Dr. Susanne Rinner
Associate Professor of German Studies, Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
Crime and Punishment
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
It might seem odd that a scholar of German literature and culture does not present a German book to be one of the influential books in her career. Nevertheless, the novel that moved me most when I started reading fiction ferociously in high school was Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The story and the questions it raises kept me awake at night and preoccupied during the day. Its broad concern with morality and ethics triggered my interest in questions of the literary representation of philosophy, the law, and the challenges and opportunities of a good life. Hence, the novel marks the beginning of my career in reading, and its characters and their dilemmas, hopes, and dreams have accompanied me ever since.