Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky is my favorite book of all time, but that’s not necessarily because I enjoy it. I do, obviously, enjoy reading it, but I think it’s my favorite because of how intense an effect it has on me.
The first time I read it was in college, so the reading schedule was fast-paced, forcing me to really immerse myself in the novel. I did, and it had such an obvious impact on me that my professor, Dr. Nancy Dayton, actually told me to me stop reading!
I haven’t re-read the novel since then because it is such a massive undertaking, but I assigned it to my students for summer reading so I’m diving in again. Well, I got behind on the reading for a week and had to catch up this weekend. I thought that I had outgrown the influence of Dostoevsky, but one lengthy dose of Raskolnikov and I swear that I’m insane.
I can’t think straight. I don’t feel like myself. I’m constantly in my own head and have trouble interacting with people. I am insecure and arrogant at the same time. I walk around as if in a stupor. My thoughts are disjointed and grandiose. My emotions are alternately numb and severe.
All because I read some Crime and Punishment this weekend?
Whenever I hear the question about who you would like to have dinner with, living or dead, my answer is always Dostoevsky. I want to talk to him, to understand him, because I think that by knowing Dostoevsky I’d be able to know myself as well.
Fyodor Dostoevsky is my literary soulmate. Who is yours? What piece of work affects you?