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The Idiot

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  90,513 Ratings  ·  3,273 Reviews
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. In the end, Myshkin’s honesty, goodness, and integrity are shown to be unequal to the moral empti ...more
Paperback, 667 pages
Published April 8th 2003 by Modern Library (first published 1868)
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Pat Turman Depends on what you mean by interesting. If by interesting you mean a conventional narrative, then never. There's not much of a plot here. From what I…moreDepends on what you mean by interesting. If by interesting you mean a conventional narrative, then never. There's not much of a plot here. From what I gather, Dostoevsky's goal was to use the idiot character (the prince) to hold a mirror up to Russian society in the 19th century. So much--if not most--of the references, allegories, symbols represented by various characters & situations will be lost on readers of this century and who are not Russian. 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 the 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...(less)
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Best Books Ever
47,965 books — 174,878 voters
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Community Reviews

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Jul 02, 2009 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I’ve been trying to review this book for over a week now, but I can’t. I’m struggling with something: How do I review a Russian literature classic? Better yet, how do I review a Russian literature classic without sounding like a total dumbass? (Hint: It’s probably not going to happen.)

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 Swi
Petra Eggs
Oct 03, 2011 Petra Eggs rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
There are many reviews of this book making out that Prince Myshkin was Christ-like, a truly good man who lived for the moment. A holy idiot, or more accurately, wholly idiot indeed is what he really was. Why did they think Dostoyevsky entitled the book, The Idiot if he meant 'The Man who was Innocent and Really Good" or "The Man who was like Jesus"? The title wasn't any kind of irony, it was about an idiot.

Prince Myshkin had spent years in a sanitarium for his epilepsy and returns to Russia wher
The Idiot is a remarkable literary feat; a true accomplishment. It not only shows and represents true human complexity, but it births it, both in the inner workings of its passionate characters, and in the overall story. It's replete with patient, mind testing issues that spring the reader’s level of understanding back-and-fourth; yet its emotional intensity is felt throughout. It speaks truth of our striving human conditions; our emotions which only know the truth of their existence in the mome ...more
Mar 11, 2015 Fernando rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Como siempre me pasa con Dostoievski, debo decir que he disfrutado mucho la historia del Príncipe Lev Nikoláievich Mishkin, quien vuelve luego de cuatro años de un sanatario en Suiza para recuperarse... ¿adivinen de qué? si, de epilepsia, como Dostoievski, hacia Pávlovsk en Rusia. De ahí, que, a partir de sus problemas de salud es considerado un idiota. Al volver a insertarse en la sociedad rusa, la encuentra totalmente fría, distorsionada, mezquina y malévola y es, tal vez, el mensaje que Dosto ...more
Feb 06, 2017 Katie rated it it was amazing
We tend to view innocence as an uplifting cleansing virtue. Contact with it is supposed to improve the soul. But this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, in company, my five year old son will blurt out something I don’t want outsiders to know and I end up blushing! His innocence causes me discomfort. I also remember that little girl from Aleppo who every day updated online the situation in the besieged city. Imagine the reactions of Assad’s regime to her online posts. Would they have been won over ...more
رضا امیرخانی، جایی گفته بود که "اگه قرار بود نویسنده ها پیامبری داشته باشن، پیامبرشون تولستوی خواهد بود." حرف درستیه، ولی این پیامبر از داستایوسکی وحی دریافت میکنه!

از بین رمان های داستایوسکی، بیشتر از همه عاشق "جنایت و مکافات" و بعد "ابله" هستم. در درجات بعد، قمار باز و برادران کارامازوف و همزاد و...
یادم نمیره. تابستون، ماه رمضون، بعد از سحر تا نزدیکای ظهر بیدار میموندم و یه کله "ابله" میخوندم. واقعاً میخکوبم میکرد. همزمان مادرم هم میخوند و با هم راجع بهش صحبت میکردیم. تجربه ی مشترک خوبی بود.

Maria Espadinha
Mar 20, 2017 Maria Espadinha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sejamos Todos Idiotas

A sociedade, com todos os seus jogos de poder e corrupção , destrói os Puros.
Uma tradição milenar que remonta à era de Cristo!...

Numa caricatura social, Dostoiévski mostra-nos como as boas almas são exploradas, vilipendiadas, violentadas... acabando destruídas.
Os Puros são apontados a dedo como Idiotas, uns Patetas Bonzões que não encaixam em lado nenhum.

A Sociedade é o Holocausto dos Puros!!!

Porém, se só a beleza poderá salvar o mundo e a sociedade aniquila os seus mais dev
Sep 08, 2008 Martine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like long dialogue and larger-than-life characters
Are there countries in the world which are more likely to produce depressing literature than others? If so, Russia must be pretty much top of the list. I have yet to read a Russian novel which ends well for all the protagonists. I can only think of a few in which things end well for even a few of the protagonists. And Dostoyevsky of course loves his tragedies. The Idiot is one of them. While it's not as tragic as, say, Crime and Punishment, nearly all of its protagonists come to a sticky end, an ...more
Jul 20, 2010 Jason rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Do you answer ‘yes’ to any of the following questions?

1. You ever sleep in another person’s house for the first time, not wanting to turn on a light to see your way to the toilet, and run into a wall?
2. You ever been in a public building at night and the power fails, and you run into a wall?
3. You ever been camping with an overcast night and straggle into the woods to take a pee, and run into a wall of shrubbery?
4. You ever been in a leadership reaction course, blindfolded, and run into a wall?
Sidharth Vardhan
The tragedy of being too good

An ideal idiot

Most of my favorite characters are either pure evil or complex anti-hero type; the stereotype Mr. Goody-two-shoes has never appealed to me; however Prince Muishkin, the idiot in the novel, is now going to be an exception.

He has suffered from idiocy due to epilepsy (FD too suffered from epilepsy attacks) all his childhood and early youth. Perhaps it was due to this idiocy that he has not adopted the common sense – the ‘normal’ way of looking at the wor
W Perry
A Prince Among Men
"The humor of Dostoyevsky is the humor of a bar loafer who ties a kettle to a dog's tail." W. Somerset Maugham, A Writer's Notebook

Prince Myshkin, this novel's protagonist, immediately came to mind when I recently heard the phrase "a prince among men," well after having read this a few years back.

What happens when you drop into higher society a man with a title but an illness that took him away to Switzerland for all his youth? Dostoevsky wanted to write a novel that answered t
May 19, 2011 Darwin8u rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Don’t let us forget that the causes of human actions are usually immeasurably more complex and varied than our subsequent explanations of them.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Idiot


At once 'The Idiot' is a complicated, beautiful and yet ultimately a somewhat flawed novel. Written shortly after 'Crime and Punishment', it seems like Dostoevsky wanted to invert Raskolnikov. Instead of a mad killer, Prince Myshkin the 'Idiot' is an innocent saint, a positive, a beautiful soul and holy fool motivated by
Oct 08, 2015 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terminei O Idiota com um nó na garganta.
Fui reler a opinião do André e fiquei de lágrimas nos olhos.
Li a pequena biografia de Dostoievski, na badana da minha edição, e...
"Em 1849, quando escrevera já uma dúzia de contos, foi preso e condenado à morte. A pena foi substituída à última hora por cinco anos de trabalhos forçados numa prisão siberiana."
Se a pena não tivesse sido substituída, não haveria Crime e Castigo, Os Irmãos Karamázov, O Idiota e tantas outras obras criadas por um Génio, que eu t
Megan Baxter
Mar 06, 2013 Megan Baxter rated it really liked it
What is the difference between simplicity and being an idiot? In different ways, this question is asked over and over again over the course of this book. And can an honest man survive in society - to be precise, Russian society in the 19th century.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
Henry Avila
Apr 12, 2013 Henry Avila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Prince Myshkin, 26, arrives in St. Petersburg, Russia, by train, "The Beautiful Man", has too much compassion, for this cynical age. He believes every person, trusts all, feels the pain, of the suffering unfortunates, thus has no common sense. Simple? Gullible? An Idiot? Or a Saint? That question only you can decide. Set in the 1860's, the sick prince (he's an epileptic, like the author of this novel), alone, frightened, no relatives, or friends, or money, in the world, but with a desire, to see ...more
Aug 03, 2013 William1 rated it it was ok
Here's Dostoyevski's mode of proceeding, and it's maddening. One, here's what I'm about to tell you; two, now here I am actually telling it to you; and three, now let's review what I've just told you. Every point is handled thus. The tedium! Nevertheless, it's D so I forced myself to read most of it. In the end the book fell heavily from my hands and I woke.
Mar 31, 2017 Dem rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russian-history
I tend to applaud writers who can tell an amazing story in few pages to those in need of a tome to tell a mediocre story

I read The Idiot as my quarterly 2017 classic challenge and had hoped for the experience I has this time last year while reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. War and Peace I really enjoyed as the plot and the characterisation was excellent and the book was so readable and interesting, while The Idiot is readable and is well written in places it does tend to be on the dry sid
May 19, 2016 Håkon rated it it was amazing
"Love children especially, for they too are sinless like the angels; they live to soften and purify our hearts and, as it were, to guide us."

Dostoyevsky despised the view that a child's thoughts were not worthy of consideration, in fact he believed a child was necessary (aside from the obvious evolutionary necessity of children of course) in our society due to our increasingly selfish tendencies, and believed a child was always well intentioned. This does remind me of a certain character in thi
PGR Nair
Feb 08, 2015 PGR Nair rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites

I am selective in reading novels, particularly long ones, and I dither to dip my head into middling ones even if they offer some interesting perspectives on life, history or storytelling. I was wary when started reading The Idiot , since the drama spans over 660 pages. Having read the work, my feeling is –Give me another 600 pages of this signature! The Idiot has made deep imprint in my psyche and I am sure it is going to stay with me fore
Roy Lotz
This book disappointed me. I never thought I would be saying this with regard to a book by Dostoyevsky, but it's true. Perhaps this is only because I’ve been spoiled by reading The Brothers Karamazov, which even admirers of The Idiot will likely admit is a much stronger work. Yet I was not merely unimpressed by this work, but was often greatly frustrated by it. To be concise, I found The Idiot to be a rambling mess.

Anyone familiar with Dostoyevsky’s work will know that he is not a versatile arti
helen the bookowl
Aug 15, 2015 helen the bookowl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first book by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and it is certainly not going to be my last! When I started reading, I was obviously very curious to see what Dostoyevsky's writing and story-telling was like, and why everyone seems to love him so much. I was quickly enthralled in the story, and even though "The Idiot" is a 500-page-book, I finished it within a week.
This is the story of the idiot Prince Myshkin who comes to Russia to connect with his relations. I loved how the story opened up in a
May 16, 2007 Andrew rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: idiots - know your role, i do
I love this book because it made me think. Hard.

According to my understanding of "The Idiot," Dostoevsky's definition of an idiot is someone who actually believes that everyone is trying to do their best and do no harm. This is in utter ignorance, usually, of everyone's tendencies to do harm to others, regardless of intent. Hooray for idiots!

Ippolit Terentyev, one of the minor characters, is a socialist, and a suicide. He has one of the great lines in literature, I think, and I will share it now
Feb 14, 2011 Raiya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-completed
هذا الأبله ليسَ أبلهاً ..

أن تقرأ الأبله يعني أن تعيش حياته بتفاصيلها الدقيقة.. أن تتفرغ تماماً.
فكاتب عملاق كديستوفيسكي لا يمكن تجاهله بقراءة روايته بسرعة، بل تأني حتى تسبر أغوار الأحداث.
برأي الشخصي: الرواية دسمة وتحمل معاني كثيرة، فمن مرض بطل القصة النفسي إلى قدرته الخارقة على تحليل الأمور وحل المعضلات وإقتراح الحلول.. تجد مهارة الكاتب في حبك الرواية جيداً وبآلية تجعلك تشعر وكأنك تشاهداً فيلماً إستثنائياً = )

متأكدة بأنني سأعود لإكمال قراءة الرواية لاحقاً..

أنصح طلاب علم النفس ومحبي التفكير العم
ɒɪαα αωαωɒα

هل الأبله هو من يكون بسيطا غير متكلف ؟؟
أم هو الطيب الذي ينظر إلى الحياة بقلب وعيون طفل صغير ؟؟
هل هو الذي يهتم بمصالح الغير ويراعيها على حساب مصلحته ؟؟
هل هو الذي لايفكر بمال ومصالح بقدر ما يسعى لخير البشر ومنفعتهم ؟؟؟
هل هو صاحب المثل العليا والأهداف السامية ؟؟
أم هل هو المؤمن الحقيقي ؟؟
هل هو الإنسان المحب العطوف الذي يبتسم حتى في عيني مبغضه وكارهه ومن يحاول قتله ؟؟؟
هل هو من يعتذر لغيره عن تقصير غيره في حقه وإساءته إليه ؟؟؟
أم هو إنسان الفطرة وكفى ؟؟؟

بل قل ربما الأبله من كان ذلك كله معا ...

كنت تقو
أحمد جابر
Apr 05, 2015 أحمد جابر rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russian-library

لا أدري تمامًا ما يجب قوله، لكن سأحاول:

الأبله، رواية الأمير ميشكين الذي يعاني من مرض الصرع، يترك مصحته في سويسرا، ويعود إلى روسيا، بلده الأم، فيلتقي برزوغنين، ولبيدييف في القطار الذي يعود به إلى موسكو. يتعارف ثلاثتهم على بعضهم، ويجدون ترابطًا في علاقاتهم. يذهب ميشكين إلى بيت قريبة له، فيستقبله زوجها، يتعرّف على العائلة فيما بعد، وتستكمل الرواية.

هل هذه هي الرواية؟ نعم ولا. إن قال أحدهم اعطني ملخصًا عنها فسأعلن فشلي، رغم أن هناك أكثر من خمس وعشرين شخصية في الرواية، هناك أحداث كثيرة، لكن كل هذه ال
Nikos Tsentemeidis
Ξεκίνησα διαβάζοντας από τις εκδόσεις Ζαχαρόπουλου. Για 400 σελίδες. Κουράστηκα πολύ, απορώντας γιατί είναι τόσο κακό το βιβλίο σε σχέση με τους καραμάζοφ και το έγκλημα που είχα μέχρι στιγμής διαβάσει.

Συνέχισα με εκδόσεις Γκοβόστη. Διάβαζα ένα άλλο διαφορετικό τελείως βιβλίο. Διάβασα ένα ακόμα απολαυστικό και συγκλονιστικό έργο του τεράστιου αυτού συγγραφέα. Δε το θεωρώ καλύτερο σε σχέση με τα δύο πρώτα, αλλά σε κάθε περίπτωση υποκλίθηκα στο ταλέντο του Ντοστογιέφσκι.

Ακόμα ένα έργο πέρα από λο
Ο πριγκιπας Μισκιν ειναι ενα παιδι σε ολα κι ας μοιαζει με αντρα στα 26 του.Ειναι ευγενικος, αγαθος, απλοικος , ονειροπολος και δεν εχει ζησει τουλαχιστον ''εν δρασει''. Επιστρεφει στην Πετρουπολη μετα απο καποια χρονια σε κλινικη της Ελβετιας καιθως ηταν επιληπτικος. Η ζωη του σταματα σε εσωτερικες, ιδανικες ενατενισεις του κοσμου που θελει να γνωρισει. Εχει ταμπουρωθει εξω απο τα κοινωνικα τειχη, και οταν επιστρεφει στον πολιτισμο κατοικημενο απο αρπαγες, μικροπρεπεις,παλιατσους, και φιληδονου ...more
I read The Idiot while I was in the hospital – in isolation, to be precise. What I remember is that the “idiot”, Prince Myshkin, lived in the moment; and that I became so absorbed in his ability to see good in others – no matter what they did – that I forgot where I was for long periods of time. I remember being very surprised – and thankful – for that. (Hence the 4 stars; not sure what I would give it if I were to read it again!)
Jul 08, 2013 Stian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dostoevsky wrote in a letter to Apollon Maykov (poet and friend) that his idea with The Idiot was to create a "positively beautiful man." In another letter to his niece -- Sofya Ivanova -- he further writes:

"The main idea of the novel is to portray a positively beautiful man. There is nothing more difficult in the world and especially now. All writers, not only ours, but even all European writes, who have merely attempted to portray the positively beautiful, have always given up. Because the tas
Nelson Zagalo
“O Idiota” vem catalogado como uma das cinco grandes obras de Dostoiévski, mas de grande só lhe encontrei as mais de seiscentas páginas. Não me revi, nem compreendi Míchkin, assim como a narrativa é pouco coesa o que acaba servindo mal a premissa de partida que tinha muito a dar ao texto. Com análises que invariavelmente ligam Míchkin a Jesus Cristo e D. Quixote, parece-me que isso se pode encontrar apenas na premissa, sendo necessário forçar a interpretação para se poder encontrar o seu lastro ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Add data 3 10 Jul 18, 2017 12:27PM  
Shelfari 1001 group: 0. Along the way. 13 16 Jul 08, 2017 10:06PM  
Shelfari 1001 group: 9. Reviews & Ratings 9 22 May 20, 2017 09:33AM  
Shelfari 1001 group: 7. The Ending 6 19 May 20, 2017 09:31AM  
Shelfari 1001 group: 3. Fate 5 10 May 20, 2017 09:21AM  
Shelfari 1001 group: 2D. Nastasya Barashkov 5 10 May 20, 2017 09:16AM  
Shelfari 1001 group: 2C. Aglaya Epanchin 6 11 May 20, 2017 09:08AM  
  • Virgin Soil
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Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky (Russian: Фёдор Михайлович Достоевский), sometimes transliterated Dostoevsky, was a Russian novelist, journalist, and short-story writer whose psychological penetration into the human soul had a profound influence on the 20th century novel.

Dostoyevsky was the second son of a former army doctor. He was educated at home and at a private school. Shortly after the death
More about Fyodor Dostoyevsky...

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“Beauty will save the world” 668 likes
“Don’t let us forget that the causes of human actions are usually immeasurably more complex and varied than our subsequent explanations of them.” 612 likes
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