Crime and punishment is probably Dostoevsky's most read and known novel and one of the most famous literary works of all time. Published in installments in 1866 in the journal «Russkij vestnik» («The Russian Messenger»), it is the story of Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, which the author describes in a letter to the editor: "A young man, expelled from university , of a petty bourgeois family, very poor, decides to suddenly emerge from his sad situation. Raskolnikov divides men into two species: the great men, the" Napoleon ", Which is allowed to live and act above the moral law and to which, in the name of their greatness and the benefit that humanity draws from their existence," everything is allowed "; the common people, the "lice", which must instead be subject to laws and common sense, and against which the Napoleons have the right to life and death.
'The old woman was merely a sickness ...it wasn't a human being I killed, it was a principle!' Raskolnikov, Crime and Punishment 20030924
Runner-up for The BBC Big Read Top 100 2003. Shortlisted for BBC Big Read Top 100 2003.
Fyodor Dostoevsky was born in Moscow on 11th November 1821. He had six siblings and his mother died in 1837 and his father in 1839. He graduated from the St Petersburg Academy of Military Engineering in 1846 but decided to change careers and become a writer. His first book, Poor Folk, did very well but on 23rd April 1849 he was arrested for subversion and sentenced to death. After a mock-execution his sentence was commuted to hard labour in Siberia where he developed epilepsy.He was released in 1854. His 1860 book, The House of the Dead was based on these experiences. In 1857 he married Maria Dmitrievna Isaeva. After his release he adopted more conservative and traditional values and rejected his previous socialist position. In the following years he spent a lot of time abroad, struggled with an addiction to gambling and fell deeply in debt. His wife died in 1864 and he married Anna Grigoryeva Snitkina. In the following years he published his most enduring and successful books, includingCrime and Punishment (1865). He died on 9th February 1881.