One of the most significant of Dostoyevsky’s existential classics, The Idiot offers a surprisingly modern hallucinatory nightmare in which a man of pure innocence, the epileptic, twenty-six-year-old Prince Myshkin, following a stay of several years in a Swiss sanatorium, returns to Russia to collect an inheritance.
In Petersburg, the prince finds himself an outcast in a society obsessed with money, power, and manipulation. Many regard him as an idiot because of his naive virtuousness.
He finds himself torn between two women—the pure Aglaia, and the notorious Nastasya.
In the end, Myshkin’s innate goodness and integrity are shown to be no match for the moral desolation of those around him. Scandal escalates to murder, leading to a final passage that is one of the most powerful in all of world literature.
FYODOR DOSTOYEVSKY (1821-1881), one of the greatest Russian authors, transformed the art of fiction. Author of numerous novels and short stories, including Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and The Brothers Karamazov, he is considered to be a literary colossus, and a central figure in the development of the modern novel.