One of the supreme masterpieces of world literature, Crime and Punishment catapulted Dostoyevsky to the forefront of Russian writers and into the ranks of the world's greatest novelists. Drawing upon experiences from his own prison days, the author recounts in feverish, compelling tones the story of Raskolnikov, an impoverished student tormented by his own nihilism, and the struggle between good and evil. Believing that he is above the law, and convinced that humanitarian ends justify vile means, he brutally murders an old woman — a pawnbroker whom he regards as "stupid, ailing, greedy…good for nothing." Overwhelmed afterwards by feelings of guilt and terror, Raskolnikov confesses to the crime and goes to prison. There he realizes that happiness and redemption can only be achieved through suffering. Infused with forceful religious, social, and philosophical elements, the novel was an immediate success.
Jessie Coulson’s translation provides the text for the Third Edition of this acclaimed Norton Critical Edition. New footnotes have been added, based on discoveries by the leading Soviet Dostoevsky scholar, Sergei Belov. "Backgrounds and Sources", highly praised in the Second Edition, remains unaltered. Included are a detailed map of nineteenth-century St. Petersburg, selections from Dostoevsky’s notebooks and letters, and a crucial passage from an early draft of his novel. Noteworthy among the several new "Essays in Criticism" are a little-known but important passage by Leo Tolstoy on Raskolnikov; an essay by Sergei Belov; observations by the Russian literary theoretician and scholar Mikhail Bakhtin; and an essay by the Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz. A Chronology of Dostoevsky’s Life and a Selected Bibliography are also included.
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