Crime and PunishmentFyodor DostoevskyTranslated By Constance GarnettThis eBook is designed and published by Planet PDF. For more freeeBooks visit our Web site at

Crime and PunishmentTRANSLATOR’S PREFACEA few words about Dostoevsky himself may help theEnglish reader to understand his work.Dostoevsky was the son of a doctor. His parents werevery hard- working and deeply religious people, but sopoor that they lived with their five children in only tworooms. The father and mother spent their evenings inreading aloud to their children, generally from books of aserious character.Though always sickly and delicate Dostoevsky cameout third in the final examination of the Petersburg schoolof Engineering. There he had already begun his first work,‘Poor Folk.’This story was published by the poet Nekrassov in hisreview and was received with acclamations. The shy,unknown youth found himself instantly something of acelebrity. A brilliant and successful career seemed to openbefore him, but those hopes were soon dashed. In 1849 hewas arrested.Though neither by temperament nor conviction arevolutionist, Dostoevsky was one of a little group ofyoung men who met together to read Fourier and2 of 967

Crime and PunishmentProudhon. He was accused of ‘taking part in conversationsagainst the censorship, of reading a letter from Byelinskyto Gogol, and of knowing of the intention to set up aprinting press.’ Under Nicholas I. (that ‘stern and justman,’ as Maurice Baring calls him) this was enough, andhe was condemned to death. After eight months’imprisonment he was with twenty-one others taken out tothe Semyonovsky Square to be shot. Writing to hisbrother Mihail, Dostoevsky says: ‘They snapped wordsover our heads, and they made us put on the white shirtsworn by persons condemned to death. Thereupon wewere bound in threes to stakes, to suffer execution. Beingthe third in the row, I concluded I had only a few minutesof life before me. I thought of you and your dear ones andI contrived to kiss Plestcheiev and Dourov, who werenext to me, and to bid them farewell. Suddenly the troopsbeat a tattoo, we were unbound, brought back upon thescaffold, and informed that his Majesty had spared us ourlives.’ The sentence was commuted to hard labour.One of the prisoners, Grigoryev, went mad as soon ashe was untied, and never regained his sanity.The intense suffering of this experience left a lastingstamp on Dostoevsky’s mind. Though his religious temperled him in the end to accept every suffering with3 of 967

Crime and Punishmentresignation and to regard it as a blessing in his own case,he constantly recurs to the subject in his writings. Hedescribes the awful agony of the condemned man andinsists on the cruelty of inflicting such torture. Thenfollowed four years of penal servitude, spent in thecompany of common criminals in Siberia, where he beganthe ‘Dead House,’ and some years of service in adisciplinary battalion.He had shown signs of some obscure nervous diseasebefore his arrest and this now developed into violentattacks of epilepsy, from which he suffered for the rest ofhis life. The fits occurred three or four times a year andwere more frequent in periods of great strain. In 1859 hewas allowed to return to Russia. He started a journal—‘Vremya,’ which was forbidden by the Censorshipthrough a misunderstanding. In 1864 he lost his first wifeand his brother Mihail. He was in terrible poverty, yet hetook upon himself the payment of his brother’s debts. Hestarted another journal—‘The Epoch,’ which within a fewmonths was also prohibited. He was weighed down bydebt, his brother’s family was dependent on him, he wasforced to write at heart-breaking speed, and is said neverto have corrected his work. The later years of his life were4 of 967

Crime and Punishmentmuch softened by the tenderness and devotion of hissecond wife.In June 1880 he made his famous speech at theunveiling of the monument to Pushkin in Moscow and hewas received with extraordinary demonstrations of loveand honour.A few months later Dostoevsky died. He was followedto the grave by a vast multitude of mourners, who ‘gavethe hapless man the funeral of a king.’ He is still probablythe most widely read writer in Russia.In the words of a Russian critic, who seeks to explainthe feeling inspired by Dostoevsky: ‘He was one ofourselves, a man of our blood and our bone, but one whohas suffered and has seen so much more deeply than wehave his insight impresses us as wisdom that wisdom ofthe heart which we seek that we may learn from it how tolive. All his other gifts came to him from nature, this hewon for himself and through it he became great.’5 of 967

Crime and PunishmentPART I6 of 967

Crime and PunishmentChapter IOn an exceptionally hot evening early in July a youngman came out of the garret in which he lodged in S. Placeand walked slowly, as though in hesitation, towards K.bridge.He had successfully avoided meeting his landlady onthe staircase. His garret was under the roof of a high, fivestoried house and was more like a cupboard than a room.The landlady who provided him with garret, dinners, andattendance, lived on the floor below, and every time hewent out he was obliged to pass her kitchen, the door ofwhich invariably stood open. And each time he passed, theyoung man had a sick, frightened feeling, which made himscowl and feel ashamed. He was hopelessly in debt to hislandlady, and was afraid of meeting her.This was not because he was cowardly and abject, quitethe contrary; but for some time past he had been in anoverstrained irritable condition, verging on hypochondria.He had become so completely absorbed in himself, andisolated from his fellows that he dreaded meeting, not onlyhis landlady, but anyone at all. He was crushed by poverty,but the anxieties of his position had of late ceased to weighupon him. He had given up attending to matters of7 of 967

Crime and Punishmentpractical importance; he had lost all desire to do so.Nothing that any landlady could do had a real terror forhim. But to be stopped on the stairs, to be forced to listento her trivial, irrelevant gossip, to pestering demands forpayment, threats and complaints, and to rack his brains forexcuses, to prevaricate, to lie—no, rather than that, hewould creep down the stairs like a cat and slip out unseen.This evening, however, on coming out into the street,he became acutely aware of his fears.‘I want to attempt a thing like that and am frightened bythese trifles,’ he thought, with an odd smile. ‘Hm yes,all is in a man’s hands and he lets it all slip from cowardice,that’s an axiom. It would be interesting to know what it ismen are most afraid of. Taking a new step, uttering a newword is what they fear most . But I am talking toomuch. It’s because I chatter that I do nothing. Or perhapsit is that I chatter because I do nothing. I’ve learned tochatter this last month, lying for days together in my denthinking of Jack the Giant-killer. Why am I goingthere now? Am I capable of that? Is that serious? It is notserious at all. It’s simply a fantasy to amuse myself; aplaything! Yes, maybe it is a plaything.’The heat in the street was terrible: and the airlessness,the bustle and the plaster, scaffolding, bricks, and dust all8 of 967

Crime and Punishmentabout him, and that special Petersburg stench, so familiarto all who are unable to get out of town in summer—allworked painfully upon the young man’s alreadyoverwrought nerves. The insufferable stench from the pothouses, which are particularly numerous in that part of thetown, and the drunken men whom he met continually,although it was a working day, completed the revoltingmisery of the picture. An expression of the profoundestdisgust gleamed for a moment in the young man’s refinedface. He was, by the way, exceptionally handsome, abovethe average in height, slim, well-built, with beautiful darkeyes and dark brown hair. Soon he sank into deepthought, or more accurately speaking into a completeblankness of mind; he walked along not observing whatwas about him and not caring to observe it. From time totime, he would mutter something, from the habit oftalking to himself, to which he had just confessed. At thesemoments he would become conscious that his ideas weresometimes in a tangle and that he was very weak; for twodays he had scarcely tasted food.He was so badly dressed that even a man accustomed toshabbiness would have been ashamed to be seen in thestreet in such rags. In that quarter of the town, however,scarcely any shortcoming in dress would have created9 of 967

Crime and Punishmentsurprise. Owing to the proximity of the Hay Market, thenumber of establishments of bad character, thepreponderance of the trading and working class populationcrowded in these streets and alleys in the heart ofPetersburg, types so various were to be seen in the streetsthat no figure, however queer, would have causedsurprise. But there was such accumulated bitterness andcontempt in the young man’s heart, that, in spite of all thefastidiousness of youth, he minded his rags least of all inthe street. It was a different matter when he met withacquaintances or with former fellow students, whom,indeed, he disliked meeting at any time. And yet when adrunken man who, for some unknown reason, was beingtaken somewhere in a huge waggon dragged by a heavydray horse, suddenly shouted at him as he drove past: ‘Heythere, German hatter’ bawling at the top of his voice andpointing at him—the young man stopped suddenly andclutched tremulously at his hat. It was a tall round hatfrom Zimmerman’s, but completely worn out, rusty withage, all torn and bespattered, brimless and bent on one sidein a most unseemly fashion. Not shame, however, butquite another feeling akin to terror had overtaken him.‘I knew it,’ he muttered in confusion, ‘I thought so!That’s the worst of all! Why, a stupid thing like this, the10 of 967

Crime and Punishmentmost trivial detail might spoil the whole plan. Yes, my hatis too noticeable . It looks absurd and that makes itnoticeable . With my rags I ought to wear a cap, any sortof old pancake, but not this grotesque thing. Nobodywears such a hat, it would be noticed a mile off, it wouldbe remembered . What matters is that people wouldremember it, and that would give them a clue. For thisbusiness one should be as little conspicuous as possible .Trifles, trifles are what matter! Why, it’s just such triflesthat always ruin everything .’He had not far to go; he knew indeed how many stepsit was from the gate of his lodging house: exactly sevenhundred and thirty. He had counted them once when hehad been lost in dreams. At the time he had put no faith inthose dreams and was only tantalising himself by theirhideous but daring recklessness. Now, a month later, hehad begun to look upon them differently, and, in spite ofthe monologues in which he jeered at his own impotenceand indecision, he had involuntarily come to regard this‘hideous’ dream as an exploit to be attempted, although hestill did not realise this himself. He was positively goingnow for a ‘rehearsal’ of his project, and at every step hisexcitement grew more and more violent.11 of 967

Crime and PunishmentWith a sinking heart and a nervous tremor, he went upto a huge house which on one side looked on to the canal,and on the other into the street. This house was let out intiny tenements and was inhabited by working people of allkinds—tailors, locksmiths, cooks, Germans of sorts, girlspicking up a living as best they could, petty clerks, etc.There was a continual coming and going through the twogates and in the two courtyards of the house. Three orfour door-keepers were employed on the building. Theyoung man was very glad to meet none of them, and atonce slipped unnoticed through the door on the right, andup the staircase. It was a back staircase, dark and narrow,but he was familiar with it already, and knew his way, andhe liked all these surroundings: in such darkness even themost inquisitive eyes were not to be dreaded.‘If I am so scared now, what would it be if it somehowcame to pass that I were really going to do it?’ he couldnot help asking himself as he reached the fourth storey.There his progress was barred by some porters who wereengaged in moving furniture out of a flat. He knew thatthe flat had been occupied by a German clerk in the civilservice, and his family. This German was moving outthen, and so the fourth floor on this staircase would beuntenanted except by the old woman. ‘That’s a good12 of 967

Crime and Punishmentthing anyway,’ he thought to himself, as he rang the bellof the old woman’s flat. The bell gave a faint tinkle asthough it were made of tin and not of copper. The littleflats in such houses always have bells that ring like that. Hehad forgotten the note of that bell, and now its peculiartinkle seemed to remind him of something and to bring itclearly before him . He started, his nerves were terriblyoverstrained by now. In a little while, the door wasopened a tiny crack: the old woman eyed her visitor withevident distrust through the crack, and nothing could beseen but her little eyes, glittering in the darkness. But,seeing a number of people on the landing, she grewbolder, and opened the door wide. The young manstepped into the dark entry, which was partitioned offfrom the tiny kitchen. The old woman stood facing himin silence and looking inquiringly at him. She was adiminutive, withered up old woman of sixty, with sharpmalignant eyes and a sharp little nose. Her colourless,somewhat grizzled hair was thickly smeared with oil, andshe wore no kerchief over it. Round her thin long neck,which looked like a hen’s leg, was knotted some sort offlannel rag, and, in spite of the heat, there hung flappingon her shoulders, a mangy fur cape, yellow with age. Theold woman coughed and groaned at every instant. The13 of 967

Crime and Punishmentyoung man must have looked at her w