Crime and Punishment
Publication Date: March 2006
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In the slums of czarist St. Petersburg lives young Raskolnikov, a sensitive, intellectual student. The poverty he has always known drives him to believe that he is exempt from moral law. But when he puts this belief to the test and commits murder, there results unbearable suffering. Crime and punishment, the novel reminds us, grow from the same seed.
No other novelist, wrote Irving Howe of Dostoyevsky, has dramatized so powerfully the values and dangers, the uses and corruptions of systematized thought. But Sigmund Freud and others saw the Russian's work in a different light. Said Freud, He might have been a liberator of mankind. Instead he chose to be its jailer.
He is the only psychologist I have anything to learn from. Friedrich Nietzsche
Sidney Monas is Professor Emeritus of Slavic Languages and History at the University of Texas at Austin.