revistas electrónicas de la Universidad de Granada

Raskolnikov’s Return to Nature

John Luke King-Salter


In this paper I suggest a partial reading of Crime and Punishment which draws on the philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. I outline the Rousseauan idea of a “return to nature,” and then apply it to the case of Raskolnikov, as a means of revealing important commonalities between Rousseau’s and Dostoevsky’s thoughts about society. I maintain that a Rousseauan perspective can help us to understand the way in which Crime and Punishment connects with Dostoevsky’s social-philosophical concerns, through outlining the mechanics of how the story of Raskolnikov can be seen as serving Dostoevsky’s attack on Nihilism and illustrating his positive social ideal, the altruistic Christian brotherhood.

Palabras clave

Dostoevsky, Rousseau, society, nature, conscience

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ISSN: 1579-8372 | eISSN: 2255-517X