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The Idiot

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4.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  74,651 Ratings  ·  2,608 Reviews
The Idiot (1868), written under the appalling personal circumstances Dostoevsky endured while travelling in Europe, not only reveals the author's acute artistic sense and penetrating psychological insight, but also affords his most powerful indictment of a Russia struggling to emulate contemporary Europe while sinking under the weight of Western materialism. It is the port ...more
Paperback, 658 pages
Published July 9th 1998 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1869)
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Popular Answered Questions

Katerina Id say it depends why you didnt like it.
In this book the "hardness" is sometimes "covered" with a bit of humour. I mean I am Russian and there were…more
Id say it depends why you didnt like it.
In this book the "hardness" is sometimes "covered" with a bit of humour. I mean I am Russian and there were things which made me laugh ... But its like "tears through laughing" ....
If you like reading plays it is a good book too.

I suggest you read some 50 pages and you will know. (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Michelle
Aug 09, 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
...more
Petra X
May 10, 2015 Petra X rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...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 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
Jason
Aug 05, 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?
5
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William1
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.
Darwin8u
Dec 31, 2015 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

description

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
...more
helen the bookowl
Aug 23, 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
...more
Henry Avila
Sep 02, 2014 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
PGR Nair
Apr 13, 2015 PGR Nair rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
THE IDIOT: THE JOURNEY FROM RESURRECTION TO CRUCIFIXION

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
...more
Mahdi
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!

من
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.

ا
...more
Andrew
May 16, 2007 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Lotz
Jan 01, 2016 Lotz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Raiya
Mar 15, 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
...more
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!)
Stian
May 12, 2015 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
...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
Sandra
Aug 07, 2015 Sandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russia, classicissimi
Non tenterò nemmeno di commentare L’idiota. Voglio solo esprimere pubblicamente la mia sconfinata ammirazione per Dostoevskij, per colui che ha creato un personaggio gigantesco, sublime, indefinibile eppure definito nella sua complessità, il principe Myskin: è uno sciocco eppure molto intelligente, è sincero nella sua renitenza alle regole ipocrite dell’alta società così ingenua da lasciare sbalorditi ma è anche dissimulatore quando occorre, è sradicato, senza origini, comparso come dal nulla ep ...more
Sara
Dec 19, 2014 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dove finisce Nikolaj Stavroghin e dove inizia invece il principe Myškin? A chi si trovi ad approdare alla lettura de L’idiota dopo quella de I demoni o viceversa salterà subito agli occhi quanto, seppur diversissimi tra loro (per l’appunto: opposti), i due protagonisti abbiano, nell’economia dei rispettivi romanzi, ruoli identici.

Come Stavroghin, il principe Myškin è un esule nella propria patria e completamente alieno a tutte le questioni del “bel mondo.” Nella sua aura finiscono a gravitare pe
...more
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
...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
Glen
Jan 06, 2008 Glen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Kristina
Mar 26, 2008 Kristina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
[P]
Apr 18, 2015 [P] rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m a very cynical man. I wish I wasn’t, to be honest. I wish I could accept things, accept people, on face value. My life would likely be happier that way. As it is, however, I see duplicity and selfishness [not to mention stupidity] in everything. Take the recent attacks in Paris. Terrorism is disgusting, of course, and I would never seek to justify such actions, but also disgusting, to me, was the reaction from the general public and their democratically elected leaders. I just wish we could ...more
Janice
Aug 27, 2012 Janice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gavin
Mar 16, 2015 Gavin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I can count the number of "classics" I've enjoyed reading over the years on the fingers of one hand. I often struggle with the archaic writing style of such books, and the outdated beliefs of the authors who wrote them. I'm happy to say that The Idiot counts among the very few that I have enjoyed. Fyodor Dostoevsky's philosophical ponderings are as relevant today as they were 150 years ago. As were his cynical observations regarding human nature and behavior. I'm not sure if credit should go to ...more
Florencia
Review to come. Next year.
Cphe
I'll be the first to admit that I haven't always been a "fan" of Russian literature in the past and was hesitant to even attempt this 600 page novel. Really surprised, pleasantly surprised at how very "readable" it was. I thought that this translation was very well done and that helped enormously.
Enjoyed it far more than I expected to.
Ruba AlTurki
Jan 29, 2011 Ruba AlTurki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 28, 2008 Ameer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
لئو میشکین آدمی نیست که هر جایی پیدا بشه ولی همه مون فکر می کنیم خیلی شبیهشیم
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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
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“Beauty will save the world” 548 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.” 491 likes
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