'The most innovative and challenging writer of fiction in his generation in Russia' Guardian
Based on a real-life crime which horrified Russia in 1869, Dostoevsky intended his novel to castigate the fanaticism of his country's new political reformers, particularly those known as Nihilists.
Dostoevsky first conceived of this book as 'novel-pamphlet' in which he intended to 'say everything' about Russia's new liberal reformers, whom he loathed - particularly the group of anti-Czarist political terrorists known as Nihilists. During the winter of 1869 this group, i n the course of plotting destruction, murdred on of their own; this event and the ensuing trial became the nucleus of Dostoevsky's unfolding masterwork.
Fyodor Dostoevsky was born in Moscow on 11th November 1821. He had six siblings and his mother died in 1837 and his father in 1839. He graduated from the St Petersburg Academy of Military Engineering in 1846 but decided to change careers and become a writer. His first book, Poor Folk, did very well but on 23rd April 1849 he was arrested for subversion and sentenced to death. After a mock-execution his sentence was commuted to hard labour in Siberia where he developed epilepsy.He was released in 1854. His 1860 book, The House of the Dead was based on these experiences. In 1857 he married Maria Dmitrievna Isaeva. After his release he adopted more conservative and traditional values and rejected his previous socialist position. In the following years he spent a lot of time abroad, struggled with an addiction to gambling and fell deeply in debt. His wife died in 1864 and he married Anna Grigoryeva Snitkina. In the following years he published his most enduring and successful books, including Crime and Punishment (1865). He died on 9th February 1881.
"Volokhonsky's and Pevear's translation brings to the surface all of Dostoevsky's subtle linguistic and nationalist humour, and the copious notes are indispensable for making one's way through the thicket of 19th-century Russian politics" Kirkus Reviews "An outstanding achievement" John Bayley "As close to Dostoevsky's Russian as is possible in English" Chicago Tribune "Required reading for anyone who wants to understand the mind of the terrorist" Sunday Times "Marvellous...fluid and well-paced translation" Observer
'An outstanding achievement' John Bayley