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The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky
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The Idiot (1869)

by Fyodor Dostoevsky

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English (102)  Dutch (6)  Italian (3)  French (2)  Portuguese (2)  Swedish (2)  German (2)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (122)
Showing 1-5 of 102 (next | show all)
I'd like to suggest that reading choice, at all ages, resembles a vortex. One's favourite books and authors swirl round, and are re-read (I've always been a great re-reader). New books are sucked in to join the vortex, and some of the favourites gradually sink down, just occasionally bobbing back up, possibly to be re-read for the sake of nostalgia. The core of the reading remains books I've enjoyed, or authors I've enjoyed, or books recommended as being not dissimilar to those I've enjoyed, but actual content of the core changes over time, as new interests or authors join in the swirl, often inspired by wanting to read more widely on topics raised by the old favourites. For me that would be Shakespeare. I re-read The Idiot for the first time recently and formed a new and rather confused opinion of the book and the Prince. The tremendous passages and themes - mortality, redemption - had a much greater impact on me this time around. At the same time, the more hysterically written sections had a greater impact too. My brain started to develop a tic from all the exclamation marks and superfluous ellipses and melodramatic plot twists. The big surprise came with the dénouement. After having first read it, I'd been catching up on my Shakespeare. When I got to the grand finale of "The Idiot" this time, I realised: 'It's bloody Othello.' The end of Othello is always heart-searing. It makes my eyes fill every time. It is truly dramatic. By comparison, the end of "The Idiot" now seems hysterically melodramatic and has no emotional effect on me at all. Unless wanting to take Prince Myshkin by the shoulders to give him a damned good shaking counts as emotional effect.

All to the good, of course. Every time we re-read one book, we're newly informed by the hundreds of other books we've read in the meantime. So I already look forward to re-rereading "The Idiot" to see what I make of it next time. ( )
  antao | Sep 22, 2018 |
This one seems trite today. When I read it it shook me.
At least it did not contain the lengthy moralising pseudo-philosophical theological emotional bulshitting like in The Bros.
For a long time I imagined myself to be Myshkin. Nowadays I find this character much more repulsive than Rogozhin. Even Ganya.
But what do I know. Can a 33-y.o. man judge about a book he read when he was 18?

The best thing about this book for me is probably the memory of my father explaining to me that "idiot" is not always a curse, it denotes a man who is apart, who is alienated and does not fit into the society. ( )
  alik-fuchs | Apr 27, 2018 |
I'd mentioned earlier I was super loving this book, but in the end it didn't top Demons (it'd seemed to be heading there for the first half or so). But naturally, still a very worthwhile read - it is Dostoevsky after all! I do wish it hadn't gone so gloomy in the later part, I was so enjoying the lightheartedness of the first half or so, constantly smiling and even laughing aloud a bunch. It still had its moments later, of course, but it got much weightier with much less of the lightness as time went on.

Every morning the same bright sun rises; every morning there is a rainbow over the waterfall; every evening the snowy peak of the highest mountain there in the distance on heaven's very edge is bathed in purple iridescence; every tiny mosquito, which buzzes around him in the warm ray of the sun, is part of the glorious ensemble, knows its place, is sure of it and is unspeakably happy; every blade of grass grows and is happy. And all things have their appointed path, and all things can find their way along that path, they go with a song and they come with a song; he alone knows nought, understands nought, neither people, nor sounds; a stranger to all, an alien, a reject.

The book is really something, though. It kind of defies simple explanation. Dostoevsky said "the main aim of the novel is to depict a wholly virtuous man. There's nothing more difficult in the world," and noted that the only ones who come close are Don Quixote and Mr Pickwick, and that it is the combination of their ridiculousness and goodness that makes them so sympathetic to readers. This is the path he set out to follow, entirely in his own way. Avsey notes in his extra material at the end, "Dostoevsky revels in peopling his novels with every kind of oddball imaginable. He may be accused of having taken the reader into a lunatic asylum, but never into a museum of waxworks. And in the treatment of them he is loving and compassionate throughout, or he would not have devoted so much attention to those that are spiritually and mentally unbalanced." This novel, in particular, really is peopled with every sort of personality, lively and evocative and extreme, and you really can't help but love them, or hate them, or pity them ...or all the above.

Definitely worth a gander, especially if you've read & enjoyed Dostoevsky already. ( )
  .Monkey. | Feb 9, 2018 |
Dostoyevsky is an amazing author; however, this one is not his best. Read [Crime and Punishment] or [Notes from the Underground] instead. ( )
  nlgeorge | Jan 26, 2018 |
Here's a link to a dramatisation of The Idiot It's in Russian with English subtitles.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VG9WwIkIBD0&list=PL6kjaCfklY_vymfRYL8IcGAJLowXx850A ( )
This review has been flagged by multiple users as abuse of the terms of service and is no longer displayed (show).
  ReneePaule | Jan 23, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 102 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (296 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dostoevsky, Fyodorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Avsey, IgnatTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carlisle, HenryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carlisle, OlgaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dahl, StaffanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eichenberg, FritzIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frank, JosephIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garnett, ConstanceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Geier, SwetlanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hill, JamesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kjetsaa, GeirTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuukasjärvi, OlliTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Laín Entralgo, JoséTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Magarshack, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manger, HermienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martin, Eva M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pevear, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomson, J.Jac.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Timmer, Charles B.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Volokhonsky, LarissaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Witt, SusannaForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Yarmolinksy, AvrahmIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Towards the end of November, during a warm spell, at around nine o'clock in the morning, a train of the Petersburg-Warsaw line was approaching Petersburg at full steam.
At nine o'clock in the morning, towards the end of November, the Warsaw train was approaching Petersburg at full speed. It was thawing, and so damp and foggy that it was difficult to distinguish anything ten paces from the line to right or left of the carriage windows. Some of the passengers were returning from abroad, but the third-class compartments were most crowded, chiefly with people of humble rank, who had come a shorter distance on business. All of course were tired and shivering, their eyes were heavy after the night's journey, and all their faces were pale and yellow to match the fog. [Trans. Constance Garnett]
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
After his great portrayal of a guilty man in Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky set out in The Idiot to portray a man of pure innocence. The twenty-six-year-old Prince Myshkin, following a stay of several years in a Swiss sanatorium, returns to Russia to collect an inheritance and “be among people.” Even before he reaches home he meets the dark Rogozhin, a rich merchant’s son whose obsession with the beautiful Nastasya Filippovna eventually draws all three of them into a tragic denouement. In Petersburg the prince finds himself a stranger in a society obsessed with money, power, and manipulation. Scandal escalates to murder as Dostoevsky traces the surprising effect of this “positively beautiful man” on the people around him, leading to a final scene that is one of the most powerful in all of world literature.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375702245, Paperback)

Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky’s masterful translation of The Idiot is destined to stand with their versions of Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, and Demons as the definitive Dostoevsky in English.

After his great portrayal of a guilty man in Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky set out in The Idiot to portray a man of pure innocence. The twenty-six-year-old Prince Myshkin, following a stay of several years in a Swiss sanatorium, returns to Russia to collect an inheritance and “be among people.” Even before he reaches home he meets the dark Rogozhin, a rich merchant’s son whose obsession with the beautiful Nastasya Filippovna eventually draws all three of them into a tragic denouement. In Petersburg the prince finds himself a stranger in a society obsessed with money, power, and manipulation. Scandal escalates to murder as Dostoevsky traces the surprising effect of this “positively beautiful man” on the people around him, leading to a final scene that is one of the most powerful in all of world literature.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:51 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

Twenty-six-year-old Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin returns to Russia after spending several years at a Swiss sanatorium. Scorned by the society of St. Petersburgh for his idiocy, generosity and innocence, he finds himself at the centre of a struggle between a beautiful kept woman and a gorgeous, virtuous girl, both of whom win his affection. Unfortunately, Myshkin's very goodness seems to precipitate disaster, leaving the impression that, in a world obsessed with money, power, and sexual conquest, a sanatorium may be the only place for a saint. --wikipedia.com… (more)

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Legacy Library: Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014044792X, 0451531523

Urban Romantics

An edition of this book was published by Urban Romantics.

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Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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