Critical Insights: Crime and Punishment
Crime and Punishment, by Feodor Dostoevsky, is widely regarded as one of the most powerful and influential novels ever written. Constantly translated and re-translated, as well as the source for several films and television miniseries, Dostoevsky’s account of the brutal murder of a simple old woman (and her unlucky sister) by a disillusioned young intellectual is at once a gripping intellectual mystery and a compelling detective story as well as an exceptionally probing and thought-provoking work full of philosophical, political, and theological dimensions. Raskolnikov, the novel’s central character, is an especially memorable figure, but so are the detective who investigates his crime and Sonia, the young woman who helps Raskolnikov achieve a sort of redemption from his crime by the time the novel ends. This volume will explore Crime and Punishment from numerous perspectives, including the biographical, historical, philosophical, sociological, aesthetic, and thematic. It will also study the numerous ways the novel has been interpreted, adapted, and valued in the more than a century-and-a-half since it first appeared in print.