Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Idiot...!

If anyone happens to suggest that you read Dostoevsky's "The Idiot" be aware that should you stick with this book it is going to be part of your life for a long time. Be aware that there are swathes of narrative that will tie you up in a knot as you have not got a clue what is going on. Be aware that the complexity of characters combined with an amazing array of Russian names that seem to change with the wind will send you scuttling back to the list of characters as you frequently find your self asking - 'who are you...?' Be aware that Dostoevsky paints a dark and unrelenting picture of depression and submerges and smothers you with the characters narcissism and selfishness. It leaves you in misery!!

In places reading this novel was tortuous, but the darkness and tedium of the plot and text was worth it in order to highlight the inner beauty of Prince Myshkin. The idiocy of selflessness and the relinquishing of any need to dominate the other sparkles through the counter cultural life of the Prince. Dostoevsky sets out to 'depict a completely beautiful human being' and shows how completely idiotic grace is to a world bent on self destruction. “Why, you are so eaten up with pride and vanity that you’ll end by eating up one another....” pt.2, Ch.9. The irony dawns, as each of the characters implode, is that you are left with the question who really are the idiots?

"Don’t let us forget that the causes of human actions are usually immeasurably more complex and varied than our subsequent explanations of them.." pt.4, ch.2 He's not wrong there!

Anyway - I feel like throwing a party for getting to the end of this novel, but it was worth it - I think.

1 comment:

missiome said...

I've had this on my 'to-read' shelf for ages...made a start of it once. Really want to read it as I enjoyed Crime+Punishment and Brothers Karazamov. I think rowan Williams has written an interesting book about Dostoevesky and theology - can't remember the title tho.

I'll attempt it next...once i've finished "Jesus wants to save christians". Read it?