Russia’s Greatest Crime Novel

Russia’s Greatest Crime Novel

When you set out to write a murder mystery in Russian — or perhaps in another speech, but place in Russia — you ought to be mindful that you’re following at the forefront the best Russian crime fiction author of all instances, Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

Crime and Punishment
One of Fritz Eichenberg’s amazing
1938 woodcut illustrations for
Crime and Punishment.

Certainly his Crime and Punishment is a crime book — crime, after all, is a part of its name and it is about a murder — but there might be some doubt as to whether it is a puzzle. Needless to say, it isn’t a conventional English whodunit or a American hard-boiled one, but it is a murder mystery yet.

The conventional murder mystery is a product of the Enlightenment. It presents society as a logical structure, where crime is a aberration. When resolving a crime the prosecution participates his brain-power and employs the scientific process. Cause and effect are inexorably linked: that the detective reverse-engineers the series of events, getting in the murder for its own cause.

The first murder puzzle was The Murders at the Rue Morgue, a novella from Edgar Allan Poe. The logical, deductive approach is illustrated, along with the detective outlines his company’s chain of reasoning and responds to his internal train of in thought.

The storyline is all about civilized culture. Ultimately, it turns out that the brutal murder on Rue Morgue was perpetrated by an ape. But a person solves the murder, which yields the ape to the uterus, and re-establishes societal standards.

Crime and Punishment is a repudiation of this type of Enlightenment crime book. It appeared 20 years ahead of the very first Sherlock Holmes story, but over 20 years after Poe’s Rue Morgue. Western rationality was part of this discourse from Russia, and Russian authors were very obsessed with it. Be aware that both Crime and Punishment along with Toltroy’s War and Peace, released three years apart, make references to Napoleon, who by that time was dead for nearly half a century. ” Both writers still saw Napoleon as a type of emblematic Westerner: rational, autonomous, autonomous.

Let us briefly outline Dostoyevsky’s book.

Rodion Raskolnikov, a destitute studentwho wants to put himself to the test, to check if he’s, as he believes, an extraordinary human being. He decides to kill and rob a classic money lender whose life he deems to be unworthy. He believes that a superior being should be able to commit such crime and don’t have any guilt — to go on to achieve wonderful deeds. He murders the money lender, but has to kill her type and sister.

From the start, we know that the identity of the murderer and follow the analysis, which can be introduced as a cat-and-mouse game performed by the detective, Porfiry Petrovich. The puzzle is if Raskolnikov will get away with his crime, and if his doctrine will be vindicated. These are just two connected developments.

Raskolnikov fails his own evaluation: he could prevent neither guilt nor dread of being captured. Having imagined himself as a kind of Napoleon, he becomes a pariah. He breaks off his ties of family and friendship and afterwards, in the epilogue, is shown to be disliked by his other offenders.

Contrary to the English detective book, here murder is not a fracture in the man-made rational arrangement, but a crime against higher authority. Russian society at Dostoevsky is neither logical nor just, but it is highly moral: after you become an individualist, an honest being chasing money or self-interest, you’re lost. In actuality, the worst villain in this narrative is Arkady Svidrigailov —  that the most logical, logical and modern character in the novel. He becomes a complete outcast and ends up committing suicide.  

Significantly, the detective does not use any sort of scientific method, nor will he matter about his grey cells. Everything he really does will be intuit Raskolnikov’s remorse. Along with the narrative of his discovery is not about him collecting hints and placing them together, but around contributing a troubled guy to confession.

Crime and Punishment, such as a lot of Russian writing before the final years of the nineteenth century, is a morality tale. But morality is a major part of crime fiction, especially in the American, hard-boiled publication. Since Carroll John Daly, the writer of this very first hard-boiled short narrative, puts it in the voice of his detective Race Williams, “My morality is my very own.”

The very best American hard-boiled writers, Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, paint a picture of society that is twisted and immoral. Their detectives must comply with its own principles, but unlike everybody else, they know its true worth.

American personalities have been individualistic and stand firmly on their two feet. Their morality stems in their capability and willingness to act, and to act independently. To remain moral beings they have to produce a clean break out of society. In Dostoyevsky, but the desire and capability to act independently is evil in itself. Raskolnikov is a murder waiting to happen. He may recoil from murdering this money creditor, but having guessed the thought, he will be driven to check it.

There is a Biblical proverb that is normal  from Russia: “No man is a prophet in his native land.” Thus, the individual who might know Dostoyevsky finest is an American, the filmmaker Woody Allen. The shape pioneered by Dostoyevsky is similar to a more conventional whodunit, and therefore it has not had too many imitators. Nevertheless Allen’s greatest films are Dostoyevskian stories of punishment and crime, in the pointedly titled Crimes and Misdemeanors to the rather appreciably titled Irrational Man.

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About This Day

Notable events on this day at Russian history

Vitus Bering dies in the disastrous conclusion of the Second Expedition, on the island which later would bear his name.

Alexander Odoevsky, poet, born (died 1839)

Alisa Freyndlikh, actress, born

28 states, including the USA and Soviet Union, reached agreement for an worldwide ban on nuclear weapons in area.

Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev signed the INF treaty; to eliminate all their intermediate-range and shorter-range nuclear missiles.

Soviet Union was dissolved as the republics of Russia, Belorussia and Ukraine signed a deal creating the Commonwealth of Independent States.


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