2. The Book

Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821–1881)
Prestuplenie i nakazanie / Crime and Punishment
St Petersburg: Prosvieshchenie, [1910s]

Crime and Punishment follows the story of a young student, Rodion Raskolnikov, who commits double murder in order to steal money. The main body of the book – which ends with a dramatic admission to the crime – is set in St Petersburg, but its epilogue is set in Siberia. Raskolnikov, now serving his sentence, is set on the road to salvation. The novel was published in instalments over the course of 1866 in the literary journal Russkii vestnik [Russian Messenger]. It was produced in book form the following year.

The copy whose front page is shown here is the eighth edition, published in St Petersburg by Prosvieshchenie in the 1910s as part of a multi-volume collection of Dostoevsky’s work. The novel is printed in two volumes with each volume containing half of the standard six parts of the book. The image on display comes from the second volume, whose green ink is particularly bright. The handsome design of the front page is the work of the graphic artist Sergei Chekhonin; his stylised autograph can be seen to the bottom right.

Mel Bach

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