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The Idiot
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1001 Monthly Group Read > February {2011} Discussion -- THE IDIOT by Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Charity (charityross) Feel free to start discussing any time now.

Also, list the translation you are using (if any). Thanks.


Shay | 71 comments Tre wrote: "I just joined this group yesterday but have been meaning to read The Idiot for some time now. I look forward to the discussion in this thread and hopefully I will be able to catch up enough to join..."

I tried her translation of War and Peace and it was not good. I believe the reason her translation is so common is that the translation itself is so old it's in the public domain. Of all the translations of various Russian authors, I like the Pevear and Volokhonsky translations.


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Sashana Can I post comments as I go?


message 4: by Natalie (new)

Natalie I've read about a third of the book but I haven't really warmed up to it yet. Maybe I'm somehow expecting a socio-critical statement that will probably only become obvious near the end of the book.

I will put the book aside for a little while and try again later. I'm reading a german translation by Arthur Luther.


Silver | 312 comments I am thus far really enjoying the book, I just love Dostoecsky's style, everything of his which I have read thus far, always sucks me in right away and I thoroughly enjoy his characters so much. I love the passion in his books and the strong conflicts of emotion. I do have a bit of a fascination with love-hate dynamics, which often play a role in his works which is perhaps one of the reasons why I enjoy them so much.

One of the things which has surprised me about this book is that to me it seems surprisingly light-hearted. It does not really have the weight somberness that many of his other works seem to have, and while Dostoeveksy usually always does right with a degree of humor, it is usually a more ironic, and satirical humor, but there seems to be a bit more of an open joviality within The Idiot.

In some ways the Prince reminds me a bit of a Shakespearian fool. He is not really taken seriously, and presumed to be simple by everyone else around him, while all the time he is sitting back watching everyone else make a fool of themselves, and he in fact is the only one that can see the truth and yet his very attempts to speak the truth is what make everyone else think him to be an idiot.


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Melissa I made it nearly half way through the book and decided to quit... I wasn't enjoying how the story was being told.

I felt like the Prince was more of a Christ figure. He was simple, compassionate, truthful, humble. I think he was even called a sheep once or twice.

Maybe if y'all say it's worth finishing, I'll get back to it. :)


Jason Smith | 5 comments I'm about halfway through, also reading the barnes and noble edition. So far so good


Lianne (eclecticreading) I hope to start this novel soon (my copy's at home right now and I hope to bring it up with me to res after the break)---good thing I bought it recently on a whim! I have the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation; I heard a lot of praise for their work so I'm very much looking forward to reading it =)


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Becky (munchkinland_farm) | 247 comments I just finished Book 1 of the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation. I don't think I'm in the right frame of mind for this book as it's taking me forever to read. I appreciate the humor, the characterizations and the sociopolitical commentary, etc. but I'm not that interested. I loved Crime and Punishment so I'm disappointed. I will continue to slog through.

A minor frustration - I like that a cast of characters is included, but was it too much trouble to describe their role/relationship with other characters? Especially with the minor characters - I keep forgetting who they are in relation to the story.


message 10: by Rosemary (last edited Feb 17, 2011 05:25AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Rosemary | 83 comments I struggled with this. I've been reading it since Feb 1st for this group and I had to make myself read 50 pages a day to finish. I enjoyed seeing how the Prince's innocent goodness won out in so many situations, and I enjoyed the interplay with the other characters, and this made me feel I wasn't completely wasting my time, but the prose is very wordy and turgid. Then the ending is a real downer after all the little victories that have gone before.

Translation: David Magarshack, Penguin Classics


Ellie (elliearcher) This is my 4th go round on The Idiot. I'm finding it a bit slower this time. I'll go another 50 & see how I'm feeling.


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Natalie Tre wrote: "I have just finished Part 1 Chapter 5. I am blown away by this chapter. I am left with the feeling that it might be one of the best pieces of literature I have ever had the pleasure of reading, fee..."

Tre, Dosteyewsky himself was to be executed (for treason,I believe) but minutes before the execution he was pardoned.


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Becky (munchkinland_farm) | 247 comments Yikes. This book is wasted on me. I don't know anything about the sociopolitical context of Russia at the time to understand, let alone appreciate, what everyone is talking about. I stumbled on a plot outline which has helped, but I'm missing so much of what makes this novel great. Would much prefer to have a reaction like Tre (above) yet am merely slogging through it.


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April | 24 comments Becky wrote: "Yikes. This book is wasted on me. I don't know anything about the sociopolitical context of Russia at the time to understand, let alone appreciate, what everyone is talking about. I stumbled on a p..."

Becky...I too am having troubles. BUT, I am having troubles reading ANYTHING right now. Maybe this is "reader's block"....like writer's block? There is lot going on right now so that may be the problem. BUT...I SOOOOOOO wanted to read this book and get in on the discussion!!! Maybe I need to pick up a "fluff book"? Anyway, I know how you feel.


Silver | 312 comments I cannot help but to feel bad for the prince. I can only imagine how exasperating it would be to have everyone every where you go, constantly keep calling you an idiot to your face and presumption just because he is open and honest he must be a simpleton.

Though it is part of the humor of the book that the reader secretly knows the joke that he is least of all the idiot and the fact that they would take presume that he must be an idiot for his sincerity and good nature is more of a reflection upon their own characters than his.


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April | 24 comments Tre wrote: "Becky & April, don't worry, after my lovefest in part 1 chapter 5, it slowed way down for me too. I still agree 100% with what I said above about that chapter. For me it is the best part of the boo..."

Thank you! :)


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Mike | 78 comments I too am reading the "The Idiot" translation by Constance Garnett. I have finished Part I which I thought was great. I couldn't put the book down. The next Part however, seems a little tedious at times but it still holds my interest. I don't have a plot outline so I continuously form my own thoughts as to what direction Dostoyevsky will take. Needless to say, I'm usually wrong.


Jason Smith | 5 comments Working through part 3. I agree with you guys: I loved part 1, and have now found 2 and 3 to be slowing down and not quite as enthralling.


Philip Lane | 21 comments Tre wrote: "I have just finished Part 1 Chapter 5. I am blown away by this chapter. I am left with the feeling that it might be one of the best pieces of literature I have ever had the pleasure of reading, fee..."

Totally agree that this is an extremely strong scene in the book. I was struck by the deep insight and empathy shown.


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Tej | 120 comments Just finished during my lunch today. I read the Bantam Classic edition translated by Constance Garnett.

I agree with Becky that there should have been a cast of characters. Most Russian novels I have read provided that, and it was very helpful. When I started this two weeks ago, I got to page 40 and had to start all over from the beginning because I couldn't keep everyone straight. How is Nastasya related to everyone and who the heck is Ganya?!

All in all, I enjoyed it but with reservations. Definitely not as good as The Brothers Karamazov. I agree with Tre that the discussions of someone being reprieved of execution were vivid and well-done. My edition had an introduction that said Dostoevsky was supposed to be executed but was reprieved at the last minute. How wonderful that he, as an artist, was able to translate that experience into words.

From a socio-historical perspective, it's interesting to see the "blame the victim" mentality here. An orphan is taken under the wing of a generous benefactor who repeatedly assaults her and yet she's to be blamed as a fallen woman. After having been pampered her whole childhood in exchange for the sex she had not way of avoiding, society expected the adult Nastasya to leave the relationship and become a respectable washer-woman. No wonder she was wacko.

(spoiler alert)

I must say that I really did not like the ending. I wanted the Prince to be redeemed, if not in society as a whole, at least in his own mind. The murder, which I expected, was anti-climactic due to the narration technique that was used. It all felt rushed. Rather than "here's a brief summary of what happened in the two weeks after Myshkin's betrothal," he could have expanded that detail, brought in some suspense, and at the same time easily cut out all the blah blah blah about Ippolit's suicide fiasco.


Silver | 312 comments Tej wrote: From a socio-historical perspective, it's interesting to see the "blame the victim" mentality here. An orphan is taken under the wing of a generous benefactor who repeatedly assaults her and yet she's to be blamed as a fallen woman..."



It is interesting how it seems Dostoevsky often seems to cast women in his stories into two archetypical roles.

One being that of the virtuous, chaste woman whom is above reproach, and respected and admired by everyone, and looked up to as a sort of ideal of woman. Such as can be seen in the character of Aglaya.

And then there is the "noble or Virtuous whore" figure so to speak. The woman whom by circumstances outside of her control is placed in the position of being forced to sacrifice herself and is scandalized in the eye of the community in spite of the fact that in many ways she herself may be more virtuous than those whom judge her.

It is sort of along the lines of let he who cast the first stone. Nastasya is ostracized by the community because of their own perceptions of her in which they unjustly judge her and yet we can see the corruptions, deceit, and immorality which predates through their own lives and actions.

While Nastasya becomes convinced of the outward opinion others have of her, and in spite of the untruth in their judgements, she internalizes the guilt and the shame more or less determined to indeed act out the very role in which they have cast her.


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Becky (munchkinland_farm) | 247 comments Finally breached Book III - I confess that I am skimming as I'm weary of all the talk, talk, talk. Plus beginning to think the Prince is an idiot for continuing to hang out with these loons! I know, not a very academic comment, but sheesh, between Lizaveta & her daughter Aglaya's histrionic behavior, I'm ready to head back to the Swiss Alps. "High on a hill was a lonely goatherd ..."


Silver | 312 comments Haha I have to agree that he does seem to be a bit of an Idiot in his continued desire to marry Aglaya. Between her constant tirades and tantrums in which she calls him an idiot, and a fool and a simpleton, only the apology the next second and want to make friends with him.

And first she wants to marry him, than she adores the idea, and than she wants to marry him, and than she dosen't.

She loves him, and than she cannot stand him.

I think the Prince is quite right when he refers to both of them as being like a child.


Lauli | 263 comments Like many people in this group, I'm struggling with this one. I have just finished part 3, and although some parts have kept me on edge, I find some of the longer discussions, and especially Ippolit's manuscript, droning. But I've only 150 pages to go after reading 400, so I'll just keep at it and find out about the ending.


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Mike | 78 comments I'm not quite finished yet, but I think the Prince should take his money, go to Paris, and leave all these nuts behind. If I ever get thru this book (I'm on Part III)I'm going to try the Brothers Karamazov. Tej said it was better. It wouldn't take much to be better.


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Melissa So I guess the question is: why is this one on the list? What are we supposed to walk away with?

(and for those who have not yet read Brothers K, I'm sorry you didn't read that one first- MUCH more enjoyable.)


message 27: by Philip (last edited Mar 01, 2011 05:49AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Philip Lane | 21 comments Silver wrote: "Haha I have to agree that he does seem to be a bit of an Idiot in his continued desire to marry Aglaya. Between her constant tirades and tantrums in which she calls him an idiot, and a fool and a s..."

I must agree - I found Aglaya very inconsistent and fickle so perhaps Myshkin's greatest idiocy was in his lack of character judgement. It is said that you can judge a person by the company that they keep.

Whilst I enjoyed some of the 'talking' about ethical issues, like suicide, or Myshkin's outburst on Catholicism (this also seemed out of character) I did find it getting a bit turgid at times. My main difficulty was the names, never quite sure whether a person was a new character or someone we had met before with a different name. My verdict - a curate's egg - good in parts. Worthy of the list though - better than The Monk.


Silver | 312 comments I do not think that the Prince was truly so much a bad judge in character, but rather that fact that as in the comments stated by Tre, the Prince had this perfected, pure, idealistic ability to love. And so he loved people not just in spite of, but I think also in a way because of their flaws.

A comment was made about him by one of the other characters that he could be deceived by anyone, and than he would forgive whoever would deceive him, and this is why others thought he was in fact an idiot. But I think it is indeed the fact that the Prince could truly lovely people unconditionally, it could love them simply for who they were as imperfect human beings.

While it is all but impossible for anyone to truly love completely unconditionally. Even in the most sincerest acts of love, it is but human nature that there will always be at least some degree of selfishness in it, some expectation of the other person.

But in the all conflict and inconsistence with Aglaya and Nastasya it is said that the Prince has a spirit love, and that he does not love like a human being. And I think this is true, and it also accounts for his relation and interactions with the various difference characters. While they do all struggle with each other and with their own flaws and passions, and imperfect love, the Prince is in an elevated state.

And infarct he cannot truly love either Aglaya or Nastasya as a man loves a woman, which perhaps is one of the reasons why Nastasya always does flee from him. In part it might be her own fear of the sort of salvation he offers. The Prince does have this almost divine limitless love which is that sort of godly or angelic love, a love that is without passion, or desire, but rather that sympathetic, compassionate, and pitying love.


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Sue Smith | 14 comments Well, I finally finished this book yesterday and I found it to be a very long haul.

So my main question I kept asking myself as I wound through the endless arguments and meetings that this man-the Prince- found himself involved in, was why? Why is he called an idiot? He was the calmest of the bunch. He was the nicest of the bunch too. He didn't lie - or couldn't .. I wasn't sure which it was - he was polite and considerate and accomodating. All qualities that most people would not call idiotic. So why?

He was initially called an idiot because of everyone else's assumptions - he was not what they thought he was to them on their first encounter with him. Other than letting them think whatever they wished him to be. And he was called an idiot because he usually was calm in the face of the never ending in-house fighting. (Lordy I'm glad not to have been raised in that environment!). And he was called an idiot because he spoke frankly and usually to the point - which none of the other characters did at all.

I do agree with the previous assessments of the female characters and the concept of love, etc. But I trully think they were secondary to the story. I can't help feeling that his mental illness that kept being alluded to, was the key to it all - but I haven't linked it all together. Other than discussing religion and politics at a social function is a no-no and is tantamount to not remaining in your right mind- especially if you're not prone to passion as a norm! Although a river runs deeply and I think it was always there for him, he just had a hard time bringing it up to the surface.

The straw that broke the camel's back was loving two women at the same time - both at diametric ends of the female spectre - and not being able to handle either. It's what put him over the edge and where I kept saying to myself - well... you idiot!

Not my favorite book - the endless descriptions and pointless ramblings I found to be tedious. Lots of scrambling around the mulberry bush so to speak and alot you had to come up on your own as to whether it was important or not. And, of course, I had a hard time remembering who was who ...too many nicknames and formal names and people to keep track of.....but that was just me. (I found the same when I read Dr. Zhivago). Was very thankful to get it done and get on to other books!


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Drew Billingsley | 58 comments Tre wrote: "I finished it yesterday. I found that there are more profound gems sprinkled throughout the book after Part 1, but also that it was a bit to drawn out. Overall, I do not consider it a waste or bori..."

I seem to have had a similar experience reading this. There were a few scenes that really blew me away, but large periods of tough slog in between them. While I liked it a lot, it was not quite on a par with Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamozov (no longer a list book. C'mon!) among Dostoevsky's novels.


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Sue Smith | 14 comments Drew wrote: "Tre wrote: "I finished it yesterday. I found that there are more profound gems sprinkled throughout the book after Part 1, but also that it was a bit to drawn out. Overall, I do not consider it a w..."

I can't say I honestly enjoyed it at all - even with the few gems that were written within. I suppose I like to know the point of the story, but it just didn't happen for me. I agree with you that Crime and punishment was a better book. I'll have to look at the Brothers Karamozov ....although I don't know if I want to read another one!!


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Tej | 120 comments Silver wrote: "I do not think that the Prince was truly so much a bad judge in character, but rather that fact that as in the comments stated by Tre, the Prince had this perfected, pure, idealistic ability to lov..."

I didn't think the Prince was actually being deceived. I always had the impression that he knew when someone was "playing" with him, but somehow he was ready to face what came. He knew that Ganya meant to kill him. He knew that his landlord was always playing both sides of the fence. Though he was upset when Nastasya left him the first time, he suspected it would happen again. (I think he pitied her because he thought she was insane.) He forgave all of Aglaya's insults. It's not so much that he was ignorant of his surroundings so much as he didn't react to them the way that ordinary people in his society would have. That's what made him seem like an idiot.


Lauli | 263 comments Well, I've finished reading now, and I must say I found part 4 much more interesting than parts 2 and 3. There are some really wonderful moments there (even in the lousy translation into Spanish I have), such as the climactic confrontation between Aglaya and Natasya, and the murder scene at Rogoÿin's. I just wish Dostoyevsky had had fewer characters in the book and stuck to them rather than spend pages in displaying endless debates on politics and religion, or the ramblings of characters like Ippolit and Lebedev. I'm looking forward to reading his more famous works to see how they compare to this one.


Julie (juliemoncton) | 56 comments Silver wrote: "I do not think that the Prince was truly so much a bad judge in character, but rather that fact that as in the comments stated by Tre, the Prince had this perfected, pure, idealistic ability to lov..."

Silver - excellent points about the Prince's character. Aglaya compares the Prince with Don Quixote, who acted like a bumbling fool, but was really more idealistic vs. stupid. Also, I think the Prince was referred to as an 'idiot' partly because of his epilepsy, as well as his overly naive behavior. One of the notes I read mentioned that epileptics were commonly referred to as idiots in that society.

I like your comments about the way the Prince loved Aglaya and Natasha without a sexual or romantic love. In some ways, the relationships would have been doomed because his view of love was so distorted from their expectations of a love between a husband and wife. I think Natasha kept on running away from the Prince because he loved her out of pity. Who would want to stay in a relationship like that?

Overall, I liked the book. Definitely the parts on imminent death by both Hippolyte and the man about to be executed were gems. But, I agree with others that parts 2 and 3 were a bit tedious and the ending seemed so rushed. Definitely, I'll have to give the Brothers K a whack.


message 35: by Mike (new) - rated it 2 stars

Mike | 78 comments Well, I'm done! Wow! It wasn't easy to get thru. Years ago, I heard of this classic. But I don't know. Now that I've read it, the religion and politics in the novel didn't do for me. Parts 2 and 3 were tedious. Part 4 was good. Maybe because I could see the end coming. I'm still going to give The Brothers K a shot.


message 36: by Susan (last edited Mar 08, 2011 10:42AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Susan  (seg4me) | 21 comments I finished the book two days ago and it is still very much in my mind. I read it merely because this group is currently reading it and I am grateful for the selection. I was surprised at the emotionality displayed--the characters were either giddy with happiness, despondent to the point of suicide, angry with murderous thoughts, and often were very quick to change. Is this typical of Russian literature? BTW, I read this on my Kindle, and enjoyed having the larger print, while having a backup copy from my local library to follow along with the notes.


message 37: by Amanda (last edited Mar 11, 2011 01:47AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amanda | 14 comments Susan wrote: "I finished the book two days ago and it is still very much in my mind. I read it merely because this group is currently reading it and I am grateful for the selection. I was surprised at the emot..."

I think the emotionality is quite typical of Russian literature, and one of the reasons I like Russian literature is that the emotions of the characters in the genre are usually so brilliant, even seeming to flame at times. At the end of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, the main character's disposition is so present. I think that as individuals we experience emotions very brilliantly but also perceive others' emotions as through a sieve--we don't quite feel the full intensity, some part is held back. Another's feelings are never as red hot to us as they perceive them. I think this element of intense emotionality is what makes Russian literature so compelling, particularly for late teens and 20-somethings, who are learning to deal with intense emotions.

I'm an American who has lived and worked in Moscow for a few years now, and as I drifted off to sleep last night I was struck by just how similar certain characters in The Idiot are to contemporary people I've met in Russia. I am only 20% done with the book, and I just finished the part where Nastasia visits Gania's household. In English translation, some of Nastasia's comments sound a bit weird in my opinion, but when I think of what the sentence must have been in the original Russian, then I realize just how similar Nastasia speech is to contemporary Russian women's.

Likewise, I feel as though I have definitely met a few "Gania" types in real life in Moscow. He's so keen to keep up appearances and wants to control everything. Control and prestige are an overwhelming character traits that I see in a lot of contemporary Moscovites, and so Gania's disgust at having to rent out rooms to tenants and his unwillingness to break off relations with Nastasia before he has a commitment from Aglaya strikes me as so typical. At any rate, these are my views as of reading 20% of the book, perhaps this will change as I continue reading.

I should note that I haven't met any "Prince" types thus far in Moscow.


Susan  (seg4me) | 21 comments Amanda wrote: "Susan wrote: "I finished the book two days ago and it is still very much in my mind. I read it merely because this group is currently reading it and I am grateful for the selection. I was surpri..."

How interesting that you are living in Russia and experiencing certain character traits that are reminiscent of the book. Many years ago we lived 'overseas' in a variety of places and I enjoyed the experience immensely.


message 39: by FrankH (last edited Mar 13, 2011 09:38PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

FrankH | 39 comments St. Petersburg in the 1860s..Czar Alexander II has freed the serfs, major reforms are underway in the judiciary, the government and the military... the industrial revolution is gaining steam...a time of positive, cultural energy and revitalization? "The Idiot" tells a different story. As a compassionate, selfless and Christian ideal, Prince Myshkin, the ascetic and naive 'poor knight' seemingly without direction or purpose, is the foil for Dostoyevsky's steady, revealing delineation of a strata of society in moral drift, anger and confusion. In its lightest modality, the theme emerges in the misdirection and contrary behavior of the Yepachins; with Ganya and Myshkin, Aglaia doesn't seem to know her own romantic mind; for her part, Madam Yepachin earnestly seeks to follow all the proper social observances (Madame Belokonsky and the 'old dignitary') for a tacit betrothal to the Prince -- if only she can figure out what they are. A darker side arises with the abject Nastasya, driven by self-hatred as the 'kept woman', perversely encouraging Rogazhin in a bidding war for her hand. As the Prince remarks later, her bile becomes a kind of 'madness' and Rogazhin's love for Nastasya 'indistinguishable from hate' and then later, we learn, from murder. And there's no shortage of bile in the supporting narratives either. The 'Burdovsky' affair, in which the 'nihilists' shamelessly claim a piece of Myshkin's inheritance; Ganya's constant outbursts, 'a man of fitful and envious cravings'; Ippolit's tirade against Ganya for being the 'acme' of 'commonplace', 'the most ordinary of ordinary'; General Ivolgin's urgent, alcohol-infused insistence for 'dignity' leading to the final 'breaking off' with the Prince -- all expressions, perhaps, of self-inflicted mental anguish, vitriol and displaced, non-specific unease in the Russian soul, 'a dark place'. On the more than ample margins of the story lie the supporting accounts of Zhemarin murders, of Surikov and the dead frozen baby, and Ippolit's starving doctor and family, the unfortunate victims of bureaucratic 'intrigues'. What seems initially like powerful imagery, reoccuring but unique to Myshkin -- the enshrouding 'fog' and the unseen, observing dark eyes of the evil Rogazhin -- may well resonate beyond.

Undeniably, the extent of the Christian references in the novel reflect the author's interest in spirituality and Russian culture. Myshkin's frenetic rant at the end against Roman Catholicsm notwithstanding, Dostoyevsky has built the Prince carefully as the 'holy fool' on the Christian model, the onset of the epileptic seizure a supreme ephiphany, the manifestation of the divine hand of God. But, for me, the novel, begun as a portrait of 'a wholly admirable human being' becomes, at the end, morally ambivalent. With his bride lost and destined for institutional life, the Prince can do nothing but tremble at the horror of the murder, comforting Rogazhin -- the man with whom he exchanged crosses -- as the criminal remarks on the penetration of the knife and the 'smell of the corpse'.

A Russian colleague from work believes Dostoyevsky translations to English are fraught with difficulty. Symbols and shadings are at work, she says, which the untutored non-Russian reader could not be expected to know. As an example, 'Myshkin' is the not usually the name of a Prince; it has the meaning of 'mouse' (later I learned 'Rogazhin' stems from 'roga', meaning 'horn' (as in the devil, ala Van Horn and Updike's "Witches of Eastwick"?)). While I don't think these naming obstacles are insuperable -- Aglaia's 'hedgehog' gift remains puzzling -- the heart of this novel lies in the extended, prolix parlor dialog and I'd bet there is innuendo there pertaining to character, relationships and artistic design that will not always emerge, even with a careful rendering (mine's the original Constance Garnett).


Elene Hello everybody, I joined the group today.I read "The Idiot" in Russian 2 years ago.Even now i can't remember it without tears.I believe that this book can change people,can make them better.Personally,i think that every good story makes us a little bit better. Dostoevsky is a great psychologist and his all books are written in this way.the book make us believe,that behind every person is hiding a little,innocent child.The prince Mishkin, was only person to notice this ,to believe that beauty can rescue a world.Dostoevsky showed us that our souls are very familiar to each other and the only thin we need is love.It is not necessary to love a person in relative way, we can love them only for their childish,kind character.


message 41: by Kanika (new)

Kanika | 1 comments I am in the middle (part 3) of the book (Eva Martin translation), and in spite of advocating it to all my friends nobody has quite taken it up yet so i decided to join a discussion and here I am! While this book has many interesting characters and point of views as so many of us have discussed, I for the time being could not contain my excitement at the character of Hyppolite, I mean I remember his lines more than anyone he certainly is a wacked out character in between Prince and his innumerable dilemmas of his own making. His explanation for committing suicide does have some strong appeal to cynics, not necessarily in regard to their own life but to the character of Hypploite. Also its one of those things that happens to people when you give them time to think things out and their ponderings go out of control as Dostoyevsky himself says that “Without a firm idea of himself and the purpose of his life, man cannot live, and would sooner destroy himself than remain on earth, even if he was surrounded by bread.” An existential thought to its core, this philosophy has been discussed beautifully and with an interesting humorous take which is the most enjoyable of all. Looking forward to complete this book and fall in love with it even more.


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Rebeca | 14 comments I read to of the best books of Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov and Crime and punishment,,and both are excellents reads, but i understood that the Idiot was not one of his best writtings, and instead The Obsseded is his third best book...


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Anna (gohomeannakin) | 3 comments I strongly recommend not reading the Constance Garnett translations of anything Russian. My translation was by Alan Myers, which was much truer to Dostoevsky's personal style. Garnett filters Tolstoy and Dostoevsky to the point where you will not be able pick up the differences between the two.


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