My mother has invited me to attend a Classical Pursuits course in Toronto this summer from July 12 through the 21st. We’re reading Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Idiot (which seems fitting given the teaching career I’ve held for the past 28 years). Anyway, the translation we’ll be discussing is the one by Pevear and Volokhonsky, and I’ll be posting on it probably more than once in July as it’s such an important novel.
So, should you wish to know more about Dostoevsky, or idiots, please feel free to join me. We’ll have a lot to discuss, including these questions put forth by our leader:
Dostoevsky’s intention was “to portray a truly beautiful soul.” What are the stakes of such a goal? How does Dostoevsky characterise Prince Myshikin?
What is the relationship between the setting and the characters’ internal world?
For what characters does the narrator have the most sympathy? The least?
For whom do you feel the most sympathetic?
The novel is filled with “scandalous scenes” and contrasts/clashes. What might their role be?
Are you willing to read along? I’d love to hear your ideas on these toward the end of July!