Yi Mu-yŏng (1908-1960).Yi Mu-yŏng Munhak Chŏnjip. Ed. by Ku Sang. Sŏul-si: Kukhak Charyowŏn, 2000.
The Korean short story entitled Crime and Punishment (in volume 4 of these works) is set in the 1950s and focuses upon the Dostoevskian theme of sin and retribution within the context of secular versus religious responsibility. The story’s central character, a Catholic priest named Father Pak, faces a dilemma when his wayward brother Ch’an-jae is arrested for, and eventually confesses to, the murder of a powerful politician. Soon afterwards a parishioner, Paoro, presents himself to Father Pak and admits to the murder under the Seal of Confession. He promises to turn himself into the police, but flees the next day. Father Pak is thus presented with the difficult question of whether he should save his brother and bring justice to the murdered politician, or maintain the holy sacrament of penance and leave the punishment of the crime to divine retribution. He enters a troubled dream sequence in which he witnesses his brother being sentenced to death, but wakes up to discover Paoro has finally confessed.
Yi Mu-yŏng, a prolific Korean writer, was the author of around 140 novels and short stories, and was known especially as a writer of peasant literature. He studied literature under the great Japanese scholar and poet Shuson Kato (b. Takeo Kato), who introduced him to translations of Dostoevsky and Lev Tolstoy
Ivan Bunin (1870-1953). “Petlistye ushi”, in Polnoe sobranie sochinenii v XIII tomakh. Ed. by G. B. Priakhin and I. Zhukov. Moscow: Voskresene, 2005.
This short story is by Nobel Prize-winning Russian author Ivan A. Bunin, and was originally published in 1917 in the seventh issue of the renowned anthology Slovo. It is a ground-breaking work that centres upon the raving passions of serial killer Adam Sokolovich. Crime and Punishment is a constant and prominent presence. Set amongst the misty streets of St Petersburg, Sokolovich plots his murder of a prostitute with dialogue focused on a damning discussion of Crime and Punishment, whereby he aims to demystify Dostoevsky’s philosophy on the topic of murder. Bunin’s protagonist concludes, “Raskolnikov tortured himself purely due to his own wan condition and by the will of his evil author, who thrust Christ into all of his lurid novels.”
Bunin, born in Voronezh in Central Russia, was a highly acclaimed author and poet, and holds the accolade of being the first Russian writer to win the Novel Prize for Literature (1933). He is best known for his short stories, most notably The Village (1910), Dry Valley (1912), and his autobiographical novel, The Life of Arseniev (1933). He left Moscow for Kyiv and Odessa in 1918, following the Bolshevik Revolution, and in 1920 emigrated to France, where he remained until his death in 1953.
Yoel Rapoport (1916-?). Rasḳolniḳov hayah ṭipesh: sipurim. Tel-Aviv: Yaron Golan, 1996
This short story entitled “Raskolnikov was Stupid” transposes the 19th-century Russian novel into the modern-day setting of Tel Aviv. The protagonist, Dan, is a poor man who lives an unsatisfying life as a worker in the local post office. Frustrated with his inability to express himself fully, he decides to take decisive action in order to give his life meaning. In a departure from Dostoevsky’s original plot, instead of plotting the robbery and murder of a money-lender, Dan decides to spend his accumulated savings on reinventing himself as a wealthy businessman. The story proceeds to chart his meeting with the beautiful and uplifting waitress, Tal, the attack and robbery on him due to his feigned position of wealth, and his eventual realization that self-worth and meaning must originate in personal conscience rather than social falsehood.
Yoel Rapoport is an Israeli writer, poet, and journalist, and this short story forms part of a collection of works which centre on the theme of self-identity. The collection was published by Yaron Golan press, which was established in 1990 with the aim of offering a universal platform for the dissemination of Israeli literature. Amongst the extensive catalogue are the anthologies of Nathan Zach (1930- ) and Avot Yeshurun (1904-1992).
Tome Bogdanovski (1938-). Ekot na vekot. Skopje: Makedonika litera, 2012.
This short story by Macedonian writer Tome Bogdanovski is titled The Ugly Dreams of Raskolnikov, and forms part of a collection of short stories, Echo of the Century. Bogdanovski’s story presents an intriguing interpretation of Raskolnikov’s turbulent inner state, a first-person narrative which focuses on the troubled hours following his terrible dream in Part 1, Chapter V. Having prepared practically and mentally for the murder of Alyona Ivanovna, Raskolnikov cannot sleep after recalling in a dream his childhood memory of witnessing a drunken peasant flogging a feeble horse until it falls down dead. The dream here itself is given less attention than in the original novel, yet what follows is Raskolnikov’s protracted deliberation on the consequences of the murder on himself and his loved ones. The story ends differently from Dostoevsky’s novel—on waking from the nightmare and his tortured thoughts, he discovers a telegram on the floor informing him of his mother’s death.
Tome Bogdanovski, born in Kočani, Macedonia, is a contemporary author, poet, and playwright who has won accolades for both adult and children’s literature. This collection of 21 short stories was published in 2011 by the publisher Makedonika Litera, founded in 2010 to promote Macedonian culture, history, and language. Each story features characters lifted from fiction as well as famous historical figures, including authors Franz Kafka and Grigor Parlichev, film director Branko Stavrev, and folk-musician Dragan Dautovski.
Clarice Lispector (1920-1977). A Paixão Segundo G. H.. Ed. by Benedito Nunes. Nanterre: ALLCA, 1996.
Clarice Lispector’s 1964 Brazilian novel, The Passion According to G. H., is a powerful tale of the dangers and consequences of existential isolation. Lispector read Dostoevsky’s works in Portuguese translation during her formative years, and there are echoes here of Raskolnikov’s tortured hours of thought in his isolated St. Petersburg quarters, and consistent allusions to Dostoevsky’s study of the “raskol” or “schism” that the human mind can undergo under such circumstances. In Lispector’s novel, the protagonist is an upper middle class woman living in Rio de Janeiro, known only as G. H., who struggles with the meaningless condition of her life. Her existential angst is brought to a peak when she spots a cockroach in the dark depths of her wardrobe. As she studies it further, she notices its “black and radiant eyes, the eyes of a girl about to be married,” and in a state of frenzied delirium and goaded by murderous repulsion, G. H. severs the insect in half between the door and its frame. She then takes the oozing entrails of the cockroach, which represent for her the fundamental matter of life common to all beings, and proceeds to put them in her mouth.
Clarice Lispector was a Brazilian author of innovative short stories and novels. Born into a Jewish family in Chechelnyk, southwestern Ukraine, Lispector, along with her family, fled the suffering of the pogroms during the Russian Civil War, emigrating in 1922 to northeastern Brazil. While studying for a degree in law, Lispector published her first short stories, and gained national renown at the age of 23 with the publication of her first novel, Near to the Wild Heart (1943). She wrote eight more major novels, numerous collections of short stories and children’s fiction, and is considered one of Brazil’s greatest modernist writers.
J. M. le Clézio (1940-). Le Procès-Verbal. Paris: Gallimard, 1963.
Le Procès-Verbal (The Interrogation) is Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio’s debut novel, published in 1963. The work, which won the 1963 Prix Renaudot, bears a distinct resemblance to Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. The protagonist of the novel, Adam Pollo, is a loner who lives on the fringes of society. Much like Raskolnikov, he is a former student, whose long hair and beard mar what is otherwise an attractive exterior, though in this incarnation he suffers from acute amnesia; he remains unsure after ten years whether he deserted from the army or escaped a psychiatric ward. Unlike Raskolnikov, however, who has the redeeming influence of Sonia, Adam Pollo rapidly losses his mind from isolation, and experiences troubling visions of the world through the eyes of a dog and rat. These hallucinations peak with a speech he gives to a crowd, whereupon he is arrested and committed to an asylum, after which his interrogation begins.
Le Clézio is a French-Mauritian writer and professor, who has penned over forty works and was awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature. Having pursued graduate and postgraduate study at the University of Bristol, England, and the universities of Provence and Perpignan, France, he published his first novel at the age of 23 and has continued to write and teach professionally ever since.
Robert Sikoryak. Crime and Punishment, in Masterpiece Comics. Montreal: Drawn and Quarterly, 2009.
This comic-book adaptation of Crime and Punishment by renowned artist Robert Sikoryak features a Bob Kane-era Batman-style comic strip to depict the actions of the murderous Raskol. The protagonist dons a blue cape and bat-mask, but instead of a bat emblazoned upon his chest, there is the silhouette of an axe. The comic follows Dostoevsky’s novel in a faithful fashion, charting the protagonist’s progression through each of the six parts, though the story closes with Raskol entering the police station, removing his mask to show his face and crucifix, and confessing to the murders. Although the adaptation does not include the novel’s epilogue, the subsequent fate of Raskol is alluded to: “Thus begins a new story… of a man’s gradual regeneration, of his journey into an unknown life… but our present story is ended! Don’t miss our next issue!”
This adaptation was published under the series title Masterpiece Comics, which also includes The Crypt of Bronte (a variation on Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights) and Waiting to Go (a variation on Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, reimagined with characters from Bevis and Butt-Head). The man responsible for these inventive editions, Robert Sikoryak, is an American artist who specializes in comic adaptations of literary classics in a style that fuses high and low culture. His cartoons and illustrations have appeared in The New Yorker, Nickelodeon Magazine, Drawn and Quarterly, and RAW.
Kako. Crime and Punishment, in The Graphic Canon, v. 2. Ed. by Russ Kick. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2012.
This striking rendition of Crime and Punishment is by Brazilian graphic artist Kako, who developed and condensed the novel into five double-page spreads which focus primarily on Raskolnikov’s self-deception. Each frame sees the protagonist questioning the severity of his plans, reassuring himself that “it’s simply a fantasy to amuse myself”. Alongside each declaration is an insert from his dream of a horse being murdered by senseless peasants. In one page open Kako depicts the premeditative period of Raskolnikov’s progression, which is personified by Lady Justice and positioned alongside an insert of the terrified horse in the last moments of its life.
This adaptation of Dostoevsky’s novel forms part of an ambitious project headed by Russ Kick entitled, The Graphic Canon: The World’s Great Literature as Comics and Visuals. The three volumes feature works from different time periods and from across the globe, reimagined in graphic form. It includes Homer’s The Iliad, The Book of Daniel from the Hebrew Scriptures, William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra.
Kako is an illustrator and comic-book writer from São Paulo, Brazil. The artist is self-trained, having dropped out of Fine Arts College, and has worked as a freelance graphic designer, web designer, and, since 2002, a full-time illustrator. Kako’s portfolio boasts works which range from adverts and editorials to comics and photos. He has been awarded the Gold Lion at Cannes Advertising Festival, the Grand Prix at El Sol and the Gold Medal at El Ojo de Iberoamérica Advertising Festival.
F. M. Dostoevsky (1821-81). Crime and Punishment. Trans. by Gao Huiyun. Xianggang: Ya yuan chu ban she, 1990.
This 1990 Chinese edition of Crime and Punishment is a simplified translation of the novel for children. Each section of the novel is faithfully reproduced in a shorter and more accessible format, accompanied by illustrations of key moments in the text. In one scene Raskolnikov is pictured with Marmeladov in his arms after the latter has been crushed by a carriage he drunkenly stumbled into in Part 2, Chapter VII.
This edition forms part of an ambitious series published by Art’s Publishing Co., Hong Kong, of translations of world classics for children. The translator responsible for the series, Gao Huiyun, has adapted an impressive canon of literature for children, including Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo, Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, and Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms.
Boris Akunin (1956- ). F. M. Moscow: Izdatelstvo AST, 2015.
The title of Akunin’s 2006 novel, F. M., alludes to Dostoevsky’s name and patronymic, Fyodor Mikhailovich, and presents a postmodern engagement with Crime and Punishment. The story features a narrative set in both the 19th and 21st centuries, and takes as its protagonist Nicholas Fandorin, a private investigator in present-day Moscow. Fandorin, who is the grandchild of Akunin’s long-running fictional hero, 19th-century detective Erast Fandorin, is searching for the stolen manuscript of a lost novel by Dostoevsky. The manuscript is an alternative version of Crime and Punishment told from the perspective of detective Porfiry Petrovich, and is recounted in detail through the course of the plot. Akunin blends the contemporary events of Moscow with events found in the lost pages of the novel, and provides the modern reader with a fresh detective drama firmly rooted in Russia’s rich literary heritage.
Boris Akunin is the pen-name of Grigorii Shalvovich Chkhartishvili, a Russian writer of Georgian origin. Following an early career in academia as a Japanese literature specialist, he is now best known for his historical detective series, which include The Adventures of Erast Fandorin, The Adventures of Sister Pelagia, and The Adventures of the Master. His novels have been adapted for the silver screen and TV-series, and he publishes regularly as an essayist and literary translator.