Wages of Evil
Dostoevsky and Punishment
Imprint: Northwestern University Press
As Dostoevsky attempts to balance the various ethical and cultural imperatives, he displays ambivalence both about punishment and about mercy. This ambivalence, Schur argues, is further complicated by what Dostoevsky sees as the unfathomable quality of the self, which hinders every attempt to match crimes with punishments. The one certainty he holds is that a proper response to wrongdoing must include a concern for the wrongdoer’s moral improvement.
Chapter 6: Approximations of Justice: The Novel in the Courtroom
"More than groundbreaking, the book is a splendid piece of work. Exhaustively researched and lucidly written, it should appeal not only to Russian specialists and literary scholars but to the general reader with any interest in the ethical, psychological, legal, sociological, or criminological aspects of the punishment of those found guilty of crimes." —James P. Scanlan, Slavic Review
"The balance and rigour Schur brings to the subject are to be welcomed . . . Wages of Evil reveals the complexities in Dostoevskii’s position, and the hesitations (a key trope for Schur) and reversals that are apparent as he wrestles with the problem, presenting a picture that is a far cry from the dogmatic Orthodox moralist that sometimes emerges in studies of the author. As much as in its engagement with the specifics of the question of punishment, Schur’s contribution lies in her nuanced approach, and for this she should be applauded." —Modern Language Review
“An excellent study of Dostoevsky’s journalistic and fictional meditations on punishment.” —Aaron Weinacht, The Russian Review