Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment"

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Re: Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment"

Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 19 Jul 2017, 05:57

I read pretty much everything by Dostoevsky while studying Russian at uni. You're right, "Crime and Punishment" is amazingly structured - probably his neatest work and he was ahead of his time with his psychological insights.

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Post by smart24 » 28 Jul 2017, 17:22

criminology is a study, when one is convicted he becomes a victim and he's punished

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Post by verbals » 11 Dec 2017, 13:19

My review;

Personally it’s a milestone in my classics project to read what clearly is an absolute masterwork for the ages; of which I had no doubt even whilst reading it. So that needs examining. It’s the first Russian book I have ever read and what struck me early on is the cultural alien quality; it’s a cruel story. In the end suffering is being equated to the amount of happiness one will receive(? deserve?) in life; and this as an initial reaction to be parsed a lot more. Dostoevsky, in his own way, attains a prose level I have only experienced with Gustave Flaubert in Madame Bovary; for example, in Marmeledov’s exhaustive early description of his life story- four or so pages without cease. There’s a barrier to intellectual entry, would be one way to describe the books construction; especially interesting given the pressures of time and poverty under which it was written. Having now read a few western novels within this mid Victorian time period and like Madame Bovary and Jane Eyre; Crime and Punishment is a seminal influential work; it has the strength to reach across 100 years to have an effect on A Clockwork Orange, which draws out the theme of good and bad from the web of good deeds from bad actions or an altruistic life following evil beginnings. I determined to read it now following Ellison’s Invisible Man, the anti hero construction he cites from Raskolnikov and Jude Fawley and I wonder at the development in Hardy’s work of characters with wavering unsteadfast personalities like Michael Henchard; good following bad on a whim. The complexity of character detail here is a move forward and it crystallises a quality shared by classics that the microscope is on human character. The way the author takes a step away from the first person to allow for a degree of rationality in the examination of traits and faults and morality; dimensionalising humanity. It’s the facility with which Dostoevsky glided into Raskolnikov’s head to describe his deepest most confused thoughts and then away to show the impression that the observer gets from how the subject is acting whilst they think these things. The writer theorises about contemporary political thought in this individual context and he’ll describe the stupidity of a person before showing how they clumsily try to apply political thought. What may distinguish Dostoevsky is the breadth of the discussion but also that this is a man who was sent into exile to Siberia and lived in penury yet this book is composed and objective on subjects that must have filled him with rage; he retains his objectivity, but he also has a very easy way with character details of the sort that warm you to his subject or turn you against others for their venality. Sonia the prostitute has the faith of a saint but the benevolence of the lawyer and the landowner have evil purposes. Instead of following Raskolnikov in his final inevitable journey we follow Svridrigailov to what reveals itself as his own completed journey.

I think it’s clear that writing about the book is helping me to process my own feelings about it. I could question whether I should wait to write once my thoughts were clearer but without this process would my ideas gain as much clarity. It’s unusual to feel so certain that I have read an “important” book but it leaves the way open to examine all of its concepts and not to expect an easy quick answer. I’ve felt reading Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot and Woolf in particular that the way I write has been affected (lots of semicolons being very Woolfian!). The idea that books could rewire my brain and change how I think is one I can ascribe to because a writer can display a different way of thinking about the world; a new roadmap, ways to handle complex philosophical or political or personal ideas. In that sense it would be silly to deny that possibility. My reaction is to take a little time with these ideas; let them settle in. Step away from the life changing experience!

I should speak in specifics even though it strikes me as trivialising a body of work that adds to more than its parts. The passage where a choice is offered between standing on a wind blasted ledge on a cliff for eternity or dying instantly and would that life be desirable in comparison. In a story where a man chooses to end a life and takes the decision to himself; it’s an example of the various perspectives given to each theme. Also the murder is at least committed out of poverty and the author veritably throws money at Raskolnikov after the fact; as well as showing profligacy by numerous others in the name of leverage and charity; good and bad uses of monetary power. You measure the story of this murder against the infinite other Crime stories which all skim over the impulses given to character by extreme events and yet Dostoevsky without that tradition to fall back upon invents a psychological genre that has hardly been written within since then; and those laughable comments where the lack of mystery in this story is complained about as if this writer fluffed the writing of a crime story! In that way Dostoevsky is as interested in purile mystery as Hammett was!

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Post by CaitlinGonya » 19 Dec 2017, 19:39

I keep starting this and then I stop. I feel like the main character is a cry baby and I just can't stand him. (Even in my imagination).

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Post by fergie » 20 Dec 2017, 07:37

I struggled to get into this book initially, and I think I agree in hindsight, maybe it was the first 90 pages. But once you're into it, it's brilliant. I've never entirely stopped questioning that basic idea of, why is it sometimes considered OK for leaders to kill a lot of people to get what they want, but not OK for an individual to kill one person who's in their way? The narrator and many of the scenes have really stuck with me, and it was a good 20 years ago I read it!
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Post by Whitney Marchelle » 27 Dec 2017, 18:46

I had to read this for a book report when I was in the 10th grade. I actually chose this story, why did I do that to myself, I had no idea. However, I did enjoy the book more than I thought I would, when I reread it again in college I realized that I didn't understand everything the first time around, and man I got a new understanding once I was older and lived life a bit more. lol

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Post by rik17 » 04 Mar 2018, 00:50

Dostoevsky's works are still relevant today even though characteristics of people have changed. I will love to read his works in the Russian language, though learning it will be an uphill task.

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Post by GabbiV » 05 Mar 2018, 17:56

I read this for my senior year AP Lit class and I remember being very upset with how Raskolnikov dealt with his actions. I think that it says something about the current climate of violence in the US that I expected him to be 100% ok after his ordeal.

Fast forward to post-high school me, I sympathize with Rodya and understand the gravity of his actions. Crime and Punishment is a wonderful case study of the psychological effects this particular course of action has on a more or less regular person. I rate this 4 out of 4 stars

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Post by Jeyasivananth » 05 Mar 2018, 18:53

This book was prescribed to me in college...It was one of the first Russian novels I read.

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Post by GabbiV » 08 Mar 2018, 22:49

Redlegs wrote: ↑
22 Nov 2014, 01:16
I struggled a little bit with Crime and Punishment. It is a dark novel and I found the characters just a little weird and the dialogue very strange indeed. Notwithstanding that the main protagonist was probably insane, the situations and behaviors just didn't quite ring true in several instances. I kept asking myself - "why would you do that?"

But I am more than prepared to give Dostoevsky another go.
That was my exact reaction when I first read C&P, along with all of my English classmates. But after going through it again I realized that should I have been in Raskolnikov's shoes and committed his crimes, I probably would have been in a similar psychological state.

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Post by karlitellis » 14 Mar 2018, 21:59

Dostoevsky is my favourite author, and Crime and Punishment was my introduction to his works.

By using what I would describe as a "frantic" writing style in parts, Dosoevsky's no-nonsense tone adds to the severity of the topic, a theme that I find continues in his work "Notes from the Underground", which also deals with intense angst and emotions that brim on the surface of the main character.

While at times it may be hard to follow, the novel as a whole is rather mind-blowing. At certain spots, the reader is hit with a lot of game-changing information at once. But it's these big events that tie in so nicely with the sense of the novel and it's impact as a whole.

Dostoevsky deals with complex topics like nihilism, the "Ubermensch" or superhuman/Napoleon complex, and the concept of sanity in a way that is unlike anything else I've found. Rather than lecture the reader on his views through a character, he never says anything outright, but rather sets up a course for the character, Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, to go through in order to reach the climax of his moral struggle, then leaves the reader to make sense of the ideas presented along to way and decipher the message.

To put in context with the time period, this is an incredibly political piece, which never fails to impress me. It's definitely worth the read, and if you brush up your Russian history and look into Dostoevsky's life, you'll find much more value and context to the work. Aside from being a relatable and enlightening read, it gets you thinking about how you would react if you were put in Raskolnikov's situation.

Along with the Catcher in the Rye, this is my favourite novel of all time.

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Post by Jefftn » 03 Apr 2018, 20:42

I need to read about Dostoevsky but loved Crime and Punishment even without that insight.

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Post by pricklypurple » 30 Jun 2018, 16:12

"**Fyodor Dosoevsky's books are a MUST READ if you are getting into classics." Of this I agree, but Crime and Punishment is not his best although probably the most read.

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Post by Cher432 » 26 Aug 2018, 14:25

I loved Crime and Punishment as it was a great exploration of the human mind and society's expectations of its inhabitants. I will definitely read it again sometime.

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Post by Likey » 27 Aug 2018, 03:18

GabbiV wrote: ↑
08 Mar 2018, 22:49
Redlegs wrote: ↑
22 Nov 2014, 01:16
I struggled a little bit with Crime and Punishment. It is a dark novel and I found the characters just a little weird and the dialogue very strange indeed. Notwithstanding that the main protagonist was probably insane, the situations and behaviors just didn't quite ring true in several instances. I kept asking myself - "why would you do that?"

But I am more than prepared to give Dostoevsky another go.
That was my exact reaction when I first read C&P, along with all of my English classmates. But after going through it again I realized that should I have been in Raskolnikov's shoes and committed his crimes, I probably would have been in a similar psychological state.
Dostoevsky brilliantly described the social environment of Russia at the time (19th century). The book is much easier to comprehend when you are a little bit aware of Russian history and mentality :).

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