Hawthorne and Dostoyevsky are united not only by the common subject of crime and punishment but also by their preoccupation the operation of what both regarded as “moral law.” In the absence of traditional religious belief, moral law was the writers’ conduit to universal order and to God. Yet what moral law was—real or socially conditioned, naturalistic or supernatural—was a mystery to them and became more so as they explored how the mind operated. The essay focuses on three texts—Crime and Punishment, The Scarlet Letter, and The Marble Faun —but it is not a traditional critical reading; it is a reflection on the vision of the writers as they trace their subject from the conscious and unconscious determinants of crime through its psychological effects to its endpoint in punishment and whatever renewal may or may not lie beyond.


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pp. 99-131
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