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The Idiot (Classic Fiction) [Abridged, Audiobook, Classical] [Audio CD]

F.M. Dostoyevsky , Michael Sheen
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
RRP: £14.29
Price: £12.40 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

13 July 2000 Classic Fiction
In his creation of Prince Muishkin, a character seeking perfection and yet fraught with ambiguity, the author anticipated the universal metaphysical unease of succeeding generations, producing an unforgettable masterpiece.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks (13 July 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9626340592
  • ISBN-13: 978-9626340592
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 2.4 x 12.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 791,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky was born in Moscow in 1821, the second of a physician's seven children. His mother died in 1837 and his father was murdered a little over two years later. When he left his private boarding school in Moscow he studied from 1838 to 1843 at the Military Engineering College in St Petersburg, graduating with officer's rank. His first story to be published, 'Poor Folk' (1846), was a great success.

In 1849 he was arrested and sentenced to death for participating in the 'Petrashevsky circle'; he was reprieved at the last moment but sentenced to penal servitude, and until 1854 he lived in a convict prison at Omsk, Siberia. In the decade following his return from exile he wrote The Village of Stepanchikovo (1859) and The House of the Dead (1860). Whereas the latter draws heavily on his experiences in prison, the former inhabits a completely different world, shot through with comedy and satire.

In 1861 he began the review Vremya (Time) with his brother; in 1862 and 1863 he went abroad, where he strengthened his anti-European outlook, met Mlle Suslova, who was the model for many of his heroines, and gave way to his passion for gambling. In the following years he fell deeply in debt, but in 1867 he married Anna Grigoryevna Snitkina (his second wife), who helped to rescue him from his financial morass. They lived abroad for four years, then in 1873 he was invited to edit Grazhdanin (The Citizen), to which he contributed his Diary of a Writer. From 1876 the latter was issued separately and had a large circulation. In 1880 he delivered his famous address at the unveiling of Pushkin's memorial in Moscow; he died six months later in 1881. Most of his important works were written after 1864: Notes from Underground (1864), Crime and Punishment (1865-6), The Gambler (1866), The Idiot (1869), The Devils (1871) and The Brothers Karamazov (1880).

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
65 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Issues with the Wordsworth translation... 20 Aug 2006
...took the edge off of this book for me. Please, if you're thinking of reading it, don't buy the Wordsworth even if it is much cheaper. The translation is very strained and produces some quite mangled sentences. Particularly with respect to pronouns, I found: sentences like "He said such-and-such to him" frequently left me puzzled as to exactly who was being addressed and by whom. And certain cultural references that I presume would have been obvious to a 19th-century Russian were left unexplained. The lack of any kind of notes or list of characters was also missed.

The blurb and the other reviews suffice to tell what the story is about so I will just add that this is still a very interesting read which could be as good as Crime and Punishment depending on the translation. For a non-Russian the exotic Russian names and particularly the use of patronymics and diminutives adds a little to the confusion and may cause the reader to conflate several characters for quite a while, but I found that after a couple of hundred pages I was more comfortable with this. I was less comfortable with the fiery Russian temperament of the characters - particularly Aglaia and Lizaveta Prokofyevna - which frequently meant that they hated and loved someone...and then hated and loved them again...all in the space of one paragraph. It's often hard to tell who is mad and who is sane. They all seem a little mad. Still, it is certainly very intriguing and interesting and I recommend it.
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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Among Dostoevsky’s finest 13 Nov 2005
‘The Idiot’ is the story of Prince Myshkin, a young Russian noble. In his infancy, he was diagnosed with a form of ‘idiocy’ and sent to Switzerland to be cured. The book begins with his return to Russia as a young man, apparently cured. However, he is still labelled an ‘idiot’ because his sheltered upbringing abroad means that he doesn’t understand the complex rules governing social interactions among the Russian middle classes, and approaches these interactions with a simple good-heartedness and a willingness to do the right thing.
The main story involves the competition of several young men for Nastasya Fillipovna, a self-destructive beauty whom the rules of society have labelled a fallen woman through no fault of her own. She is forced to choose between a happiness that she is told that she doesn’t deserve with Myshkin, a dangerous existence with the unstable Rogozhin and a loveless life with Gavril Ardilionivich. The rules of society tell her one thing, her heart another. She becomes increasingly agitated, precipitating a descent into near madness and a truly shocking conclusion.
The clash between Myshkin’s ‘idiocy’ (really Dostoevsky’s image of the perfect Christian) and the realities of nineteenth century Russian society is repeated throughout the book. Dostoevsky never tells just one story where a half dozen can be fitted in, and narratives about money, social status, religion and love are all intertwined to illustrate his point. This can become a little disorientating, but Dostoevsky never loses the thread of the book, keeping one eye firmly on his message throughout. The result is a rather complex series of narratives, requiring a lot of concentration, making ‘The Idiot’ a fairly involved read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fair 1 April 2012
By Kano
Even though I cannot read Russian and therefore cannot comment on the translation, I can say that this edition is something of a disappointment. In fact, the only reason I am not flat out angry about the quality of this book is that I paid two pounds for it. The Wordsworth edition, which is the one I am currently reading, does not include proper notes, appendices or biographies. There are also inconsistencies with punctuation - too often I find missing commas, fullstops and capitalisations.

The story itself is captivating - it is a shame that the edition does not do it justice.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A revealing classic 8 Aug 2006
The Idiot is one of the finest novels in history, perhaps the finest. In this novel, the enigma that is often referred to as "THE RUSSIAN SOUL" is variously dissected through the different characters and more so by the hero of the story Prince Myshkin. In its simplest explanation, it is a soul with good intentions but faulty in executing the intentions. It is a soul in conflict, driven by the zest for life and a search of its meaning. Certainly the most Christian of Dostoyevsky's novels, THE IDIOT portrays how disastrous a good life can be. Rich in characters, this classic centers mostly on the good Prince Myshkin, a recovering epileptic with a rich soul who is easily perceived as an 'idiot' by the casual observer who focuses on his childlike manners especially in expressing himself and his naivety in dealing with people. But then a closer look reveals that his manners are the reflections of his honest soul, the wealth of his big heart and the broadness of his mind.
And only in deeper engagements does it become evident that Myshkin however has superior understanding and expression, which makes him modest and intelligent rather than stupid. His simple, honest and decent life is succinctly conveyed in his interactions, generating both love and resentment. The saintly Myshkin however struggles to deal with a materialistic world which has no place for the virtuous, and to reconcile his passionate and compassionate love for two women. But the love of the women corrupt and drives men out of their minds. Nastasia Filipovna whom Myshkin has compassionate love for is a tormented soul that can only love Christ and in Myshkin she found that Christ-like figure.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Terrible, terrible translation...
This version of The Idiot is cheap but not worth the money. Much of the text is actually missing, genuinely - lines of text are simply omitted, the translation itself is dreadful... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Elena
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
One of Dostoyevskys best works. I details the economic and romantic intrigues that are like plagues on a few russian upper class families. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Jan Patrik Sahlstrøm
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've ever read.
Yes, it is quite a big book for modern readers, and it will spoil so much of what you read afterward - which will suddenly seem empty and flimsy by comparison. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Mat Buch
4.0 out of 5 stars Good quality for £2
Heading says it all. It's £2 and it doesn't fall apart the second you touch it, what more can you ask for at that price? Yes the print is a little small but seems readable enough.
Published 14 months ago by Anon
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
Bought for someone else as a gift but they were happy with the item and it was a good price and delivery was satisfactory.
Published 15 months ago by T. Ansell
5.0 out of 5 stars Reason I bought
I was told about this book by my russian girlfriend, so here i am with my copy and about to begin reading.
Published 16 months ago by Honeybun
5.0 out of 5 stars Revisited on my Kindle
I enjoyed reading this novel again on my Kindle.
Making the font size bigger made it a much more relaxing read.
I would recommend this novel it is a great story. Read more
Published on 22 Feb 2012 by Janie Oblomov
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
A beautiful book, which is engaging and unravels the human character. It will make you look at certain issues in another way. A long read but it does not drag!
Published on 7 May 2011 by DictionaryCorner
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story poor translation
A wonderfully written book which draws the reader into the lives of the main characters. The only issue I have with the book is the poor grammar and punctuation. Read more
Published on 1 Jun 2010 by Karl Williams
4.0 out of 5 stars The Idiot
This is the most difficult novel I have read, but I became interested in the main character and persevered until I had finished it.
Why difficult? Read more
Published on 21 Oct 2009 by Susan E. Moses
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