The Idiot by Dostoevsky discussion

Personal Reflections - If you've read the whole book

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message 1: by Tracy (last edited Jan 08, 2018 10:30AM) (new)

Tracy Marks (tracymar) | 127 comments Mod
For general personal reflections on the book, film, issues raised - reflections that don't necessarily fit in any other discussion thread. This thread may contain spoilers. If you've read the whole book, you might want to post here.

message 2: by Tracy (last edited Dec 26, 2017 10:53AM) (new)

Tracy Marks (tracymar) | 127 comments Mod
I'm now thinking about abbreviations we can use for this group and the book. What comes to mind:

We can refer to our group as TIG (the Idiot group) or DIG (Dostoyevsky Idiot group). And we can abbreviate the Idiot when we're referring to the book as a whole as TI. In regard to the former, I like the suggested meaning of DIG, but if we refer to the book as TI, then it makes more sense to be TIG.

(Yes, I have much more essential things to do besides planning this group, but I am totally enjoying procrastinating the many tasks I intend to do over the holidays)

message 3: by Haaze (new)

Haaze | 15 comments Procrastination is a skill set... ; -)

I do like the "feeling" of DIG. Hmm, is it necessary to abbreviate the title of the novel? It is so short anyways?

message 4: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Marks (tracymar) | 127 comments Mod
No, we don't need to abbreviate the title, but I know that when I'm quickly typing my comments, I often use abbreviations (already I'm referring to Anna Karenina as AK). Chances are that we won't refer often to our group as a whole, but we will keep referring to the book, and I undoubtedly will abbreviate - maybe TI.

Anyway, my rationalizations for not doing what I need to do today are getting very thin.......When one starts making up totally unimportant issues to discuss in order to avoid the effort of going outside and shoveling out one's car (we had 3 inches of snow on Christmas), it's time to reassess one's priorities <-:

message 5: by Haaze (new)

Haaze | 15 comments Yikes, shoveling out cars is definitely a necessary chore. I think I have been in sunny environments too long....
I can see how procrastination kicks in - on autopilot I presume?

I think you are right - we are less likely to refer to the group, but the novel itself will be a constant factor in the posts.

message 6: by Gösta (new)

Gösta Steneskog (gosta) | 17 comments TI, please.

message 7: by Gösta (new)

Gösta Steneskog (gosta) | 17 comments As I read The Idiot and Anna Karenina at the same time I cannot resist to compare the two. Tolstoy's characters are more straight-forward, easier to perceive and understand while Dostojeskij's are more complex and mysterious. Tolstoy is easier to read but Dostojevskij engages me more.

Anna Karenina is as a person relatively complicated and filled of tensions but not to the same degree as I find in Nastasia Filipovna. Anna is quite predictable but Nastasia is much more fascinating.

Do you think a Myshkin could appear in AK?
Do you think a Vronsky could appear in The Idiot?

message 8: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Marks (tracymar) | 127 comments Mod
Gosta - It's been awhile since I read AK, so I can't easily comment too knowledgeably on your questions (though I remember the story well), but it does seem to me that Tolstoy's characters are more "normal" and that Dostoevsky tends to present characters who deal with intense inner conflicts and live life "on the edge."

I think Dostoevsky had a pronounced split/conflict between spirit and body, and some of his characters are often at war with themselves and live on the verge of madness. I think he was to literature what Freud was to psychology!

I do however perceive some similarities between Pierre in War and Peace and Myshkin in the Idiot. The first few chapters of War and Peace were published just before Dostoevsky started writing the Idiot, and he acknowledged reading it.

So isn't it significant that both books begin with an innocent, naive character who's been living in Europe returning to Russia and acting out of place in the social milieu of society in which he finds himself? That can't be mere coincidence.

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