In this course, we are going to take our time to explore a single famous Russian novel, Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, centered around a law school dropout struggling with poverty while his mental health deteriorates. The novel follows its protagonist as he ponders and plots “the perfect crime” in the slums of Russia’s 19th century imperial capital; at the same time, his ethical theories are refracted in a fascinating cast of characters that includes a charismatic police detective, a deeply religious sex worker, and a sinister libertine looking for redemption. We will strive to learn about the work's historical, political, and cultural contexts, to understand how they are different from our own, and, perhaps, to discover uncanny similarities. We will also develop awareness of the challenges of reading a translated work. Finally, we will ponder the philosophical questions posed by this novel, part of a trend that an eminent scholar once named "novels of ideas", as it delves into such issues as free will, utilitarianism, and reconciling the existence of God with evil and human suffering. This course has no prerequisites and may be taken as a stimulating foray into a new literary field, or it may serve as a supplement to the program’s other 19th century literature offerings. This course is taught in English and has no prerequisites. No knowledge of Russian is required.