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
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.
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.
Thankfully, I didn't have that experience reading Crime & Punishment. In fact, I'm sorry I put it off for so long but like many people, I assumed that as a 'classic' it might be a bit boring and hard to read. This wasn't - it's extremely easy to read and in parts (to my surprise) very funny.
The story plunges you in right away, as Raskolnikov, clearly in the middle of a (self-imposed?) crisis, ponders whether to commit murder. He has been sitting for months in a horrible, dark, small room, thinking too much, talking to himself, going over and over the same convoluted theories. Then he acts. And suddenly what was just a theory is brutal reality - and, contrary to what is suggested by some reviewers here, the thing that really tips him over the edge is not the magnitude of what he has done, nor the fact that his plans went wrong, but his own weakness. He is surprised and ashamed to find how sordid and small it all is and that he is not the great man, the 'Napoleon' he dreamed of being.
Things go on as he restlessly wanders from one shabby St. Petersburg room to another, seeing and avoiding his mother and sister, a helpful friend and a poor family he ends up entangled with. They try so hard to understand what's going on with Raskolnikov - the kindness and love that they feel for him is almost heartbreaking. I think that some people might give up on the book because they find it hard to like Raskolnikov.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am not reviewing the book, just the font size. Normal books are printed in a font size 10 (depending on the font), this book is more towards a 5. Read morePublished 5 days ago by whatsup
Obviously a classic but didn't realise this is a very small version. My fault obviously for not checking properly.Published 1 month ago by Criminologing
I'd like to give it 4.5 stars but can't do that (and I only gave Anna Karenina 4 stars, so I can't give this more than that). This is an excellent story. Read morePublished 1 month ago by SydneyReader
This book is Hard work to read and try to understand its full meaning.Published 2 months ago by Paulo
Free, one of the top ten novels ever written, great author, great translation - we all owe much to the Garnetts for their translations of many Russian authors all for free a work... Read morePublished 3 months ago by neil highton