“The darker the night, the brighter the stars, The deeper the grief, the closer is God!”: Rare First American Edition of Dostoyevsky's Classic Novel Crime and Punishment
Crime and Punishment.
Item Number: 5078
New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1886.
First American edition of the author’s masterpiece. Octavo, original cloth, gilt titles to the spine and front panel, frontispiece of the author. 1-page publisher’s advertisement at end, with this work listed first and price of $1.50. Small name stamp to the front free endpaper, small stain to the front panel, a very good example. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. First editions in English of Crime and Punishment are rare.
The two years before he wrote Crime and Punishment had been bad ones for Dostoyevsky. His wife and brother had died; the magazine he and his brother had started, Epoch, collapsed under its load of debt; and he was threatened with debtor's prison. With an advance that he managed to wangle for an unwritten novel, he fled to Wiesbaden, hoping to win enough at the roulette table to get himself out of debt. Instead, he lost all his money; he had to pawn his clothes and beg friends for loans to pay his hotel bill and get back to Russia. One of his begging letters went to a magazine editor, asking for an advance on yet another unwritten novel — which he described as Crime and Punishment. One of the supreme masterpieces of world literature, Crime and Punishment catapulted Dostoyevsky to the forefront of Russian writers and into the ranks of the world's greatest novelists.