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Case 1: Translations


Item 1

Russkii vestnik, 1866

Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment was first published in the literary journal Русский Вестник (Russian Messenger), released in twelve monthly installments from January to December, 1866. Publishing thus in serial form was a common feature of 19th-century works of Russian literature, and it was only in 1867 that a separate edition to the novel was available. 

The journal Russian Messenger was one of the most influential publishers of literature in mid-19th-century Russia. During the height of its influence from 1856-1877, it was led by editors Mikhail Katkov and Piotr Kudriatsev, and published prolifically on historical, political, and literary themes. Further works of Dostoevsky published in its pages include The Idiot (1868) and The Brothers Karamazov (1879-1880), and the journal was also the first publisher of Ivan Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons (1862), and Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace (1865-1867) and Anna Karenina (1875-1877).

Item 2

F. M. Dostoevsky (1821-81), F. M., Polnoe sobranie sochinenii v tridtsati tomakh, v. 6 and 7. St Petersburg: Nauka, 1973. 


Item 3

F. M. Dostoevsky (1821-1881), The Notebooks for Crime and Punishment. Ed. and trans. by Edward Wasiolek. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1967. 

Dostoevsky conceived the idea for Crime and Punishment in the summer of 1865, and by December 1866 the last of 12 monthly installments of the novel had been published in the journal Russian Messenger. From September 1865 to February 1866, Dostoevsky filled three notebooks with sketches and plans for the work.

These notes reveal the novel developed in three key stages. The first stage was the first-person narrative of a man on trial, reflecting the author’s personal experience during the four months he was held at the Peter and Paul Fortress, St. Petersburg, between his arrest in April 1849 and his exile to Siberia seven months later. The second creative stage focused on the theme of drunkenness in contemporary society, as its early working title, The Drunkards (Пьяненькие), shows. The third and final stage in the novel’s evolution may have been inspired by the trial of Muscovite Gerasim Chistov, who in January 1865 killed two elderly women with an axe, and who was put on trial in August of the same year. Ultimately, the theme of drunkenness took on a secondary role in the novel, restricted to the realm of the Marmeladov family, and the reigning figure of Raskolnikov soon took shape.

This edition of the notebooks edited and translated by Edward Wasiolek was published in 1967. The book contains facsimiles of original pages from Dostoevsky’s notebooks, where a broad array of sketches can be found, as well as calculations of publication expenses, calligraphic exercises, and jottings on practical matters. The notebooks were originally published by I. I. Glivenko in 1931, ten years after their discovery by an Assistant Commissar of Education in the State Archives, Moscow.
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Item 4

F. M. Dostoevsky (1821-1881), Crime and Punishment. Trans. and intro by Oliver Ready. London: Penguin Books, 2014. 

The 2014 translation for Penguin Classics represents the most recent contribution to the rich history of English-language translations of Crime and Punishment. The first translation of the novel was completed in 1911 for J.M. Dent & Sons by the Russian-born novelist and historian Frederick Whishaw, the first translator of Dostoevsky into English. There were nine other translations between Whishaw’s and Ready’s, the most notable being the 1914 benchmark translation by Constance Garnett, David Magarshack’s 1951 edition, and Richard Pevear’s and Larissa Volokhonsky’s 1992 translation. Ready’s translation has been hailed for its colloquial, compellingly modern text that stays unprecedentedly close to Dostoevsky’s original Russian.

Oliver Ready is Research Fellow in Russian Society and Culture at St Antony’s College, Oxford. His other translations include contemporary fiction, such as Yuri Buida’s The Prussian Bride and Vladimir Sharov’s Before and During. He is general editor of the anthology The Ties of Blood: Russian Literature from the 21st Century, and consultant editor for Russia, Central and Eastern Europe at The Times Literary Supplement.

Item 8

F. M. Dostoevsky (1821-1881), Le crime et le châtiment. Trans. by Victor Derély. Paris: Plon, 1884.

Case 1: Translations