Crime and Punishment
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The two years before he wrote Crime and Punishment (1866) had been bad ones for Dostoyevsky. His wife and brother had died; the magazine he and his brother had started, Epoch, collapsed under its load of debt; and he was threatened with debtor's prison. With an advance that he managed to wangle for an unwritten novel, he fled to Wiesbaden, hoping to win enough at the roulette table to get himself out of debt. Instead, he lost all his money; he had to pawn his clothes and beg friends for loans to pay his hotel bill and get back to Russia. One of his begging letters went to a magazine editor, asking for an advance on yet another unwritten novel — which he described as Crime and Punishment.
One of the supreme masterpieces of world literature, Crime and Punishment catapulted Dostoyevsky to the forefront of Russian writers and into the ranks of the world's greatest novelists. Drawing upon experiences from his own prison days, the author recounts in feverish, compelling tones the story of Raskolnikov, an impoverished student tormented by his own nihilism, and the struggle between good and evil. Believing that he is above the law, and convinced that humanitarian ends justify vile means, he brutally murders an old woman — a pawnbroker whom he regards as "stupid, ailing, greedy…good for nothing." Overwhelmed afterwards by feelings of guilt and terror, Raskolnikov confesses to the crime and goes to prison. There he realizes that happiness and redemption can only be achieved through suffering. Infused with forceful religious, social, and philosophical elements, the novel was an immediate success. This extraordinary, unforgettable work is reprinted here in the authoritative Constance Garnett translation.
A selection of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
alluded to in my letter, be so good as to point out one word of falsehood, show, that is, that you didn't throw away your money, and that there are not worthless persons in that family, however unfortunate." "To my thinking, you, with all your virtues, are not worth the little finger of that unfortunate girl at whom you throw stones." "Would you go so far then as to let her associate with your mother and sister?" "I have done so already, if you care to know. I made her sit down to-day with
Svidrigaïlov's face changed. Having satisfied himself that Raskolnikov was not frightened at his threat, he assumed a mirthful and friendly air. "What a fellow! I purposely refrained from referring to your affair, though I am devoured by curiosity. It's a fantastic affair. I've put it off till another time, but you're enough to rouse the dead. . . . Well, let us go, only I warn you beforehand I am only going home for a moment, to get some money; then I shall lock up the flat, take a cab and
realise all the difficulties of his position, the hopelessness, the hideousness and the absurdity of it, if he could have understood how many obstacles and, perhaps, crimes he had still to overcome or to commit, to get out of that place and to make his way home, it is very possible that he would have flung up everything, and would have gone to give himself up, and not from fear, but from simple horror and loathing of what he had done. The feeling of loathing especially surged up within him
man, glancing superciliously at Raskolnikov. "What's his name?" "What he was christened." "Aren't you a Zaraïsky man, too? Which province?" The young man looked at Raskolnikov again. "It's not a province, your excellency, but a district. Graciously forgive me, your excellency!" "Is that a tavern at the top there?" "Yes, it's an eating-house and there's a billiard-room and you'll find princesses there too. . . . La-la!" Raskolnikov crossed the square. In that corner there was a
he goes drinking in a tavern. They are caught spending money, they are not all as cunning as you are. You wouldn't go to a tavern, of course?" Raskolnikov frowned and looked steadily at Zametov. "You seem to enjoy the subject and would like to know how I should behave in that case, too?" he asked with displeasure. "I should like to," Zametov answered firmly and seriously. Somewhat too much earnestness began to appear in his words and looks. "Very much?" "Very much!" "All right then. This