In paperback, by Fyodor Dostoevsky; Translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky
Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky’s masterful translation ofThe Idiotis destined to stand with their versions ofCrime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov,andDemonsas the definitive Dostoevsky in English.
After his great portrayal of a guilty man inCrime and Punishment,Dostoevsky set out inThe Idiotto 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.