Crime And Punishment

  • Preface


  • Narrator

    A few words about Dostoevsky himself may help the English reader to understand his work.

    Profile Picture of Narrator in Crime And Punishment
  • Dostoevsky was the son of a doctor.

  • His parents were very hard-working and deeply religious people, but so poor that they lived with their five children in only two rooms.

  • The father and mother spent their evenings in reading aloud to their children, generally from books of a serious character.

  • Though always sickly and delicate Dostoevsky came out third in the final examination of the Petersburg school of Engineering.

  • There he had already begun his first work, “Poor Folk.”

  • Narrator

    This story was published by the poet Nekrassov in his review and was received with acclamations.

    Profile Picture of Narrator in Crime And Punishment
  • The shy, unknown youth found himself instantly something of a celebrity.

  • A brilliant and successful career seemed to open before him, but those hopes were soon dashed.

  • In 1849 he was arrested.

  • Narrator

    Though neither by temperament nor conviction a revolutionist, Dostoevsky was one of a little group of young men who met together to read Fourier and Proudhon.

    Profile Picture of Narrator in Crime And Punishment
  • He was accused of “taking part in conversations against the censorship, of reading a letter from Byelinsky to Gogol, and of knowing of the intention to set up a printing press.”

  • Under Nicholas I. (that “stern and just man,” as Maurice Baring calls him) this was enough, and he was condemned to death.

  • After eight months’ imprisonment he was with twenty-one others taken out to the Semyonovsky Square to be shot.

  • Writing to his brother Mihail, Dostoevsky says:

  • Profile Picture of Dostoevsky in Crime And Punishment


    “They snapped words over our heads, and they made us put on the white shirts worn by persons condemned to death.

  • Thereupon we were bound in threes to stakes, to suffer execution.

  • Being the third in the row, I concluded I had only a few minutes of life before me.