Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
- Full Title: Crime and Punishment (In Russian: Prestuplenie i nakazanie)
- When Written: 1865-1866
- Where Written: St. Petersburg
- When Published: 1866 (serially, in twelve installments)
- Literary Period: Realism
- Genre: Psychological realism
- Setting: St. Petersburg, Russia; 1860s
- Climax: Raskolnikov confesses to Sonya his murder of the pawnbroker and Lizaveta
- Antagonist: Porfiry Petrovich
- Point of View: Third-person omniscient
The Problem of Translation. The Russian language is filled with prefixes, suffixes, and forms of words that allow for numerous shades of meaning, depending on circumstances, and which allow certain ideas to recur throughout a text. For example, the Russian word for crime used often in the novel can be translated as “stepping over”—and the idea of “overstepping” the bounds of civilized society becomes a fixation of Raskolnikov’s throughout the work. Dostoevsky has been translated into English many times over the past one hundred-odd years, with the most recent version (the version used as the basis for this guide) being Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky’s 1992 translation. This latter version, in the words of the translator, attempts to capture both the “roughness” of Dostoevsky’s language and the repetitions and echoes that are a hallmark of his prose.