The Idiot

The Idiot


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The Idiot is a novel by the 19th-century Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky. It was first published serially in the journal The Russian Messenger in 1868–69.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781987076592
Publisher: Barnes & Noble Press
Publication date: 05/22/2019
Pages: 370
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.77(d)

About the Author

Few authors have been as personally familiar with desperation as Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881), and none have been so adept at describing it. His harrowing experiences in Russian prisons, combined with a profound religious philosophy, formed the basis for his greatest books: Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, The Possessed, and The Brothers Karamazov. When Dostoevsky died in 1881, he left a legacy of masterful novels that immortalized him as a giant of Russian literature.

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The Idiot 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
stillbeing on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have a soft spot for Dostoyevsky, and I really liked this one. By the end, I felt like I knew the characters personally. I won't spoil it, but I rather liked the twist at the end, though I felt more could have been made of it and the simple "report like" conclusion left me feeling a little unsatisfied given how close the reader becomes to the characters. That said, I still really liked it!
Grendelschoice on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I always wanted to read one of "the classics" of Russian literature. I was recuperating from surgery and had a lot of time on my hands to do nothing but read, and this book was perfect. What a sad, beautiful story about a man too kind and good to weather the cynicism of the world around him. The grace of Dostoevsky's prose is simply breathtaking.
AshRyan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The more I read and re-read of Dostoevsky, the more I am forced to conclude that he was every bit as medieval philosophically as Tolstoy, at least epistemologically. The most fundamental theme of all of his major works that I've read, including Notes from Underground, Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and even The Brothers Karamazov (though in a much more subtle and sophisticated form) is that reason and the intellect are corrupting and one should instead be guided by faith and feelings. But Dostoevsky is easier to stomach because his feelings are relatively humanitarian, compared to Tolstoy's obscene misanthropy and misogyny. And for an artistic vision of why Christian morality is utterly impracticable, this is probably the greatest novel ever written...Christlike Prince Myshkin's fate is as inevitable as it is horrifying.
jddunn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The life and times of the Christlike epileptic, Prince Myshkin. This was the one major Dostoevsky I had yet to read. It¿s proving to be a suprisingly hilarious dark comedy so far, thought that¿s by no means all it is. I do think it¿s the worst of his big four novels though. Myshkin was his attempt at a perfectly good man, and much like with the Alyosha/Zossima attempted redemption in Karamazov, it comes off as less than convincing compared to the preponderance of the very non-Christlike stuff and overpowering general doubt that packs his writing(and makes it so compelling.)
charlie68 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A really thinking book, and a heart-breaking one at the end. Tremendous plotting makes the book hard to put down. Crime and Punishment is an excellent book and although it deals more blood and guts issues The Idiot is a deeper, subtler probing into the human character.
kdavidw on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My second book by Dostoevsky. It's about the character of a man named Prince Myshkin and how he affects those around him. Although most people consider him an idiot because of his simplicity, he abounds in humility and selfless love that people can't help but be attracted to.
SaraPrindiville on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not a typical character- one who you often feel ashamed or embarrassed for. Interesting parallels to the author's life. Prison- epilepsy- are prevalent topics. Distracting change of tone at the end of the book.
Arctic-Stranger on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In this book Dostoyevsky does what few other novelist have done successfully--he makes a very good man interesting. It is easy to make evil interesting. But to make good interesting--that is an accomplishment. Prince Myshkin arrrives from Switzerland, where he was undergoing "medical" treatment. (We would call it psychiatric treatment today.) On the train his destiny is set when he meets Rogozhin who becomes first his friend, then his rival in love. They both love Nastasya Filippovna, although the Prince wants his love to save her, and Rogozhin wants to possess her. In the end, Rogozhin ends up killing Fillippovna. Dostoyevsky is throwing a "positively good man" (his phrase for Prince Myshkin) into the ebb and flow of St. Petersburg social life, and the result is not pretty. He is not crucified, but he might as well be by the end of the book. The superficial life of the characters is exposed by the Prince, but in a way that drives home their rational for their lives. The hard part about the book is that we can easily recognize ourselves in its pages, and often NOT in the person of Myshkin. This is a MUST READ for any serious reader.
mattviews on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Idiot is Dostoevsky's second novel. The book is a hybrid of biographical sketches and anecdotes of the writer. The protagonist, Prince Myshkin, bears traces of his creator in his suffering of epilepsy. Dostoevsky often deviates from the main plot and voices his perspectives on pain, suffering, capital punishment, and moral goodness. The notion of suffering incessantly sifts through the novel as if true suffering plays a key role in purifying the protagonist and granting him the overriding power to the [evil] society in which he seeks to gain acceptance. However excruciating and painful it might be, physical suffering and bodily agony would distract the mind from spiritual suffering. That is, the physical aching deprives functioning of mental thinking. The worst suffering, as Prince Myshkin contemplates, are the knowledge and the inevitable truth of one's imminent death, the invincible parting of soul with the body. Being mindful of one's death would only perpetuate suffering. Readers should grip this idea and bear in mind.Morally upright, magnanimous, forgiving, humble, loving, honest, virtuous and mindful of others needs, Prince Myshkin embodies all human virtue and goodness. He is almost like God, or perfecting to be like God. He is a man capable of an ideal. He is stuck and torn between the love of Aglaia and Natasya upon his return to Russia from medical treatment in Switzerland. Myshkin's self-stigmatizing, humble, and diffident element often agitated Aglaia whose love for him manifests to the full in her passionate recital of a poor knight poem. She shows desire to marry him despite the wonted taunting. She assures that Myshkin is more honorable than anybody is and nobody is worth his little finger let alone his heart and soul.Out of volition and obligation, Myshkin believes he is responsible to rescue the vile, [evil] Natasya from her deranged mental state. The cause of his love for her was more than just the bewitching, demonical beauty: it is rather eagerness on Myshkin's part to be of service to his country after being abroad. He has long set an ideal and having faith in such ideal empowers him to give up his life blindly to it. Though Natasya is surprised at Myshkin's discerning words that she ought to be ashamed and that she is not what she pretends to be, she tortures herself by not falling in love with him lest to disgrace and ruin his life.In her importunate letters to Aglaia, Natasya implored and coaxed her to marry Myshkin as she did not wish to besmirch him. But destiny plays a cruel joke on them. Myshkin bears such tender spot for the afflicted, disgraced women in Natasya. However pertinacious not to love him, Natasya acknowledges his irresistible impact on her and regards him as the first and only man she has met in her whole life that she has believed in as a sincere friend. When Aglaia accuses her being a manipulator, Natasya falls down on her knees and thwarts Myshkin from leaving, who then comforts her and agrees to marry her.Many readers, myself included, would mull at the meaning of the title. It would be impossible to do Myshkin justice by abasing him as an idiot. A simpleton at best? Myshkin is looked upon as an idiot (from Greek meaning private and ignorant) for his not being compromised with the vanity, vices, [evilness], mendacity, and avarice of a vain society. Unyielding as he might be, it is almost like naivete that Myshkin always resolves to be courteous, honest, and trustful with everyone. Such naivete somehow gives way to philosophical outlook and idealism and thus ennobled him. Others harbor the effrontery to inveigle him, to launch a calumny against him in order to usurp his fortune. Maybe his ignorance of the vile and magnanimity for others' wrongdoings create in him an idiot (a private person).The Idiot, as cumbersome and lengthy as it seems, is rather a simple novel in plot. Dostoevsky often deviates from the main plot to reflect (and to reiterate) his philosophy through the prince
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an automated review of the novel the idiot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He walks in. He ran a hand through his short brown hair.
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martyneuberger More than 1 year ago
Like all his works, this one is razor sharp at dissecting human hardships in a heavy, dark and unforgiving environment. Although it can depress you at times, it never leaves you hopeless. Human spirit is a trademark of all his stories, and in one form or another always seems to find solace by story's end.
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CR-Buell More than 1 year ago
The Idiot is one of the greatest novels ever written, and I highly recommend everyone read it. However, you should be careful of which translation you read. DO NOT read the Constance Garnett translation, of this or any other book. Garnett is known to have taken substantial liberties with both the text and tone of all the novels she translated. Instead I recommend either the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation, or the Carlisle translation, links to which I have posted in the sidebar.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This is great intellectual work that we should to take seriously in general, a book to read with a serious mindset. Then you will understand the unique nature of Russia which our western minds have difficulties to comprehend. This strange land called Russia that has a bigger soul than any other is explored here in this story in a way that only Dostoyevsky unveils. Read it and you will finish it enriched. The Idiot is a thoroughly enjoyable novel of ideas that explores the nature of man and society and gives you a better idea of man and his actions. You shouldn't find it strange that the characters are philosophical, impulsive, introspective, energetic, colorful, and extreme in their passions. That is Russia, a land of extremes. This book is likely to impact you. It is one of the few of our times.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In order to completely enjoy 'The Idiot', you need two things: patience and more patience! Although the reading wasn't particularly difficult, it is dense, wordy prose that totally immerses you into the setting. Like 'Crime and Punishment', the action in 'The Idiot' is kept to a minimum in lieu of deep, psychological reflection. This technique makes the journey through the 600+ pages both compelling and worthwhile. It will change the way you view the human condition. Some advice: you may want to 'warm up' to this book by reading 'Notes from Underground' and 'Crime and Punishment' first to get a sense of Dostoevsky's style.