To crush, to annihilate a man utterly, to inflict on him the most terrible punishment so that the most ferocious murderer would shudder at it beforehand, one need only give him work of an absolutely, completely useless and irrational character.

Fyodor Dostoevsky

House of the Dead

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Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. House of the Dead. Translated by Constance Garnett. 1862. Part 1, Ch. 1.