34 votes

Use of "pounds" instead of "roubles" in passage of "The Idiot"

According to Wikipedia, Eva Martin's translation was published in 1915. At this period, it is likely that few British readers would have a reason to know the value (in Sterling) of the Russian Rouble ...
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  • 1,809
20 votes
Accepted

What was a "prince" in Dostoevsky's times, i.e. mid-late 19th century?

Something like a duke, and the title wasn't all that special. The English word "prince" is translated from the Russian "knyaz (князь)", which could be used either to denote a ...
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  • 64.5k
16 votes

Is there anything that definitely confirms that Svidrigailov actually committed murder in "Crime and Punishment?"

Nothing proves it. The closest are Dunya's accusations, including her knowledge that he both discussed poison with her, AND went to get that poison. "...Не твой револьвер, а Марфы Петровны, которую ...
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  • 4,206
12 votes

What does Dostoyevsky mean by 'propaganda' in Crime and Punishment?

The word "propaganda" at that time was not understood the way we tend to understand it today. It is more or less safe to understand it based on its etymology, i.e. based on the verb "...
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  • 960
11 votes
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The Brothers Karamazov - When was Russia saved before?

What exactly is he referring to? He's most probably referring to the events in Russian history when Russia was on a brink of ceasing to exist as a state. There were a number of grave moments ...
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  • 960
11 votes
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Was Dostoyevsky atheist or Christian?

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky, author of such works as Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov, was a devout Orthodox Catholic from a very young age. He is reported to have, at a young age, ...
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  • 5,895
11 votes

Is there evidence of anti-Semitism in Dostoyevsky's books?

I'm not well acquainted with most of Dostoevsky's writings, but The House of the Dead stands out as a controversial case. In it, we see the character Isay Fomitch Bumstein, who worked as both a ...
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  • 5,684
9 votes
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What does the last sentence in chapter 2 of Crime and Punishment really mean?

When Rodion says he could be wrong, he means his words for the previous sentence: Hurrah for Sonia! What a mine they've dug there! And they're making the most of it! Yes, they are making the most ...
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  • 1,143
9 votes
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The Brothers Karamazov - What is the "Chain bridge"?

Where the translator (Constance Garnett) used “secret police”, the Russian text is “Третьего отделения” (tretyego otdeleniya) meaning “third section”, that is, the Third Section of His Imperial ...
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  • 41.7k
9 votes
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Original Russian text of this review of Crime and Punishment

I googled for "мудрость сердца" (the wisdom of the heart) and "достоевский" and found a book "Fedor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky. His life and works" (comp. V. Pokrovsky), and ...
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  • 595
8 votes
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The Brothers Karamazov - What is "The Bell"?

Колокол (Kolokol meaning “bell”) was a mid-19th century dissident Russian-language newspaper, printed in London and Geneva to evade Russian state censorship. Commenting on the lines of verse quoted by ...
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  • 41.7k
7 votes

Did the Tsar's secret police search the apartment of one of Dostoevsky's neighbours?

Dostoyevsky's neighbor was Alexander Barannikov, a revolutionary and terrorist, who participated in the murder of the Russian chief of police and Moscow bombings. The story was first discovered by ...
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  • 836
7 votes
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How was Crime and Punishment originally published?

It was published during 1866 in the issues 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12. Dostoyevsky was still writing the novel in 1866 during the publication and finished it only in November or December. January issue ...
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  • 1,143
7 votes

Use of "pounds" instead of "roubles" in passage of "The Idiot"

It looks like this translation isn't quite consistent in its usage of Russian vs British currency units. There are a few cases where farthing is used in a single sentence with rouble: “I have not got ...
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  • 565
5 votes

What is the significance of the "suffocation scene" at Tchermashnya in Brothers Karamazov?

First, congratulations on having read so far in Brothers Karamazov. It takes determination, at the very least, to suffer through the excruciating detail that is characteristic of Dostoevsky’s style. ...
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  • 468
5 votes
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Are Barnes & Noble editions of public domain works of reliable quality?

Unlike, say, Dover Editions which are photoreproductions of public domain texts, the Barnes & Noble classic editions are, in fact, newly typeset texts. They don't give any attribution to their ...
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  • 2,468
4 votes

Is there any special significance in Dr. Rutenspitz's last words to Mr. Golyadkin?

There is one very important thing in these words, which is completely lost in translation. Throughout the story, Rutenspitz speaks normal Russian, but these last words he pronounces with a heavy ...
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  • 1,143
4 votes

In the Brothers Karamazov, did Dostoyevsky take those characters out of real life?

My source for this answer is "A Karamazov Companion" by Vitor Terras (1981), University of Wisconsin Press. Terras writes: The Brothers Karamazov contains more autobiographic ele­ments than ...
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  • 541
4 votes
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What is the text Ivan refers to in the preface to the Grand Inquisitor

It is a XIIth century Slavic apocrypha «Хождение Богородицы по мукам». In English: “The journey of the Mother of God through hell”. Aleksey Tolstoy’s novel Хождение по мукам (The Road to Calvary ...
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4 votes

Use of the word 'aesthetic(s)' in this passage from Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment

First the definition would be good. Sadly, there are quite a few but I think that only one is important: Relating to the philosophy or theories of aesthetics. Of or concerning the appreciation of ...
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  • 1,915
4 votes
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The Brothers Karamazov - ladies of the eighteen stone?

The translator chose to "translate" the Russian measure of weight of that time into something that would make sense to English natives. In the original text Dostoevsky uses the phrase ...
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  • 960
3 votes

Confusing list in Crime and Punishment

I admit that I haven't read the novel, but a look at the Russian text suggests that by "benevolent Providence" Raskolnikov means God. The relevant quote is Russian is as follows: во-вторых, что ...
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  • 8,087
3 votes

What does “lying is a delightful thing, for it leads to truth” mean in "Crime and Punishment"?

This question Razumihin will answer himself (Part III, chapter I, same translation) “What do you think?” shouted Razumihin, louder than ever, “you think I am attacking them for talking nonsense? ...
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  • 1,143
3 votes

The Brothers Karamazov - What is "The Bell"?

This must refer to Kolokol, which means "Bell" or "The Bell" (Russian doesn't have a word for "the") in Russian. It was a weekly Russian-language 19th-century newspaper ...
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  • 64.5k
3 votes
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The Brothers Karamazov - Why does Dmitri use "Bernard" as an insult?

After the first mention of Claude Bernard, Mitya uses him as a sort of personalised synecdoche for the worldview that he feels such scientists represent, the conquest of religion by science. The word &...
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  • 64.5k
3 votes

What does it mean to look like "a hair-dresser's assistant"?

Whether the translation given, a hair-dresser’s assistant, or a shopkeeper fresh from the barber's which Andra gives, the meaning is that he is dressed like someone in a job inside a shop (...
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  • 4,779
2 votes
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Why is the Lady "a suffering soul in some page of Dostoyevsky"?

This short story is a hilarious caricature on the--oh so typical--characters. Both of them are pathetically "ignoble1, repulsive, and senseless", and being such, they of course blame the ...
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  • 431
2 votes

Are Barnes & Noble editions of public domain works of reliable quality?

I would not recommend the Barnes and Noble editions. To establish a sound version of a text, a good text editor or a reliable translator are essential. B & N does not use either of these, simply ...
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  • 15.3k
2 votes

Did the Tsar's secret police search the apartment of one of Dostoevsky's neighbours?

I seriously doubt that claim. Russian wiki does not have it as well. According to its account, the haemorrhage was caused by an emotional conversation with his sister regarding an inheritance. The ...
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2 votes
Accepted

About the role of Lizaveta in Crime and Punishment

I've searched for some material in Russian on the topic and haven't found much. The only book by a serious critic, I found, is by Vadim Kozhinov. He writes that in early editions of the novel Lizaveta ...
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