The Idiot (Russian: Идиот, Idiot) is a novel written by 19th century Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It was first published serially in Russkiy Vestnik between 1868 and 1869. The Idiot is ranked beside some of Dostoevsky's other works as one of the most brilliant literary achievements of... read more
Twenty-six-year-old Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin returns to Russia after spending several years at a Swiss sanatorium. Scorned by the society of St. Petersburgh for his idiocy, generosity and innocence, he finds himself at the centre of a struggle between a beautiful kept woman and a... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
Twenty-six-year-old Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin returns to Russia after spending several years at a Swiss sanatorium. Scorned by the society of St. Petersburgh for his idiocy, generosity and innocence, he finds himself at the centre of a struggle between a beautiful kept woman and a gorgeous, virtuous girl, both of whom win his affection. Unfortunately, Myshkin's very goodness seems to precipitate disaster, leaving the impression that, in a world obsessed with money, power, and sexual conquest, a sanatorium may be the only place for a saint.
“"His mind and heart were flooded with extraordinary light; all torment, all doubt, all anxieties were relieved at once, resolved in a kind of lofty calm, full of serene, harmonious joy and hope, full of understanding and the knowledge of the ultimate cause of things."”In Part II, Chapter 5, Prince Myshkin describes an epileptic fit.
“"Full of pure love and always true To his one exquisite dream, N.F.B.—these letters he drew In blood upon his shield."”In Part II, Chapter 7, Aglaya Yepanchin recites Pushkin's poem "The Poor Knight" in front of her family, Myshkin, and a few other people.
“"I don't understand how one can walk by a tree and not be happy at the sight of it! Or to speak with a man and not be happy in loving him?… There are so many things at every step so beautiful."”During the engagement party at the Yepanchins' in Part IV, Chapter 7, Prince Myshkin speaks about his feelings on life and religion.
“"What is in all this beauty for me when every minute, every second I am obliged, forced to know that even this tiny gnat, buzzing near me in the sunlight now, is taking part in all this banquet and chorus, knows its place in it, loves it, and is happy, and I alone am an outcast"”In Part III, Chapter 7, Hippolite speaks of his feelings toward nature, which he says has excluded him from its happy "banquet."
“"There's more wealth, but there's less strength; the binding idea doesn't exist anymore; everything has turned soft, everything is rotten, and people are rotten."”In Part III, Chapter 4, Lebedev gives several verbose speeches on diverse subjects such as religion and moral corruption.
“For an 'ordinary' man of limited intelligence, for instance, nothing is easier to imagine himself to be quite an extraordinary and original man and to rejoice in that belief without any misgivings. Some of our young women had only to cut their hair short, put on blue spectacles, and call themselves nihilists, to persuade themselves at once that, having put on their spectacles, they have immediately acquired 'convictions' of their own. Some of our men had only to perceive some faint glimmer of humanitarian feelings in their hearts, to persuade themselves at once that no one felt as they did and that they formed the avant-garde of civilization. It was quite enough for someone else to accept without asking any questions an idea he had heard about, or to read a page at random in some book, to imagine at once that it was 'his own idea' and that it was conceived in his own brain. The arrogance of the simple-minded, if one may use such an expression, assumes quite amazing proportions...”
“'It is not from vanity alone, it is not from bad, vain feelings that Russians have become atheists and Jesuits, but from spiritual agony, from spiritual thirst, from a yearning for higher ideals, for the firm shore, for the mother country in which they have ceased to believe because they have never even known it! And it is so easy for a Russian to become an atheist, much easier than for anyone else in the whole world! And Russians do not simply become atheists, but actually believe in atheism, as though it were a new religion, without noticing that they believe in a negation.'”Prince Myshkin, In Part IV, Chapter 7, during the engagement party at the Yepanchins'.
“'The law of destruction and the law of self-preservation are equally strong in humanity! The devil holds equal dominion over humanity until a date in the far-off future still unknown to us. You're laughing? You don't believe in the devil? Disbelief in the devil is a French idea. It is a flippant idea. Do you know who the devil is? Do you know what his name is? Not even knowing his name, you laugh at his exterior form, following the example of Voltaire, at his hoofs, his tail, and horns, which you have invented yourselves, for the evil spirit is a great and ruthless spirit, but he has not the hoofs and horns you have invented for him.'”Lebedev in Part III, Chapter 4
It’s life that matters, nothing but life—the process of discovering, the everlasting and perpetual process, not the discovery itself, at all.Highlighted by 4 Kindle customers
The essence of religious feeling does not come under any sort of reasoning or atheism, and has nothing to do with any crimes or misdemeanours. There is something else here, and there will always be something else—something that the atheists will for ever slur over; they will always be talking of something else.Highlighted by 4 Kindle customers
his need of conversation seemed rather physical than mental, arising more from preoccupation than frankness, from agitation and excitement, for the sake of looking at some one and exercising his tongue.Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
There is, indeed, nothing more annoying than to be, for instance, wealthy, of good family, nice-looking, fairly intelligent, and even good-natured, and yet to have no talents, no special faculty, no peculiarity even, not one idea of one’s own, to be precisely “like other people.”Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
Those who live according to rational egotism act solely in their own self-interest as a matter of principle.Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
to have a decent education, but to have no idea what use to make of it; to have intelligence, but no ideas of one’s own; to have a good heart, but without any greatness of soul; and so on and so on. There is an extraordinary multitude of such people in the world, far more than appears.Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
They may, like all other people, be divided into two classes: some of limited intelligence; others much cleverer. The first are happier. Nothing is easier for “ordinary” people of limited intelligence than to imagine themselves exceptional and original and to revel in that delusion without the slightest misgiving.Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
it’s just laziness that makes people classify themselves according to appearances, and fail to find anything in common. . . .Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
Some have only to meet with some idea by hearsay, or to read some stray page, to believe at once that it is their own opinion and has sprung spontaneously from their own brain. The impudence of simplicity, if one may so express it, is amazing in such cases. It is almost incredible, but yet often to be met with.Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
Ippolit Terentyev [eighteen-year-old radical, dying of consumption; son of General Ivolgin’s mistress]Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
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