Crime and Punishment

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About the Author

Dostoevsky was no stranger to adversity and struggle. Born into a family of nine in October 1821, his mother died when he was sixteen, causing the family split up. After Dostoevsky was sent to a military academy with his brother, their army surgeon father was murdered by his own serfs. Even his first wife (whose traits, critics say, manifest themselves in the character of Katerina Ivanvna) died of tuberculosis. Though his ...
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Crime and Punishment (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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Overview

About the Author

Dostoevsky was no stranger to adversity and struggle. Born into a family of nine in October 1821, his mother died when he was sixteen, causing the family split up. After Dostoevsky was sent to a military academy with his brother, their army surgeon father was murdered by his own serfs. Even his first wife (whose traits, critics say, manifest themselves in the character of Katerina Ivanvna) died of tuberculosis. Though his first book, Poor Folk, earned him an invitation into the Natural School of Russian Literature in the 1840s, he was convicted of subversion against Tsar Nicholas I in 1849 and exiled to Siberia. By the time Crime and Punishment was published in 1866, he had returned from exile and prison, and had developed the bleak outlook that pervades the novel.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Dostoyevski's classic novel of murder and guilt, featuring the conflicted killer Raskolnikov and his intellectually nimble antagonist Porfiry Petrovich, is read by the well-regarded Dick Hill. The combination should make for a must-listen audiobook, but the results are disappointingly plodding. Hill overemotes much of Dostoyevski's emotionally charged dialogue, rendering a delicate series of encounters as an array of outbursts and breakdowns. Listeners might find themselves wishing that Hill would restrain himself from the pitfalls of facile emotion in favor of a straight delivery of the inherent drama and descriptive splendor of the novel In a welcome technological twist, however, Tantor includes an e-book with this audiobook (as it does with most of its classic audiobooks), giving readers multiple options for how they might prefer to encounter Dostoyevski. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
“The best [translation of Crime and Punishment] currently available…An especially faithful re-creation…with a coiled-spring kinetic energy…Don’t miss it.” –Washington Post Book World

“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

“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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400116034
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/26/2010
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged CD
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 6.50 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and many other novels.

George Gibian was Goldwin Smith Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature at Cornell University. His honors include Fulbright, Guggenheim, American Philosophical Society, and Rockefeller Foundation fellowships. He was the author of The Man in the Black Coat: Russia’s Lost Literature of the Absurd, The Interval of Freedom: Russian Literature During the Thaw, and Tolstoj and Shakespeare. He was the editor of the Norton Critical Editions of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and War and Peace, and Gogol’s Dead Souls, and of the Viking Penguin Portable Nineteenth-Century Russian Reader. Professor Gibian’s articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, the Christian Science Monitor, and Newsday, among others.

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Read an Excerpt

ON AN EXCEPTIONALLY hot evening early in July a young man came out of the garret in which he lodged in S. Place and walked slowly, as though in hesitation, towards K. bridge.

He had successfully avoided meeting his landlady on the staircase. His garret was under the roof of a high, five-storied house and was more like a cupboard than a room. The landlady who provided him with garret, dinners, and attendance, lived on the floor below, and every time he went out he was obliged to pass her kitchen, the door of which invariably stood open. And each time he passed, the young man had a sick, frightened feeling, which made him scowl and feel ashamed. He was hopelessly in debt to his landlady, and was afraid of meeting her.

This was not because he was cowardly and abject, quite the contrary; but for some time past he had been in an overstrained irritable condition, verging on hypochondria. He had become so completely absorbed in himself, and isolated from his fellows that he dreaded meeting, not only his landlady, but any one at all. He was crushed by poverty, but the anxieties of his position had of late ceased to weigh upon him. He had given up attending to matters of practical importance; he had lost all desire to do so. Nothing that any landlady could do had a real terror for him. But to be stopped on the stairs, to be forced to listen to her trivial, irrelevant gossip, to pestering demands for payment, threats and complaints, and to rack his brains for excuses, to prevaricate, to lie - no, rather than that, he would creep down the stairs like a cat and slip out unseen.

This evening, however, on coming out into the street, he became acutely aware of his fears.

"I want to attempt a thing like that, and am frightened by these trifles," he thought, with an odd smile. "Hm … yes, all is in a man's hands and he lets it all slip from cowardice, that's an axiom. It would be interesting to know what it is men are most afraid of. Taking a new step, uttering a new word is what they fear most … But I am talking too much. It's because I chatter that I do nothing. Or perhaps it is that I chatter because I do nothing. I've learned to chatter this last month, lying for days together in my den thinking … of Jack the Giant-killer. Why am I going there now? Am I capable of that? Is that serious? It is not serious at all. It's simply a fantasy to amuse myself; a plaything! Yes, maybe it is a plaything."

The heat in the street was terrible: and the airlessness, the bustle and the plaster, scaffolding, bricks, and dust all about him, and that special Petersburg stench, so familiar to all who are unable to get out of town in summer - all worked painfully upon the young man's already overwrought nerves. The insufferable stench from the pot-houses, which are particularly numerous in that part of the town, and the drunken men whom he met continually, although it was a working day, completed the revolting misery of the picture. An expression of the profoundest disgust gleamed for a moment in the young man's refined face. He was, by the way, exceptionally handsome, above the average in height, slim, well-built, with beautiful dark eyes and dark brown hair. Soon he sank into deep thought, or more accurately speaking, into a complete blankness of mind; he walked along not observing what was about him and not caring to observe it. From time to time, he would mutter something, from the habit of talking to himself, to which he had just confessed. At these moments he would become conscious that his ideas were sometimes in a tangle and that he was very weak; for two days he had scarcely tasted food.

He was so badly dressed that even a man accustomed to shabbiness would have been ashamed to be seen in the street in such rags. In that quarter of the town, however, scarcely any shortcoming in dress would have created surprise. Owing to the proximity of the Hay Market, the number of establishments of bad character, the preponderance of the trading and working class population crowded in these streets and alleys in the heart of Petersburg, types so various were to be seen in the streets that no figure, however queer, would have caused surprise. But there was such accumulated bitterness and contempt in the young man's heart, that, in spite of all the fastidiousness of youth, he minded his rags least of all in the street. It was a different matter when he met with acquaintances or with former fellow students, whom, indeed, he disliked meeting at any time. And yet when a drunken man who, for some unknown reason, was being taken somewhere in a huge waggon dragged by a heavy dray horse, suddenly shouted at him as he drove past: "Hey there, German hatter" bawling at the top of his voice and pointing at him - the young man stopped suddenly and clutched tremulously at his hat. It was a tall round hat from Zimmerman's, but completely worn out, rusty with age, all torn and bespattered, brimless and bent on one side in a most unseemly fashion. Not shame, however, but quite another feeling akin to terror had overtaken him.

"I knew it," he muttered in confusion, "I thought so! That's the worst of all! Why, a stupid thing like this, the most trivial detail might spoil the whole plan. Yes, my hat is too noticeable … It looks absurd and that makes it noticeable … With my rags I ought to wear a cap, any sort of old pancake, but not this grotesque thing. Nobody wears such a hat, it would be noticed a mile off, it would be remembered … What matters is that people would remember it, and that would give them a clue. For this business one should be as little conspicuous as possible … Trifles, trifles are what matter! Why, it's just such trifles that always ruin everything …"

He had not far to go; he knew indeed how many steps it was from the gate of his lodging house: exactly seven hundred and thirty. He had counted them once when he had been lost in dreams. At the time he had put no faith in those dreams and was only tantalising himself by their hideous but daring recklessness. Now, a month later, he had begun to look upon them differently, and, in spite of the monologues in which he jeered at his own impotence and indecision, he had involuntarily come to regard this "hideous" dream as an exploit to be attempted, although he still did not realise this himself. He was positively going now for a "rehearsal" of his project, and at every step his excitement grew more and more violent.

With a sinking heart and a nervous tremor, he went up to a huge house which on one side looked on to the canal, and on the other into the street. This house was let out in tiny tenements and was inhabited by working people of all kinds - tailors, locksmiths, cooks, Germans of sorts, girls picking up a living as best they could, petty clerks, &c. There was a continual coming and going through the two gates and in the two courtyards of the house. Three or four door-keepers were employed on the building. The young man was very glad to meet none of them, and at once slipped unnoticed through the door on the right, and up the staircase. It was a back staircase, dark and narrow, but he was familiar with it already, and knew his way, and he liked all these surroundings: in such darkness even the most inquisitive eyes were not to be dreaded.

"If I am so scared now, what would it be if it somehow came to pass that I were really going to do it?" he could not help asking himself as he reached the fourth storey. There his progress was barred by some porters who were engaged in moving furniture out of a flat. He knew that the flat had been occupied by a German clerk in the civil service, and his family. This German was moving out then, and so the fourth floor on this staircase would be untenanted except by the old woman. "That's a good thing anyway," he thought to himself, as he rang the bell of the old woman's flat. The bell gave a faint tinkle as though it were made of tin and not of copper. The little flats in such houses always have bells that ring like that. He had forgotten the note of that bell, and now its peculiar tinkle seemed to remind him of something and to bring it clearly before him … He started, his nerves were terribly overstrained by now. In a little while, the door was opened a tiny crack: the old woman eyed her visitor with evident distrust through the crack, and nothing could be seen but her little eyes, glittering in the darkness. But, seeing a number of people on the landing, she grew bolder, and opened the door wide. The young man stepped into the dark entry, which was partitioned off from the tiny kitchen. The old woman stood facing him in silence and looking inquiringly at him. She was a diminutive, withered up old woman of sixty, with sharp malignant eyes and a sharp little nose. Her colourless, somewhat grizzled hair was thickly smeared with oil, and she wore no kerchief over it. Round her thin long neck, which looked like a hen's leg, was knotted some sort of flannel rag, and, in spite of the heat, there hung flapping on her shoulders, a mangy fur cape, yellow with age. The old woman coughed and groaned at every instant. The young man must have looked at her with a rather peculiar expression, for a gleam of mistrust came into her eyes again.
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Reading Group Guide

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

 

INTRODUCTION

When Dostoyevsky started work on Crime and Punishment in the summer of 1865 he was depressed and in serious financial straits. A recent gambling spree had depleted his savings, and he owed money for personal expenses as well as bills for Epokha, the journal he founded and had been forced to discontinue. Threatened with debtors' prison, he was approached by an unscrupulous publisher who offered a ridiculously exploitative contract under which Dostoyevsky signed over the copyrights to all his existing works and agreed to write a work of fiction by the end of the following year. For all this he was paid the sum of three thousand rubles, most of which was quickly swallowed up by promissory notes; what little remained was squandered at the gaming tables. Destitute once again, Dostoyevsky forced himself to concentrate on his writing, and by that fall had conceived of the idea for a novel-length work about a family ruined by alcohol.

The roots of Crime and Punishment can be found in various episodes in Dostoyevsky's life. His original idea, a murderer's first-person confession, came to him during his prison term in Siberia—an experience that profoundly changed his political views and instilled in him a life-long respect for order and authority. There is also evidence that he conceived of the Marmaledov family as the basis for a novel to be titled "The Drunkards," but which was never published. Finally, Dostoyevsky was reacting to the political climate in St. Petersburg, where the impulses of the revolution could be found in the nihilist and radical movements, which Dostoyevsky abhorred. Regardless of its origins, Dostoyevsky meant the novel to be as close to perfect as possible. He took extensive—now famous—notes regarding its structure, toying with different points of view, character, structure, plot, and a variety of thematic strains.

The efforts paid off. Crime and Punishment is a superbly plotted, brilliant character study of a man who is at once an everyman and as remarkable as any character ever written. It poses a simple question, "Can evil means justify honorable ends?" and answers it convincingly without didacticism or naiveté. Dostoyevsky intimates himself so closely with Roskolnikov's consciousness, and describes his turmoil and angst so precisely and exhaustively, that it is easy to forget that the events take place over the course of a mere two weeks. He encourages us to identify with Roskolnikov: the painstaking descriptions of the student's cramped, dingy quarters; the overpowering sights and sounds of a stifling afternoon on the streets of St. Petersburg; the excruciating tension of Porfiry's interrogation—all serve to place the reader at the heart of the action: Roskolnikov's fevered, tormented mind.

The murder itself is almost incidental to the novel; Dostoyevsky devotes no more than a few pages to describing its execution, although he details the painful vacillations that precede the incident and, of course, exposes every aspect of its aftermath. Similarly, Roskolnikov's punishment, in the literal sense, is put off until the epilogue, with his sentence—reduced to seven years due to the accused's apparent temporary insanity—to a Siberian labor camp. Thus Dostoyevsky brilliantly invites readers to put forth their own notions of Crime and Punishment, and engages us in an irresistible debate: Who is the real criminal? Marmeladov, for abandoning his family? Luzhin for exploiting Dunya? Svidrigailov for murdering his wife? Sonya for prostituting herself? The greedy pawnbroker whom Roskolnikov murdered? Or, to turn the question around: Who among us is not a criminal? Who among us has not attempted to impose his or her will on the natural order? Furthermore, we are made to understand that Roskolnikov's true punishment is not the sentence imposed on him by the court of law, but that imposed on him by his own actions: the psychological and spiritual hell he has created for himself; the necessary sentence of isolation from his friends and family; the extreme wavering between wanting to confess his crime, and desperately hoping to get away with it. Compelled, ultimately, to confess his crime—and the confession scene is the only incident in which Roskolnikov actually admits to the crime—we feel that Roskolnikov has suffered sufficiently. Indeed, the epilogue with its abbreviated pace and narrative distance feels like a reprieve for the reader as well as for the criminal. Finally, in Siberia, Roskolnikov has found space.

The public reception of Crime and Punishment was enthusiastic—if a little stunned. There was much discussion about the novel's overwhelming power and rumors of people unable to finish it. Readers were shocked by Dostoyevsky's gruesome descriptions and enthralled by his use of dramatic tension. Perhaps the most virulent, and unexpected, criticism came from readers who felt that Dostoyevsky's portrait of the nihilist movement was an indictment of Russian youth and that its premise was inconceivable. For more than a century, critics have argued about the book's message: Is it a political novel? A tale of morality? A psychological study? A religious epic? As Peter McDuff points out in his Introduction to the Penguin Classics edition, interpretations may be more revealing of the critic than of the text. Whatever Dostoyevsky's purpose—political, moral, psychological, or religious (and most likely he meant to touch on each of these themes)—one thing is certain. In Roskolnikov, Dostoyevsky has created a man who is singular yet universal. He is someone with whom we can sympathize, empathize, and pity, even if we cannot relate to his actions. He is a character we will remember forever, and whose story will echo throughout history.

 

ABOUT FYODOR DOSTOYEVSKY

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky was born in 1821 at a Moscow hospital where his father was employed as a doctor. The family was poor, but their descent from 17th-century nobility entitled them to own land and serfs. Dostoyevsky's mother, Maria, was loving and religious; his father, Mikhail, tended toward alcoholism and violence, and his cruel behavior toward the peasants on their small estate resulted in his murder when Fyodor was eighteen years old.

Fyodor was the second of eight children. He was particularly close to his younger sister, Varvara, whose unfortunate marriage may have inspired Dostoyevsky's portraits of both Dunya and Sonya. His older brother, Mikhail, shared Dostoyevsky's literary and journalistic interests as well as his early social ideals. Together they attended secondary schools in Moscow, then the military academy in St. Petersburg, followed by service in the Russian army.

Dostoyevsky broadened his education by reading extensively in an attempt to sharpen his literary skills. As a youth he read and admired writers of all nationalities, including Dickens, Hugo, and Zola, and imitated some of Russia's literary geniuses, particularly Gogol. He also began a tortured acquaintance with Turgenev, which was to continue throughout his life.

His first novel, Poor Folk, was published in 1846. This tale of a young clerk who falls haplessly in love with a woman he cannot possess led the literary lion Victor Belinsky to proclaim Dostoyevsky as the next Gogol. Dostoyevsky's entrance into St. Petersburg literary society had begun—but his celebrity status was quickly overshadowed by his somewhat obnoxious behavior. Eventually, Dostoyevsky found another group to join, this time a circle of intellectual socialists run by Mikhail Petrashevsky. Given the reactionary climate of the time, the Petrashevsky group's revolutionary ideas were both exciting and dangerous, and, although Dostoyevsky was far from being a revolutionary, his alignment with the faction brought him to the attention of the police. In 1849 he and the rest of the Petrashevsky group were arrested for subversion. Dostoyevsky was imprisoned at the Peter and Paul Fortress where he and others were subject to a mock execution—an understandably traumatic experience which seems to have triggered an epileptic condition that would plague Dostoyevsky throughout his life. He spent the next five years at hard labor in Siberia, where his acquaintance with the criminal community would provide him with the themes, plots, and characters that distinguish many of his greatest works, including Crime and Punishment.

Dostoyevsky returned to St. Petersburg in 1859. The next decade was filled with emotional and physical turmoil. In 1864 the deaths of his wife, Maria, and his beloved brother, Mikhail, deepened his debt and drove him to gambling. He embarked on a doomed affair with Apollinaria Suslova, who vacillated between admiring and despising him. He also witnessed the dissolution of his literary journal and formed a disadvantageous relationship with an unscrupulous publisher. Yet the 1860s were also a period of great literary fervor, and in 1865, the publication of Crime and Punishment paved the way for a series of novels—including The Idiot, The Devils, and The Brothers Karamazov—that both reclaimed his position in Russia's pantheon of great living writers, and brought stability to his personal and financial affairs. He married his stenographer, Anna Grigorievna Snitkin, with whom he fathered four children, and established himself as a leading conservative who often spoke out against revolutionary activity. In June of 1880, Dostoyevsky attended a celebration of the great novelist, Pushkin, during which he delivered a speech in praise of the writer. His words were met with great adulation, and the event marked what was perhaps the highest point of public approbation Dostoyevsky would ever attain. Little more than six months later, on January 28, 1881, Dostoyevsky died of a lung hemorrhage. His funeral, attended by nearly thirty thousand mourners, was a national event.

 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. How does Dostoyevsky achieve and sustain the suspense in his novel? Which scenes strike you as being particularly suspenseful? How does he use description to enhance the turmoil in Roskolnikov's mind?
     
  2. What role does chance play in the development of the novel? In which scenes does coincidence figure heavily in the outcome? Is Dostoyevsky interfering too much with the natural course of events in order to move his story along, or is he making a point about the randomness of life, free will, and divine intervention?
     
  3. Compare the characters of Roskolnikov, Luzhin, and Svidrigailov. How is each of these men a "villain," and to what extent are they guilty? How does each man face his guilt, and how does each suffer for it?
     
  4. Compare the major female characters: Sonya, Dunya, Katerina Ivanovna. Do you think they are well-rounded characters or stereotypes? How does each figure in Roskolnikov's actions?
     
  5. Discuss the scene in which Roskolnikov meets Sonya in her room and he asks her to read the story of Lazarus. What makes this scene so effective? What does Roskolnikov mean when he tells Sonya she is "necessary" to him? (p. 388)
     
  6. Later, in confessing the murder to Sonya, Roskolnikov claims, "Did I really kill the old woman? No, it was myself I killed.... And as for the old woman, it was the Devil who killed her, not I." (p. 488) What does he mean by this? What motive does Roskolnikov give for his murder? Why does he confess to Sonya? Why doesn't the confession ease him of his inner torment?
     
  7. Discuss Roskolnikov's theory of the ordinary versus the extraordinary man. What is Dostoyevsky's attitude toward this theory? Can you think of modern-day examples of this theory put into practice?
     
  8. Does the fact that Roskolnikov never uses the money he stole from the pawnbroker make him less—or more—guilty? Why do you think he never recovers the stolen items or cash?
     
  9. Why does Roskolnikov reject his family's and Razumikhin's attempts at solace and comfort? Why, when they are at their most loving, does he have feelings of hatred for them? What is Dostoyevsky saying about guilt and conscience?
     
  10. Roskolnikov emerges as a dual character, capable of cruelty and compassion, deliberation and recklessness, and alternating between a desire for solitude and companionship. Why has Dostoyevsky created such a complex psychological portrait?
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Customer Reviews

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 410 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Incredible Book!!!

    This summer I wanted to read a book that was a "smart people book." So I thought I would read Crime and Punishment, since I love crime stories so much. I really did not expect myself to love this book so much. It was so intense and thrilling. I read the last 130 pages in one sitting it got so intense. During the last pages, all of the subplots finally climaxed and I realized they were more than just subplots. The ending was great, I nearly cried when the book was over. This is one of the few books that when I finished, I wanted to start reading it all over again. I would recommend this book to anyone, it is not such a hard read at all.

    14 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A chilling, intellectually captivating novel

    Immediately upon reading the first few chapters of "Crime and Punishment" by Fyodor Dostoevsky, it should be blatantly obvious to any reader that this book is a brilliant classic. Upon first sight, this book would seem as though it would be a typical whodunit murder book, but on the contrary, the book revolves around not the details of the murder of a bitter pawnbroker in St. Petersburg, but the details of the conscience of a rather unscrupulous figure who is the protagonist, Raskolnikov. The psychological level upon which impoverished Raskolnikov functions on is beyond the scope of certainly what most people I know can even comprehend, delivering intricate insights into the mind of a genius who is capable of the most heinous crime a human can commit. The book is one I would recommend everyone read at least once in their lifetime, if they have the patience to press through somewhat difficult yet adaptable Russian names such as Zossimov, Koch, and Razumikhin, which can add to the confusion of the plot at times, and the energy to push through this fairly lengthy book. If you have the capacity to take on the self-inflicted wound that is a Dostoevsky book, by all means, conquer the mountain of a read, as although this book was the most difficult I have read, it is easily my favorite book. Because I have never read any of Dostoevsky's books other than "Crime and Punishment" and I quite honestly cannot even begin to recall books to compare to this paramount novel, I cannot recommend any books from my own experience. However, I can say that "Notes from the Underground" would be the next logical progression from this book, as it dives into existentialism, the psychological concept which Dostoevsky is most notorious for coining and developing. "Crime and Punishment" is a deep book that is worthy of any respectable reader's collection and time, due to its psychological complexity and captivating intellectual nature.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2009

    Deep

    This is a deep book. Deep in a typical Russian way. It is a comprehensive and accurate analyzation/documentation of a criminal's mind, which at the same time is the mind of a moral genius. There is no good or evil side, no black and white, as the Russians say: only grey.
    By the way, our protagonist is a stunning pretty boy, so as his best friend.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Psychological Look At the Criminal Mind

    If you require a novel that is plot driven this novel is not for you. However, if you enjoy a novel with complex characters that delve into what motivates those characters this is the book for you.<br/><br/>Often our view of a murderer is one of absolutes. He/she is 1) purely evil, 2) pushed to commit the act, 3) temporarily insane, 4) driven to do it for survival, 5) or comes from a background that does not allow him/her to discern right from wrong. Dostoyevsky doesn't allow us off that easy. Raskolnikov does not fit tightly into any of those categories. He is well loved by family and friend, and although he commits a grusome, cold-blooded, and well thought out murder in the opening of the book, Raskolnikov makes sacrifices for those who are in need. The recipients of his good deeds are often those with whom he has little history.

    So why does Raskolnikov commit the murder? Dostoyevsky never provides concrete evidence to that end only suggestions.As stated above there is not a lot happening in the plot. Crime and Punishment is more about the mind of a complex individual. There are some wonderful subplots as well. The storyline of Sonya and Dounia add a lot to the reader's experience. Dostoyevsky has a talent for vividly enacting a scene. One of my favorite scenes is when Raskolnikov "confesses" to Zametov. I can just see it on the big screen.

    People are often intidmiated by Russian Lit. There is no need to be. This is an excellent read. I can see where the references to characters could throw some. Characters are often referred to by various names. My suggestion is to pay attention to the uniqueness of each character. You will begin to identify each by his or her characteristics.

    When you read reviews or commentaries on this book most attention is paid to Raskolnikov. However, I really loved Razumihin. Dostoyevsky also creates a delicious villain in Petrovitch.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Is he bitshat crazy? Is he superman? Is everyone bitshat crazy? Or is everyone and no one superman?

    A must-read. Even if you think that this will just be some boring, ridiculously long book that people only read because they have to, you will hate that you have to put it down to eat, sleep, and do real work. Be sure to read it before you have to, because it would be terrible to have to skim over parts because you are being made to finish it within a certain time frame.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Psychological thriller!

    Yes, the release of Crime and Punishment heralded the rise of the modern crime novel, but this book delves far beyond the shallow case-solving inanity of the typical "whodunit?" Dostoevsky, a master of the psychology of the human mind, portrays his characters perfectly, as real human beings, neither idealized nor vilified. Raskolnikov, the protagonist, murders an old woman and her sister, but in spite of his heinous crime, I really saw his humanity throughout the book as his psyche just tortures him to death. In fact, Dostoevsky is so good at crafting dynamic characters that he makes Svidrigailov seem more repulsive than Raskolnikov when, in reality, Svidrigailov has probably not committed any comparable crime. The story focuses mostly on the mental perturbations of Raskolnikov as he struggles with himself, practically becoming insane in the process. However, Dostoevsky fills his book with a delightfully varied cast of colorful characters to incorporate differing psychological aspects of, you guessed it, crime and punishment. I don't want to reveal too much in this review--suffice it to say that this is a superb literary achievement that you simply must own and read over and over again.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 19, 2008

    Crime and Punishment

    I have just finished reading Crime and Punishment by Fort Dostoevsky. It is my first Dostoevsky book, and I have really enjoyed it. He writes Very strong dialogue, characterization, and relating it to other social ideas and conflicts throughout history. <BR/> Crime and Punishment is pretty much about a man, Raskolnikov, who commits a crime at the beginning of the story. He begins to feel extremely depressed and you, as the reader, follow him through his mental delirium as he realizes how he has changed his like and the life of others around him. <BR/> Early in the book you learn that Raskolnikov models himself after Napoleon and his crimes against humanity. He believes that ¿the only thing that matters is to dare.¿<BR/> A lot of times when reading dialogue, some characters may sound unreal, as if the character would not actually say something as it was written. But Dostoevsky¿s characters sound real, which makes the characters and the overall book better and more enjoyable. <BR/> I would recommend Crime and Punishment to anyone who enjoys an emotional novel and has patience with a bit of a slower-moving plot. Overall, I believe this was a great book with many interesting meanings.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2008

    Quite Disappointing

    Of course I didn't want to read the book from the start, but as I am in an Advanced course at school I must. I did not enjoy reading Crime and Punishment. It has some improper grammar in it (ie: 'Raskolnikov waked up') Which can cause people to twitch, such as myself. If you're into long books that are hard to follow this is PERFECT for you!

    3 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Crime and Punishment

    This was a very good book! Although it was long, I found myself unable to put it down; worth the buy.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Crime and punishment

    This book was a really good book, it was recommended to me by all my English teachers and i don't know a single person who hasn't read it. Its a great thriller which involves critical thinking. The details used are hard and gruesome which makes a dark tone and mood for a good detective novel!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2008

    Summer Homework a Pleasant Surprise!

    Wow! This book was so good! I had to read it over the summmer, and I loved it. Everyone complained 'oh, how horrible, he's Russian!' Well, even though I worry about how to pronounce his characters names, I loved this book! Everyone should read it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2008

    Wonderful Story

    I recently decided to put myself through a classics program on my own. So many of the classics were not required in school. This is the second classic in my program and it was outstanding. For me, the first 50 or so pages were pretty dry, but after that it came alive. The story is great and the insight into St. Petersburg and Russian culture are interesting. It is a long read, but well worth it. Don't let the size of the book intimidate you!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2000

    relating in a bad way

    The characters in this book remind you of the worst things in yourself. Raskolnikov, a romantic plagued by his mind, and Svidrigailov, the life swallowing debaucher. A mirror to those who think too much.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This book made me think. It was philosophical and though at time

    This book made me think. It was philosophical and though at times I wanted to punch Rodya, I liked the book. And now I have a different outlook on life. Thanks to AP Literature and Composition.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Classic

    I've read this many times, and will probably read it many times more. Dostoevsky is one of my favorite authors for delving into the psyche of his characters in detail, sometimes flawed detail. It's a must read, and one that I hope the young adults out there are fascinated with, as I was so long ago...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    True Russian classic

    This is a great book. There are few books that better portray a deranged criminal mind. Dostoevsky does such a good job of character development that the charactrers really feel real to the reader. This book can seem a little long and boring at times, but overall I feel that it was worth reading. It really does give me a better understanding of the darker side of the human psyche.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 15, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    a great story

    An old lady and her sister are brutally murdered with an ax. A smart<BR/>detective starts investigation. Who did it?<BR/><BR/>Just kidding...

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2008

    Great book, great read

    I love to read books that introduce me to something new. Crime and Punishment was not only a great story, but also served as a window into russian culture (something I knew next to nothing about. I highly recomend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2008

    A Wonderful Book

    ¿Crime And Punishment¿ is written by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and published by New American Library in New York 1968. I thought this book was interesting and a true mind twister. It makes the readers search deep into themselves as the obviously mad man goes wild with confusion. Raskolnikov, a poor student, thinks he is wonderful and makes a theory where the extraordinary men of the world have a right to commit any crime if they have something to offer humanity. To prove his theory, he murders an old, despicable pawnbroker and her half-sister. Immediately after the crime, he becomes sick and stays in his room for a while. When he recovers, he finds that his friend Razumihkin, looked for him. While he is recovering, he gets a visit from his sister¿s fiancé Luzhin. Raskolnikov insults Luzhin and sends him away because he doesn¿t like his attitude toward Dunya. As soon as he can go out again, Raskolnikov reads about the crime in all the newspapers of the last few days. He meets an official from the police station and almost confesses the crime. He becomes suspicious. When he returns to his room, he finds his mother and sister who have just arrived to prepare for the wedding with Luzhin. He refuses to allow his sister to marry such a mean and nasty man. At the same time, Svidrigailov, Dunya¿s former employer, arrives in town and looks up Raskolnikov and asks for a meeting with Dunya. Svidrigailov had attempted to seduce Dunya and when Raskolnikov heard of it, he naturally formed a violent dislike for the man. Raskolnikov hears that the police inspector, Porfiry, is interviewing all people who had ever had any business with the old pawnbroker. He goes for an interview and leaves thinking that the police suspect him. He meets Sonya Marmeladov, the daughter of a dead man that he had helped. He goes to her and asks her to read him the story of Lazarus. He feels sympathy for Sonya who had been forced into prostitution in order to support her family while her father drank constantly. He promises to tell her who murdered the old pawnbroker and her sister who was a friend of Sonya¿s. After another interview with Porfiry Raskolnikov decides to confess to Sonya. He gies back to her and during the confession, Svidrigailov is listening through a door. He uses this information to try to force Dunya to sleep with him. She refuses and he kills himself later in the night. Porfiry informs Raskolnikov that he knows who murdered the pawnbroker. After talking with Sonya, Raskolnikov fully confesses to the murder and is sentenced to eight years in a Siberian prison. Sonya follows him, and with her help, Raskolnikov begins his new life. This is an interesting and intriguing book ranking with the classics of Shakespeare and some of the greats.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2007

    Fantastic Story

    What a fantastic story this is. Sometimes we read classics and get too caught up in symbolism and meaning. Crime and Punishment is just a great story. While vivid descriptions make reading the book like watching a movie, the story carries you through the multitude of pages quite easily. The game of cat and mouse between Raskolinov and Porfiry is intriguing and the inner struggle of yound Rodia, puts you in to his shoes as he walks a thin line between theory and delerium. Read this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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