Everything You Know About the Interminable
The Idiot
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
My amusing anecdote about The Idiot: I had been reading it all week long, and was almost finished. My friend Dorian was making fun of me because I don't like sad stories--she said that I only liked to read Harry Potter novels. "Screw that," I replied, "I'm reading Dostoyevsky. It's nice, really. I mean, there's only ten pages left and everything’s fine—what could possibly go wrong?” If you’ve read The Idiot then you know what happens. Everything goes wrong. It’s a very interesting novel. Apparently Dostoyevsky had been interested in writing about Christ for a while, particularly about Christ as a human. He said that Don Quixote was the closest anyone had come to writing about Christ in humanity, and that the only way Cervantes could pull it off was by making him a fool. Humans just can’t be so compassionate, so just, so good, it seems. Dostoyevsky wanted to write about Christ as a human, but still a Christ full of the supernatural empathy and loving kindness—this is different than the human Christ in Kazantzakis. It’s more like Bolgakov’s Christ, although the goal is to write an entire novel about him. Anyway, this book almost contains the famous line "Beauty will save the world", and it almost does. One moral of the story, though, may be that Beauty alone will not suffice. It all comes down to the Apollonian / Dionysian duality, doesn’t it? Too much yang without enough yin, and there you go. In closing, I fucking loved this book (although not so well as I loved The Brothers K). Some of the scenes (Nastya throwing all that money into the fire…) and the characters (Nastya and Myshkin, of course) are the a/z of all literature, I don’t doubt it.
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