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Crime and Punishment (Wordsworth Classics) [Paperback]

F.M. Dostoevsky
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (286 customer reviews)
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Book Description

12 Sep 2000 Wordsworth Classics

Translated by Constance Garnett with an Introduction and Notes by Dr Keith Carabine, University of Kent at Canterbury.

Crime and Punishment is one of the greatest and most readable novels ever written. From the beginning we are locked into the frenzied consciousness of Raskolnikov who, against his better instincts, is inexorably drawn to commit a brutal double murder.

From that moment on, we share his conflicting feelings of self-loathing and pride, of contempt for and need of others, and of terrible despair and hope of redemption: and, in a remarkable transformation of the detective novel, we follow his agonised efforts to probe and confront both his own motives for, and the consequences of, his crime.

The result is a tragic novel built out of a series of supremely dramatic scenes that illuminate the eternal conflicts at the heart of human existence: most especially our desire for self-expression and self-fulfilment, as against the constraints of morality and human laws; and our agonised awareness of the world's harsh injustices and of our own mortality, as against the mysteries of divine justice and immortality.

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Crime and Punishment (Wordsworth Classics) + War and Peace (Wordsworth Classics) + The Idiot (Wordsworth Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd; New edition edition (12 Sep 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840224304
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840224306
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.4 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (286 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,064 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Reaches as close to Dostoevsky s Russian as is possible in English...The original s force and frightening immediacy is captured...The Pevear and Volokhonsky translation will become the standard English version. --Chicago Tribune

This fresh, new translation...provides a more exact, idiomatic, and contemporary rendition of the novel that brings Fyodor Dostoevsky s tale achingly alive...It succeeds beautifully --San Francisco Chronicle --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky (1821-1881) is a Russian novelist. Of his eleven novels, his three most famous were written later in life: Crime and Punishment, The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov. His books have been translated into over 170 languages, and have sold over 15 million copies.

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First Sentence
ON AN EXCEPTIONALLY hot evening early in July a young man came out of the garret in which he lodged in S. Place and walked slowly, as though in hesitation, towards K. Bridge. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
72 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine prospect 29 April 2005
Undoubtedly this is a remarkable book and not at all what I was expecting as I first picked it up. I would recommend that the reader cast aside any preconceived ideas about this author and about the mid-Victorian era in which his story takes place, because this book really does have a very modern feel and a very accessible and easy prose and dialogue.

The reader first joins the tale as the morose, dejected down-and-out and former student Raskolnikov contemplates, and is inexorably drawn towards and fixated by the idea of, murdering an old lady pawnbroker with whom he has had business. It only becomes clear later exactly why he did so, and even then his justifications are misguided and muddled in his own mind and essentially some flight of fancy about the permissibility of any behaviour for the greater good - a means to an end, as it were.

But what is most fascinating is not the crime itself or the murderer's fate, but how his crime then comes to obsess him until he can stand it no longer and has been defeated by his own inner struggle with his conscience, which has been forever tormenting him. The dual between Porfiry Petrovich, the police investigator, and Raskolnikov and the mind games and double bluffs that are played on both sides as our antihero tries to evade detection is particularly intriguing. The suspense is palpable.

All in all this is a pretty bleak tale of suffering and a heart-rending one at that. But there is not just introspection, self-examination and 'philosophising' here, but also action, suspense, pathos and genuine sorrow in the ending, which managed to be profound without being sentimental or melodramatic.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most extraordinary novel I have ever read 26 July 2007
Firstly I should say that I haven't read this translation. My own is by Constance Garnett (as recommended by Italo Calvino). To give a vague idea of what the difference in their style might be, here's the opening line from each; 'At the beginning of July, during a spell of exceptionally hot weather, towards evening...' McDuff. 'On an exceptionally hot evening in July...' Garnett. So, I suppose it might be that Garnett tends to be more concise. I've read McDuff's translation of The Idiot, though, and he's obviously a wonderful translator. So I'd recommend either. Just read it. Anyway,

Dostoyevsky's writing style is often insanely manic. He launches from the vigorously bleak to the maniacally funny in the space of a page, he creates grotesque scenes of exaggerated madness and then relates an almost saccharine moment of tenderness. The introduction to Brothers Karamazov notes, 'Dostoyevsky will frequently use the same word four or five times in one paragraph and then never use it again.' His style and all of his great books are mad dashes and, if you're prepared to go along with it, they grab you by the throat and put you truly through the wringer. Crime and Punishment does all of these things. It is also the most remarkable psychological portrait I've ever encountered.

How many times have you heard the comment, 'I was surprised by how contemporary it reads. Like it could have been written yesterday.'? It's rarely true. Crime and Punishment really does have that rare power, that cold, almost frightening ability to touch a nerve and it does so through Dostoyevsky's unique and unlikely ability to slide absolute clarity through what is often crazy, messy prose. It feels contemporary and modern because it asks a question that is always pertinent.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing then, Amazing now 30 July 2006
By blowski
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
So many books that you are 'supposed' to read, and 'supposed' to like are in reality frighteningly dull. There's probably a good moral behind them, but you are yawning too much to really see it.

Crime and Punishment, however, is a rarity - it is a page-turner. Raskolnikov's crime, and his subsequent punishment, keep you gripped right from the start. Dostoevsky's morals of the book are always close to the surface, but do not get in the way of a fantastic read.

The usual collection of bizarre and fascinating characters are all here, and so are the easily recognisable emotions. The feeling of somebody having done something so bad that he can't talk to anybody, including his mother, is probably universal and perfectly captured here.

Raskolnikov's megalomania, and obsession with wanting to be a 'Napoleon' figure will also chime with many of those who read it today, especially those of a similar age (mid 20s).

This particular translation is considered the classic version, though there is not much to call between it and many others. However, there is a good introduction to some of the themes of the book that make it a good buy.
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91 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Give It A Go 12 Oct 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you are reading this it is becuase you really can't make up your mind whether to download it or not. Its free, so why not give it a know you want to. This has been going up and down in the download charts of this catergory so lots of people must already have downloaded it, also back when the Big Read was running this was one of the titles that got in the top 100.

This is the Constance Garnett translation, which is probably the most read tanslation of this book; although not my ultimate favourite translation there is not anything wrong with this. If you are studying this for a course then you will have to check with your teacher which they consider the most accurate. Constance Garnett has come in for criticism over the years because she did miss things out and gloss over others, however she did reproduce something that is easily understood, readable and enjoyable into the English language, and in keeping with the actual story. Dostoevsky pushed the bounds of the Russian language to some extent so translating him is never an easy task and even some more modern translators have used her work to help with their own.

Of all Dostoevsky's major works this is probably the easiest one to read and that is why it has become so popular. The story is relatively simple in outline. Our anti-hero decides to commit a crime and this follows him through the planning, the execution, and the aftermath. 'Simples' I hear you say, any Tom, Dick or Harry could write that. It is the whole execution of the novel though that holds you entranced. Delving deep into the psyche Dostoevsky produced here something that can never be replicated as you go through what our anti-hero, Raskolnikov feels and thinks.

Truly what Shakespeare was to the play, Dostoevsky was to the novel, so even if you only ever read one of his novels then try this one. As I've said, it is the easiest major work of his to read, plus it is free.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A great novel, but this translation is a little bit ...
A great novel, but this translation is a little bit stilted, ended up buying a different version to finish. Well worth a read though,
Published 3 days ago by MMN123
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book, there's no other words!
Published 5 days ago by Zygimantas
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Crime and Punishment' - highly recommended
A true classic - not an easy read, written long ago as it was, but a compelling story. For a dramatised version, you couldn't do better than the BBC adaptation starring John Simm. Read more
Published 14 days ago by E. JACKSON
5.0 out of 5 stars like me, are new to Dostoevskian matters
Just a note for those readers who, like me, are new to Dostoevskian matters, there are many translations of this work. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Sam
2.0 out of 5 stars Everybody so desperately poor but did not make me feel too bad as ...
It just drivels on and on, takes ages to say anything. He must have got paid by the word. Everybody so desperately poor but did not make me feel too bad as they did not appear to... Read more
Published 16 days ago by Kieran F. Carr
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent edition at a very good price.
Excellent edition at a very good price. This is obviously one of the world's great book.
Published 17 days ago by Traveller and reader
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Long winded and really difficult to read
Published 17 days ago by MR P WALL
5.0 out of 5 stars recipient very pleased.
Bought as a gift, recipient very pleased.
Published 18 days ago by Miu miu Lin
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story, great writer, poor translation
Great book but this edition is bad translated at the point to make dostoesky style unrecognisable.
Published 26 days ago by enzo beatrice
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
interesting informative uncomplicated amusing anecdotal practical friendly delicious a must read
Published 1 month ago by Edward
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