Crime and Punishment at 150: Global Contexts


Table of Contents from The Russian Messenger for January 1866, featuring the first installment of Crime and Punishment!

The exhibition at the Robarts Library of the University of Toronto celebrates the 150th anniversary of the publication of Fyodor M. Dostoevsky’s classic novel, Crime and Punishment(1866). The work, a revelation when it first appeared in Moscow on the pages of the journal Русский Вестник (Russian Messenger), gives readers unparalleled insight into the individual’s role and moral responsibility in society. Following the murderous aspirations of the novel’s protagonist, former student Raskolnikov, we are confronted with the struggle of reconciling rationalist action with the human conscience.

The exhibit showcases items that demonstrate the continuing appeal of the novel, across the boundaries of nation, language, and media. The theme was chosen to highlight the rich variety of the global collection held by the University of Toronto Libraries, and the relevance of the holdings to interdisciplinary research and teaching.

Over twenty countries are represented, and each case offers a different medium in which to appreciate the novel: translation; art and illustration; belles-lettres and popular fiction; film, stage, and music; and literary criticism. Each item symbolizes the eternal relevance of Dostoevsky’s work, and emphasizes key threads of his thought that hold special significance for the development of culture world-wide.

The exhibition forms part of the SSHRC funded outreach project, Crime and Punishment at 150,  and is on display in Robarts Library, 1st floor, from 3 October to 30 November 2016. Sponsors include the Petro Jacyk Central & East European Resource Centre, and the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. It is curated by Professor Kate Holland and Ph.D. candidate Barnabas Kirk. The exhibit has an online home here, and its guide is available here.

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