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...with an axe.
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deviation in storage by Pugletz


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Hi all!  Thanks for sticking with me through a rather sparse first part of Raskolnikov week, more to come this week!  In the meantime I thought I'd re-post a little treatise of C&P geekery that I wrote on Tumblr a while back in response to a question which I get a lot, namely:

Q: Why do you draw Raskolnikov as a blond?

A:  (Before I get into this, please note:  I do not in any way speak Russian!  The following explanation came from some very helpful Russian speakers I've met online/ a lot of googling.  I know a couple of you here on DA are native speakers, so please feel free to weigh in/ correct me!)

The word Dostoevsky uses to describe Raskolnikov’s hair in the original Russian version of Crime and Punishment is “темно-рус” (“tyemno-rus”).  Темно translates to “dark” and рус (русый in its masculine form) means a color in between brown and blond, something like light-brown or dark-blond.  This makes things a bit complicated for the translators, since Dostoevsky is basically saying “dark dark-blond” or “dark light-brown.”  It seems like the term is a bit subjective even in the original Russian (as most hair colors are in any language); I came up with a whole range of shades when I ran a search for it:


Now here’s where it gets confusing!  English translators can’t seem to agree what to do with the phrase “темно-рус”, and there have been many different Crime and Punishment translations over the years.  Here’s a sampling for you:

  • “He was, by the way, exceptionally handsome, above the average in height, slim, well-built, with beautiful dark eyes and dark brown hair.”  Constance Garnett (1914)
  • "(He was, by the way, a strikingly handsome young man, with fine dark eyes, brown hair, and a slender well-knit figure, taller than the average.)”  Jessie Coulson (1953)
  • He was, incidentally, a remarkably good-looking young man, above average in height, slender and well built, with beautiful dark eyes and darkish blond hair.  Sidney Monas (1968)
  • “It may be worth observing that he was remarkably handsome, with beautiful dark eyes and dark, chestnut-coloured hair; he was taller than average, slim and well-built.”  David McDuff (1991)
  •  “Incidentally, he was remarkably good-looking, taller than average, slender and trim, with beautiful dark eyes and dark blond hair.”  Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (1992)

There you have it, no two English translations the same!  There are more English translations than this but Garnett, McDuff and Pevear/ Volokhonsky are the most popular versions out there.  (I’m a Pevear/ Volokhonsky fan myself, that’s the version I read.)  I’ve even had one person tell me their translation said Rodya was dark red-haired. 

So why did I pick blond?  Maybe it was because my translation called him “dark-blond”, but if you want the really honest answer, I think I just kind of felt like drawing him that way since I didn’t do fanart of many other blond characters at the time, and it stuck!  In retrospect I do think he’s much more of a dark-haired personality, that probably would have worked better for his design.

In the end, there are a lot of different readers picturing Raskolnikov’s hair in a lot of different shades.  The original phrasing seems a bit ambiguous anyway, so as far as I’m concerned we’re all right!  I think we can all agree that the important thing here is that the translators are in consensus about the “remarkably handsome” part ;)

Ask Raskolnikov! (comment below) 

4 deviants said Questions of course!
No deviants said Ask him what?


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Qinji Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2014  Student General Artist
thanks for the favorite! I am very grateful to you: 3
TheOtherKilroy Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Would you be interested in doing point commissions? I don't have a PayPal account. :)
theTieDyeCloak Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2014
Really sorry but I don't usually take points- However!  If you ever do want to commission something, you don't need a PayPal account to use PayPal; it takes credit and debit as well (and it's safe to use because I never see anyone's credit info.)
TheOtherKilroy Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I see! Well, I will see what I can do sometime in the future then. :)
Sasha-Raskolnikova Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Dear, do you have a Tumblr account? :)
theTieDyeCloak Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014
Sasha-Raskolnikova Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I've got it at last! :heart: :woohoo:
theTieDyeCloak Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2014
Sweet!! :aww:
admhire Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
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