Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Idiot May/June 2011 Readalong Sign-ups.

Welcome to the sign-ups for the May and June 2011 readalong of Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Idiot hosted here at A Literary Odyssey! You might be wondering what happened to Virgil's The Aeneid...well, in looking at the readalong schedule, it dawned on me that I would be reading two big Greek pieces at the same time, and that didn't sit well, so I switched it for this big Russian masterpiece.

To say I am pumped up for this one would be a complete understatement. I have been surprised by how much I have LOVED the Russian novels I have read in this process. All of them are lengthy, but each has surprised me with its level of accesibility. Don't let the length scare you! Or the names! These are wonderful books! I will say that a part of me is a little sad that I am reading this one now, as it is the last Dostoevsky on my list. I am sure I will be reading more of his work in the future (I have previously read Crime and Punishment (book 2 in this process) and The Brothers Karamazov (book 40)).

If you are unsure if this is the book for you, here is a little synopsis taken from;

"Just two years after completing Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky produced a second novel with a very different man at its center. In The Idiot, the saintly Prince Myshkin returns to Russia from a Swiss sanatorium and finds himself a stranger in a society obsessed with wealth, power, and sexual conquest. He soon becomes entangled in a love triangle with a notorious kept woman, Nastasya, and a beautiful young girl, Aglaya. Extortion and scandal escalate to murder, as Dostoevsky’s “positively beautiful man” clashes with the emptiness of a society that cannot accommodate his innocence and moral idealism. The Idiot is both a powerful indictment of that society and a rich and gripping masterpiece."

Excited? I am!

I am basing the page numbers on my edition, which is the lovely Pevear and Volohonsky translation that makes up the image for our readalong. I read a random translation when I read Crime and Punishment, and switched to the dynamic duo for The Brothers Karamazov, and there is a DRASTIC difference. These two translators are great at capturing the essence of the novels they translate (they also translated the edition of War and Peace I read back in January and February). I highly recommend them.

Here is the posting schedule (again, based on my edition):
  • Post 1 will go up on May 19 and cover Part 1 (roughly 170 pages-the longest part!)
  • Post 2 will go up on May 31 and cover Part 2 (roughly 140 pages)
  • Post 3 will go up on June 15 and cover Part 3 (roughly 130 pages)
  • Post 4 will go up on June 30 and cover Part 4 (roughly 150 pages)
This one definitely isn't as scary as some of the others, but the names will trick you up a bit if this is your first go at a Russian novel. Don't let that sway you. After a bit, you will be used to the names (and make up fun pronunciations in your head in the process).

If you are interested in joining in on the fun, leave a comment below with a link to your blog so I can link it here. I look forward to tackling my last (for now) Dostoevsky with you!


Read the Book
Becca A.
The Book Nook


  1. You always have great readalongs going on here. I've been wanting to read another Dostoyevsky for a while now. And you have inspired me to go out and do what I've been meaning to do for a while, which is to buy a better translation and I hope this comes with bigger text as my last one required a magnifying glass.

    So, I MAY join in but I'm not sure as I have a few reading commitments coming up.

    I'm getting the Alan Myers translation because it is cheaper and according to the Oxford book of translations it is the best one. No surprises that it is also the Oxford World Classic's edition too!

    Anyway - not saying I will be reading along, but... I may be.

  2. I absolutely want to join in for this readalong! Dostoevsky is one of my favorite authors, or maybe my favorite author... I have a hard time deciding. I agree with you, I love Russian novels (I took a class last year called Masterpieces of 19 Century Russian Lit- it was great!)

    I read this particular book sometime in high school on my own, but I remember very little about it, so I would love to reread it.

  3. This book sounds so good! I've only read Brothers Karamazov and Notes from the Underground, so I would definitely like to expand my reading of Dostoevsky.

    I'm so intrigued that I'm going to sign up for this AND the Iliad readalong!

    Here's my blog:

  4. All of them are lengthy.

    All of the ones you read might be lengthy, but, in general, Russian books are short.

    Good luck with all this. When you're all done, you should fly to Munich and have a celebratory dinner at Prince Myshkin, a wonderful restaurant named after this novel's hero.

  5. Sounds like a great readalong!
    I started reading the Idiot back in February but I got distracted by some other books and didn't get past the first 100 pages. Now I have a reason to pick it back up and try again!

    Here's the link to my blog:

  6. I fell in love with this book when I was still in high school. I wonder how it will hold up for me? Here's my link:

  7. I have not had good luck with Russian literature in the past, but I would really like to change that! And this book just sounds so interesting!

    I hope it's okay that I do not stick with your reading schedule. At least, not for the first post or two. That first week is incredibly busy for me.

  8. As the semester ends right around the time this readalong is starting, there is no reason for me to not join in, so why not!

  9. I am definitely in on this one! Dostoevsky is my favorite Russian author. I read this, most recently, just last year for my Russ Lit class of Saints and Devils in Russ Lit. It won't dissappoint.

  10. I only just saw this but I am up for this!

    I have only just finished W&P so I think I'm on a role with this russian lark

  11. Okay I'm in. :-)

    I have added a link at Bibliophilopolis to the Readalong.


  12. Oooh, I definitely want to take part, for a decidedly low brow reason (it appears in The Machinist which is freaking awesome, and according to Wikipedia there are connections between the two) soooo, sign me up! Of course, I am supposed to be reading Lady Chatterley's Lover this month and haven't done that yet, but...May/June will be better! hehe

  13. I'm in! I got my copy over the weekend!

    Grace @

  14. I would love to join as well!! I'm very excited. I love Dostoevsky but have yet to read The Idiot.

  15. Sod it, I've just got my new copy of The Idiot and think I definitely will join you in May!

  16. Here's the link to my post.