The Idiot

The Idiot
Modern Library; Modern Lib edition (April 8, 2003) | 720 pages | ISBN: 780679642428 | PDF | 1.96 Mb

Dostoevsky, that great tortured and feverish soul, wrote this novel after the onslaught of the Nihilists in Russian arts and letters. He felt he was waging a war against the crude and unfeeling Western materialism of the day; he was battling what he saw as a holy war. While authors like Turgenev and Tolstoy regarded the expanding West with (fairly) open arms, Dostoevsky feared it would cause a religious crisis, where faith in Christ was extinguished and ignorance, vanity, and greed would overcome.

This is a towering, exciting novel--perhaps not as great as "Crime & Punishment" or "Brothers Karamazov"--it contains some of his most penetrating insights into religious faith, human compassion, despair, and insanity. Prince Myshkin is of course one of literature's great characters, a Christ-like young man caught up in the treachery of the aristocratic lives of the Yepanchins. The other two main characters, Rogozhin and Nastasya Filippovna, along with Myshkin, form a powerful triangle that, despite their being "off-stage" for much of the novel, drive this novel to its tragic, unavoidable climax.

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