am 27. Juni 2007
The excerpt of text from this Wordsworth Classic found in the Search Inside! function at Amazon.com is not the same as the text in the paperback Wordsworth Classic. Do not judge this translation by the excerpt found at Amazon. The ISBN numbers are the same, but the years differ (Amazon: 1997, paperback: 1993) as do the page-counts (Amazon: 434, paperback: 402).
Plenty of comments about Crime and Punishment exist among over a hundred reviews here; plenty of comments about the value, story, characters, plot, and meaning of Crime and Punishment can be found here. This review is about this translation, the Complete and Unabridged Wordsworth Classics edition of Crime and Punishment, which at least one review praises. I do not know more than a few phrases in Russian, but through comparing with other translations I have deduced that this Wordsworth version is not good.
Here are some reasons why:
Who translated this work? The translator is not credited. Is there only one? When was this translated? The first signs of a poor edition. It's copyright has probably gone out.
Comparing with other translations I've found that the Russian names aren't given in their full in this version. For example, Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikoff, as he's called here, is also known as Rodia by his mother and sister in other versions, such as the Swedish Hans Björkegren version from 1979. Eudoxia (Duonia) Romanonva as she is called here, is known as Eudoria Dunja Romanovna Raskolinkova in other versions. There are other discrepancies between names.
Which one is truest to Dostoevsky? Comparing the different translations, I have also found that the names are not as flexible in this version. For instance, in the other versions the names vary much more depending on who's addressing whom, and why they are doing so. Here the names vary little in different contexts.
Some sentences in this translation are beautiful, but many are clumsy. I don't know what Dostoevsky's writing is like in Russian, but I doubt he is known simply for his plots and characters. I assume he is also known for great prose, which, in my opinion, does not come out in this translation. E.g. "The woman laughed - yet with a silent laugh, striving hard no one should hear. Suddenly it struck Raskolnikoff that the room door was open; there also was laughter, whispering. Rage overcame him. Now, with a demon's power he struck, and struck and struck again. Yet laughter grew and whispher grew. As for the woman, she only writhed. He wished to run: -- the room was filling, the door stood open, and on the landing and on the stairs - here, there, and everywhere - people living people, they looked, looked on in silence. His heart stood still, his feet were leaden - he tried to cry out, and woke." Is this a bad translation, or is it transliteration of the Russian? I doubt the later--I doubt Dostoevsky wrote so sloppily.
Strange and archaic formulations also disturb my reading: "...many took him for a man in liquor", "what to do he decided at once", "Then he deposited his hat by his side", etc. Is this a story about Czarist Russians or Victorian Englishmen?
And importantly, the text is very small, the pages are large. Reading five hundred pages of this is not easy for the eyes.
I would give it no stars because the translation is peculiar, but I give it two stars because it is inexpensive and because in a good translation it's a great book.
am 29. Januar 2005
Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment is the first classic detective story. But that is not even where it excels. With the Brothers Karamazov, it elevated Dostoyevsky to a mega writer when it comes to dissecting the mind and soul of characters for the readers. It is a great book of psychology. While it competes with Anna Karenina as the most widely read 19th century Russian novel in the English-speaking world, it is judged by many to be superior in its depth and lessons. The book's hero exemplifies all young ideologues who are wrestling with a new idea which they think can elevate them to the levels of great historic figures in their initial steps towards greatness. Often, a barrier has to be crossed which takes the potential legendary figure into an irreversible course. In Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov who is the hero is a poor, intelligent and thoughtful student who is convinced that he has a mission for the advancement of mankind. He convinces himself that the mission has to start with him crossing over to greatness by robbing and killing an old woman, a pawnbroker, whose death, he had convinced himself would do the world more good than harm. This conviction is based on his judgment that she cheats her clients and holds money that could be used for humanity. He then commits the murder, but is forced to kill the pitiful Elizabetha, the landlady's sister. The novel begins its twists and turns after these murders, with the introduction of the cunning detective who gets to investigate the murder and makes Raskolnikov his principal suspect. Raskolnikov gets to meet the destitute Marmeladovs through the alcoholic father, and is distraught by the plight of his consumptive mother, her three young children, and Sonya-Marmeladov's eighteen-year old daughter who is forced into prostitution in order to support the family.
By doing a rich psychology development of his characters, Dostoyevsky made his characters more complexly human, yet reachable. Sonya emerges as a saintly figure who sins for the sakes of those she loves , and who is the mirror through which the so-called devilish characters are redeemed. The plot is rich, deep, enjoyable and action-packed; and the pace is fast and engaging. The overriding strength of the story is the conflict in Raskolnikov's soul, a conflict which began in his quest to be the "Extraordinary Man" like Napoleon, by stepping over the basic bounds of morality by committing murder. That conflict in his soul brought out the rich ideas, discussions and emotions from the characters that interacted with him.
Also recommended: THE BROTHER KARAMAZOV, DISCIPLES OF FORTUNE
am 5. Oktober 2015
I first read this Dostoyevsky novel at university amny years ago. I remember not really enjoying it. Maybe I was too young? Anyway, I thpught it was time to read it again and ordered it from Amazon. Admittedly there are parts of the book which are not easy to read (even now, forty years later) but, on the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed it and can recomment it to anyone who likes a good read.
am 1. Mai 2015
I read this book when I was 15 years old and I still remember the feeling of being blown away by this book. I read it in one afternoon, only because the next day, at the classic gymnasium I was attending at that time, we had a literature class & were interrogated for a mark (ofcourse). I started reading the book and hoped it might be a bit interesting, so I could enjoy a it a bit too, besides only reading it for the mark. I must say; I am happy I was "forced" to read this book at this age. I loved it so much. It's just genius. (I got the best mark the next day too :) Like all the reviews people write here, it's just a persons individual opinion on the book; some will like it, some not. It's great we are given an opportunity to share our thoughts on things we like & don't like... Finally, the book is mesmerising & everyone should give it a try & see it for yourself. It's still my favorite classic.
am 25. Juli 2000
Crime and Punishment is one of my top 5 books. It is an amazing combination of politics, philosophy, and religion--an all encompassing grand show of humanity. The psychological depth of some of the scenes in this book will have you on the edge of your seat if you read them carefully. Dostoyevsky also has the brilliant ability to make hardcore philosophy emotionally RELEVANT, a feat many great philosophers fail at. Few books you will ever encounter will take your soul through such an emotionally disturbing dark tour of events. I sometimes am greatly moved just on reflecting on the novel, especially in regards to the dismal future of Russia Dostoyevsky warned the revolutionary ideas of his times would bring. His prescience was simply astounding.
Even though Crime and Punishment is a dreary Russian novel (the quintessential one, in fact) be assured of an uplifting and enlightening ending. Although critics often trash the epilogue, keep in mind it is the only thing that prevents the novel from being overbearing in sadness; it was not meant to be depressing, but rather, inspirational, as it certainly was to me. Also, I think everyone can identify a little with the Raskolnikovian split between compassion and brutal efficiency. You will understand when you pick this book up and begin reading the first chapter.
C&P changed my life, and I've never understood the meaning of Christianity as much as in my deep meditations on the masterpiece. This edition is a good one, as is the Norton Critical edition, which is unfortunately not available on Amazon. This is one of those books you must read once in your lifetime--do it now.
am 15. April 2000
I initially approached this book with a great deal of trepidation. I had never read Dostoyevsky, and was concerned that I would get bogged down in some lengthy, mind-numbingly boring, nineteenth-century treatise on the bestial nature of man or something. I am happy to report this is not the case. Instead, and to my delight, it is a smoothly flowing and fascinating story of a young man who succumbs to the most base desire, and the impact this has both psychologically and otherwise on himself and those around him.
To be sure, the book seems wordy in places, but I suspect this has to do with the translation. And what translator in his right mind would be bold enough to edit the great Dostoyevsky? But this is a very minor problem.
What we get with Dostoyevsky is dramatic tension, detailed and believable human characters, and brilliant insight into human nature. Early in the novel our hero meets and has a lengthy conversation with Marmeladov, a drunkard. This conversation is never uninteresting and ultimately becomes pathetic and heartbreaking, but I kept wondering why so much time was spent on it. As I got deeper into the book, I understood why this conversation was so important, and realized that I was in the hands of a master storyteller. This is also indicative of the way in which the story reveals itself. Nothing is hurried. These people speak the way we actually speak to one another in real life, and more importantly, Dostoyevsky is able to flesh out his characters into whole, three-dimensional human beings.
And what a diverse group of characters! Each is fleshed out, each is marvelously complex. Razujmikhin, the talkative, gregarious, good-hearted, insecure and destitute student; Sonia, the tragic child-prostitute, with a sense of rightness in the world; Petrovich, the self-important, self-made man, completely out of touch with his own humanity; Dunia, the honorable, wronged sister: we feel like we know these people because we've met people like them. They fit within our understanding of the way human beings are.
Dostoyevsky also displays great insight into human nature. Svidrigailov, for example, talks of his wife as liking to be offended. "We all like to be offended," he says, "but she in particular loved to be offended." It suddenly struck me how true this is. It gives us a chance to act indignantly, to lash out at our enemies, to gain favor with our allies. I don't believe I've ever seen this thought expressed in literature before. In fact, it never occurred to me in real life! Petrovich, Dunia's suitor, not only expects to be loved, but because of his money, and her destitution, he expects to be adored! To be worshipped! He intentionally sought out a woman from whome he expected to get this, and is comletely flummoxed when she rejects him. His is an unusual character, but completely realized.
There is so much more to talk about: the character of Raskolnikov, which is meticulously and carefully revealed; the sense of isolation which descends on him after committing his crime; the cat and mouse game played on him by the police detective. I could go on and on. I haven't even mentioned the historical and social context in which this takes place. Suffice to say this is a very rich book.
Do not expect it to be a rip-roaring page turner. Sit down, relax, take your time, and savor it. It will be a very rewarding experience. And thank you SL, for recommending it.
am 12. September 2001
diese ist eine großartige und sehr billige auflage von der klassik, die berühmte geschichte. ich fand die Auflage völlig ausreichend. was könnte ich über die geschichte sagen? jeder weiß sie, und das ist gut. am meisten gefällt mir dass man so viele sachen sich selbst fragen mus, wenn man dieses buch liest. es bringt eine sehr große mentale anstrengung, ohne ablenkungen. was würde ich tun? ist es richtig, was raskolnikow macht? natürlich nicht, aber das könnte man in einigen stellen der romane nicht so klar sehen (selbstverständlich versucht das dostojewski, da dort zum großen teil die botschaft des buches liegt), besonders vor und kurz nach dem verbrechen. aber der autor führt man langsam zu sehen und zu glauben dass mord schrecklich ist. das ende fand ich hervorragend, besonders die konversion durch und zur liebe. die andere personen spielen auch sehr große rolle und haben starke charakter und einfluß über die geschichte, z. B. die arme familie und die freunde von raskolnikow. dieses soll in jeder schule obligatorisch gelesen werden, denn es gibt eine sehr gewaltige schilderung und entspricht ein fantastiches mittel für menschliche bildung. ich habe es erst als jugendliche gelesen und ich schätze dass es mir viel beeinflusst hat.
am 14. Juli 2000
The greatest novel of all time was written over a hundred years ago in Russia, by a man few would probably want to spend more than five minutes in the local with. The novel is very, very long, often goes round in circles seemingly nowhere and is infused with a deep religious code that betrays our current vogue for post christian, post socialst malaise. The basic jist of the story is familiar to anybody with a penchant for the t.v series 'Cracker' or the odd Sherlock Holmes novel. So why I hear you cry is it consistently lauded as the greatest story ever told? Simple really, when (and it really is only a matter of when) you read this book to the final page you will never the see the world again through the same eyes. For anybody wishing to foist another piece of literature on us the unsuspecting public, read this book first and then think..... Could you really explain the world we live in any better? Would you not just be repeating something that has already been written? Something with a far greater understanding, deeper compassion? Writing that not only tells us about man's eternal conflict with himself and his brothers, but through beautifully honest prose teaches us that this conflict is actually what makes man seperate from other beings. And then think again, my friend for we have enough books gathering dust on our libary shelves, but we only have one 'Crime And Punishment'
am 27. März 2000
Review of Crime and Punishment By a Colorado reader
A pale - faced man stares at a door that marks his destiny. Beads of sweat run down his sunken face. His fate sealed, he nervously looks at the old woman before him, his eyes darting across the room, barley able to hold the cruel stare of the elderly pawnbroker. Heart pounding, he resists the urge to cry out in terror, and run from the shrewd old woman, but his mind is set. He cannot return, he has gone too far to stop now, and must carry out his desperation induced crime. Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment revolves around a poor man struggling to survive in St. Petersburg, Russia. Raskolnikov, the main character, is stricken with both poverty and sickness. It's these determining factors that drive him into murdering a wealthy pawnbroker. Dostoevsky does a masterful job in describing the intense mental anguish that the protagonist goes through both before and after committing the act. He uses symbolism throughout the novel to help further this description of Raskolnikov's suffering, such as the intense fever he suffers that begins just prior the murder, peaks during the act, and continues for days afterwards. This fever also plays a major role in how those characters around him react to him after the crime. Nearly everyone around him is sympathetic towards him, and try to help, but Raskolnikov view himself as being superior to these others, and so rejects any form of charity offered to him. This is another one of Dostoevsky's commentaries on life. He believes that criminals who aren't used to committing crimes act in generally the same manner as Raskolnikov does. They slowly but surely isolate themselves socially, simply because of the fact that all they can think about is the crime itself. This is true of the main character, but in later chapters he tries to correct this after meeting a prostitute that he views to be a victim of situation, much as he seems to view himself. Now of course, this is not a terribly easy book to read, as most of the names are in Russian, and are at times hard to keep track of. Another aspect of the novel, is that at times, it can get rather dry and slow, but with patience it inevitably gets better, and is masterfully written to delve deep into the psychological aspects of punishment that are not as readily visible.
am 19. März 2000
I'll start off with some criticism, however, though it doesn't pertain to the actual story itself. I don't like how in 19th century novels authors frequently like to have one character babble for pages upon pages. Dickens is infamous for it, and though there isn't that much of this in Dostoevsky's work (at least in this book) I find it boring when he does partake in this awful style of writing. If it wasn't for the great amount of respect I have for this novel, I would have given it 4 stars as a result. C&P is a deep and philosophical work of literature. Raskolnikov, the centre of the tale, is a striking figure by all accounts, and one of the most extraordinary and complex persons I have ever been introduced to in any novel. He's still debated to this day -- and people continue to write more and more essays centring on his personality and actions. Let's just say there's a lot to say about Rodion Raskolnikov, and the author allows the reader to largely discover him for themselves, rather than to merely tell us what he's like. The whole book can be discussed at great length. As I said, it is very philosophical, and it seems to centre around the concept of nihilism. Raskolnikov has his own ideas, no doubt influenced by the nihilistic tendencies of the 19th century Russian intelligentsia, and these beliefs that he formulated were what compelled him towards a bloody murder near the beginning of the book. From there we are catapulted into a dark and serious psychological thriller (as it is commonly called), where we are forced to explore the psyche of this man against the backdrop of a dreary, dark and depressing St. Petersburg. This is a book to think about. I have my own ideas, of course, just like everybody has. Everyone is free to interpret what Dostoevsky is trying to get across, and to agree or disagree wit him. Read it with care. (I still don't know what Svidraigalov's dreams symbolize.)