Crime and Punishment at 150 (2016)

Raskolnikov Remembers : Memory in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment Hudspith, Sarah


This presentation will examine the function of memory in Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. Memory and remembering have been discussed as a key feature of Dostoevsky's poetics, notably in Diane Oenning Thompson's book The Brothers Karamazov and the Poetics of Memory (Cambridge, 1991), but has not been examined in detail with regard to Crime and Punishment. The talk will focus on the protagonist Raskolnikov and how he engages in remembering, as this has an impact on the text in a number of ways. It will explore how the process of remembering and its antithesis, forgetting, plays a part in the development of Raskolnikov's psyche, his motivations and his redemption. The talk will also relate memory to the temporal matrix of the novel's narrative structure, and it will also demonstrate how memory connects Dostoevsky's original plan to write the novel in the first person, with the final third-person narrative.

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