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The two popular translations of ‘Crime and Punishment’ before the 1993 translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, were by Constance Garnett and David McDuff. The Pevear/Volokhonsky translation became my favourite – until Oliver Ready’s translation came along. Not knowing a word of Russian, I declare my favourite only by the enjoyment I derived from reading the book in English.

Many things may indeed be lost in translation, and many others get misrepresented but we may not know. The result of reading only the English versions is that one’s choice is largely subjective. Compared to the Garnett version, the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation seems very modern – until Ready’s came along. Little things like changing ‘had not’ to ‘hadn’t’ renders Ready’s version not only a little more modern but also more informal. That is not to say that the atmosphere of old Russia is lost. Ready uses ‘fibs’ for ‘lies’ (Pevear/Volokhonsky) in one passage.

Ultimately, the reader has to decide for himself which style he enjoys more. Here is a comparison from one of my favourite passages (there are many) from the book. I set out first the Pevear/Volokhonsky version then the Ready version:
“What do you think?” Razmumikhin shouted, raising his voice even more. “You think it’s because they’re lying? Nonsense! I like it when people lie! Lying is man’s only privilege over all other organisms. If you lie- you get to the truth! Lying is what makes me a man. Not one truth has ever been reached without lying fourteen times or so, maybe a hundred and fourteen, and that’s honourable in its way; well, but we can’t even lie with our minds! Lie to me, but in your own way, and I’ll kiss you for it. Lying in one’s own way is almost better than telling the truth in someone else’s way; in the first case you’re a man, and in the second – no better than a bird. The truth won’t go away, but life can be nailed shut; there are examples. (Pevear/Volokhonsky)

‘Now what are you thinking?’ cried Razumikhin, raising even more. ‘That it’s their lies I can’t stand? Nonsense! I like it when people lie. Telling lies is humanity’s sole privilege over other organism. Keep fibbing and you’ll end up with the truth! I’m only human because I lie. No truth’s ever been discovered without fourteen fibs along the way, if not one hundred and fourteen, and there’s honour in that. But our lies aren’t even our own! Lie to me by all means, but make sure it’s your own, and then I’ll kiss you. After all, lies of your own are almost better than someone else’s truth: in the first case you’re human; in the second you’re just a bird! The truth won’t run away, but life just might – wouldn’t be the first time.

Ready’s version has a table of chronological events and a fresh, inspiring introduction that will help the first-time reader understand and appreciate the context of ‘Crime and Punishment’

About the “Crime and Punishment Epub” Book

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

About the Author of “Crime and Punishment Epub” Book

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky (11 November 1821 – 9 February 1881), sometimes transliterated Dostoevsky, was a Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, journalist and philosopher. Dostoyevsky’s literary works explore human psychology in the troubled political, social, and spiritual atmosphere of 19th-century Russia. Many of his works are marked by a preoccupation with Christianity, explored through the prism of the individual confronted with life’s hardships and beauty. He began writing in his 20s, and his first novel, Poor Folk, was published in 1846 when he was 25. His major works include Crime and Punishment (1866), The Idiot (1869), Demons (1872) and The Brothers Karamazov (1880). His output consists of 11 novels, three novellas, 17 short novels and numerous other works. Many literary critics rate him as one of the greatest psychologists in world literature. His 1864 novella Notes from Underground is considered to be one of the first works of existentialist literature. Born in Moscow in 1821, Dostoyevsky was introduced to literature at an early age through fairy tales and legends, and through books by Russian and foreign authors. His mother died in 1837, when he was 15, and around the same time he left school to enter the Nikolayev Military Engineering Institute. After graduating, he worked as an engineer and briefly enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, translating books to earn extra money. In the mid-1840s he wrote his first novel, Poor Folk, which gained him entry into St. Petersburg’s literary circles. In the following years, Dostoyevsky worked as a journalist, publishing and editing several magazines of his own and later A Writer’s Diary, a collection of his writings. He began to travel around western Europe and developed a gambling addiction, which led to financial hardship. For a time, he had to beg for money, but he eventually became one of the most widely read and highly regarded Russian writers. His books have been translated into more than 170 languages. Dostoyevsky influenced a multitude of writers and philosophers, from Anton Chekhov and Ernest Hemingway to Friedrich Nietzsche and Jean-Paul Sartre.

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