Crime and Punishment: With selected excerpts from the Notebooks for Crime and Punishment (Wordsworth Classics) Paperback – 5 May 2000
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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 the Hardcover edition.
From the Inside Flap
Raskolnikov, a destitute and desperate former student, wanders
through the slums of St Petersburg and commits a random murder without
remorse or regret. He imagines himself to be a great man, a Napoleon:
acting for a higher purpose beyond conventional moral law. But as he
embarks on a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a suspicious police
investigator, Raskolnikov is pursued by the growing voice of his conscience
and finds the noose of his own guilt tightening around his neck. Only
Sonya, a downtrodden prostitute, can offer the chance of redemption. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
For sheer depth and profundity, probably nothing can match the parable of The Grand Inquisitor, in THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, but there's one line in C&P that immediately struck me as one of the greatest single sentences in all the world's literature, quintessentially pregnant with meaning. The detective, Porfiry Petrovich, who knows that Raskolnikov is the murderer, doesn't arrest him, playing a sort of cat-and-mouse game. Porfiry rightly suspects that this was a political (ideological) crime, not a typical one, and knows that his triumph would be much greater if he forces Raskolnikov to ADMIT not just the error of his act, but the error of his thinking. This sentence varies considerably from translation to translation, but basically it is (Porfiry to Raskolnikov): "You know, it's just as well you only killed the old woman. Because if you'd invented another THEORY, that would have been a thousand times MORE hideous." The events of our century have well borne out this prophecy.
The other superb part of this novel is when Raskolnikov's friend Razmuihin is shocked to hear that Raskolnikov's journal article had suggested that "superior" men, like Napoleon, create their own moral codes and are not bound by traditional ones. (Woody Allen's film BULLETS OVER BROADWAY also provided a good satire of this ominous idea: an artist "creates his own moral universe." And, as in C&P, this led to a killing.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. Read it for my book club & really glad it was on the list as I probably would not have chosen myself.Published 5 days ago by Matt Maguire
An poignantly incisive study of guilt and atonement. Also remarkably entertaining and relevant to any era or culture.Published 16 days ago by Amazon Customer
Gripping, sad and occasionally funny. I love most of Dostoevsky's work, this is probably the best entry point for those unfamiliar with his writing. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Scott H Chalmers
My joint favourite book of all time. Already had a battered copy but wanted a kindle edition. It's a masterpiece in the subject of introspection, guilt, psychological turmoil... Read morePublished 24 days ago by Lee
This was a book title I have known since school. Thought it would set a standard against the current top 10 type fiction books which usually turn out to be quite mediocre and... Read morePublished 1 month ago by M & P Bellamy
It's a great book...it's all about a student, called Raskolnikov who steals an old woman's last few pennies and what happens to himPublished 1 month ago by Dan Smith