has those same qualities that make Huckleberry Finn such a classic; the characters are just as good as the story. The problems and travails of the common person of the day are told in so much detail. In one case, a dream sequence demonstrates the struggle of the common peasant of the day; an old horse is pulled out attempting to pull a full cart of drunkards as the master whips him again and again thinking he should be able to pull such a heavy load. When he cannot do it, he stands to shoot it and at that point Raskolnikov wakes from his dream (it may have been the dream that pushes him over).A very dense read, not as dense as Anna Karenina (where you definitely need a list of the cast of characters to keep up), but not as heavy as Fathers and Sons, which is more of a straightforward story. I may want to re-read this in the future to get more out of it.In short, I maintain that all great men or even men a little out of the common, that is to say capable of giving some new word, must from their very nature be criminals—more or less, of course. Otherwise it's hard for them to get out of the common rut; and to remain in the common rut is what they can't submit to, from their very nature again, and to my mind they ought not, indeed, to submit to it.""He will lie—that is, the man who is a special case, the incognito, and he will lie well, in the cleverest fashion; you might think he would triumph and enjoy the fruits of his wit, but at the most interesting, the most flagrant moment he will faint. Of course there may be illness and a stuffy room as well, but anyway! Anyway he's given us the idea! He lied incomparably, but he didn't reckon on his temperament. That's what betrays him! Another time he will be carried away by his playful wit into making fun of the man who suspects him, he will turn pale as it were on purpose to mislead, but his paleness will be too natural , too much like the real thing, again he has given us an idea! Though his questioner may be deceived at first, he will think differently next day if he is not a fool, and, of course, it is like that at every step! He puts himself forward where he is not wanted, speaks continually when he ought to keep silent, brings in all sorts of allegorical allusions, he-he! Comes and asks why didn't …"You knew I was ill and tried to work me into a frenzy to make me betray myself, that was your object! Produce your facts! I understand it all. You've no evidence, you have only wretched rubbishly suspicions like Zametov's! You knew my character, you wanted to drive me to fury and then to knock me down with priests and deputies.... Are you waiting for them? eh! What are you waiting for? Where are they? Produce them?"""She was only fourteen, but her heart was broken. And she had destroyed herself, crushed by an insult that had appalled and amazed that childish soul, had smirched that angel purity with unmerited disgrace and torn from her a last scream of despair, unheeded and brutally disregarded, on a dark night in the cold and wet while the wind howled...."Raskolnikov took the magazine and glanced at his article. Incongruous as it was with his mood and his circumstances, he felt that strange and bitter sweet sensation that every author experiences the first time he sees himself in print; besides, he was only twenty-three. It lasted only a moment. After reading a few lines he frowned and his heart throbbed with anguish. He recalled all the inward conflict of the preceding months. He flung the article on the table with disgust and anger.""Perhaps it was only from the force of his desires that he had regarded himself as a man to whom more was permitted than to others." p. 544more
I somehow made it through high school and a college English Lit degree without having read Crime and Punishment. Many years later, I finally read it though the help of an audiobook, and conclude I was not missing out on much. It's a good book and certainly hooked me in. The ending, however, seemed rushed and didn't leave me with any great thoughts or contemplations. Perhaps that was the point, but I would have liked a bit more.more
This was a great book. I loved the relationship between Raskolnikov and Porfiry Petrovich. Excellent dialogue, excellent characters, flat ending. If Dostoevsky knew how to end a novel, this would've gotten a rating even higher than 4 stars. As it stands, it is still better than 90% of the books out there, and therefore I recommend reading it.more
This is my favorite among Dostoevsky's last great novels. In it the reader finds a man filled with fear, desperation, and anguish. Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment is a shockingly intimate tale of a murder and a murderer. Raskolnikov is a man seemingly on the brink of madness as he plots and carries out a grisly killing. Although he evades the police, Raskolnikov's dark deed weighs heavily on him (in a way reminiscent of Poe's The Tell-tale Heart). The aftermath of his crime takes the young man on a journey through the range of human emotion and experience. Good and evil, guilt and redemption, agony and joy—this novel is an invitation to explore and question many of the ideas and judgments we take for granted.The characterization and discussion of ideas in both this novel and Dostoevsky's final work, The Brothers Karamazov are as good as any in literature. If you like Hamlet, Les Miserables or War & Peace you will like this book.more
This book is an in-depth look at the psychology that drives someone towards committing a brutal crime and the subsequent impact. Rodion Raskolnikov is a law student that can no longer afford his education. He's living in abject poverty and devises a method to continue his education by murdering and robbing a pawnbroker. During the crime, it goes awry and he unintentionally murders the old woman's sister too.The first part of the book leads up to the murder as Rodion plans and practices for the crime. The act will obviously be premeditated. He wrestles with the guilt of his intended actions but his feelings of hopelessness combined with a sense of megalomania (exposed later in the book) drive him forward.The murder is described in detail to express the brutality and to provide the reader with facts needed to understand the "cat and mouse" that will follow. Once completed, Rodion is immediately disgusted with his actions. He hides all of the items he stole and sinks into a deep depression manifesting as illness. A great portion of the book describes his contemplation of his actions and attempts to justify them to remove his deep sense of guilt (but interestingly, not remorse.)Rodion is a complex character. While a sociopath, he exhibits incredible empathy and caring for others. This is demonstrated in his actions towards an injured man and later this man’s family. He is also protective of his mother and sister and this all provides material for several side stories. As the book progresses, Rodion's guilt (possibly combined with his confidence in being able to evade prosecution) builds to a point where he confesses to the murder to close friends. They do not believe him. A police inspector also takes interest and begins pursuing Rodion. We learn that Rodion wrote a paper as a student where he analyzed the criminal mind (setting the premise for the murder he committed) and came to the conclusion that some people he calls "extraordinary men" are not subject to laws. These men are free to commit crimes because their intellect supersedes that of law makers and they can sufficiently justify the crime. The reader is left wondering if this crime was committed merely to test his hypothesis. We also learn that Rodion believes he is one of these extraordinaries and therefore will never be remorseful of his crime because he feels he had an innate right and even duty to rid the world of the pawnbroker.The inspector continues to investigate Rodion even after another man falsely admits to the crime. There are a number of instances when we think Rodion has convinced him of his innocence but he is eventually arrested. While titled Crime AND Punishment, only the last few pages, the Epilogue, detail the events surrounding the trial and imprisonment. We're left feeling that he may still have redeeming values because his love interest, Sonia, follows him to Siberia and awaits his eventual release.This book took me four times longer to read than it should. I had a horrible time with sentence structure and the publisher tried to save some printing costs by using a small font causing eye strain. This wasn't an introduction to Russian literature for me but it was my first taste of Dostoevsky. I'll definitely try another of Dostoevsky’s works but I'll look for something that allows for a shorter commitment and I’ll use my eReader.more
In this classic novel, Dostoyevsky explores the psychology of murder through the eyes of a young man who kills a pawnbroker and her sister, feeling that they are of little value to society. However, the guilt of murder eats away at Raskolnikov and eventually compels him to confess to his crime. While not a page turner and often dense, this novel gives an unparalleled view of the workings of the main character's mind and delves into the psychological reasoning behind his actions.more
Summary:This book was about Raskolnikov who lives in St. Petersburg who does not have a job nor an income. Because of his awful experience at the pawnshop with a lady who lends him money at crippling rates, he decides to kill her. Instead of seeing her death as a sin, he envokes the deaths caused by powerful men, leaders such as Napoleon. No one remembers them as murderers, nor the names of the countless that die both on and off the battlefield as a result of their military decisions. Raskolnikov plays the character who does not see punishment as we see legally see it but he sees it as his conscience. He kills a woman who he thinks profits from other people’s misery and this makes him mad and miserable himself. He seems to be upset with the social system and blames it for his unemployment which adds to his misery. This keeps him bound and prevents him from even grabbing hold to the financial opportunities that may be available to him. Even though Raskolnikov is desparate for finances, his actions portray someone who is mentally ill as he leaves the pawn shop and went to a bar nearby and spend his last dime there. From the social interaction with his friends, family and associates, Dostoevsky shows Raskolnikov there was an obvious fight between self which had a great impact on his physical and mental capabilities. Personal Reaction:Crime and Punishment is one of those classics suggested by educators to teens as a novel to be read in school. In my opinion, this book might need a brief or even indepth introduction before placing it in the hands of teenagers to read. I think it would be better if there is actually a unit of study for example, pychological areas of a unit that would prepare them for attacking this novel. It seems to me that each of the characters have at least 3 tones or personalities which caused me to review page after page in order to ensure I am keeping up with the daunting characters. The plot builds tension relating to the main crime and his mental health. Extensions:The KWL strategy can be used for this book for high school kids where they are asked to predict what the book will be about then after reading it they can be told to write what they now know about the book and what they have learned. This would definitely help them to use and develop their critical thinking skills and make their own judgments about the book. Students can also be asked to write about their views about the ways in which punishment was used in the story and discuss alternative measures that could have been taken to resolve issues. Another activity that can be done with this novel is to ask students to give a summary of it by writing out the characters, the plot and the ending of the book. This will help them to get an unerstanding of the book.more
Long on my to-read list (as almost all of the Russian literary cannon is), Dostoevsky definitely delivers. The psychology and philosophical argument behind Raskolnikov's crime is complex, but somehow the story unfolds in a very clear and straightforward manner. There is definitely something dated and something inherently Russian about this novel, but I don't think it suffers as a result.more
Several years ago I made a concerted effort to upgrade the quality of my reading material. I wasn’t exactly a comic book aficionado; however I had failed to read most of the classics during my years of formal education. Since that time, I’ve read more than my fair share of Dickens, Steinbeck and Hemingway. I’ve also dabbled in some of the more recently highly acclaimed literature, happily in some cases, in others not so much. It is with that background that I decided to delve just a little bit deeper and take on this Dostoyevsky work.In retrospect, I found reading this novel to be similar to taking on a Dickens novel, in that a period of acclimation is required before ultimately becoming familiar and comfortable with the speech and style of both the period and the culture from which the author hails. As with Dickens, I was initially disappointed and at times lost within the narrative. After a while, however, I began to feel more comfortable and find myself enjoying the work quite a bit. Some may warm to the effort more quickly, while others may never reach a comfort level. I’m glad I did.In addition to being a very intriguing and interesting story, the novel is a journey into the diseased mind of a 19th century Russian murderer in the capital of St. Petersburg and his interrelation with friends, family, strangers and the police inspector that becomes his protagonist. The book is a fine education on the customs, mores and history of 19th century Russian society, on a number of levels.In the reviews, I read some discussion pertaining to the various translations of this classic. The version I read was the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation. Having read no other, I can’t give a relative comparison, but can say that the edition I read was certainly very readable, and while different in style than I am used to, was likely a result of the author’s prose more so than the translators work.Inasmuch as a period of acclimation was required in order to become comfortable with this work, it seems advisable to proceed directly to the author’s other renowned masterpiece The Brothers Karamazov, and that is where you can find me next.more
My translation is fabulous. This is a great book reflecting Russia of another era.more
Very well read by Alex Jennings. The abridgement was a bit jumpy and seemed to lose some of the story's details, but it was still an entertaining and enlightening picture of 19th Century Russian life.more
Setting: This story is set in St. Petersburg during the reign of the czar and explores the consequences of crime.Plot: A young student reasons and commits a crime from which he must deal with his guilt.Characters: Raskolnikov (protagonist)- the student; Pawnbroker- victim of the crime; Marmiledov- drunk, ox clerk; Katerina- M's wife; Sonia- M's daughter who is a prostitute; Profiry- unconventional detective; Dounia- R's sister; Svidrigailov- wealth, morally depraved manSymbols: dreams, political theories, crossCharacteristics: insightful, intelligentResponse: I enjoyed the intellectual and psychological aspects of this book.more
Crime and Punishment: it’s one of those books you find on lists like 100 Best Books and Books to ReadBefore You Die. I’ve always wanted to know why it is still considered so important. Riddled with tongue-twisting names, Crime and Punishment is ideal material for audiobooks. My local library carries an edition with the talented British actor, Michael Sheen, as narrator. Listening to the different accents he chose for each character helped me understand their respective place in Russian society of the time and gave meaning to their actions.The novel begins with young student, Rodion Raskolnikov, planning the murder of an old pawnbroker woman. He’s been pawning small items with her to keep afloat and as an intellectual, he chafes under the power this ignorant woman wields over his life. As he is committing the murder, the pawnbroker’s sister arrives. Raskolnikov has no grievance against her but must kill her anyway: she is a witness. The remainder of Crime and Punishment unveils the motivation for his crime and the effect it has on him psychologically. Exposition comes from long conversations with various characters, particularly the investigating detective, Porfiry Petrovich. Aside: porphyry is a type of igneous rock as well as a 3rd century Syrian philosopher famous for his contribution to the development of logic.The detective is a refined, well-read man who plays head games on the feverish Raskolnikov, using the student’s own published essay to convict him of the murder. At this point the reader discovers that Raskolnikov has posited the premise that throughout history, there have been certain people who,in order to progress civilization, have actually broken fundamental rules of society. These individuals are not to be judged in the same way as the rest of common humanity. Raskolnikov had argued that bloodshed and loss of life was indeed necessary to bring on the desired growth.As Porfiry unhurriedly plays cat-and-mouse,on a visit to a tarvern Raskolnikov meets a destitute, alcoholic clerk named Marmeladov who tells him his pitiful life story. During the narrative, the drunk Marmeladov asks insistently:“Do you understand, sir, do you understand what it means when you have absolutely nowhere to turn?”Michael Sheen lays special emphasis on these words and they are later repeated. I find them going through my head still. Obviously this is the place where Raskolnikov finds himself after the murder…. Was it also the place he found himself before the murder? Porfiry repeats several times that this new “psychology cuts both ways”.When Marmeladov is fatally run over in the street, Raskolnikov has him carried home, pays for the clerk’s funeral and meets the eldest daughter about whom the old drunk bears the most guilt: to help pay for the family’s expenses, Sonya has been forced into prostitution. Her work has not yet degraded her soul, however, and Raskolnikov pursues an acquaintance with her. But not because he loves her, he assures himself.Eventually (and before Raskolnikov descends into madness) he is convicted of murder and sent to prison in Siberia. Sonya follows him. The Epilogue finds them still 7 years away from being together:Crime and Punishment: through the mouth of Porfiry, Dostoevsky says: “If he has a conscience, he will suffer for his mistake. That will be punishment—as well as the prison.” At the beginning, Raskolnikov believes that intellect trumps conscience. Once he commits the murders however, he struggles bitterly against the claims of his conscience. What began with murder now ends with resurrection. Raskolnikov and Sonya during a clandestine meeting at the prison:“They wanted to speak, but could not; tears stood in their eyes. They were both pale and thin; but those sick pale faces were bright with the dawn of a new future, of a full resurrection into a new life. They were renewed by love; the heart of each held infinite sources of life for the heart of the other.” 10 out of 10, of course! Recommended to readers/listeners who admire great writers and essential stories.more
I admit, I read this because it was a 'Classic'. And I only give it 3 stars because...WHERE WAS THE EDITOR? If this novel went to a publisher today, without the aura of 'classic' I guarantee it would have been cut by a third, and been better for it.I know I come across as a philistine, but I didn't see the protagonist progress: he was self-absorbed, alienated with a severe case of adolescent angst before he committed the murder, and afterwards he carried on just the same with a mixture of wanting to retire to his bed with not wanting to wash too much or communicate with his relatives. Typical university student. How many pages of this reiteration did I have to read - I got it, he wasn't a happy bunny. (And ok yes, in the afterword he surprisingly decided to grow up and see beyond himself).I just think this relentlessness was a shame, because it got in the way of the wonderful characterisations, the depiction of horrific poverty, especially where it concerned dependent women and children (the later revolution began to make sense in this context). The idea of the novel was fascinating - to carry out murders being acceptable if you are a winning 'Napoleon'. The atmosphere was dark and powerful. The ideas thought-provoking.Just sometimes, less is more.more
No one needs to hear MY review Raskolnikov and Porfiry for goodness sake. It's work for sure, but well worth it all. Top 50 all timers for sure.more
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