Crime and Punishment By Fyodor Dostoevsky Study Help Full Glossary for Crime and Punishment

"Ach, mein Gott!" "Oh my God!" Dostoevsky uses both the German phrase and a humorous type of German speech pattern for the purpose of satirizing the landlady and satirizing Germans in general.

Berg A stunt person who entertained people by ascending in a balloon. Later in this chapter, Svidrigailov pretends that he will join Berg in an ascent.

Café chantant A musical type of café but with more risqué music.

"A cannon shot. . . Ah! The signal." The Neva River runs through St. Petersburg and the city was often subjected to flooding. The cannon shot warns the citizens that a flood might be approaching.

"c'est de rigueur" "It is the rule [or regulation]." [French]

"cher ami" "dear friend." For Svidrigailov to call Raskolnikov "cher ami" is patronizing and insulting. [French]

Civil Service People who worked in some aspect of the government were known as being in the civil service. They were ranked from 1-14, with 14 being at the bottom, such as a custodian, and the top being an administrator.

clothes from Scharmer This was the name of a famous store featuring Western style clothing. Dostoevsky bought all of his clothing there.

"Crevez, chiens, si vous n'etes pas contents" "Die, dogs, if you are content [happy]." [French]

dacha In Russia, a country house or cottage used as a vacation retreat.

Dussauts A famous hotel/restaurant and gathering place for advanced thinkers.

"en toutes lettres" "[printed] in all capital letters." Katerina Ivanovna is proud of her schooling with a certificate that has her name printed in large letters. [French]

Gaol The British spelling for jail or prison. Most translations use British forms and terminology.

"Geld" "Money"; the rent money has not been paid.

Golgotha The place where Jesus was crucified.

"Good-bye Rodya, or rather au revoir" Razumihkin does not like the Russian word for "good-bye," which has an air of finality to it; instead he substitutes the French "au revoir," which means simply "till we see each other again."

"Gott der Barmherzige!" A cry of exasperation that has no exact English translation: the closest would be "Oh, merciful God." The point is that Amalia Ivanovna, when provoked, curses in German not Russian.

Hay Market A section of the city best known for its low and bohemian life. Around the square are cheap student housings such as Raskolnikov's room and also houses of prostitution that were easily accessible to Sonya. Drunks such as Marmelodov would also congregate here in the square. See Map, Item 4.

"he is psychologically unable to escape me" Raskolnikov is familiar with the latest psychological terms as evidenced by his use of them here and elsewhere. Profiry uses recent terms and ideas to try to trap Raskolnikov in a series of lies or contradictions.

Herr Kapitan This is German for Mr. Captain.

Holy Mother of Kazan This refers to an icon of the Virgin Mary, which was kept in the Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg. This is one of the most universally admired of all Russian icons.

"I suppose [Razumihkin] is a seminarist" Svidrigailov thinks that Razumihkin is a student in a seminary studying for the priesthood. The Literary Monuments Edition maintains that Razumihkin's name is similar to the names typically given by bishops to graduates of seminaries upon their completing the school, at which time they are often assigned new names.

icon An image or picture of Jesus, Mary, a saint, etc., venerated as sacred.

"j'ai le vin mauvais" Wine makes me belligerent (or evil). [French]

Kameny Bridge A bridge close to the Haymarket Square that leads from Raskolnikov's room to Alyona Ivanova's apartment. In reality, Dostoevsky did not name this bridge; he only referred to it as "K-----Bridge. An early student or editor identified it incorrectly as Kameny Bridge, but to be historically correct, to get from Raskolnikov's tiny room to Alyona's apartment, one crosses over the Kokushkin Bridge. All the streets and building landmarks are very accurate. Dostoevsky was very careful in his realistic descriptions. For example, students have measured the distance from Raskolnikov's room to the pawnbroker's flat, and it is actually about 730 paces, the same as Raskolnikov counted.

kutya A ceremonial dish most commonly served at funerals along with other delicacies.

"La nature et la verite" This means to be natural and truthful. [French]

latest ideas Due to his frequent travels to Germany, Dostoevsky was familiar with the latest thinking in Western Europe. Many of Mr. Lebezyatnikov's ideas are found in John Stuart Mill's Principles of Political Economy, recently published in St Petersburg.

Lazarus: The story of raising of Lazarus from the dead is found in the Gospel according to John 11:1-44. There is, of course, the story of Lazarus the beggar and the rich man in Luke 16. But this story does not apply to Sonya's reading.

Lewes' Physiology English author George Lewes (1817-78) of The Physiology of Every-day Life, which was available in Russian in 1861 and was very popular with the liberals in Russia.

Luzhin's ideas Generally speaking, the reader should be aware that Luzhin's ideas are all a paraphrase and an oversimplification of known writers of the time. Most of these ideas come from a novel by N.B. Chernyshevsky, What Is to Be Done? (or sometimes translated What Should Be Done?). Essentially, Dostoevsky rejected most of the ideas expressed in this novel and, therefore, having Luzhkin repeat these objectionable ideas makes Luzhkin look the more foolish and increases Raskolnikov's dislike of the person.

maestro The word means master in Italian and refers basically to a master of music.

monomaniac Someone who is overwhelmingly possessed by one single idea, such as Ahab's obsession about the white whale in Moby Dick. Raskolnikov's obsession with the murder and blood rouses suspicions in Porfiry during the investigations.

moujiks Most translators use the word "peasants." See Constance Garnett's translation.

"Nihil est" "Nothing is." The name nihilism comes from this; this is an allusion to the negativism of that movement. [Latin]

"No Toulon, no Egypt, no crossing of Mont Blanc" These are some of Napoleon's great feats that characterize him as one of the extraordinary men of the world.

"Ou va-t-elle la vertu nicher" "Where does one go to conceal herself in virtue." [French]

pancakes A translator today would use the Russian word blintzes, which is now a familiar part of English cooking terminology and belongs both to the Russian and the Yiddish cultures.

phalansteries Buildings similar to dormitories or communal apartment living. These were often advocated by some of the socialists.

pood A Russian unit of weight, equal to 36.11 pounds.

"pour vous plaise" "In order to please you." [French]

Pushkin and Turgenev Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin [1799-1837] is considered the father of Russian literature, and his home was outside of St. Petersburg. Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev was a contemporary of Dostoevsky, and his novels were very popular.

Radischev Alexander Radischev was a leading liberal Russian writer who attacked the abuses of the serfdom system and also the judicial system, which allowed men to own other men — that is, serfdom. Raskolnikov considered himself to be aligned with these forward-thinking people.

rouble The main Russian monetary unit. At the time of the novel, the rouble consisted of 100 copeks and was worth approximately 50 cents. Thus when Raskolnikov pawns his watch for 1 1/2 roubles, he received approximately 75 cents.

Rousseau Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote in his famous Confessions (1781-88) "Myself, myself alone; I might not be better, but at least I am different." It is ironic that at the time Raskolnikov is thinking how his theories have set him apart from other men, he would be translating Rousseau.

a Rubinstein A Russian concert pianist (Anton Rubinstein, 1829-94) whose name lends itself to anyone who plays the piano exceptionally well.

Sadovaya Street A street somewhat off the main Hay Market square and parallel to the canal. It was through here that Raskolnikov made his way to the pawnbroker.

samovar A metal urn with a spigot and an internal tube for heating water in making tea: used esp. in Russia.

"the Schiller in you" Schiller is a German romantic poet. His name is attached to things noble, good, and worthwhile. A "Schiller-like" person would never stoop to Svidrigailov's vulgarity.

Schilleresque This refers to the romantic heroes found in the writing of the German poet Schiller who wrote about beautiful sensitive souls.

Schleswig-Holstein Prussia, Denmark, and Austria were fighting a war over this land during the composition of Crime and Punishment. It implies a refusal to give up something of importance.

the shawl dance This dance would be one learned in a boarding school for young ladies, especially those educated in socially desirable "finishing schools." It indicates that Katerina Ivanovna was of a superior class to her husband, Marmeladov.

Siberia Geographically, Siberia is the large frozen land mass in the most northern part of Russia. In common speech, it refers to the infamous prisons of Northern Russia.

Sonya's dress When Sonya appears, she is dressed in a dress of her profession. A prostitute dressed in gaudy finery identifies her profession, thus she looks out of place in this outfit.

"stamped" or "unstamped paper" These terms would roughly be the equivalent of the American "notarized" or not. Raskolnikov's concern is not with a legal matter but instead, with the cost, however minor, of purchasing a stamp to make his declaration official.

street walker A street walker is a prostitute who solicits her customers by walking the streets.

"Tea and old newspapers appeared" In Russia as well as most European nations, a person went into a coffee or tea house to drink and, more importantly, to read the papers that were kept by the establishment.

"Tenez-nous droite! "Let's stand up tall" The upper class in Russia spoke fluent French. Here in this situation, Katerina Ivanovna's use of French is somewhat out of place and affected.

thirty-five roubles The amount of money that Raskolnikov's mother sent him would have been $17.50. It is not a small sum when one considers the spending value at that time.

titular counsellor Marmeladov's title is that of the ninth rank. It is some one above that of custodian but not of a very high rank.

Toulon, Paris, Egypt, Moscow, Wilno Napoleon's decisive actions at these places were actions that confirms Napoleon as an extraordinary man.

tout court A French term used as an apology for a sudden undue familiarity. There is no exact term in English. Porfiry uses it to apologize for using such undue familiarity to Raskolnikov when he calls him "my dear chap" and "old Man" — phrases one would not use in addressing someone at a first meeting.

"umsonst" "in vain." [German]

"une theorie comme une autre" "One theory is like another one." [French]

Vasilyevsky Ostrov This is not important except to show how grounded in reality is this novel. St. Petersburg was built on a marshy land and there are many islands in and around it.

Vauxhall Originally this was a famous restaurant with music dating back to the seventeenth century. It was so popular that the name Vauxhall came to stand for any outdoor restaurant and attached gardens throughout Europe.

vodka Russian alcoholic beverage now very popular in the United States and around the world. It is a clear liquid made essentially from fermented potatoes.

Voznesensky Bridge This is the bridge where Raskolnikov witnesses a woman attempting suicide just as he has been contemplating suicide himself.

Voznesensky Prospect This is the street that leads into a courtyard surrounded by four blank walls where Raskolnikov lifts up a large stone, buries his loot, and replaces the stone.

yellow passport or yellow ticket Prostitutes in Russia and most European countries were required to register with the police and carry a permit, that is, a yellow identity card.

"You are smoking a cigarette" In nineteenth-century Russia it was considered rude, offensive, and disrespectful to smoke indoors in the presence of others and totally taboo for women to smoke in public.

Back to Top

Take the Quiz

After his trial, where is Raskolnikov sent?




Quiz