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The Idiot (Vintage Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Fyodor Dostoevsky , Richard Pevear , Larissa Volokhonsky
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (188 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.49
Kindle Price: $11.45
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky’s masterful translation of The Idiot is destined to stand with their versions of Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, and Demons as the definitive Dostoevsky in English.

After his great portrayal of a guilty man in Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky set out in The Idiot to portray a man of pure innocence. The twenty-six-year-old Prince Myshkin, following a stay of several years in a Swiss sanatorium, returns to Russia to collect an inheritance and “be among people.” Even before he reaches home he meets the dark Rogozhin, a rich merchant’s son whose obsession with the beautiful Nastasya Filippovna eventually draws all three of them into a tragic denouement. In Petersburg the prince finds himself a stranger in a society obsessed with money, power, and manipulation. Scandal escalates to murder as Dostoevsky traces the surprising effect of this “positively beautiful man” on the people around him, leading to a final scene that is one of the most powerful in all of world literature.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, justly acclaimed for their translations of such Russian classics as Gogol's Dead Souls and Dostoyevski's The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment and Notes from Underground, have now undertaken another major Dostoyevski novel, The Idiot. Their trademark style fresh, crisp and faithful to the original (bumps and blemishes included) brings the story of nave, truth-telling Prince Myshkin to new life. As is true of their other translations of Dostoyevski, this will likely be the definitive edition for years to come. Intro. by Pevear.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review

Praise for Pevear and Volokhonsky’s translation of Crime and Punishment:

“Reaches as close to Dostoevsky’s Russian as is possible in English. . . . The original’s force and frightening immediacy is captured. . . . The Pevear and Volokhonsky translation will become the standard English version.” –Chicago Tribune



From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1635 KB
  • Print Length: 720 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0375702245
  • Publisher: Vintage (July 18, 2012)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FCKCBA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,540 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
168 of 179 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doestoevsky's Master Work June 30, 2007
Format:Paperback
What could have prompted me to first read "The Idiot" at age 13 on a beach vacation with my family I can not recall. What I do recall, however, is that I was fully engrossed day after day in a world of ideas, people and places far beyond my experience. Having now just "re-read" it 39 years later (following Crime and Punishment and Brothers Karamazov), I know I couldn't possibly have digested all of its ideas at that age: atheism vs. Christianity; nihilism vs. a dying social order; Eros vs. charity; truth vs. artifice; id vs.ego and superego. And yet, I also sense I know what captivated me even then.

The characters in this novel, though usually explained as symbolic of the ideas they represent, are yet the most vividly realized characters I had ever "read" then, and still. The real-time manner in which they are drawn and followed is as if the author simply recorded their actions and conversations as and where they happened. We get to know who these people are, not through narrative description, but, as if by "candid camera", observing what they say, withhold, do, and fail to do. What emerges are fascinating, at times frightening and at times affectionate portraits of real and troubled humans: Lizaveta, the flighty, but loving society mother; General Epanchin, the successful but utterly conventional man of the house; Aglaya, the childish but delightful beauty who resents her sister's and parents' expectation for her; Ganya, who wants money and love, but plays the wounded martyr while more obviously blaming his father for his failures at both; Ivolgin, the pathetic figure of an aging man who aches for dignity and respect but who's former glory is long gone and mostly imagined; and Lebedev, the likeable sycophant and name-dropper.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars sublimely inaccessible July 25, 2004
By Frikle
Format:Paperback
This is one of the more famous of Dostoyevsky's novels, and quite rightly so as it has his very-unique blend of psychology, philosophy and an unrelenting view of the bleakest recesses of the soul.

I read the novel in the original Russian, so this isn't a review of any particular translation but the work itself.

In brief, the book centres around a Prince who has returned to Russia after being treated for mental illness in Switzerland since his childhood (hence the idiot). He quickly becomes involved within the upper-middle eschellons of St Petersburgian society, as people become fascinated by his direct honesty, simplicity and compassion. He becomes emotionally involved with a Fallen Woman, and this develops into a love triangle with another woman, ultimately ending in --- you guessed it! - tragedy. The Idiot is portrayed as the symbol of a child-like innocence: he genuinely wants everyone to live in harmony and love. However, the falseness, politics and backstabbing of the world of Russian middle-nobility will have none of that.

The plot is quite complicated - but not in terms of twists. The story is quite simple in terms of what happened, however much of it is told inside-out, focusing on the internal world of the characters. So, if you feel like you've missed something - a reason for a character's comment, an event etc, chances are, this will be revealed later on.

Dostoyevsky dwells on the extreme minute aspects of the emotional lives of his charactes. This is the richest aspect of the novel - and these emotions possess all the contradiction and chaos that real people have.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Innocence Lost? February 21, 2006
Format:Hardcover
Having previously read my first Dostoevsky (Crime and Punishment) I was literally chomping at the bit to start reading something else of his. I am not altogether sure as to why I found The Idiot to be the most appealing, it probably wasn't the synopsis, because I, in my ignorance, thought I was buying "The Possessed". I realized this as I pulled away from the book store, but didn't worry about it. Dostoevsky is Dostoevsky, right? Well, sort of. I was shocked when I did not find the anti-hero I expected, but Prince Lev Nikolaevich Myshkin, a pure and beautiful soul who I loved from the start. It was hard not to cheer for him throughout the course of the novel, and to feel his pain at the corrupt and confusing society that surrounded him. He is torn apart by his first love for the intriguing Nastasya Filippovna, and then later Aglaia Ivanovna, equally intriguing.

I'll be the first to admit that though I loved this book I struggled through certain portions of it, namely nearly every scene Lebedev is involved in, and Ippolit's letter. The book has a very 'meandering' quality to it, and you get the feeling at times that Dostoevsky didn't have the slightest clue how he would finish it, and so stalled for time in certain areas. This didn't really diminish the book's quality, it simply made it harder to follow. Also, towards the end it seems as if Dostoevsky finally knows, and he finally hurries off.

But, there is, perhaps, some of the greatest writing ever put on paper within these pages. Scenes such as Prince Myshkin's oratory on capital punishment, the party at Nastasya Fillippovna's, Prince Myshkin in the house of Rogozhin, and the most chilling scene in Rogozhin's bedroom.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended.
Ann incomparable translation of a classic. Highly recommended.
Published 8 days ago by R. J. Karger
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A Favorite together with The little Prince
Published 24 days ago by Bette Maria
5.0 out of 5 stars As challenging as the Saturday NY Times crossword puzzle but the...
The Idiot is the book equivalent of the Saturday New York Times crossword puzzle. As that day's puzzles are the most challenging, enigmatic, erudite and complex in the world of... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mark Isaacs
5.0 out of 5 stars PGT
Great novel. Dostoyevsky knows how to tell stories. Sad but realistic ending. Some parts are unbearable with all the drama, but we have to follow what the author laid out.
Published 2 months ago by A picky consumer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great
Published 2 months ago by Coby
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Ditto
Published 3 months ago by Bernard W.Ghiselin
5.0 out of 5 stars You are the Idiot if you don't read this.
The best of the best. Another one of those books you were too busy to read in college. Read it now before you die.
Published 3 months ago by Sgt Fletcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Have not read it yet.
Looking forward to reading this book.
Published 3 months ago by Betty Dreams
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic treatment of interaction between people with very different...
Classic treatment of interaction between people with very different perspectives and motivations. Presumed Russian overtone, but the character study is universal.
Published 3 months ago by Southern Man
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of the top 10 books of all time!
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
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