Идиот

Hardcover  ë Идиот ePUB ´
    Hardcover ë Идиот ePUB ´ نشان دهد وی، که طبعاً مهربان و بزرگوار است، نسبت به مردان و به طورکلّی نسبت به همۀ کسانی که سرنوشت با آنان بیشتر یار بوده و به نظر می‌آید که برای خوارساختن او به همین مزیّت می‌نازند نفرتی در جان نهفته دارد این دو تازه دوست، چون به سن پترزبورگ می‌رسند، از یکدیگر جدا می‌شوند و پرنس نزد ژنرال اپانچین، یکی از خویشاوندانش می‌رود به این امید که برای زندگی فعّالی که می‌خواهد آغاز کند پشتیبانش باشد…به نقل از «فرهنگ آثار» –جلد اوّل."/>
  • Hardcover
  • 1019
  • Идиот
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Persian
  • 04 August 2019
  • null

About the Author: Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Hardcover ë Идиот ePUB ´ Идиот mobile, ИдиотИдиот PDF/EPUBФёдор Михайлович Достоевский see.


ИдиотHardcover ë Идиот ePUB ´ Идиот mobile, ИдиотИдиот PDF/EPUBابله در ۱۸۶۸–۱۸۶۹ منتشرشد پرنس مویخکین، آخرین فرزند یک خاندان بزرگ ورشکسته، پس از اقامتی طولانی در سوئیس برای معالجۀ بیماری به میهن خود بازمی‌گردد بیماری او رسماً افسردگی عصبی است، ولی درواقع مویخکین دچار نوعی جنون شده است که نمودار آن بی‌ارادگی مطلق است به‌علاوه، بی‌تجربگی کامل او در زندگی، اعتماد بی‌حدّی نسبت به دیگران در وی پدید می‌آورد مویخکین، درپرتو وجود روگوژین، همسفر خویش، فرصت می‌یابد نشان دهد که برای مردمی «واقعاً نیک»، درتماس با واقعیّت، چه ممکن است پیش آید روگوژین، این جوان گرم و روباز و بااراده، به سابقۀ هم‌حسّی باطنی و نیاز به ابراز مکنونات قلبی، درراه سفر سفرۀ دل خود را پیش مویخکین، که ازنظر روحی نقطۀ مقابل اوست، می‌گشاید روگوژین برای او عشق قهّاری را که نسبت‌به ناستازیا فیلیپوونا احساس می‌کند بازمی‌گوید این زن زیبا، که ازنظر حسن شهرت وضعی مبهم دارد، به انگیزۀ وظیفه شناسی، نه بی‌اکراه، معشوقۀ ولی نعمت خود می‌شود تا از این راه حق‌شناسی خود را به‌او نشان دهد وی، که طبعاً مهربان و بزرگوار است، نسبت به مردان و به طورکلّی نسبت به همۀ کسانی که سرنوشت با آنان بیشتر یار بوده و به نظر می‌آید که برای خوارساختن او به همین مزیّت می‌نازند نفرتی در جان نهفته دارد این دو تازه دوست، چون به سن پترزبورگ می‌رسند، از یکدیگر جدا می‌شوند و پرنس نزد ژنرال اپانچین، یکی از خویشاوندانش می‌رود به این امید که برای زندگی فعّالی که می‌خواهد آغاز کند پشتیبانش باشد…به نقل از «فرهنگ آثار» –جلد اوّل.

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10 thoughts on “Идиот

  1. Michelle says:

    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 Swiss sanatorium. While on the train to Russia, he meets and befriends a man of dubious character called Rogozhin. Rogozhin is unhealthily obsessed with the mysterious beauty, Nastasya Filippovna to the point where the reader just knows nothing good will come of it. Of course the prince gets caught up with Rogozhin, Filippovna, and the society around them.

    The only other Dostoevsky novel I’ve read was Crime and Punishment, so of course my brain is going to compare the two. Where Crime and Punishment deals with Raskolnikov’s internal struggle, The Idiot deals with Prince Myshkin’s effect on the society he finds himself a part of. And what a money-hungry, power-hungry, cold and manipulative society it is.

    I admit that in the beginning and throughout much of the novel I felt intensely protective of Prince Myshkin. I got pissed off when people would laugh at him or call him an idiot. Then towards the end of the novel, I even ended up calling him an idiot a few times. Out loud. One time I actually said “Oh, you are an idiot!” But then I felt bad.

    Poor Prince Myshkin. I think he was simply too good and too naïve for the world around him.

    Now here is where my thought process starts to fall apart. There’s just so much to write about that I can’t even begin to write anything. There were so many themes that were explored in the novel such as nihilism, Christ as man rather than deity, losing one’s faith, and capital punishment among other things. And I haven’t even mentioned Dostoevsky’s peripheral characters yet, which, like those in Crime and Punishment, are at least as interesting, if not more interesting than the main characters. My favorite character was Aglaya Ivanovna. She was so conflicted with regard to her feelings about the prince and loved him in spite of herself. I had mixed feelings toward Ganya. I mostly disliked him, but I grew to like him more towards the end. The entire novel was much like a soap opera, but a good soap opera, if that makes sense.

    Well, at this point I’ve been moving paragraphs around for far too long, and I realize there’s no way this review will do the book any justice. I wanted to write about the symbolism of the Holbein painting and how I love that in both Dostoevsky books I've read he references dreams the characters have, but I just have too many questions and not enough answers. Instead I'll just say that it was truly an excellent read and definitely worth your time.

  2. Lisa says:

    If Raskolnikov was the charismatic murderer whose side I took despite myself when he killed an old woman out of greed and broke down psychologically afterwards, Prince Myshkin is the supposedly good, childlike Christ figure whom I failed to like at all.

    Just do make it clear from the beginning: I liked the novel just as much as Crime and Punishment and Notes from Underground, and I found it just as compulsively readable. The cast of characters is magnificent.

    My sole problem is the character of Myshkin. We are not a likely pair to hit it off, of course.

    He is a religious fanatic, whose conviction is so narrow-minded that he hates other variations of Christian dogma even more than atheists: “Yes, that’s my opinion! Atheism only preaches a negation, but Catholicism goes further: it preaches a distorted Christ, a Christ calumniated and defamed by themselves, the opposite of Christ! It preaches the Antichrist, I declare it does, I assure you it does!” - I am an atheist, but strongly in support of tolerance and respect beyond the narrow boundaries of one’s own convictions. So I will give Myshkin a pass on his fanaticism, knowing full well he wouldn’t give me one, considering his reaction when he heard his benefactor had converted to Catholicism.

    He is a Russian nationalist, believing in expanding Russian dogma to the West: “Not letting ourselves be slavishly caught by the wiles of the Jesuits, but carrying our Russian civilisation to them, we ought to stand before them and not let it be said among us, as it was just now, that their preaching is skilful.” - I believe in global citizenship and consider nationalism to be the greatest evil in world history. But I will give him a pass on that one, knowing the historical framework in which it was uttered.

    He is proud of his lack of education, and does absolutely nothing to enhance his own understanding, despite having leisure to spend all day studying. I believe in lifelong learning to develop as a human being. But I will give him a pass on that one, knowing he suffers from epilepsy and maybe from other conditions as well, which might make learning impossible for him.

    He is an elitist, openly rejecting equality and democracy in favour of his own, idle class: “I am a prince myself, of ancient family, and I am sitting with princes. I speak to save us all, that our class may not be vanishing in vain; in darkness, without realising anything, abusing everything, and losing everything. Why disappear and make way for others when we might remain in advance and be the leaders?” - I am for equality and democracy, for a classless society without any privileges.

    He is utterly afraid of female sexuality and almost pathological in his attempt to ignore the fact that it exists, admiring childlike behaviour and the inexperienced beauty of virgins. - I am a grown-up woman.

    I will let all of that pass, there is no reason why I shouldn’t be able to identify with that as much as with a raving murderer, right? What I can’t accept is his posturing as a “truly good”, almost holy person. That is too much. His social ineptitude, his lack of imagination, his literal-mindedness, his prejudices - all of that might be fitting the time and place where he lives, but it is not objectively good.

    In fact, I don’t see any goodness in him at all. Even Raskolnikov, poor, and under supreme stress, was able to spontaneously give his last money to a desperate family to finance a funeral. Myshkin does nothing helpful with his fortune, which conveniently fell into his over-privileged lap. On the contrary. He uses the money to cruise in the Russian upper class society and to mingle with distinguished families. He doesn’t work, and isn’t even remotely interested in anything to do with actual progress in society.

    Instead, he gives credit to whoever happens to be in the room with him at the moment, without engaging or giving any active help, and he changes his mind when another person steps into the room. Critics are eager to call this his “innocence” and gullibility, and to use it as proof that he is a “better person” than the characters who have motives and agendas for their actions. Since when is cluelessness a virtue? And what if he is not an idiot? If you for one second step out of that thought pattern, you can also call his change of mind hypocrisy, or opportunism, or fear of conflict, or flattery.

    Some might call it Christian meekness. I call it condescension. Myshkin is incredibly one-dimensional in his value system, fearing sexuality and human interaction. To compensate for his fears, he puts himself “above” them, looking down on “weak” people, forgiving and pitying them. But what right has he to “forgive” other people for engaging in conflicts that are caused by his own social ineptitude? If I could see in Myshkin a person who is on the autistic spectrum, I would feel compassion for him and be frustrated that his community is not capable of helping him communicate according to his abilities. But whenever that idea comes to mind, the big DOSTOYEVSKY LITERARY CRITICISM stands in the way. Under no circumstances am I to forget that Dostoyevsky truly saw in Myshkin a Christlike figure, and that he himself was committed to orthodox Christian dogma to the point of writing in a letter (in 1854):

    “If someone proved to me that Christ was outside the truth, and it was really true that the truth was outside Christ, then I would still prefer to remain with Christ than with truth.”

    Well, to be honest, I think that is precisely what this novel shows. Dostoyevsky, the brilliant realist writer, writes a story containing the truth of social life as he has accurately observed it, and his Christ is moping around on the fringes, causing trouble rather than offering ethical guidelines. He is absolutely passive, incapable of one single motivated, proactive good deed.

    Only criminals and ignorant peasants invoke the name of Christ in the novel. The educated people with whom Myshkin mingles are concerned with their own nervous modernity. They act like neglected children, drawing negative attention to themselves to make the (God)-father figure notice them. But he remains silent, ignoring even his most cherished child, the one he sacrificed for all the others, - Christ. It is Holbein’s dead Christ, brutally shown in his human insignificance, that stands as a symbol for the religious vacuum in the novel, a Christ figure that can make people lose their faith, as Myshkin admits himself.

    The characters argue and discuss their respective positions on philosophy and religion throughout the long digressive plot, and Myshkin mourns earlier times when people were of a simpler mind:

    “In those days, they were men of one idea, but now we are more nervous, more developed, more sensitive; men capable of two or three ideas at once … Modern men are broader-minded - and I swear that this prevents their being so all-of-a-piece as they were in those days.”

    That is what he says to Ippolyt, a poor, cynical 18-year-old boy dying (but not fast enough) of consumption. When the young man asks Myshkin how to die with decency, the idiotic Christ figure doesn’t offer him his house or moral support, even though he knows that Ippolyt is in a conflict with Ganya, with whom he is currently staying. No, help can’t be offered, just this:

    “Pass us by, and forgive us our happiness”, said Myshkin in a low voice.”

    Oh, the goodness of that (non-)action.

    Another telling situation occurs when Myshkin receives the clearly confused general Ivolgin, in a state of rage, whose Münchhausen-stories of meeting Napoleon are evidently hysterical lies. Even the idiotic Myshkin understands that something is wrong with the general, but he lets him rave on, encouraging him in his folly. If that was all, I could argue that two fools had met, and that Myshkin couldn’t be expected to show compassion and try to calm down the ill man (who has a stroke in the street shortly afterwards, supported by the “malignant” atheists rather than the Christian elitist characters). But Myshkin is not a fool in that respect, just a passively condescending man. His reaction is outrageous:

    “Haven’t I made it worse by leading him on to such flights?” Myshkin wondered uneasily, and suddenly he could not restrain himself, and laughed violently for ten minutes. He was nearly beginning to reproach himself for his laughter, but at once realised that he had nothing to reproach himself with, since he had an infinite pity for the general.”

    Right! How convenient for you, Prince! And you suffer so much when others laugh at your inadequacies. I have an infinite pity for you, Sir! But I won’t raise a finger to help you, all the same. Because being a completely innocent little idiot, I don’t know how to do that.

    Which leads me to my last comment on the character of Myshkin, who repeatedly was compared to Don Quixote in the novel. He is NOT AT ALL LIKE THE DON!

    Don Quixote has more imagination and erudition than his contemporaries. Myshkin has none at all.
    Don Quixote actively wants to change the world for the better. Myshkin wants to passively enjoy his privileged status.
    Don Quixote is generous and open-minded. Myshkin is aloof and uninterested.
    Don Quixote has a mission. Myshkin floats in upper class meaninglessness.
    Don Quixote loves his ugly Dulcinea. Myshkin can’t choose between the two prettiest girls in society, but wants them to remain children to be able to worship them as virgins.

    So, who were my favourite characters then? As often happens to me while reading Dickens as well, I found much more satisfaction following the minor characters. Kolya, Ippolyt, Lebedyev, Rogozhin, Aglaia, Nastasya - all these people experiencing Russian society in the process of moving towards modernity are affected by one or several of its aspects. They try to deal with modernity ad hoc, without a recipe, and suffer from confusion.

    Aglaia!

    When she says she wants to become an educator, to DO something, she shows the spirit of future entrepreneurship, including women in active life. When she goes from one emotional state to another, not willing to be a negotiable good in her parents’ marriage plans, a piece of property moving from one domestic jail to another, she is a true hero. But she embraces the idea of ownership and control, and in order to own Myshkin, she acts out a despicably arrogant farce in front of a vulnerable rival, using as a weapon her privilege and chastity. A flawed but interesting character for sure. She would have been utterly unhappy, had she reached her goal.

    Kolya!

    Trying to navigate his hysterical environment and to build bridges between his family’s needs and the society they depend on, and to support parents, siblings, and friends with actions rather than words, he is a truly good person.

    Rogozhin!

    Blinded by passion but capable of sincere feeling and fidelity, he is a true lover, yet driven to madness and criminal behaviour. He admits to his crimes and accepts the following punishment.

    Nastasya!

    The abused child who takes out the punishment on herself, like anorexic or self-harming young girls nowadays, convinced that the harm done to them is a sign of their own filthiness. Myshkin drives her over the edge with his condescending pity and forgiveness - by enforcing her idea of guilt and worthlessness. As if Myshkin had any right to claim superiority! He seals her fate when he remains completely passive in the showdown between her and arrogant, impertinent Aglaia, and then creates an atmosphere of self-sacrifice during the wedding preparations:

    “He seemed really to look on his marriage as some insignificant formality, he held his own future so cheap.”

    So what am I to make of my reading of the Idiot? What is the ultimate feeling, closing the book after days of frenzied engagement with the characters?

    I loved the novel, hated the main character (but I’ll FORGIVE him, of course, feeling PITY for his suffering), and am prepared for another Dostoyevsky. Let the Devils haunt me next!

  3. Petra-X says:

    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 where he trusts untrustworthy people, falls for all their plots where he is the patsy, and falls in love with a rather uppity girl who returns his affections and then when it comes to the moment, chooses another woman for all the wrong reasons and thereby ends up rejected by both.

    He is the very definition of an idiot, he never, ever learns and what intelligence he has he doesn't put to working out the truth of a situation and what he should do to benefit himself. He always falls for the next plot, the next plan, the next person with a glint in their eye for how they can use him to further their own ends. And he goes just like a lamb to the slaughter.

    Sadly, the debacle, written in a time when not even the word 'neurology' had been invented, let alone the science, is rather idiotic. On getting drawn into a crime committed by a man mad in every sense, crazy and angry, his epilepsy degenerates into a mental illness so deep he crosses over into another land. Bye bye gentle idiot. I was glad to read of you, I'm glad I didn't know you.

  4. Ahmad Sharabiani says:

    861. Идиот = The Idiot, Fyodor Dostoevsky
    The Idiot (Russian: Идио́т, Idiot) is a novel by the 19th-century Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It was first published serially in the journal The Russian Messenger in 1868–9.
    The title is an ironic reference to the central character of the novel, Prince (Knyaz) Lev Nikolaevich Myshkin, a young man whose goodness and open-hearted simplicity lead many of the more worldly characters he encounters to mistakenly assume that he lacks intelligence and insight. In the character of Prince Myshkin, Dostoevsky set himself the task of depicting the positively good and beautiful man. The novel examines the consequences of placing such a unique individual at the centre of the conflicts, desires, passions and egoism of worldly society, both for the man himself and for those with whom he becomes involved. The result, according to philosopher A.C. Grayling, is one of the most excoriating, compelling and remarkable books ever written; and without question one of the greatest.
    تاریخ نخستین خوانش: در سال 1974 میلادی
    عنوان: ابله؛ نویسنده: فئودور داستایوسکی؛ مترجم: مشفق همدانی؛ تهران، کتابهای جبیی، 1341؛ در چهار جلد؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، صفیعلیشاه، چاپ سوم 1348؛ در چهار جلد؛ چاپ پنجم 1356؛ چاپ دیگر 1362؛ چاپ بعدی 1366؛ چاپ دیگر: 1396، در دو جلد؛ شابک: 9789645626929؛ تهران، امیرکبیر، چاپ سوم 1393؛ در سه جلد؛ شابک: 9789640015896؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان روسیه - قرن 19 م
    عنوان: ابله؛ نویسنده: فئودور داستایوسکی؛ مترجم: سروش حبیبی؛ تهران، چشمه،1383؛ چاپ سوم 1385؛ چهارم 1386؛ ششم 1378؛ هفتم 1388؛چاپ هشتم 1389؛ چاپ نهم 1390؛ در 1019 ص؛ چاپ یازدهم 1393؛ شابک: 9789643622114؛
    مترجم: منوچهر بیگدلی خمسه؛ تهران، ارسطو، 1362؛ در دو جلد؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، گلشائی؛ 1368؛ در دو جلد؛ تهران، نگارستان کتاب؛ 1387؛ در دو جلد؛ شابک: 9789648155839؛
    مترجم: نسرین مجیدی؛ تهران، روزگار، 1389؛ در 920 ص؛ شابک: 9789643742768؛
    مترجم: کیومرث پارسای؛ تهران، سمیر، چاپ چهارم 1395؛ در 640 ص؛ شابک: 9789642200986؛
    مترجم: آرا جواهری؛ تهران، یاقوت کویر، 1395؛ در دو جلد؛ شابک: 9786008191063؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، پارمیس؛ 1392؛ در دو جلد؛ شابک: 9786006027623؛ چاپ دیگر 1396؛ در 826 ص؛ شابک: 9786008708094؛
    مترجم: اصغر اندرودی؛ تهران، ناژ؛ 1394؛ در دو جلد؛ شابک: 9786006110158؛
    مترجم: پرویز شهدی؛ نشر به سخن، 1396؛ در دو جلد؛ شابک: 9786007987407؛
    مترجم: میروحید ذنوبی؛ تهران، آهنگ فردا، 1396؛ در 838 ص؛ شابک: 9786007383728؛
    مترجم: امیر رمزی؛ تهران، آریاسان، 1396؛ در 838 ص؛ شابک: 9786008193760؛
    مترجم: آرزو خلجی مقیم؛ تهران، نیک فرجام، 1395، در 784 ص؛ شابک: 9786007159316؛ چاپ دیگر: 1396؛ در 838 ص؛ شابک: 9786007159514؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، سپهر ادب، 1395؛ شابک: 9789649923963؛ در دو جلد؛
    مترجم: مهری آهی؛ تهران، خوارزمی؛ 1395؛ در 1075 ص؛ شابک: 9789644871566؛
    مترجم: عباس سبحانی فر؛ تهران، آنیسا، 1396؛ در 839 ص؛ شابک: 9786008399728؛
    مترجم: علی صحرایی؛ تهران، ابر سفید، 1392؛ در 536 ص؛ شابک: 9786006988085؛
    پرنس «میشکین»، آخرین فرزند یک خاندان بزرگ ورشکسته، پس از اقامتی طولانی در «سوئیس»، برای معالجه ی بیماری، به میهن خویش بازمی‌گردد. بیماری او، رسماً افسردگی عصبی ست، ولی در واقع «میشکین»، دچار نوعی جنون شده‌ است، که نمود آن بی‌ارادگی مطلق است. افزون بر این، بی‌ تجربگی کامل او در زندگی، اعتماد بی‌حدش نسبت به دیگران را، در وی پدید میآورد. «میشکین»، در پرتو وجود «روگوژین»، همسفر خویش، فرصت می‌یابد که نشان دهد، برای مردمی واقعاً نیک، در تماس با واقعیت، چه ممکن است پیش آید. «روگوژین» این جوان گرم و روباز و با اراده، به سابقه ی همحسی باطنی، و نیاز به ابراز مکنونات پیشین، در راه سفر، سفره ی دل خود را، پیش «میشکین»، که از نظر روحی نقطه مقابل اوست، می‌گشاید. «روگوژین» برای او، عشقی را، که نسبت به «ناستازیا فیلیپونیا»، احساس می‌کند، بازمی‌گوید. آن زن زیبا، که از نظر حسن شهرت، وضعیت مبهمی دارد، به انگیزه ی وظیفه شناسی، نه بی اکراه، معشوقه ی ولی نعمت خود می‌شود، تا از آن راه حق‌ شناسی خود را، به او نشان دهد. وی، که طبعاً مهربان و بزرگوار است، نسبت به مردان، و به طور کلی نسبت به همه کسانیکه سرنوشت با آنان بیشتر یار بوده، و به نظر می‌آید که برای خوار ساختن اوست، مه به برتری خویش می‌نازند، نفرتی در جان نهفته دارد. این دو تازه دوست، چون به «سن پترزبورگ» می‌رسند، از یکدیگر جدا می‌شوند، و پرنس نزد ژنرال «اپانچین»، یکی از خویشاوندانش، می‌رود، به این امید که برای زندگی فعالی که می‌خواهد آغاز کند، او پشتیبانش باشد، و رخدادهای دیگر… ا. شربیانی

  5. Fergus says:

    Prince Lev Nicolayevich Myschkin discovered relativity in 1886.

    Well, actually the scientific theory of relativity wasn’t discovered until 30 years later, by Albert Einstein, but I don’t think that discovery would have been possible without the relativistic ferment that had started sweeping through Europe in the mid-19th century, with its ultimate CHRISTIAN formulation in The Idiot, in 1886.

    Moral chaos is so cataclysmic to conservative spectators. So much so to Prince Myschkin, in fact, that he suffers an enormous three-year nervous collapse. But he comes out of it Reborn.

    “Reborn!?” you may say. “Isn’t he just... a little ODD?”

    Well listen, if as an intelligent kid you were submitting - along with the rest of intelligent Europe - to the Willy-nilly Transvaluation of all Values, wouldn’t you want to somehow return to your Moral Roots?

    And if you didn’t Pooh-Pooh change in any form, like so many mature people do, wouldn’t you try to reason through this enormous alteration in values?

    Prince Myschkin does both. He REASONS THROUGH THE CLIMACTERIC OF RADICAL RE-ORIENTATION - from a CHRISTIAN POV.

    Something we all should be doing today if we’re believers.

    Sure, the sophisticated St Petersburg in-set decides mainly to lead him on - apparent imbecile that he is - into traps of their own devising, but isn’t that what most normal people do today with an oddball: feed him enough rope to hang himself with?

    But these worldly sophisticates have a “don’t go there” mindset to new ideas. Unless they’re new FUN ideas. They are intellectually and morally stuck. And so the nutty prince is like a breath of fresh air to them, in a funny sort of way!

    Bigotry wasn’t born yesterday. It was born when someone decided to take a small, SAFE pathway through the perils of life. And so many have - alas! - followed him.

    But Prince Myschkin has just emerged, barely breathing, from a total moral collapse in a world of ethical relativism. More power to him, I say - at least he’s not scared of the world’s shadows anymore.

    For he’s now emerged with a triumphant Christian Faith from the dark chambers of Dis. Into a New, Wide-Awake World.

    Myschkin, you see, refuses to JUDGE OTHERS. All his crazy antics are just a logical offshoot of that logically primitive decision.

    The basic building block of his, and all true ethical behaviour.

    And that’s what makes this book Great.

    For this is the portrait of an unlikely modern saint - but it is written with a double-edged pen!

    It’s ironical - and it’s not.

    Sort of reminds you of the Gospel, doesn’t it?

    And, somehow, you know - I think that’s what Dostoevsky intended.

  6. Adam Dalva says:

    A terrific novel - very worth reading - but lacking the thrust and pleasures of BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, which is one of my favorite books. It is, perhaps, the most difficult novel to evaluate with the Goodreads star system, because it is both very, very great, and not particularly good.

    When the action soars - in searing, autobiographical moments, with sequences of epilepsy, fits, executions, and long social sequences - there is really nothing like it. An outdoor party scene with the (overly) noble Prince Myshkin will stick with me forever, as will the cursed love between Nastasya Fillippovna and Rogozhin. The idea of a pure man misunderstood by an impure society is wonderful, but THE IDIOT reads more like a sequence of thematic parables than a novel.

    I've been taught, and I teach, the iceberg theory of writing. The author should know more about her characters than she is willing to show (90% below water, 10% visible.) This iceberg is almost totally submerged. The main action - the stuff I was dying to see - too often occurred BETWEEN parts of the novel. I have never experienced such exciting exposition in my life - but I saw almost none of that excitement on the page. Structurally, this makes it somewhat disastrous, and it feels rushed, as if Dostoevsky was so eager to plumb the depth of philosophy that he forgot to provide us with a plot. This makes the book fascinating, but a very, very slow read. I am very grateful to have read it; I was rarely grateful to be reading it.

  7. Henry Avila says:

    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 his beloved native land, again. That he hardly remembers, having lived in Switzerland, treated by a kindly Doctor Schneider, without charge for years. However meets two men that will be friends or enemies (in the future), inside his train compartment. Rogozhin, a young man who can't control his emotions, very unstable, just inheriting a vast fortune, eager to show the whole city, it. And Lebedev , a minor clerk the kind of gentleman who knows everything about Petersburg's important people. Myshkin, doesn't even have proper clothes for the cold, late November day as he steps down into the unknown metropolis. Nevertheless he has valuable information received from the well informed Mr. Lebedev . Seeing General Epanchin retired, his wife has the same name as our hero, maybe some kind of relation? With difficulties, servants are such doubters and have good reason to be, Myshkin finally gets in the house's family quarters. Meeting the three beautiful daughters of the general, and his volatile and scary wife, Lizaveta. Falling in love with the youngest, prettiest daughter Aglaia, she's 20, very immature, has crushes on every handsome suitor she's introduced to. The inexperienced prince, also loves Nastasya a kept woman he sees soon after, the best looking female in the country. He wants to save this lady, from a life of inevitable degradation and doom, the eternal triangle. Later entering society, they the ruling class look at him, the eccentric Myshkin closely, an oddity a childish fool, not suitable for them as a friend. Yet these citizens have no real ones, themselves ... Good fortune comes to Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin, he inherits a lot of money, unexpectedly, when he goes to Moscow. A letter tells him, naturally he gives away most of it to people, who say the prince owes them money. And the poor, those asking for a little help, how can he refuse? Fleeing Moscow, the ill man goes back to the Russian capital, the two women in his life, are there. Rents a villa in the suburbs from Mr. Lebedev , invites the consumptive boy that he befriended, Ippolit, ( an unpleasant youth) to stay during his last days and still earns no respect, from anyone ... The Idiot, has proposed marriage, to both of his loves!

  8. Greta says:

    Death Penalty and Epilepsy

    Have you ever imagined what you would think and feel if you had a gun to your head, about to be executed?

    Returning to St. Petersburg from a Swiss sanatorium, the gentle but naive Prince Myshkin pays a visit to his distant relatives. He was receiving treatment for epilepsy and idiocy. (Until the 20th an actual medical term for neurological disorders). Starting with the train ride to St. Petersburg he is thrown headfirst back into the corrupted society and encounters several people from different social classes. Soon he finds himself caught up in a love triangle and drawn into a web of blackmail, betrayal, and finally murder. It’s a very philosophical and psychological novel that mostly works with dialogues and encounters between people.

    Prince Myshkin

    Fyodor Dostoevsky - Prince Myshkin has many similarities with himself

    Superficially the insidious effects of Prince Myshkins illness and his innocence and lack of social experience, create the false impression of mental or psychological deficiency. Most people refer to him disparagingly as an idiot at some point, even though they are deeply affected by him. In fact he is highly intelligent, self-aware, intuitive and empathic. He thinks deeply about human nature, morality and spirituality, and has the ability to express those thoughts with unusual clarity. He embodies what are supposed to be the best aspects of a human being and Christian. He speaks his mind and doesn‘t hide his true feelings in order to manipulate or maintain appearances, weather they are appropriate for the social setting or not. Contrary to the egoistic people he encounters, he is very gentle, humble and giving, without thinking about himself.

    A Good Soul in the Cruel World

    Dostoevsky shows what happens when such a sensitive individual is thrown in the real world. These seemingly perfect traits come into headlong collision. He is too good for a world dominated by money, lust, and individual vanity. But he doesn‘t bring goodness to the world; instead his good traits are inverted and manipulated, leading to the destruction of both himself and his ideals. The world he enters is full of moral corruption and decay, dominated by money, sinners, drunks and rogues. Even the high society is full of superficial characters, who are obsequious to the superficiality, in order to gain a high position. Myshkin spends a a lot of time with those characters, even after many of them have committed offenses against him. Myshkin is morally superior but his effect on this world is ultimately zero—positive and negative effects cancel each other out. In an attempts to help those around him, Myshkin drives several of them to destruction and himself to insanity.

    Capital Punishment

    The feeling and thoughts of a person before being executed are an important topic of the novel, that emerges from Dostoyevsky's own biography. In 1849, Dostoevsky was sentenced with execution by firing squad for his activities in the Petrashevsky Circle - an independent literary group, that fought against the governments doctrine and censorship. Without warning and only shortly after the period of interrogation and trial, the prisoners where taken to a Square where their death sentence was read out to them. The first three prisoners were tied to stakes facing the firing squad and Dostoevsky was among the next in line. Just as the first shots were about to be fired, a message arrived from the Tsar commuting the sentences to hard labor in Siberia.

    Mock execution of Petrashevsky Circle‘s members

    This experience had a profound effect on Dostoyevsky which he reflected upon Prince Myshkin, who repeatedly speaks in depth about the subject of capital punishment and tells an anecdote that exactly mirrors Dostoevsky's own experience. The Prince then recounts in detail what the man experienced during what they believed to be the last minutes of their lives.

    “... the worst, most violent pain lies not in injuries, but in the fact that you know for certain that within the space of an hour, then ten minutes, then half a minute, then now, right at this moment—your soul will fly out of your body, and you'll no longer be a human being, and that this is certain; the main thing is that it is certain. When you put your head right under the guillotine and hear it sliding above your head, it's that quarter of a second that's most terrible of all... Who can say that human nature is able to endure such a thing without going mad? Why such mockery—ugly, superfluous, futile? Perhaps the man exists to whom his sentence has been read out, has been allowed to suffer, and then been told: off you go, you've been pardoned.

    To the prisoner the extraordinary value of life is revealed in the moment of his imminent death. The most terrible realization for the condemned man is that of a wasted life, and he is consumed by the desperate desire for another chance. After his reprieve, the man vows to live every moment of life conscious of its infinite value

    Epilepsy

    Another similarity to Dostoyevsky's biography is Myshkin suffering from epilepsy. For much of his adulthood he suffered from an unusual and at times extremely debilitating form of temporal lobe epilepsy and in 1867 he wrote to his doctor:

    this epilepsy will end up by carrying me off... My memory has grown completely dim. I don't recognize people anymore... I'm afraid of going mad or falling into idiocy

    Prince Myshkin suffers under the same condition and its after effects, which contributes significantly to him being characterized by others as idiot. Although he is completely aware that he is not an idiot, he realizes his impaired mental state during the attacks. He remembers his time in the Swiss sanatorium, when the symptoms were chronic and he really was almost an idiot. But paradoxically there are aspects of the disease that contribute to his higher spiritual preoccupations as well.

    Epileptic Seizure

    “...there was a certain stage almost immediately before the fit itself when, amidst the sadness, the mental darkness, the pressure, his brain suddenly seemed to burst into flame, and with an extraordinary jolt all his vital forces seemed to be tensed together. The sensation of life and of self-awareness increased tenfold at those moments... The mind, the heart were flooded with an extraordinary light; all his unrest, all his doubts, all his anxieties were resolved into a kind of higher calm, full of a serene, harmonious joy and hope.“

    Although for Myshkin this stage represented a moment of highest truth, he also knew that mental darkness and idiocy would follow the attack. At the end of the novel he appears to descend completely into this darkness.

    “It is better to be unhappy and know the worst, than to be happy in a fool's paradise.”

    What an amazing novel, particularly if you are aware of the similarities to Dostoyevsky‘s biography. It not only reflects on the meaning of life and the effect of death on the living but plunges fearlessly into suffering while at the same time illuminating the enduring beauty of humanity. The ending of the novel is devistatingly genius.

  9. Ben says:

    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 moment; yet it is a true and pure novel, like the heart of our unusual but endearing hero, Prince Myshkin: our idiot.

    Nobody brings the drama like Fyodor: nobody. Yet despite all the exclamation points and the excessively passionate characters -- who all seem to speak with great clarity, with penetrating philosophical insight -- Dostoevsky novels still feel very real to me. Despite its great entertainment value and all the outbursts from its characters, very real emotional boundaries are pushed in very natural, all encompassing ways. What The Idiot bespeaks is something about life that is so real and true that the novel, while very intense, feels completely unexaggerated.

    Dostoevsky novels don’t take place in, but are a world of both utter emotional madness and pure genius. And they display how the two are often inseparable:

    He fell to thinking, among other things, about his epileptic condition, that there was a stage in it just before the fit itself (if the fit occurred while he was awake), when suddenly, amidst the sadness, the darkness of soul, the pressure, his brain would momentarily catch fire, as it were, and all his life's forces would be strained at once in an extraordinary impulse. The sense of life, of self-awareness, increased nearly tenfold in these moments, which flashed by like lightning. His mind, his heart were lit up with an extraordinary light; all his agitation, all his doubts, all his worries were as if placated at once, resolved in a sort of sublime tranquility, filled with serene, harmonious joy, and hope, filled with reason and ultimate cause.

    These characters, none of them were all bad or all good; in fact there was not one single character in this entire novel that I didn't feel both sympathy and contempt for, at various stages.

    The Idiot is epic. The way it played out will have my mind reeling for weeks, I know. And I like that. I like that a lot.

    But I'll add though that there is something at the bottom of every new human thought, every thought of genius, or even every earnest thought that springs up in any brain, which can never be communicated to others, even if one were to write volumes about it and were explaining one's idea for thirty-five years; there's something left which cannot be induced to emerge from your brain, and remains with you forever; and with it you will die, without communicating to anyone perhaps, the most important of your ideas.

  10. Katie says:

    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 by her innocence? No way! They would have been made deeply uncomfortable by her innocence. They would have wanted to shut her up. The idiot here has a similar effect on Russian society. Dostoevsky’s idea was that if Christ returned to 19th century Russian society he would be treated as a simpleton, an idiot. So he has created a character who always endeavours to be honest, to tell the truth as he sees it. He has a “noble simplicity and is boundlessly trusting”. His innocence though causes as much hatred as admiration, more anarchy than goodwill. He makes you realise there are many situations in life where a lie is preferable to the truth if the boat isn’t to be rocked. Because there’s nearly always something expedient in a lie, especially in what we call white lies. There’s usually some personal gain to be had from shunning the truth. Usually these are small private lies; sometimes bigger, more public lies, like Trump denying climate change because it’s in his financial interests to take this stand. He doesn’t want to look at images of innocent nature devastated by oil spills from leaking pipes.

    One of the most interesting things I learned while reading this is how the novel has evolved for the better since the 19th century. As brilliant as this is there’s a lot of rambling waffle, as if all the characters are on amphetamines and don’t know when to shut up. Dostoevsky resorts to rather cheap tactics too – a character arrives breathless with the urgency to convey news but instead of getting to the point embarks on a completely different discourse and finally decides now is not the time to share his news. Or the narrator will coyly tell us he doesn’t know what two characters spoke about when they were alone together, even though on the previous page he told us what a character thought in the privacy of his own mind. I wondered if this was mischief on the part of Dostoevsky or just sloppiness. Apparently this was serialised and Dostoevsky was under great duress when he wrote it. Also, all the women are bonkers. They’re so volatile and capricious that it’s impossible to know what they want. They seem to be overloaded with stoppered sexual energy. Sexual emotions, in Dostoevsky’s novel, seem to deny the female characters access not only to innocence but also measured reflection, a subtext I wasn’t entirely comfortable with. The women sometimes confused the clarity of the theme of this novel. And ultimately it’s the sexual jealousy of an essentially innocent young woman that causes the concluding mayhem.

    This is not a seamless great read. It can be baggy, chaotic, digressive but the best bits are simply brilliant and overall I found it a tremendously edifying read.