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Crime and Punishment is widely held to be one of Dostoyevsky's greatest works, second only to the grandiosity of The Brothers Karamazov. Like the latter, our present masterpiece delves into the complex and, at times, paradoxical nature of man's existence and psychological makeup. The novel was originally published in 1866 in a dozen separate installments, and as a single book a year later. The story takes place in mid-nineteenth century St. Petersburg, Russia, and though the title might suggest a typical crime drama, the book is not a simple narrative about a criminal who is brought to justice by lawmen, but about the inner struggle and anguish of a proud intellectual, Raskolnikov, who longs to free himself from mundane existence. To do so, he commits an "extraordinary" act, murder, but finds himself bound by the same guilt, fear, and fate of all other trespassers of justice, no different than the rest.

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