Re: The Idiot *Spoiler alert*
Posted by guillermo maynez on 21/1/2011, 13:33:57, in reply to "Re: The Idiot *Spoiler alert*"
I agree with Steven that the right girl for Myshkin was Vera Lebedev, a quiet, soft, humble girl who would have understood him and his peculiar character. All the other women are immersed in the frivolous, money-and-power-hungry society, influenced not by their feelings but by their ambitions. Aglaya Epantchine seems to be a sensible, sensitive girl, but she is spoiled and capricious. Nastassia is a true femme fatale, and would have destroyed the Prince. She knows it and that is probably why she runs away on the wedding's day. |
: I finished The Idiot last night. It was quite
: I think Dostoevsky himself, like most other Russian
: writers of his time, was preoccupied to some extent
: with exploring and defining the Russian national
: character. He may have exaggerated its more eccentric
: aspects in doing so. However, Russians do seem to be
: much more mercurial and expressive in their emotions
: than, say, Englishmen. I think climate and language
: are two factors that shape what we consider national
: or regional temperaments, but in our time these
: differences are disappearing with the global
: Californiazation of popular culture.
: I wonder to what extent--a large one, I suspect,--the
: views expressed by the Prince on religion and society
: reflect those of Dostoevsky himself? Are there rants
: against Catholicism in his other novels? I don't
: The best part of the novel for me was its character
: studies. Lizaveta Prokofyevna was my favorite
: character. In fact, the strongest and purest
: characters were all women. The three heads of
: household--Epanchin, Ivolgin and Lebedev--were all
: weak and besotted.
: Nastasya Filippovna is the driving force behind much
: of what takes place in the novel, yet, ironically, she
: appears "on stage" only rarely and briefly.
: Her intensity is too great to be tolerated except in
: small doses.
: Finally, Vera Lebedev was the right girl for the
: Prince, but he never realized it.
: --Previous Message--
: Guillermo, I think that you're right about the Russian
: temperament. It does seem to be mystical, anguished,
: and intense. The most extreme example among the
: writers well known in translation is Dostoevsky.
: Tolstoy can be highly mystical, but not necessarily
: tormented. Turgenev can be down right urbane. The
: passion and mysticism is present in Chekhov, but it is
: muted by his wry, ironic viewpoint. And so on.
: I think that many cultures have a national character.
: The French tend to be analytical, the Germans
: Romantic, the Swedes dour, but intense. This is not
: politically correct with good reason. Stereotyping
: and the horrors of extreme nationalism lie in wait for
: those who stray too far down this path. In
: moderation, though, attempting to characterize
: national temperaments is an entertaining pastime.
: --Previous Message--
: I finished "The Idiot" yesterday. First I
: say that I read it in Spanish, so the spelling of some
: characters may vary. Also, in Spanish it is called
: "The Idiot Prince". Now, related to the
: content, I liked it very much. Not surprisingly, it
: seemed to me to be very dostoevskyesque (how's that?),
: meaning it is centered in the confrontation between
: materialistic/ambitious desires, vs. Christian (early,
: communist Christianism)/spiritual quests. Mychkin
: stands out in his midst because he is so different
: from all the people surrounding him. In their context,
: he's an idiot through and through. The rest of the
: characters, different in other respects as they may
: be, are only after money and/or lust. None of them
: seems to think of mating as a pursuit of love, but of
: carnal beauty, social position or money. Ragojine is
: clearly a sick man, lusting after a very troubled
: woman, Anastasia Philipovna, a rebel without a cause.
: I think there are many subjects for discussion, but
: first I'd like to know general impressions of you guys
: to this book.
: As an aside, I'm glad none of us is Russian, because
: then I wouldn't say this: after having read a good
: many Russian novels, plays and short stories by a wide
: host of writers, I have come to the conclusion that
: all Russians are a little or very mad. No character
: ever seems to respond in a rational way, and basically
: they are troubled, anguished, tormented, and even
: violent (or martyrized). Not politically correct, and
: only from reading, not actually meeting any of them
: (and in a kidding mood).
: --Previous Message--
: What I envision with the screwed up eyes is someone
: rolling their eyes back or up, a look of exasperation.
: I'm not really satisfied with that explanation of
: ironic glance. These other phrases might be strange,
: esp. screwing up the eyes, but there seems to me
: something totally amiss with the ironic glance. A
: glance is just a quick look. It might be accompanied
: by an ironic expression, but the glance itself has no
: meaning and therefore can't be ironic. Maybe I think
: the best explanation is to assume that the glance is
: accompanied by an expression or action. One liberal
: nods in agreement with the S.P. comment and glances at
: the other. I don't know. I'd still like to know if the
: ironic glance occurs in the PV translation.