Much more than just a tale of homicide, Crime and Punishment is a stunning philosophical novel about the nature of guilt and redemption. An impoverished ex-student, Raskolnikov, kills an old pawnbroker and her sister. But money alone is not his motive—and eventually Raskolnikov is compelled to face the forces both inside and out that have led him to murder. His struggle with himself and those around him symbolizes the battle of the individual against society, radicalism against tradition, and ultimately the will of man against the mysteries of divine providence. Compelling, rewarding, and richly layered, Crime and Punishment has invited analysis and controversy for nearly a century and a half. It was a sensation in its day, and its themes, methods and characterisation have left an indelible stamp on world literature.
A novella, Heart of Darkness is Joseph Conrad's most famous work and a foundational text on the subject of colonialism. Heart of Darkness is based in part on a trip that Conrad took through modern-day Congo during his years as a sailor. He captained a ship that sailed down the Congo River. The story tells of Charles Marlow, an Englishman who took a foreign assignment from a Belgian trading company as a ferry-boat captain in Africa. Heart of Darkness exposes the myth behind colonization while exploring the three levels of darkness that the protagonist, Marlow, encounters--the darkness of the Congo wilderness, the darkness of the European's cruel treatment of the natives, and the unfathomable darkness within every human being for committing heinous acts of evil.