Crime and Punishment is a novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It was first published in the literary journal "The Russian Messenger" in twelve monthly instalments during 1866. It was later published in a single volume.
It is the second of Dostoyevsky's full-length novels following his return from ten years of exile in Siberia. Crime and Punishment is considered the first great novel of his "mature" period of writing.
Crime and Punishment focuses on the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of Rodion Raskolnikov, an impoverished ex-student in St. Petersburg who formulates and executes a plan to kill an unscrupulous pawnbroker for her cash.
Raskolnikov argues that with the pawnbroker's money he can perform good deeds to counterbalance the crime, while ridding the world of a worthless vermin. He also commits this murder to test his own hypothesis that some people are naturally capable of such things, and even have the right to do them.
Several times throughout the novel, Raskolnikov justifies his actions by comparing himself with Napoleon Bonaparte, believing that murder is permissible in pursuit of a higher purpose. Much of the suspense of the novel is psychological, as the reader agonizes over Raskolnikov's efforts to evade justice for his crime.
Much of it is also moral, as the question of whether or not Raskolnikov himself can find redemption as a human being leads to a surprising culmination.
Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky was a Russian novelist, short story writer and essayist. Dostoyevsky's literary works explore human psychology in the context of the troubled political, social and spiritual atmosphere of 19th-century Russia.
Although he began writing in the mid-1840s, his most memorable works—including Crime and Punishment, The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov—are from his later years. His output consists of eleven novels, three novellas, seventeen short novels and three essays. Many literary critics rate him as one of the greatest and most prominent psychologists in world literature.