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Crime and Punishment

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Dostoevsky's novel in which Raskolnikov is mediocre but thinks he's superior and his future more important than the lives of the women he kills

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the novel written by Dostoevsky and published in 1866, in which Raskolnikov, a struggling student, justifies his murder of two women, as his future is more valuable than their lives. He thinks himself superior, above the moral laws that apply to others. The police have little evidence against him but trust him to confess, once he cannot bear the mental torture of his crime - a fate he cannot avoid, any more than he can escape from life in St Petersburg and his personal failures.

The image above is from a portrait of Dostoevsky by Vasili Perov, 1872.


Sarah Hudspith
Associate Professor in Russian at the University of Leeds

Oliver Ready
Lecturer in Russian at the University of Oxford, Research Fellow at St Antony’s College and a translator of this novel


Sarah Young
Associate Professor in Russian at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London

Producer: Simon Tillotson

Available now

53 minutes

Last on

Thu 14 Nov 2019 21:30


Sarah Hudspith at the University of Leeds

Oliver Ready at the University of Oxford

Sarah Young at University College London

Mapping St Petersburg

@RodionTweets: Collaborative Twitter project that tweets the novel from Raskolnikov’s point of view

Fyodor Dostoevsky – Wikipedia

Crime and Punishment – Wikipedia



Carol Apollonio (ed.), The New Russian Dostoevsky: Readings for the Twenty-First Century (Slavica, 2010)

Mikhail Bakhtin (trans. and ed. Caryl Emerson), Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics (University of Minnesota Press, 1984)

Robert Bird, Fyodor Dostoevsky (Reaktion Books, 2012)

Katherine Bowers, Connor Doak, Kate Holland (eds.), A Dostoevskii Companion: Texts and Contexts (Academic Studies Press, 2018)

J.M. Coetzee, The Master of Petersburg (Viking, 1994)

Yuri Corrigan, Dostoevsky and the Riddle of the Self (Northwestern University Press, 2017)

Fyodor Dostoevsky (trans. Oliver Ready), Crime and Punishment (first published 1866; Penguin, 2014)

Fyodor Dostoevsky (trans. Frederick Whishaw), The Double (first published 1846; CreateSpace, 2015)

Fyodor Dostoevsky (trans. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky), Notes from a Dead House (first published 1862; Broadway Books, 2016)

Fyodor Dostoevsky (trans. Constance Garnett), Notes from Underground (first published 1864; CreateSpace, 2017)

Joseph Frank, Dostoevsky: The Miraculous Years, 1865-1871 (Princeton University Press, 1995)

Joseph Frank, Dostoevsky: A Writer in his Time (Princeton University Press, 2009)

Robert Louis Jackson, Dostoevsky’s Quest for Form: A Study of His Philosophy of Art (Yale University Press, 1966)

William J. Leatherbarrow (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Dostoevskii (Cambridge University Press, 2002)

Deborah A. Martinsen and Olga Maiorova (eds.), Dostoevsky in Context (Cambridge University Press, 2015)

George Pattison and Diane Oenning Thompson (eds), Dostoevsky and the Christian Tradition (Cambridge University Press, 2001)

Richard Peace (ed.), Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment: A Casebook (Oxford University Press, 2006)

Leonid Tsypkin (trans. Roger and Angela Keys), Summer in Baden-Baden (first published 1987; Hamish Hamilton, 2005)

Rowan Williams, Dostoevsky: Language, Faith and Fiction (Continuum, 2008)



  • Thu 14 Nov 2019 09:00
  • Thu 14 Nov 2019 21:30

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