Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment: Investigating the Mind of a Murderer

Lead Faculty
Shoshana Milgram

$500.00

Dostoevsky’s first great novel is sometimes described not as a “whodunit,” but as a “whydunit.” Raskolnikov’s motivations are stated repeatedly, yet they remain mysterious. To uncover the reasons for his actions, we need to attend not only to what Raskolnikov tells us, but also to what Dostoevsky shows us. Our primary text is the novel itself, which we will read in installments.

April – June 2023

Or

Tuesdays, 3:30 – 5:30 pm Pacific Time

Live Class

April 4, 2023

Start Date

Lead Faculty

open

Registration

100

Level

q3

Quarter

Description

Dostoevsky’s first great novel, in which the protagonist plans and performs murder, is sometimes described not as a “whodunit,” but as a “whydunit.” Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov’s motivations are stated repeatedly, yet they remain mysterious. In order to uncover the reasons for his actions, we need to attend not only to what Raskolnikov tells us, but also to what Dostoevsky shows us.

Raskolnikov is far from an Objectivist hero: Dostoevsky’s explicit morality is not rational self-interest , and Dostoevsky’s explicit epistemology is not reason. If John Galt appeals to the hero in one’s soul, Raskolnikov exemplifies at times the villain in the soul—and, in that, he is not alone in the novel. Our primary text is the novel itself. Students in this course should plan to read the novel itself, in installments, with the attention it deserves. The closer we get, the better it looks. (A detailed reading schedule for our course text will be available in advance.)

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