Added: 11 October 2002
[Games and Quizzes]

The Amazing Dostoevsky Machine

To let the Dostoevsky machine loose on Crime and Punishment, choose new names for the characters below, then choose submit.*

First/Middle, e.g., James Last, e.g., Bloggs
Section 1: The Raskolnikovs
Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov
Avdotya Romanovna
Pulcheria Alexandrovna
Section 2: The Marmeladovs
Semyon Zakharovitch Marmeladov
Katerina Ivanovna
Sofya Semyonovna
Section 3: The Svidrigailovs
Arkady Ivanovitch
Svidrigailov
Marfa Petrovna
Section 4: The old crone and her sister (no family name)
Alyona Ivanovna
Lizaveta Ivanovna
Section 5: Other Characters*

Dmitri Prokofych Razumihin

Porfiry Petrovich

Pyotr Petrovich Luzhin


Ilya Petrovich (Gunpowder)

Nastasya Petrovna

Zossimov


Andrei Semyonovich Lebezyatnikov

Afanasy Ivanovitch Vahrushin

Alexander Grigorievitch Zametov

*For the many other piddly minor characters (e.g., painters, officials, etc.), the Dostoevsky machine merely removes the cumbersome patronymic leaving a pretty easy to remember name.
Dostoevsky, looking a tad dowdy and frustrated in the 1860s.
Dostoevsky today, after his transformation by the Amazing Dostoevsky machine.

Ordinary readers of Dostoevsky frequently complain of headaches, confusion, and a sense of inadequacy. Given the complexity of the Russian naming system, holding onto the names of all the characters is a formidable task.

Russian names are composed of first name, patronymic (from the father's first name), and family name. Formal address requires the use of first name and patronymic; diminutives are commonly used among family and intimate friends; a shortened form of the patronymic (e.g., Romanych instead of Romanovich), used only in speech, also suggests a certain familiarity.

This can all become bloody complicated, in fact, only native Russians are clever enough to handle it. With the Amazing Dostoevsky machine, developed by Bonkworld's dedicated team of software engineers, this problem is solved: simply pick a catchy new name for each character in Crime and Punishment, hit the button, and away you go. The confoundingly similar Porfiry Petrovich and Pyotr Petrovich can be replaced by names like Bob Perkins and Tony. Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov's many nicknames can be condensed into the memorable "Timmy." It's a breeze.

Admittedly, all of the beautiful subtlety of Dostoevsky's half-mad gypsy scholar naming system is lost. (Raskolnikov means "to cleave asunder," after the Raskol'niki sect of Old Believers in the third quarter of 17th century Russia, which rebelled against the government and church. They were schismatics who saw the state and church as state as Anti-Christ and refused to acknowledge its laws. Many fled to Siberia, out of reach of the state.) But really, who gives a shite?

So, on to business. Please fill out a new name for the characters in Crime and Punishment, and let the Amazing Dostoevsky machine do its magic!

Comments

30 November 2008 05:17:37 Marcelina

I'll use this Machine in my master's degree. I'm writting about "Crime and punishment" in mass culture. Maybe you have some suggestion for me?

marcelina.pyka@gmail.com

26 November 2007 07:14:42 roger

This is a great idea. Great work. I'm pleased old Fyodor approved. It may even help with my book, A Gentle Axe, which is set in ST Petersburg and even features Porfiry Petrovich from C&P

25 May 2007 14:11:20 Abby

Thanks Fyodor. You certainly were a bit confusing with all those long names and silly old patronoymics. Glad to have been of help!

24 May 2007 09:57:30 Dostoevsky

A friend suggested I rise from the grave and have a look at what you have done to my masterpiece. Well... I have read the whole thing again and it is much better this way. I don't know what the hell I was thinking.
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