The Idiot
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The Idiot

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4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  55,494 ratings  ·  2,040 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 1869)
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Best Books Ever
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Michelle
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...more
Petra X
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...more
Ben
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
Martine
Sep 08, 2008 Martine rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
Jason
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?
5...more
Andrew
May 16, 2007 Andrew rated it 5 of 5 stars
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...more
William
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.
Bonnie
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!)
Raiya
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...more
Henry Avila
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?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 his beloved native land, again.That he hardly remembers....more
Darwin8u
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 helping those around him. He is a Christ in an un-Christian world, a tortured Don Quixote.

Dostoevsky is able to use Prince Myshkin's spiritual intelligence and Rogozhin's passio...more
Kristina
I love how Dostoevsky's plots are driven not by external circumstances but by the internal workings of his characters' minds, and the choices they make.
There were a few times when I actually slammed my book angrily against a table or wall and yelling "you stupid a** what did you do that for???"...my paperback is now a little worse for wear.

People in this book make stupid choices, and their misery is primarily a result of these stupid choices. "The Idiot" refers not to The Prince's intellectual...more
Glen
Another fantastic work by Dostoevsky that takes people from seemingly ordinary circumstances and weaves around them the most intricate webs of moral and ethical dilemma. In The Idiot, the protagonist (Prince Lyov Nikolayevitch Mishkin) is portrayed as a truly good person. The theme of the novel is to examine the question of whether or not a deeply kind individual can actually survive in a world of vice. Myshkin is at all times open hearted about his feelings and honest with all about his convict...more
Janice
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chrissie
Below you will find some thoughts on how I felt while reading this book, which I really truly loved. Here are my thoughts on concluding the book.

I simply love how Dostoyevsky writes. I love his intelligent, humble, self-deprecatory humor.

I love his characters. They are messed up, emotionally instable people that are as three-dimensional as any real human being. We human beings spend our lives trying so hard to understand each other, to do the right thing (hopefully) and yet are continually str...more
TarasProkopyuk
Роман «Идиот» превзошёл мои ожидания, хотя я и ожидал от автора высочайшего литературного мастерства.

И дело не в самом сюжете романа, а как всегда в безупречных сценах, их тончайшей описью, психологических аспектах персонажей и множества важных мелочей. Здесь и взгляды автора на важнейшие человеческие ценности, взгляды на жизнь, отношение к людям, об уважении и сострадании, о любови, о разрушительной ревности, грязные интриги, глупые авантюры и невыносимая агония главных героев романа.

Но кроме в...more
Ruba AlTurki
الأبله ،رواية من الأدب الروسي لفيودور دوستويفسكي .
تدعوك الرواية للتفكّر بعمق ، الواقع والمنطق والأخلاق ،سيطرة المجتمع على الفرد والقيود الإجتماعيةالتي جعلت من الصعب على الإنسان التعرّف على المشاعر الحقيقية لمن هم حوله .
أنا وغيري الكثير -على ما أعتقد- يمثلنا "الأبله" حين نفقد السيطرة على الـ"قناع" أو على المظاهر الخارجية .
الترجمة كانت مقبولة نوعاً ما ،تمنيت لو قرأتها بترجمة أخرى أو حتى بالإنجليزية
وأعتقد أن الروايات الروسية عموماً تفقد الكثير بعد الترجمة لأي لغة .

Ameer
لئو میشکین آدمی نیست که هر جایی پیدا بشه ولی همه مون فکر می کنیم خیلی شبیهشیم
Stian
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 a 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 task is i...more
Capsguy
I was right, this is my favourite Dostoevsky yet, and there isn't that much more for me to read! Dostoevsky fascinates me with his ability to portray characters of a wide spectrum not only believably but also so that each character represents various relevant factors in society. Myskin's innocence, naivety, and compassion that resulted in his alienation from others in the upper class of society leabes a profound impact on the reader. As always with Dostoevsky's longer works, there is treachery,...more
Giuseppe
E' con un incredibile sollievo che ho finito questo romanzo. La sensazione fisica che mi ha accompagnato nella lettura si era fatta troppo insistente e da fastidiosa era divenuta addirittura dolorosa. Thomas Mann disse che "L'idiota" è "il romanzo dell'anima". Mai definizione fu più azzeccata, visto che Dosty ha avuto la capacità di infilare una mano nella mia schiena a livello dei lombi ed afferrare la mia spina dorsale, scuotendola fin nel midollo. Non so se il midollo è l’area in cui risiede...more
Stela

That tragic solemnity hidden behind the strident, aggressive, crazy scenes in The Idiot has always made me think of Ancient Greek mysteries - the Eleusinian mainly, but also the Dionysian ones. Firstly because of the exemplarity of the main character, secondly because of the artificiality of the world that surrounds him: a frenetic, delirious, demented world that indulges in the voluptuousness of the ridicule, of the villainy, on the principle that if you acknowledge your flaws and weaknesses ev...more
Sara
Mi occorrerà del tempo per riprendermi da questo libro. Non solo ha toccato tutte le mie corde scoperte e certune che credevo ormai coperte, ma fino a un certo punto della storia descrive così bene il mio carattere e me stessa all'interno di un certo capitolo della mia vita che sembra quasi che Dostoevskij mi abbia conosciuta, e non soltanto me. Credo che questo sia l'effetto che ha un po' su tutti coloro che si affezionano a lui; ciò non toglie che mi sia sentita strappare le budella.

Dove finis...more
Ioana
"The only place fit for a saint is a mental asylum". Indeed, Prince Myshkin's selflessness fails to save the life of the people dear to him, namely the ones that greedily grab with both hands every opportunity to insult his superior character by saying he's an idiot. Ironically, he's the only one perfectly sane in a world consumed by the ideas of power and money.
Dianna
I liked the other two books I read by this author but I just could not get into this one.
Marts  (Thinker)
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

A NOTE:
I actually started this quite a while ago, I can't remember exactly when, so my varied statuses were misleading I decided to seriously complete it about a month ago and I haven't regretted it...


THE REVIEW:
First published around 1869? I think, this novel wasn't published in English until the 20th century!!! The theme is typical of today, considering human interests and obsessions, and the fact that none, no not one, considers the possession of those ideal fru...more
مجدلية اندروماخي
May 28, 2012 مجدلية اندروماخي rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: مناسبة لجميع الاعمار فلا مشاهد مخلة فيها غير ان تعقيداتها تستوجب عمقا معرفيا
انا من عشاق الادب الروسي بشكل عام واحب الواقعية فيه..واحب دستويفسكي بشكل خاص وافهم مايريد قوله,,لازلت في بداية الرواية ومتحمسة جدا لهذه الرحلة
********************************
يرى النقاد انها من الروايات الاقوى ولا اتفق معهم بالضرورة,,فلااعتقد انها تصل لمستوى الاخوة كارامازوف.
هذه الرواية اقرب ماتكون مسرحية لكثرة الجلبة وكأني بالشخصيات تحدث الجمهور ولكن بصورة مبهمة
-من الادوار الغير مقنعة هو دور الام ليزافييتا فلاارى تصرفاتها منطقية
في الحقيقة لم تكن تصرفات الامير ميوشكن وحدها الغير منطقية بل معظم ت...more
Bryn Hammond
Scoundrels love honest people - did you know that?

I'm going to comment on Part One only; it's a way of avoiding spoilers, and a way of shutting me up. Also, D. wrote Part One and had no idea what he'd do with them next (although that was true throughout the novel's writing, my introduction tells me). The first part is almost a single scene, of 174 pages, as we follow the prince over the course of one day, from the train he arrives at St Petersburg in, a stranger in the city, through his very fas...more
Yona
I know about Dostoyevsky "tortured heroes" and the way his books have to end, but I can't help wanting them to have their happy endings.

One brilliant book and no need to say more ;d
Mad Dog
You could play a drinking game where you take a drink every time someone (during a conversation in this story) "blushes", "trembles", "quivers", "becomes pale", etc. But you would get drunk pretty fast. This is a book full of drama kings and queens. Everybody is so concerned with what 'so and so did' and who 'so and so talked to'. These characters need to center themselves, maybe they all need to attend yoga classes.

I have always stated this as my favorite book (and Dostoevsky as my fave author...more
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Do you think Prince Myshkin ever felt 'romantic' love? 33 307 Aug 11, 2014 04:31PM  
Is there any point in reading further? 24 277 Jul 08, 2014 10:57AM  
What do you think about "the idiot"? 21 253 Jul 08, 2014 05:33AM  
The Idiot: Part Four: Chapters 7-12 7 6 Jun 21, 2014 12:44PM  
The Idiot: Part Two: Chapters 7-12 3 3 Jun 12, 2014 04:38AM  
The Idiot: Part One: Chapters 1-5 8 4 Jun 08, 2014 01:35PM  
The Idiot: Part One: Chapters 11-16 3 5 Jun 05, 2014 07:48AM  
  • Spring Torrents
  • Oblomov
  • Heart of a Dog
  • Cancer Ward
  • Childhood; Boyhood; Youth
  • The Overcoat and Other Short Stories
  • The Young Man's Guide
  • Petersburg
  • Eugene Onegin
  • The Golovlyov Family
  • Essential Manners for Men: What to Do, When to Do It, and Why
  • Selected Stories
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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.

Dostoevsky was the second son of a former army doctor. He was educated at home and at a private school. Shortly after the death...more
More about Fyodor Dostoyevsky...
Crime and Punishment The Brothers Karamazov Notes from Underground Demons The Gambler

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“Beauty will save the world” 416 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.” 357 likes
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