Crime and Punishment Crime and Punishment discussion


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message 1: by Amyjzed (new) - added it

Amyjzed Can anyone comment on this translation? Is it recommended, or is there better? I just read 2of Dostoevsky's works translated by Constance Garnett, and don't want to miss anything with this one. Thanks!

Damion As I said in the other translation thread; the Pevear and Volokhonsky translations are quite excellent. I read the Constance Garnett and P & V side by side and the P & V was way better. Garnett felt bland and it seemed that each character had the same voice.

message 3: by Amyjzed (new) - added it

Amyjzed Thanks for the reply! I think I lost my way when I posted this under the audiobook version... Anyway, I'm excited to read the P&V translation now! I just might have to revisit The Brothers K and The Idiot some day. :)

Damion Sweet. Have fun with it. :) the Brothers K is my next 'big one' I want to read. Finished Anna Karenina last night, and read Crime and Punishment a month or two ago. All P & V translations...

message 5: by Amyjzed (new) - added it

Amyjzed Great! I'm really fascinated by Dostoevsky, but am enjoying Anna Karenina now, too.
I just joined the group "Discovering Russian Literature" on here, and I think several of us have just decided to read War and Peace now... but we will also be discussing The Brothers K and some other various works of Russian lit. One of the other members is in the middle of it, and I just finished it and don't feel like I've really "processed" it yet.
You should poke in the group and check it out.

Damion Sweet, thanks for the heads up.

Aaron Nelson Seconding the P & V recommendation. My Russian friends turned me on to them. Very good and much more readable then the Garnett or Monas translations, and from what my friends tell me, much closer to the feel of the original language.

Timothy K. The language is much less "Victorian" with the P&V translations, therefore much easier for the modern reader to absorb.

Aaron Nelson As it was explained to me by my Russian friends; although 21st century English has changed quite a bit from Victorian English, Russian really hasn't changed much. Why? I don't know, probably because of the Revolution ... ask a linguist.

Dostoyevsky in Russian reads much more modern than Dickens does in English ... or so I'm told. I'm also told that there is a great deal of word play in the original Russian that P & V do better service to.

Since I speak only enough Russian to get myself slapped, I can't vouch for this first-hand. But this is what I'm told by people in the know.

message 10: by Amyjzed (new) - added it

Amyjzed TImothy K & Aaron... Thanks.
I don't want my Dostoevsky to sound Victorian and quaint if it doesn't sound that way to Russians today.

☽ Moon Rose ☯ I agree with Damion, the best so far is the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation. I read Crime and Punishment before by Garnett and did not leave an imprint on my mind. Bought the translation of P & V, and it brought me to another level...thats the moment I fell in love with

William1 I agree with Moon: Pevear and Volokhonsky. Greatest narrative immediacy, most direct language, fewest annoying Britishisms.

Shawn P & V is definitely the way to go. Another great feature of their translations is that their foreword is usually very insightful and illuminating to both Dostoevsky's world and the process of translation. Stay away from Garnett if you can. There is no need to read a translation from the turn of the twentieth century when there is one available from the last two decades or so.

Roguetango So I got my hand-me-down Ipad today (yay)thinking a downloaded 'Crime and Punishment', which I am currently halfway through,(The McDuff version) would be optimal. It's one less bulky heavy in my "purse".
I'm skimming through it trying to find where was in and I realize how different the language is (Garnett)
It is hard to get through at times, but I am sure that I am trying to read it in 30 minute,interrupted spurts on the subway doesn't help.
I am really enjoying it and really wish I had time to devote to focusing on it. I love the depth of the characters. Razumikhin makes me laugh out loud sometimes. McDuff could have used more common vocabulary, since he translated it in the 90's, though I feel that the language adds to the characters and the feeling of period. It emphasizes that their's is a very different world than ours. In every aspect except that of human nature. Many things in regards to human behavior and history are still very relevant. At one point I had to look back and see what year it was published again, because they sounded like they were talking about current events (the last 70 years anyhow).
I googled what "They" say is the best translation. Even though I'm halfway through I want to make sure I'm getting my money's worth (all 50 cents of it). LONG story short? No verdict. Even the Times doesn't know.
I will lug around the book a bit longer though. The few paragraphs I read of the Garnett version felt like a different scene..

Assem  A. Hendawi Pevear and Volokhonsky
with your eyes wide shut !

Darren Almost all of the Russian Lit I own are the Pevear and Volokhonsky translations. The only exception being the Modern Library Short Stories anthology by Dostoevsky, translated by David Magarshack. And the only reason I have that is because there are stories in there that P&V haven't translated. I'll echo everyone else and say avoid the Garnett translations whenever possible. They're very outdated and weren't extremely accurate to begin with. Pevear and Volokhonsky have earned their reputation.

Darren We're pretty much in agreement that Pevear and Volokhonsky are the best Dostoevsky translators and that Garnett should be avoided. Any translation recommendations for the Dostoevsky works that P&V haven't done?

message 18: by Ted (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ted I have almost nothing but Garnett translations. Most of my Tolstoy/Dostoevsky editions are Modern Library which I bought decades ago, and Garnett was the standard then.
I have read both Anna K and C&P two-three times each, and loved them. It's pretty subjective what you take away from a great novel in translation. I will never read Russian, nor will any of my friends. Hence I will never know the particulars of T's or D's writing styles, and not sure if it really makes that much difference. The stories are what matter.
Having said that, I think I should get a P&V translation of one of these and read that to see how much difference it makes to me.
For an interesting article on P&V by the way see

message 19: by Bryn (last edited Feb 12, 2012 03:40PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bryn Hammond Thanks for this discussion, because I've just updated my entire library of Dostoevsky to the P&V. I had Constance Garnetts and liked them (I can't think them bad, and I don't mind old-fashioned - he was 19thC). I tried the first pages of Karamazov in P&V and... although I've called this the greatest novel in the world for twenty years, I see how much I've missed out on. So I can't wait for the six others that are in the mail. And this means I'll have to read D again from go to whoa, as I haven't done since a teenager, and that's a happy consequence too.

message 20: by Ted (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ted Perhaps I had better get going on a P&V translation also!

message 21: by Bryn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bryn Hammond Yes, Ted, give one a go. Try your favourite. Although I do pretty much agree with you: they meant so much to me in Constance Garnett form, they can scarcely mean more in P&V. I'll never bag the Garnetts.

message 22: by Ted (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ted Well I ordered Crime/P last night. I also gave my daughter Anna K a few years ago, I will see what translation that was.

Steve Horton Damion wrote: "As I said in the other translation thread; the Pevear and Volokhonsky translations are quite excellent. I read the Constance Garnett and P & V side by side and the P & V was way better. Garnett fel..."

I totally agree!

Rebecca To all the people who say that a translation doesn't matter. Yes it does. If you read 2 side by side you will see that not just the style is changed but the story itself.

This is especially true when you consider someone like Constance Garnett, who just omitted any paragraph or sentence that she didn't understand.

message 25: by Bryn (last edited May 29, 2012 05:24AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bryn Hammond I've become a convert to David McDuff translations in Penguin. I tried his Karamazov shortly after I met the P&V - to settle this vexed question for me - and though the P&V had been a jump up from the past, I definitely took to the McDuff instead. For range of language, idiosyncrasy of voices, vividness, particularity.

Yes, translation matters heaps. Not that D. is bad in any.

message 26: by Darren (last edited Jun 04, 2012 09:36PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Darren Bryn wrote: "I've become a convert to David McDuff translations in Penguin. I tried his Karamazov shortly after I met the P&V - to settle this vexed question for me - and though the P&V had been a jump up from ..."

I really should try out the McDuff translations. I've heard nothing but good things about his work.

P&V were such a revelation after reading Garnett, that I felt I was finally actually reading Dostoevsky, and not some poorly done interpretation. That said, there's certainly room for more than one good translation on the shelf.

I've heard nothing but positive things about Ignat Avsey's Dostoevsky translations as well, including the fact that he's even more accurate and literal than P&V, if that's possible.

Barbara Does anyone know how to find an ebook translated by Pevear and Volokhonsky? I can't find either Nook or Amazon's Crime and Punishment ebooks being of that translation.

Casey (Myshkin) Buell Go to the Random House website and download it from there:

The problem with ebook versions of Russian lit is that almost all of them are gonna be Garnett translations since her translation is in the public domain. If you're looking for a cheap edition you'll only find Garnett since the publisher didn't have to pay anyone to publish it.

Barbara Thanks for responding. I finally found it last night at Amazon. As you said it wasn't the public domain edition and I paid $7.99 for it. Not bad really. Especially considering I love the book and I get so many other books that are freebies or cheap.
Thanks again.

Anthony As much as I loved Pevear and Volokhonsky's rendering of Notes from Underground, I think Garnett is better overall in Crime and Punishment. P&V seem intent on surgically excising all the beauty from the prose, particularly in regards to the scenes where Rask. is on the Neva. They are not exactly subtle about the humor in the work. And their introduction takes a completely wrong-headed view of the work, from what I've been taught... the religious apotheosis is NOT "ambiguous" as to Dostoevsky's religious views, it is quite concrete! While he was very critical of organized religion, given the fact that Sonia's name means "wisdom," he certainly does not write off Chrisitanity as a whole, but instead argues a primitivist view, with the "golden rule" at the center (yes I know it sounds cheesy), and seems to advocate reading the Bible in private with friends, so as to better understand it. That is my AP Lit teacher's view, anyways. From what I know, she read it in the original Russian, so I hesitate to challenge her on that.

You probably got the Garnett translation, if it is an e-book from the public domain. By all means read it.

Barbara Thank you for responding Anthony. I will take all of your comments into consideration while reading and I may acutally read both translations at some point because your post has sparked an interest in seeing the difference between the two. I, actually, was able to get an ebook version for $7.99 that is P&V's translation so that's what I will start with. I attempted reading C&M many years ago (no idea what version) and had to stop not far into it. The vivid images haunted me.....literally. It became so I couldn't get this out of my mind. The writing is that powerful, as I'm sure you and anyone who has read C&M are aware. As for the Christianity thing, it doesn't sound chessy at all. Makes me want to look into that theory as well. I work for a Russian woman but never discussed the book, but am sure she has read it in Russian. I will ask if she has read it in English and/or if she has an opinion on translations. Thanks so much again for responding. (All this renewed interest has come out of a group I joined on GR that has a challenge to read through books for a year that would equal getting a BA, in a's been a lot of fun choosing books for this challenge).

Philip Cartwright A couple of years back I re-read both Crime and Punishment and The Idiot in the McDuff translations and have to say I enjoyed them far more than the dated, "quaint" translations I had first time round (courtesy of my local library).

So I can recommend McDuff, though I haven't tried out the V&P translations, which sound good too.

Barbara Thanks Philip. I think I will have to take the McDuff translation into consideration as well since I read good things about it too. Oh dear so many little..well you know :-)

message 34: by Achbold (last edited Jan 18, 2014 05:29PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Achbold I prefer McDuff to V&P. I've only compared their versions of Crime and Punishment, and ended up reading the Penguin edition (McDuff). Now I'm reading Notes from Underground as translated by V&P. It runs great for a while, then I hit a sentence (or two) that just doesn't make sense.

Don't get me wrong. I do think they're great translators, which is why I've bought their translation of War and Peace. But again, I'm not so certain about certain sentences. In the "Overcoat" by Gogol, for example, V&P writes:

"Nowadays every private individual considers the whole of society insulted in his person."

The same sentence by Wilks (Penguin Classics) runs as follows:

"Nowadays every private citizen thinks the whole of society is insulted when he himself is."

which is maybe a little less poetic. But it's much easier to understand, and clarity for me is number one.

message 35: by Ted (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ted nice example

Rebecca Apparently reading Dostoevsky is one of the most often cited motivations for study among students of Russian as a foreign language. Let's all just learn Russian. яаи!

Brian Krull I suppose I'm swimming upstream here, but I prefer Garnett. A translation of a great work can be an important work of it's own, and Garnett's command of English improves the work, rather than subtracts from it. If you love Dostoevsky, but also love English literature and the English mother tongue, or if you believe beauty matters as much as clarity, then for heaven's sake, go with Garnett. Her translations stand on their own as great works of English literature.

message 38: by Ted (last edited Feb 11, 2014 02:26PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ted Brian Krull wrote: "I suppose I'm swimming upstream here, but I prefer Garnett. A translation of a great work can be an important work of it's own, and Garnett's command of English improves the work, rather than subt..."

Brian, I like Garnett too. I'm reading her War & Peace now, and find it wonderful, I believe probably for the reasons you mention.

Roger The McDuff translation really worked for me. The prose had a kind of swing to it that really got me to latch on. Someone in a previous message used "vivid" to describe the translation and I have to agree. Also, the Penguin edition I have has an awesome cover that shows an eye peaking out of a jagged hole. So mysterious...

Artyom Amyjzed wrote: "Can anyone comment on this translation? Is it recommended, or is there better? I just read 2of Dostoevsky's works translated by Constance Garnett, and don't want to miss anything with this one. Tha..."

Read in Russian. And you will miss nothing, I guarantee this:P

message 41: by Ntwali (new)

Ntwali Freddy Can anyone help me? we are comparing 2 different translations of crime and punishment. one by Garnett and the other by P&V. the task is to identify the effect of choice of words and sentence structure have in helping to describing the character of the main protagonist. Thanks!

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