- Hardcover: 680 pages
- Publisher: Everyman (25 April 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1857152549
- ISBN-13: 978-1857152548
- Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 3.6 x 21.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 62,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Idiot (Everyman's Library CLASSICS) Hardcover – 25 Apr 2002
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About the Author
Fyodor Dostoyevsky was born in Moscow in 1821. He died in 1881 having written some of the most celebrated works in the history of literature, including Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and The Brothers Karamazov. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Firstly, I should warn you that this book is a commitment. To some, that may not be a problem, and they would laugh that this is 'light reading'. Honestly, each to their own, but for myself (a 23 year old with a fairly average attention span) I found myself struggling from time to time on the 620-or-so pages, not including the supplementary pages. I should note, however, that my difficulty is not a fault of the book (which is beautifully written) becoming dull, but rather of my own inability to really focus on text for great lengths. If you just had a feeling that you're quite similar to me in that respect, then I'm here to tell you: Give it a go. I finished it (albeit after three of four attempts) but on my final attempt I was so glad that I gave the book the attention it deserves.
On a side note, you might also resemble me in the sense that you don't read the prologues, introductions, or supplementary information. For this book, by Richard Pevear, please do. It adds a dimension to the novel that would otherwise be missed. I should note, however, that if you are an expert in Russian history, or a specialist in that field, you may be forgiven for ignoring much of the links as you will already know it, however for the general public, this would not be the case!
The character development is fantastic, and you really care for all (well, most, there are a few characters that I really wanted to just disappear!) of the characters, and their individual webs of thought. It is both a tragedy, and a comedy, and a philosophy lesson, and a most-worthwhile read.
My review isn't incredibly specific, I realise, but I hope that it gives you a different perspective, and perhaps entices you to give this masterpiece a shot!
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.Read more ›
Instead, I want to focus on the translation. Over the last few weeks I have now read the book twice, in two different translations. First that by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (known rather tweely in the trade as P&V) and afterwards the Oxford Classics one by Alan Myers. The difference could not be more stark. Quite simply, the P&V one is appalling. I was nearly put off Dostoevsky for life, and I fear my wife has been (we were both reading this for a book club). I am well aware that Dostoevsky has an often quirky style of writing in the original, but I could not believe that he was really as clumsy as this. The P&V rendering is frequently clunky and disjointed and full of word choices which simply do not ring true or make sense in the English language. They have a veritable mania for using the words “finally” and “definitively” over and over, and there are clearly plain errors of translation. For example, after one epileptic seizure the protagonist, Prince Myshkin, is pronounced to be generally feeling himself again, apart from a case of “hypochondria”. Myers sensibly translates this instead as a sense of “mild depression”. As the father of someone who has suffered from epilepsy for 36 years, I can assure P&V that hypochondria is not a well-known post-ictal side-effect.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Published in 1870 what does Dostoyevsky have relevant to say today in the book? The extremes of class have always existed in Russia even to this day. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Arnold Rosen
Such a beautiful hardback cover. My favourite book of all time. Extremely moving.Published 8 months ago by Stefan Jacob Bierrings Jensen
Very pleased with purchase. Good value and professional service. Many thanks!Published 13 months ago by Wordsmith
The copy I received was clearly from a library, either stolen or ligitimately sold - either way was not stated in discretion.Published 14 months ago by PhillipJames