Quick Dostoyevsky Humor

28 Aug

Boy, wasn’t this such a humorous novel?   I found myself just doubling over belly laughing in bed every night, causing my husband to wonder what in the world was so funny.  Dostoyevsky was just a comedian at heart.
Not so much.


But, hey, I did find a few funny lines here and there.   Did you?   Let me share a few of my favorites.   It won’t be long.  They are very quick.
1.  Amalia Ivanovna mentions that “young ladies must not novels at night read.”   (Part IV, Chapter 5)   This isn’t exactly funny in itself, but it made me chuckle because that is when I do most of MY reading, because there isn’t much other time during my day.   Later in the paragraph, Katerina Ivanovna, referring back to this says that “novel-reading was simply rudeness.”   Susan Wise Bauer, what say you?

2.  I LOVED when Porfiry Petrovich is conversing with Raskolnikov trying to subtly get him to confess, and he mentions that if by chance anything were to happen, if he might take a notion to “put an end to the business” in some way (suicide), “do leave a brief but precise note, only two lines, and mention the stone.”   Then he coolly bid Rascal goodnight.   The nerve!  It cracked me up.

3.   Then there was Svidrigailov and Rascal in the bar with Katia, who drank off her glass of wine, “as women do, without putting it down, in twenty gulps…”   What?   I do like my occasional glass of red, and I don’t think I’ve ever downed one in twenty gulps without putting it down.  Was this a historical characteristic of women imbibing?   It made me chuckle.


OK, so looking back on my list of “smiley faces” in the margins, they really aren’t all that funny.   Why did I find them so funny in the first place?  Perhaps because they were surrounded with psychological disorders, downtrodden souls, vanity, brutality and death?   I must have been driven to find SOMETHING I could at least smile at.    Any other humorous moments you picked up?  I’d love a few more smiles to go along with this one.



Posted by on August 28, 2012 in Crime and Punishment


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6 responses to “Quick Dostoyevsky Humor

  1. Ruth Lopez

    August 29, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Sorry, Jeannette. I just cannot find any smiley faces in my copy. I’ll look again, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t see any.

    • Ruth Lopez

      August 29, 2012 at 7:17 pm

      OK, I did find two “HA!”‘s But they also aren’t hysterical. One was when Razumikhin told Raskolnikov he was made of spermaceti ointment, which I would have known nothing of had I not read MD; and the other was when Dunia mentioned that Luzhin was kind enough to visit (Rask), and Rask responded that he was so kind, he promised to throw (Luzhin) down the stairs…I guess I found his sarcasm funny. Ah! But that’s it so far. Still have two more parts to read.

      • Christine

        August 30, 2012 at 7:06 am

        I saw the spermaceti ointment too!

  2. Jeannette

    August 29, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    Not bad, not bad. I do remember that part about throwing Luzhin down the stairs, now that you mention it. Anyone else?

  3. odiousghost

    September 15, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    I like the image of Raskolnikov sticking his tongue out at the guy (Zamyotov?) in the Crystal Palace bar.

  4. Mari

    August 23, 2014 at 12:26 am

    Svidrigailov and Semyon Marmeladov are both VERY funny characters. Haha.


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