Sunday, August 28, 2022

Review of "Classics Illustrated: Crime and Punishment," by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Review of

Classics Illustrated: Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky ISBN 1578400090

Four out of five stars

Complex novel illustrated and simplified

 This classic novel by Dostoyevsky is a very complex one, to truly understand it you must know a bit about the Russian Empire in the middle of the nineteenth century. The novel was published in 1866, shortly after the emancipation of the serfs and after Dostoyevsky experienced a period of imprisonment and exile to Siberia.

 The main character is Raskolnikov, a poor student that commits the murder of an old woman and then descends into a deep psychological mood. He then is convinced that everyone knows of his guilt but is only toying with his mental state. The punishment in this case is largely self-inflicted. While there are many reasons for Raskolnikov to feel oppressed and desperate, he immediately falls into a psychological well after killing the woman.

 There is some simplification of the story in order to pack it into a short graphic novel. Yet, it does capture the essence of a novel that is a powerful piece of literature about Russia and some of the contradictions inherent in the days of the Czars. It can also serve as a quick primer on the novel for high school classes in world literature.

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