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Excerpt from CRIME AND PUNISHMENT:

The others present, including the landlord, he regarded with boredom of long habit and with a shade of lofty disdain, as if he considered them too much his inferiors in rank and education to speak to.

What does boredom of long habit mean in the article?

  • This is obviously a translation from the Russian original. Can you provide a reference as to chapter, page and author of translation? It would also help to have the Russian text. In other words, it would help to have the broader context. – Vekzhivi Jun 21 '17 at 14:51
  • It's translated by Jessie Coulson with ISBN 060055161X on chapter 2 page 9. – CYC Jun 21 '17 at 14:57
  • I should have asked this first: Are you asking the author’s intention when he wrote the phrase, or what the phrase might mean in general speech? – Vekzhivi Jun 21 '17 at 15:24
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Different translators can render the same passage differently. Here is this sentence in Russian: На остальных же, бывших в распивочной, не исключая и хозяина, чиновник смотрел как-то привычно и даже со скукой, а вместе с тем и с оттенком некоторого высокомерного пренебрежения, как бы на людей низшего положения и развития, с которыми нечего ему говорить.

http://www.russianlessons.net/ebooks/show/1/1/2/both

Coulsen has taken, as do most translators, some liberties with the original in an attempt to make the translation more readable, i.e. shorter.

“The others present, including the landlord, he regarded with boredom of long habit and with a shade of lofty disdain, as if he considered them too much his inferiors in rank and education to speak to.”

I think his rendition “boredom of long habit,” IS a little awkward.

I found a translation (translator unknown) that gives the following for the same passage: "At the other persons in the room, including the tavern- keeper, the clerk looked as though he were used to their company, and weary of it, showing a shade of condescending contempt for them as persons of station and culture inferior to his own, with whom it would be useless for him to converse." http://www.russianlessons.net/ebooks/show/1/1/2/both

My own translation (more literal, but also not that easy to read) of the sentence: At the rest of the people who were in the tavern, not excepting the tavern-keeper, the retired government official looked somewhat habitually, and even tediously, together with a shade of condescending disdain, as if (looking) at people of lower status and background, with whom there was nothing for him to say.

Note: The person who made such an impression on Raskolnikov is, in the original Russian, a retired chinovnik, that denotes a minor government official in Tsarist Russia. I don’t think clerk is a good translation of this word, since a normal clerk would not necessarily disdain anyone.

So the phrase “boredom of long habit” is really, in my opinion, in Russian: “somewhat habitually, even tediously.” It would mean that the retired official has somewhat of a habit to disdainfully look at these people, whom he considers to be beneath him. He has been there before and they know him and he knows them.

Hope this helps.

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It means that it was in his habit to look at them with boredom. And his habit to look at people with boredom was not new.

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