The Adolescent and The Idiot

by Fyodor Dostoevsky

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The Adolescent and The Idiot

Envy harks back to another classic of Russian literature—Dostoevsky’s Notes From Underground, the first in a series of great novels that occupied the author until his death. Noted translator team Richard Pevear and Larissa Volkhovonsky have turned out revelatory new versions of both The Idiot (1868) and The Adolescent (1875). The latter, a story of the conflict between a teenager and his illegitimate father, has never seemed so vivid. One can see, in half a page, that Dostoevsky perfectly nailed the combination of insecurity, surliness and wounded, defensive delicacy—often disguised as refinement—that is the voice of late adolescence. As for The Idiot, what can be said? Widely acknowledged one of Dostoevsky’s—and therefore literature’s—greatest moments, it’s an impassioned, chaotic masterpiece in which the unruly wills of a memorable supporting cast beat and roil against the “truly good soul” of epileptic Prince Myshkin. If you haven’t read it yet, you’re lucky; if you have, read it again

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