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The Idiot, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The Idiot, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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(Paperback, 768 pages, first published in 1869)

The most autobiographical novel by the author of Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov—and the namesake of Elif Batuman’s debut novel, The Idiot.

Returning to St Petersburg from a Swiss sanatorium, the gentle and naïve epileptic Prince Myshkin— known as the “idiot”—pays a visit to his distant relative General Yepanchin and proceeds to charm the General and his family. But his life is thrown into turmoil when he chances on a photograph of the beautiful Nastasya Filippovna. Utterly infatuated, he soon finds himself caught up in a love triangle and drawn into a web of blackmail, betrayal, and finally, murder. In Prince Myshkin, Dostoyevsky portrays the purity of “a truly beautiful soul” and explores the perils that innocence and goodness face in a corrupt world.

David McDuff's translation brilliantly captures the novel's idiosyncratic and dream-like language and the nervous, elliptic flow of the narrative. This edition also contains an introduction by William Mills Todd III, which is a fascinating examination of the pressures on Dostoyevsky as he wrote the story of his Christ-like hero.

Cautions: This book has been vetted by values-aligned Christian schools that partner with Storyglory, but it has not been fully reviewed by Storyglory staff.

Recommended Age: 15+

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