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The Idiot : Wordsworth Classics - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The Idiot

Wordsworth Classics

By: Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Agnes Cardinal (Intro and Notes by)

Paperback | 3 March 2010

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Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Idiot is an immaculate portrait of innocence tainted by the brutal reality of human greed.

Returning to St Petersburg from a Swiss sanatorium, the gentle and naive epileptic Prince Myshkin - the titular 'idiot' - pays a visit to his distant relative General Yepanchin and proceeds to charm the General, his wife, and his three daughters. But his life is thrown into turmoil when he chances on a photograph of the beautiful Nastasya Filippovna.

Utterly infatuated with her, he soon finds himself caught up in a love triangle and drawn into a web of blackmail, betrayal, and finally, murder.

Inspired by an image of Christ's suffering Dostoyevsky sought to portray in Prince Myshkin the purity of a 'truly beautiful soul' and explore the perils that innocence and goodness face in a corrupt world.

Review by John Purcell

What is so good about good people? Nothing, they just exist to make the rest of us look bad. Always speaking the truth, doing good deeds, thinking before they act, urging us to be better people...

They don't know how the world really works.

Imagine for a moment a truly good person dropping into your life. Not just a fairly good person like Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi, but more a Jesus or a Buddha. Their presence would very quickly become tedious.

The Idiot is Fyodor Dostoyevsky's attempt to imagine the effect a good person would have on society in nineteenth century Russia. Probably the most accessible and best loved of Dostoyevsky's novels, The Idiot is a gripping, utterly brilliant drama with a great deal of heart.

About the Author

Moscow-born Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky (1821-1881) served time in a convict prison for his political alliances, and in his later years his passion for gambling led him deeply into debt. His novels include The Devils and The Brothers Karamazov.

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