Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment

I'm working real hard these days on Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky's classic written in the 19th century. I think I've told you before that I teach a Continuing Ed. literature class at a community college. The first book I assigned for the Fall semester is C&P. It's 551 pages, very dense, but highly readable.

The people in my class, adults of a certain age ;), were clamoring for a classic to read and study, so I assigned C and P. But just last week I received a letter from 2 of my students who complained, "What crime did we commit to be punished like this!" You know, you can't win!

So I'm working on the book: reading it again, writing up questions and handouts, etc.

What's particularly hard about reading a Russian classic is the names. The author refers to his characters by both their last names and their first and middle names. And the names are so unfamiliar. If any of my students read this blog, I'm sure they'll agree with me.

I think what I'm going to do is give out a Character List with all 3 names of each character. Some characters, like Sonya and Dunya, have a 4th name, a diminutive. Yikes! But this seems like a good idea.

Here's a link to a good review of Crime and Punishment.

What's great about Crime and Punishment is that it poses such interesting questions about socialism, morality, man's responsibility to man, guilt and innocence, forgiveness and redemption. The "superiority of man" (ubermensch) theory will have the class discussing to the very end of our 2 hours. It's worth the read! the teach


Enemy of the Republic said...

I will return at some point, for this novel, along with The Brothers K, changed my life when I read them both.

the teach said...

Hey thanks for dropping by...Sure come back to discuss anything you'd like.