“The Idiot” by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Idiot

The Idiot

Literature is what we would like to have read but not necessarily want to read now. Getting through 696 pages of Dostoevsky’s “The Idiot” was quite an achievement. About fifteen or twenty years ago, I laboured through “Crime and Punishment” which really was for me a drudge. I have no plans to imminently attack other great Russian literary giants like Chekhov, Tolstoy, Gogol or Pushkin. “The Idiot” was more engaging than “C & P“, but the protagonist Prince Myushkin was indeed an idiot, but not a holy fool. He begins the novel arriving on a train having come from Switzerland where he was being treated for epilepsy and mental ineptitude. He is plunged into the social intrigues of nineteenth century Petersburg: a society more concerned with wealth and power than moral values, some echoes of contemporary Russia there.

“We toil like cattle, we labour, we are poor and hungry as dogs. Others don’t toil, and don’t labour, and they are rich. (The everlasting story!)”
The Prince falls in love with two women, who are unsuited to him, and naively gives away money and is taken in by various devious people. One woman has a salubrious past, the beautiful Nastasya, the other a beautiful young 20 year old from a proud family, Aglaia. The novel is full of overwhelming Russian drama, the poor Prince doesn’t stand much chance of succeeding with either woman. The only thing the Prince is good at seems to be a card game called “fools”, where he easily beats Aglaia despite her cheating. Like C&P and indeed Dostoevsky himself, one of the main characters ends up being sent to Siberia for a number of years but not the Idiot.

My rating: 3 out of 5

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About jimholroyd365

Hi, my name is Jim, I am an Englishman living in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. I started this blog to share my interests, my photos and to make sense of my world. I take a lot of photographs of various subjects, some of which I intend to share here. I collect diecast cars and get the same thrill at 50 as I did when I was 8, when I find a car I'm searching for, Don't worry, I have a separate blog for this hobby. Please feel free to comment and ask questions on what I blog. I am quite new to this blogging, I was inspired by reading a book, which began as a blog of a London Ambulance Driver: "Blood, Sweat and Tea". I hope my blog will be entertaining and amusing, I did try stand up comedy in the UK and had seven gigs before I left to teach English in Georgia. I love reading and so the blog will include book reviews of books as I finish them.I don't know about which direction this blog will go, I am a great believer in serendipity...let the journey begin...
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2 Responses to “The Idiot” by Fyodor Dostoevsky

  1. Therese says:

    Ive read Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Anna Karenina, and to me they pale in comparison to Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and Brothers Karamazov. Even the shorter novels The Idiot and Notes from a Underground are more thought-provoking and have more interesting characters. But that’s just my opinion of course.

    Liked by 1 person

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