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The Idiot [Blackstone] | [Fyodor Dostoevsky]

The Idiot [Blackstone]

Prince Myshkin, is thrust into the heart of a society more concerned with wealth, power, and sexual conquest than the ideals of Christianity. Myshkin soon finds himself at the center of a violent love triangle in which a notorious woman and a beautiful young girl become rivals for his affections. Extortion, scandal, and murder follow, testing the wreckage left by human misery to find "man in man."
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Publisher's Summary

Despite the harsh circumstances besetting his own life - abject poverty, incessant gambling, and the death of his firstborn child - Dostoevsky produced a second masterpiece, The Idiot, just two years after completing Crime and Punishment. In it, a saintly man, Prince Myshkin, is thrust into the heart of a society more concerned with wealth, power, and sexual conquest than the ideals of Christianity. Myshkin soon finds himself at the center of a violent love triangle in which a notorious woman and a beautiful young girl become rivals for his affections. Extortion, scandal, and murder follow, testing the wreckage left by human misery to find "man in man."

©2000 Blackstone Audiobooks. Originally published in 1880 in Russia.

What the Critics Say

"Nothing is outside Dostoevsky's province....Out of Shakespeare there is no more exciting reading." (Virginia Woolf)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (376 )
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4.2 (174 )
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4.4 (167 )
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Reader 05-11-14
    Reader 05-11-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Pretty darn Russian"
    What made the experience of listening to The Idiot [Blackstone] the most enjoyable?

    The title "The Idiot" is enjoyably ironic.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The matriarch of one of the families is, as we probably still are, consumed with how her family appears to society. It gnaws her. The narrator casually tosses off a comment that describes her. "If you have wart on forehead or nose, you always fancy no one has anything else to do than stare at your wart , make fun of it, despise you for it, even though you have discovered America."


    What does Robert Whitfield bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I could not have sounded out the legion of Russian names. The narrator easily navigates through them.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The character with "consumption" is compelling. If I wasn't sure before, I am now. I don't want consumption. Also a cautionary tale to beware when the fiendish coquette and/or loose woman is around. Does it take a woman to be able to see from a mile away that things will go south with her around?


    Any additional comments?

    When the society discussion turns to self-preservation, self-destruction, nihilism, etc., I was glad the author had one of the characters tell his co-horts they were boring. They moved on and the pace picked up.
    I liked Crime and Punishment and the Brothers Karamazov better, but this was also good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Babak Potomac, MD, United States 03-04-14
    Babak Potomac, MD, United States 03-04-14 Member Since 2010

    Avid Reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Lizabetha Prokofievna rules & Yes, he was an idiot"
    Where does The Idiot [Blackstone] rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I likes this book so much, that I even prefer it to The Brothers Karamazov. In The Idiot, the "angelic" character Myshkin is even more annoying than Alyosha Karamazov, but the other characters are much more likeable in this book. There is a great deal of humor, and it is less tempered here than in the Karamazov drama.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Lizabetha Prokofievna's character is surrounded by humor and she was the most sympathetic character; hers made the book very enjoyable.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    "Be quiet, Aglaya! Be quiet, Alexandra! It is none of your business! Don't fuss round me like that, Evgenie Pavlovitch; you exasperate me! So, my dear," she cried, addressing the prince, "you go so far as to beg their pardon! He says, 'Forgive me for offering you a fortune.' And you, you mountebank, what are you laughing at?" she cried, turning suddenly on Lebedeff's nephew. "'We refuse ten thousand roubles; we do not beseech, we demand!' As if he did not know that this idiot will call on them tomorrow to renew his offers of money and friendship. You will, won't you? You will? Come, will you, or won't you?"


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Both The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov have the "angelic" character; presumably, the one who is too good to survive in our world of men and women. These are similar to Lars Von Trier's "Dancer in the Dark" or "Breaking the Waves". However, whereas the film characters are very likeable, Myshkin and Alyosha are annoying or downright infuriating. However, Dostoyevki knits such an entertaining story with other, flawed characters who are very likeable, so the overall experience is absorbing.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W. Perry Hall Mobile, AL 02-16-14
    W. Perry Hall Mobile, AL 02-16-14 Member Since 2012

    S. Quire

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Real Prince"

    On a quick research, I couldn't find the origin of the idiom, "Prince among men." Prince Myshkin in Dostoevsky's "The Idiot" is who immediately came to mind when I recently heard that phrase, well after having read and listened to this book several months ago.

    What happens when you drop into higher society a man with a title but an illness that took him away to Switzerland for all his youth? Dostoevsky wanted to write a novel that answered the question of how society of the day would treat a true innocent, an unmarried man in his mid-20s who does not sin and only has love to give (in Christianity, only One fits that description). To me, this was Dostoevsky's sad, but hopeful parabolic answer. While published in 1869, "The Idiot" is essentially timeless and one of the best 100 novels of all time.

    The narration was perfect.

    I highly recommend this audiobook.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexandra Ardmore, PA, United States 06-02-05
    Alexandra Ardmore, PA, United States 06-02-05 Member Since 2002
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    "Overall excellent, although a long haul"

    This novel is always interesting, but often difficult to follow and I think many people will be tempted to give up in a few spots. I would concur with the other reviewers that the narrator did a good job with a challenging cast of characters to distinguish. I would also suggest that this is not the easiest introduction to Dostoyevsky -- Crime and Punishment or even Notes from the Underground would be better.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Los Angeles, CA USA 11-12-13
    Amazon Customer Los Angeles, CA USA 11-12-13 Member Since 2012

    I work. I ski. I play. I write. I have a family. I garden. I coach. I volunteer. I sketch. I run. I read.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Soap Opera"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Idiot [Blackstone] to be better than the print version?

    I have not read the print version.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Idiot [Blackstone]?

    The money in the fire


    Have you listened to any of Robert Whitfield’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I didn't want to think that the guy was an idiot, but I think he ended up being just that.


    Any additional comments?

    I like Crime and Punishment better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jenny Bayville, NY, United States 02-25-13
    Jenny Bayville, NY, United States 02-25-13 Member Since 2011
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    "masterful performance"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    We all know this is a masterwork. This reader is very talented and brings the story to life.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Prashant Manlius, NY, United States 01-02-13
    Prashant Manlius, NY, United States 01-02-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Went beyond my expectations!"
    Would you listen to The Idiot again? Why?

    Absolutely!
    Steller performance and incredible story.


    What other book might you compare The Idiot to and why?

    Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment


    What does Robert Whitfield bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Excellent pronunciations of Russian names etc, different voices for different characters and a very good steady rate of delivery of the content. Sounded like a play almost!


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Both laugh and cry... took me to a time and place where I have no past experience with yet made me feel home.


    Any additional comments?

    Can't believe I waited so many years to read this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    pablo santiago, Chile 11-19-12
    pablo santiago, Chile 11-19-12
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    "Excellent book"
    What made the experience of listening to The Idiot the most enjoyable?

    Well, I think Dostoievski is the best writer of all times. This is one of his best books, after Crime & Punishment and The Karamazov Brothers


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Idiot?

    The whole book


    What does Robert Whitfield bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Excellent narrator. I liked the way he use his voice to intepretate different characters


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    No moment in particular


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Ithaca, NY 11-10-12
    James Ithaca, NY 11-10-12

    magic man

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    "Speed Reader!"

    I love Dostoevsky. But I wasted my money on this audiobook because of the narration. Robert Whitfield is technically excellent: his enunciation, his voices which vary according to character, his fluidity. All this is great. For me, however, there was one big drawback which is a deal-breaker: the super fast, breakneck speed at which he reads the book. Actually, I listened to the sample first, and choose it because I really did want a narrator who read relatively quickly. I have a restless mind and do not like slow poke readers. And in the sample this sounded good. But when I began listening for long periods of time I realized that I hated the way Whitfield rushes through everything with barely a pause for a breath. In a novel with Dostoevskian depth, this just will not do. One has no time to appreciate subtleties, nor even non-subtle, grand sweeps of emotion, because everything gets breathlessly passed by in what quickly begins to feel like a rush through the text. I had almost no time to absorb the feeling of the narrative, or appreciate the import of events. I kept thinking, "My God, man, slow down just a bit!" Eventually I gave up listening. It was a painful $20-something lesson.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nick Warrandyte, Australia 10-02-12
    Nick Warrandyte, Australia 10-02-12
    ratings
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    9
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    "Absolutely perfect."
    Where does The Idiot rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I'm fairly liberal with 5 star reviews, If I thoroughly enjoy something it gets 5 stars.

    The Idiot was the first time I had to re-think my practice because it is so fantastic I feel as though I should be able to rate it higher.

    The narration is superb and Robert Whitfield does an excellent job of making every character spring immediately to life and the extended dialogue in many of Dostoevsky's scenes is a real treat.

    I recommend this 100% without reservations.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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