"Crime and Punishment has upon most readers an impact as immediate and obvious and full as the news of murder next door," wrote critic R. P. Blackmur. "One almost participates in the crime.., it is the murder that only by some saving accident we did not ourselves commit." In the whole literature of the ambivalent relationship between man and the crimes of which he is capable, Crime and Punishment stands supreme for its insight, compassion, and psychological fidelity. The story of the murder committed by Raskolnikov and his guilt and atonement is without doubt the most gripping and illuminating account ever written of a crime of repugnance and despair and the consequences that inevitably arise from it. "Dostoevsky's novels... leap out of their historical situation and confront us as if they had not yet spoken their final word," said award-winning Russian translator Richard Pevear. And The Washington Post Book World deemed Dostoevsky "the most compulsively readable of novelists we continue to regard as great."
Fyodor Mikailovich Dostoevskys life was as dark and dramatic as the great novels he wrote. He was born in Moscow in 1821. A short first novel, Poor Folk (1846) brought him instant success, but his writing career was cut short by his arrest for alleged subversion against Tsar Nicholas I in 1849. In prison he was given the "silent treatment" for eight months (guards even wore velvet soled boots) before he was led in front a firing squad. Dressed in a death shroud, he faced an open grave and awaited execution, when suddenly, an order arrived commuting his sentence. He then spent four years at hard labor in a Siberian prison, where he began to suffer from epilepsy, and he returned to St. Petersburg only a full ten years after he had left in chains.
His prison experiences coupled with his conversion to a profoundly religious philosophy formed the basis for his great novels. But it was his fortuitous marriage to Anna Snitkina, following a period of utter destitution brought about by his compulsive gambling, that gave Dostoevsky the emotional stability to complete Crime and Punishment (1866), The Idiot (1868-69), The Possessed (1871-72),and The Brothers Karamazov (1879-80). When Dostoevsky died in 1881, he left a legacy of masterworks that influenced the great thinkers and writers of the Western world and immortalized him as a giant among writers of world literature.
“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