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Dostoïevski, Fiodor
Le Crime et le Châtiment,



French first edition
of Le Crime et le châtiment in its contemporary binding.


Dostoïevski, Fiodor. Le crime et le châtiment. Traduit du russe par Victor Derély.
Paris, E. Plon, Nourrit et Cie, 1884.

2 parts in 2 volumes 8vo [177 x 110 mm] of: I/ (2) ll., 334 pp. ; II/ (2) ll., 308 pp.

Brownish-gray half-glazed calico, flat spine, lettering piece in brown morocco, sprinkled edges. Contemporary binding.

French first edition of Le Crime et le Châtiment, a masterpiece of Russian literature.

Le Crime et le Châtiment was the first of the great novels that made Dostoyevsky (1821-1881) famous abroad.” (Dictionnaire des Œuvres)

It was and still is the most famous and popular of all of them.

The hero, Raskolnikov, is a young student who, having no money, is forced to leave the university. Because of his poverty but also because of some theoretical considerations, he decides to kill an old moneylender. But, unfortunately, he also kills her sister. Raskolnikov’s soul is in some way a mirror that reflects the causes of the main problems in his country at the time. These causes stem from the social ideals of Marx, Nietzsche’s concept of the « übermensch » and the messianic mysticism of renunciation that Dostoyevsky saw in the Russian spirit.

Le Crime et le Châtiment can be seen as the novel of loss ; but a loss that, in its own depth, finds the light that absolves it all.

In this novel, the Naturalists mostly admired the minutia of his psychological analysis. (Trad. Gallimard, Garnier, 1958)

Great books by great writers do not all find the same countries of adoption.

Hence it could be said that Le Crime et le Châtiment is the “French’s Dostoyevsky”.

Is it because Raskolnikov first uses Napoleon to justify his crime ? Be that as it may, this novel from the great Russian author is very critical towards France, country that has, in his eyes, forsaken its spiritual dimension and therefore its original greatness. However, it became one of the privileged sources where Malraux, Sartre, Camus tapped to nourish their own existentialist quest, even though, contrary to Dostoyevsky, theirs were devoid of all divine reference.

For the first time in 1884 the novel Le Crime et le Châtiment was translated into French.

We must keep in mind that Dostoyevsky was a great innovator ; he used the techniques of adventure novels to find a new way of expressing human emotions.

Everyone agrees that Dostoyevsky spoke a “new word”.” (M. Kissel, Dostoïevski : Une écriture mystique)

The Russian writer profoundly influenced Proust and Gide :

Gide is an avid reader of Dostoyevsky. As early as March 1890, he mentions Krotkaia and Crime and Punishment amongst his readings and reread one of his novels in 1891.

He admits: “I admire Dostoyevsky more than I thought it possible to admire anyone.  »

He finds he is a mirror to his own thoughts : Was I influenced by Dostoyevsky? It’s possible…

When I read him, I felt, on top of my admiration, some extraordinary affinity between his thoughts and mine.” (J. Chardavoine)

All of Dostoyevsky’s novels could be called Le Crime et le Châtiment… there is probably a crime in his life and a punishment.” Proust, who feels a kinship with the Russian novelist, thus outlines his study of the personal myth in Dostoyevsky and its romantic execution.” (M. Miguet-Ollagnier)

A copy preserved in its contemporary binding.



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