The Experience of Time in Crime and Punishment

Leslie A. Johnson

In Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky is very attentive to his characters' experience of time. This study elaborates this explicit psychological information into a useful textual (rather than extra-textual) criterion for interpreting the deepest layers of meaning in the novel: those ontological and religious presuppositions upon which the action turns and which it is designed to demonstrate. The study includes discussions of time and the etiology of evil; Raskolnikov's messianic crime; legal injustice in the conflict between Porfiry and Raskolnikov; Svidrigaylov's eschatological predicament; and the central role of Lizaveta in the novel.