Dostoevsky & His Translators

Crime & Punishment in English Translation

Frederick Whishaw (1885)
Constance Garnett (1914)
David Magarshack (1951)
Princess Alexandra Kropotkin (1953)
Jessie Coulson (1953)
Michael Scammell (1963)
Sidney Monas (1968)
Julius Katzer (1985)
David McDuff (1991)
Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (1992)
Oliver Ready (2014)
Sara Young (2017)

 Celebrating David Magarshack

a UCL Alumni

David Magarshack

Crime and Punishment, translated with an introduction by David Magarshack (First edition, 1951, Penguin Classics. no. 23.) (Paperback)

” David Magarshack’s translation of Crime and Punishment remains the best in English. I remember the version I first read decades ago as a boy had a red cover – seeing the red cover online prompted me to order it hoping it was the same version. It was and it reads just as lucidly as 30 years ago – a timeless masterpiece.” Review by Frank Zayn

David Magarshack (23 December 1899 – 26 October 1977) was a British translator and biographer of Russian authors, best known for his translations of Dostoevsky. Magarshack was born in Riga, in present-day Latvia (Riga was then part of Russia), travelled to Britain in 1920 and became naturalised in 1931. After graduating from University College London in English Language and Literature, he worked in Fleet Street and published a number of novels. He was the biographer of Anton Chekhov (1952, 1955 (US)), Nikolai Gogol (1957), Dostoevsky (1962), Alexander Pushkin (1967), Konstantin Stanislavski (1950, 1976) and Ivan Turgenev (1954). Magarshack died in London in 1977.


This collection, unique to the Modern Library, gathers seven of Dostoevsky’s key works and shows him to be equally adept at the short story as with the novel. Exploring many of the same themes as in his longer works, these small masterpieces move from the tender and romantic White Nights, an archetypal nineteenth-century morality tale of pathos and loss, to the famous Notes from the Underground, a story of guilt, ineffectiveness, and uncompromising cynicism, and the first major work of existential literature. Among Dostoevsky’s prototypical characters is Yemelyan in The Honest Thief, whose tragedy turns on an inability to resist crime. Presented in chronological order, in David Magarshack’s celebrated translation, this is the definitive edition of Dostoevsky’s best stories.