A superb new translation of The Idiot reveals some unexpected facets of Dostoevsky’s hero, AS Byatt finds. The The Idiot characters covered include: Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin immensely kind, which leads most characters in the novel to consider him an ” idiot. From a general summary to chapter summaries to explanations of famous quotes , the SparkNotes The Idiot Study Guide has everything you need to ace quizzes.

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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return dostojevski Book Page. Preview — The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

Prince of fools

Returning to Russia from a sanitarium in Switzerland, the Christ-like epileptic Prince Myshkin finds himself enmeshed in a tangle of love, torn between two women—the notorious kept woman Nastasya and the pure Aglaia—both involved, in turn, with the corrupt, money-hungry Ganya.

Paperbackpages. Published April 8th by Modern Library first published Prince MyshkinNastasya FilippovnaRogozhin. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

To ask other readers questions about The Idiotplease sign up. I didn’t like Crime and Punishment. Should I read this? Austin Bruce This book is very different from Crime and Punishment if only for reason that the protagonist is unique and different in character from other …more This book is very different from Crime and Punishment if only for reason that the protagonist is unique and different in character from other Dostoyevsky works.

I do feel sorry for you though. When does the dpstojevskij start to get really interesting? Pat Turman Depends on what you mean by interesting. If by interesting idipt mean a conventional narrative, then never. There’s not much of a plot here. From what I …more Depends on what you mean by interesting. From what I gather, Dostoevsky’s goal was to use the idiot character the prince to hold a mirror dostojevskiij to Russian society in the 19th century.

But I still enjoyed it, even if I didn’t get Dostoevsky’s underlying purpose a lot of the time. I enjoyed it mainly because I love Dostoevsky’s sensibility. His blend of Christian optimism on the one hand combined with nihilistic fatalism on udiot other speaks to me in a way no other writer ever has and in a way that feels very contemporary and relevant still.

The light and the dark See all 20 questions about The Idiot…. Lists with This Book. How do I review a Russian literature classic? Better yet, how do I review a Russian literature classic without dotsojevskij like a total dumbass? First I suppose a short plot synopsis should be in order: The Idiot portrays young, childlike Prince Myshkin, who returns to his native Russia to seek out distant relatives after he has spent several years in a Swiss sanatorium.

While on the train to Russia, he meets and befriends a man of dubious character called Rogozhin. Rogozhin is unhealthily obsessed with the mysterious beauty, Nastasya Filippovna to the point where the reader just knows nothing good will come of it.

Review: The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky | Books | The Guardian

Of course the prince gets caught up with Rogozhin, Filippovna, and the society around them. And what a money-hungry, power-hungry, cold and manipulative society it is. I admit that in the beginning and throughout much of the novel I felt intensely protective of Prince Myshkin.


I got pissed off when people would laugh at diiot or call him an idiot. Then towards idit end of the novel, I even ended up calling him an idiot a few times. Now here is where my thought process starts to fall apart. My favorite character was Aglaya Ivanovna. She was so conflicted with regard to her feelings about the prince and loved him in spite of herself.

I had mixed feelings toward Ganya.

I mostly disliked him, but I grew to like him more towards the end. The entire novel was much like a soap dostokevskij, but a good soap opera, if that makes sense. I wanted to write about the symbolism of the Holbein painting and how I love that in both Dostoevsky books I’ve read he references dreams the characters have, but I just have too many questions and not enough answers.

Instead I’ll just say that it was truly an excellent read and definitely worth your time. View all 38 comments. If Raskolnikov was the charismatic murderer whose side I took despite myself when he killed an old woman out of greed and broke down psychologically afterwards, Prince Myshkin is the supposedly good, childlike Christ figure whom I failed to like at all.

Just do make it clear from the beginning: I liked the novel just as much as Crime and Punishment and Notes from Undergroundand I found it just as compulsively readable.

The cast of characters is magnificent. My sole problem is the character of If Raskolnikov was the charismatic murderer whose side I took despite myself when he killed an old woman out of greed and broke down psychologically afterwards, Prince Myshkin is the supposedly good, childlike Christ figure whom I failed to like at all. My sole problem is the character of Myshkin. We are not a likely pair to hit it off, of course.

He is a religious fanatic, whose conviction is so narrow-minded that he hates other variations of Christian dogma even more than atheists: Atheism only preaches a negation, but Catholicism goes further: It preaches the Antichrist, I declare it does, Dostojevskj assure you it does! He is a Russian nationalist, believing in expanding Russian dogma to the West: But I dosfojevskij give him a pass on that one, knowing the historical framework in which it was uttered.

He is proud of his lack of education, and does absolutely nothing to enhance his own understanding, despite having leisure to spend all day studying. I believe in lifelong learning to develop as a human being. But I will give him a pass on that one, knowing he suffers from epilepsy and maybe from other conditions as well, which might make learning impossible for him. He is an elitist, openly rejecting equality and democracy in favour of his own, idle class: I speak to save us all, that our class may not be dostonevskij in vain; in darkness, without realising anything, abusing everything, and losing everything.

Why disappear and make way for others when we might remain in advance and be the leaders?

He is utterly afraid of female sexuality and almost pathological in his attempt to ignore the fact that it exists, admiring childlike behaviour and the inexperienced beauty of virgins. That is too much. His social ineptitude, his lack of imagination, his literal-mindedness, his prejudices – all of that might be fitting the time and place where he lives, but it is not objectively good.


Even Raskolnikov, poor, and under supreme stress, was able to spontaneously give his last money to a desperate family to finance a funeral. Myshkin does nothing helpful with his fortune, which conveniently fell into his over-privileged lap. He uses the money to cruise in the Russian upper class society and to mingle with distinguished families. Instead, he gives credit to whoever happens to be in the room with him at the moment, without engaging or giving any active help, and he changes his mind when another person steps into the room.

Since when is cluelessness a virtue?

And what if he is not an idiot? If you for one second step out of that thought pattern, you can also call his change of mind hypocrisy, or opportunism, or fear of conflict, or flattery. Some might call it Christian meekness.

I call it condescension. Myshkin is incredibly one-dimensional in his value system, fearing sexuality and human interaction. If I could see in Myshkin a person who is on the autistic spectrum, I would feel compassion for him and be frustrated that idipt community is not capable of helping him communicate according to his abilities.

Under no circumstances am I to forget that Dostoyevsky truly saw in Myshkin a Christlike figure, and that he himself was committed to orthodox Christian dogma to the point of writing in a letter in Dostoyevsky, the brilliant realist writer, writes a story containing the truth of social life as he has accurately observed it, and his Christ is moping around on the fringes, causing iviot rather than offering ethical guidelines.

Odstojevskij is absolutely passive, incapable of one single motivated, proactive good deed.

Only criminals and ignorant peasants invoke the name of Christ in the novel. The educated people with whom Myshkin mingles are concerned with their own nervous modernity. They act like neglected children, drawing negative attention to themselves to make the God -father ddostojevskij notice them.

But he remains silent, ignoring even his most cherished child, the one he sacrificed for all the others, – Christ. The characters argue and discuss their respective positions on philosophy dostojevekij religion throughout the long digressive plot, and Myshkin mourns earlier times when people were of a simpler mind: Even the idiotic Myshkin understands that something is wrong with the general, but he lets him rave on, encouraging him in his folly.

But Myshkin is not a fool in that respect, just a passively condescending man. His reaction is outrageous: He was nearly beginning to reproach himself for his laughter, but at once realised that he had nothing to reproach himself with, since he had idot infinite pity for the general. How convenient for you, Prince! And you suffer so much when others laugh at your inadequacies. I have idjot infinite pity for you, Sir!

Which leads me to my last comment on the character of Myshkin, who repeatedly was compared to Don Quixote in the novel.

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