Crime and punishment, p.1
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           Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Crime and Punishment


  This acclaimed new translation of Dostoyevsky's 'psychological record of a crime' gives his dark masterpiece of murder and pursuit a renewed vitality, expressing its jagged, staccato urgency and fevered atmosphere as never before. Raskolnikov, a destitute and desperate former student, wanders alone through the slums of St Petersburg, deliriously imagining himself above society's laws. But when he commits a random murder, only suffering ensues. Embarking 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.


  'A truly great translation . . . Sometimes new translations of old favourites are surplus to our requirements. . . . Sometimes, though, a new translation really makes us see a favourite masterpiece afresh. And this English version of Crime and Punishment really is better. . . . Crime and Punishment, as well as being an horrific story and a compelling drama, is also extremely funny. Ready brings out this quality well. . . . That knife-edge between sentimentality and farce has been so skilfully and delicately captured here. . . . Ready's version is colloquial, compellingly modern and--in so far as my amateurish knowledge of the language goes--much closer to the Russian. . . . The central scene in the book . . . is a masterpiece of translation.'

  --A. N. Wilson, The Spectator

  'This vivid, stylish, and rich rendition by Oliver Ready compels the attention of the reader in a way that none of the others I've read comes close to matching. Using a clear and forceful mid-twentieth-century idiom, Ready gives us an entirely new kind of access to Dostoyevsky's singular, self-reflexive and at times unnervingly comic text. This is the Russian writer's story of moral revolt, guilt, and possible regeneration turned into a new work of art. . . . [It] will give a jolt to the nervous system to anyone interested in the enigmatic Russian author.'

  --John Gray, New Statesman, 'Books of the Year'

  'At last we have a translation that brings out the wild humour and vitality of the original.'

  --Robert Chandler, PEN Atlas

  'A gorgeous translation . . . Inside one finds an excellent apparatus: a chronology, a terrific contextualizing introduction, a handy compendium of suggestions for further reading, and cogent notes on the translation. . . . But the best part is Ready's supple translation of the novel itself. Ready manages to cleave as closely as any prior translator to both spirit and letter, while rendering them into an English that is a relief to read.'

  --The East-West Review

  'Oliver Ready's dynamic translation certainly succeeds in implicating new readers in Dostoyevsky's old novel.'

  --The Times Literary Supplement

  'What a pleasure it is to see Oliver Ready's new translation bring renewed power to one of the world's greatest works of fiction. . . . Ready's work is of substantial and superb quality. . . . [His] version portrays more viscerally and vividly the contradictory nature of Raskolnikov's consciousness. . . . Ready evokes the crux of Crime and Punishment with more power than the previous translators have . . . with an enviably raw economy of prose.'

  --The Curator

  'Ready's new translation of Crime and Punishment is thoughtful and elegant [and] shows us once again why this novel is one of the most intriguing psychological studies ever written. His translation also manages to revive the disturbing humor of the original. . . . In some places, Ready's version echoes Pevear and Volokhonsky's prize-winning nineties version, but he often renders Dostoyevsky's text more lucidly while retaining its deliberately uncomfortable feel. . . . Ready's colloquial, economical use of language gives the text a new power.'

  --Russia Beyond the Headlines

  '[A] five-star hit, which will make you see the original with new eyes.'

  --The Times Literary Supplement, 'Books of the Year'



  FYODOR MIKHAILOVICH DOSTOYEVSKY was born in Moscow in 1821 at the Mariinsky Hospital for the Poor, where his father worked as a doctor. His mother died in 1837 and his father two years later, rumoured to have been murdered by his serfs. From 1838 to 1843 he studied at the Academy of Military Engineers in St Petersburg. In 1844 Dostoyevsky resigned his commission and devoted himself fully to literature. His debut, the epistolary novel Poor Folk (1846), made his name, though The Double, published later that year, was greeted with much less enthusiasm, not least by Dostoyevsky's champion, Vissarion Belinsky. His epilepsy, which became increasingly severe, set in at this time. In 1849 he was arrested and sentenced to death for involvement with the politically subversive 'Petrashevsky circle'; his sentence was commuted at the last moment to penal servitude and until 1854 he lived in a convict prison in Omsk, Siberia. From this experience came Notes from the Dead House (1860-2), which restored his literary reputation on his return to St Petersburg. In 1861 he and his brother Mikhail launched Time (Vremya), a monthly journal of literary-political affairs. Already married, Dostoyevsky fell in love with one of his contributors, Apollinaria Suslova, eighteen years his junior, and also developed a ruinous passion for roulette. The year 1864 saw the deaths of his wife Maria Dmitrievna and brother Mikhail, and the publication of Notes from Underground. He set to work on Crime and Punishment (1866) the following year. While writing this novel he engaged a young stenographer, Anna Grigoryevna Snitkina, and married her in 1867. The major novels of his late period, written in Russia and abroad, are The Idiot (1868), Demons (1871-2) and The Brothers Karamazov (1879-80). He died in 1881 at the peak of his fame.

  OLIVER READY is Research Fellow in Russian Society and Culture at St Antony's College, Oxford. His translations include, from contemporary fiction, The Zero Train (2001; 2007) and The Prussian Bride (2002; Rossica Translation Prize, 2005) by Yuri Buida, and Before and During (2014) by Vladimir Sharov. He is the general editor of the anthology The Ties of Blood: Russian Literature from the 21st Century (2008) and Russia and East-Central Europe editor at the Times Literary Supplement.


  Published by the Penguin Group

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  New York, New York 10014

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  A Penguin Random House Company

  Crime and Punishment first published in Russian in monthly instalments in Russkii Vestnik (The Russian Messenger) 1866

  This translation first published in Penguin Classics (UK) 2014

  Published in Penguin Books (USA) 2015

  Translation and editorial material copyright (c) 2014 by Oliver Ready Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to continue to publish books for every reader.

  LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA Dostoyevsky, Fyodor, 1821-1881, author.

  [Prestuplenie i nakazanie. English. (Ready)]

  Crime and punishment / Fyodor Dostoyevsky; translated and with an introduction and notes by Oliver Ready.

  pages; cm

  Includes bibliographical references.

  ISBN 978-0-69819415-1

  I. Ready, Oliver, 1976-translator, writer of added commentary. II. Title.

  PG3326.P7 2014



  Cover design and illustration by Zohar Lazar

r />   Contents

  Praise for Oliver Ready

  About the Authors

  Title Page




  Further Reading

  Note on the Translation

  Note on Names

  List of Characters
















































  Preface to the Notes



  1821 (30 October)* Born Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky in Moscow, the son of Mikhail Andreyevich, head physician at Mariinsky Hospital for the Poor, and of Maria Fyodorovna, daughter of a merchant family.

  1823 Pushkin begins Eugene Onegin.

  1825 Death of Tsar Alexander I and accession of Nicholas I, followed by the revolt of several thousand officers and soldiers in St Petersburg (the 'Decembrist Uprising').

  1831 Mikhail Andreyevich, having risen to the status of nobleman, buys a small estate south of Moscow at Darovoe, where his wife and children now spend their summers. During this year he also takes his wife and elder sons to see Schiller's play The Robbers, which makes a great impression on the young Dostoyevsky. Pushkin finishes Eugene Onegin.

  1834 Enrolled with his elder brother Mikhail (b. 1820) at Chermak's, Moscow's leading boarding school.

  1837 Pushkin killed in a duel. Maria Fyodorovna dies and the brothers are sent to preparatory school in St Petersburg.

  1838 Enters the St Petersburg Academy of Military Engineers (Mikhail is not admitted).

  1839 Father dies, apparently murdered by serfs on his estate.

  1840 Publication of Lermontov's A Hero of Our Time.

  1841 Obtains a commission. Works on two historical plays (Mary Stuart and Boris Godunov), both lost.

  1842 Promoted to second lieutenant. Publication of Gogol's Dead Souls and 'The Overcoat'.

  1843 Graduates from the Academy. Attached to St Petersburg Army Engineering Corps.

  1844 Resigns his commission. Publication of his translation of Balzac's Eugenie Grandet. Also translates George Sand's La derniere Aldini, only to find that another translation has already appeared. Works on Poor Folk, his first novel.

  1845 Establishes a friendship with Russia's most prominent and influential literary critic, Vissarion Belinsky, who praises Poor Folk and acclaims its author as Gogol's successor.

  1846 Poor Folk and The Double published. While Poor Folk is widely praised, The Double is much less successful. 'Mr Prokharchin' also published.

  1846-7 Nervous ailments and the onset of epileptic seizures. Begins regular consultations with Dr Stepan Yanovsky. Utopian socialist and atheist M. V. Butashevich-Petrashevsky becomes an acquaintance; begins attending the 'Petrashevsky circle'. 'A Novel in Nine Letters' and 'The Landlady' are published.

  1848 Several short stories published, including 'White Nights', 'A Weak Heart', 'A Christmas Party and a Wedding' and 'An Honest Thief'.

  1849 First instalments of Netochka Nezvanova published. Arrested along with other members of the Petrashevsky circle, convicted of political offences against the Russian state. Sentenced to death, taken out to Semyonovsky Square to be shot by firing squad, but reprieved moments before execution. Instead, sentenced to an indefinite period of exile in Siberia, to begin with eight years of penal servitude, later reduced to four years by Tsar Nicholas I.

  1850 Prison and hard labour in Omsk, western Siberia.

  1853 Outbreak of Crimean War.

  1854 Released from prison and sent to serve in an infantry battalion at Semipalatinsk, south-western Siberia. Allowed to live in private quarters. Becomes a regular visitor at the home of Alexander Isayev, an alcoholic civil servant, and his wife Maria Dmitrievna Isayeva. Promoted to non-commissioned officer.

  1855 Alexander II succeeds Nicholas I: some relaxation of state censorship.

  1857 Marries the widowed Maria Isayeva after a long courtship, and soon after has a major seizure which leads to the first official confirmation of his epilepsy. Publication of 'The Little Hero', written in prison during the summer of 1849.

  1858 Petitions Alexander II to be released from military service on medical grounds. Works on The Village of Stepanchikovo and Its Inhabitants and Uncle's Dream.

  1859 Allowed to return to live in European Russia; in December returns with his wife and stepson Pavel to St Petersburg. First chapters of The Village of Stepanchikovo and Its Inhabitants and Uncle's Dream published.

  1861 Emancipation of the serfs. Launch of Time (Vremya), a monthly journal of literature and socio-political affairs edited by Dostoyevsky and his elder brother Mikhail. In the first issues he publishes his first full-length novel, The Insulted and the Injured, and the first part of Notes from the Dead House, based on his experience in Omsk.

  1862 Second part of Notes from the Dead House and A Nasty Tale published in Time. Makes first trip abroad, to Europe, visiting Germany, France, England, Switzerland, Italy. Gambles in Wiesbaden. Meets Alexander Herzen in London. Turgenev's Fathers and Sons.

  1863 Winter Notes on Summer Impressions, based on his European travels, published in Time. Liaison with Apollinaria Suslova begins at about this time. After Maria Dmitrievna is taken seriously ill, he travels abroad again, gambles and visits Italy with Suslova. Publication of Nikolai Chernyshevsky's novel What Is to Be Done?

  1864 In March launches with Mikhail the journal Epoch (Epokha) as successor to Time, now banned by the Russian authorities. Notes from Underground published in Epoch. In April death of Maria Dmitrievna. In July death of Mikhail. The International Workingmen's Association (the First International) founded in London.

  1865 Epoch ceases publication owing to lack of funds. Courts Anna Korvin-Krukovskaya, a contributor to Epoch and future revolutionary activist; she turns down his proposal of marriage. To meet his debts, signs very unfavourable contract with the publisher Stellovsky. Gambles in Wiesbaden. Works on Crime and Punishment. First fragment of Tolstoy's War and Peace.

  1866 Dmitry Karakozov attempts to assassinate Alexander II. Interrupts writing of Crime and Punishment to write The Gambler, promised to Stellovsky by 1 November. Hires young stenographer Anna Grigoryevna Snitkina (b. 1846), who helps him complete the novel in twenty-six days. The Gambler published in December. Crime and Punishment serialized in eight issues of The Russian Messenger (Russkii Vestnik).

  1867 Marries Anna. Hounded by creditors, they leave for Western Europe, where they will spend the next four years.

  1868 Birth of daughter Sofya, who dies at three months. The Idiot published in serial form in The Russian Messenger.

  1869 Birth of daughter Lyubov in Dresden. The Nechayev Affair: Ivan Ivanov is murdered by fellow members of a clandestine revolutionary cell led by Sergei Nechayev.

  1870 Starts work on Demons. V. I. Ulyanov (later known as Lenin) is born in the town of Simbirsk on the banks of the Volga. The Eternal Husband published.

  1871 Moves back to St Petersburg with his wife and family. Birth of son, Fyodor.

  1871-2 Serial publication of Demons.

  1873 Becomes contributing editor of conserva
tive weekly journal Citizen (Grazhdanin), where his A Writer's Diary is published as a regular column. 'Bobok' published.

  1875 The Adolescent published. Birth of son, Alexei.

  1876 'The Meek One' published in A Writer's Diary.

  1877 'The Dream of a Ridiculous Man' published in A Writer's Diary.

  1878 Death of son Alexei after an epileptic fit. Works on The Brothers Karamazov.

  1879 Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili (later known as Stalin) born in Gori, Georgia. First part of The Brothers Karamazov published.

  1880 The Brothers Karamazov published in complete form. Speech in Moscow at the unveiling of a monument to Pushkin is greeted with wild enthusiasm.

  1881 Dostoyevsky dies in St Petersburg after repeated pulmonary haemorrhage (28 January). Buried in the cemetery of the Alexander Nevsky Monastery. The funeral procession from the author's apartment numbers over 30,000. Assassination of Alexander II (1 March).


  I A ready-made title, 'Crime and Punishment' suggests a ready-made plot. A man will commit a crime. He will be caught. He will be punished. His fate will revolve around the conflicts between freedom and conscience, the delinquent individual and the punitive state. Justice, no doubt, will be done.

  In January 1866, when the first instalment of Crime and Punishment appeared in The Russian Messenger (Russkii Vestnik), prospective readers might have indulged in further well-reasoned speculation. Here was a title steeped in the ferment of its time, an era marked on the one hand by the ambitious reforms of Tsar Alexander II (1818-81), not least to the entire judicial process, and on the other by mounting radicalism and nascent terrorism, prompted in large part by the perceived failure of these same reforms. Serfdom may have been consigned to history five years earlier, but the harsh terms of the serfs' 'emancipation' had done little to alleviate social injustice. Would this, then, be a novel of political rebellion? Or perhaps, given the increasingly conservative leanings of the ageing Dostoyevsky (and of Mikhail Katkov, editor of The Russian Messenger), a satire of these revolutionary tendencies?

  Inevitably, the novel would also be rooted in the bitter experience of its famous author. After all, he, too, in his free-thinking youth, had known crime and punishment at first hand. His chief 'crime' was to read out, more than once, Vissarion Belinsky's letter to Nikolai Gogol (1809-52), in which Russia's leading critic railed against Russia's leading author, whose latest book had revealed him to be a 'proponent of the knout', of Church, State and serfdom. Dostoyevsky's 'punishment' - and that of a disparate group of his associates, broadly linked by utopian-socialist sympathies - was to face the firing squad on St Petersburg's Semyonovsky Square in December 1849. The sentence was commuted by Tsar Nicholas I (1796-1855) at the last possible moment and in the most theatrical manner. Instead, Dostoyevsky endured years of hard labour in Siberia, described upon his return to St Petersburg in the lightly fictionalized Notes from the Dead House (1860-2), the first masterpiece of his mature period.

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