‘He’s simple-minded, but he has all his wits about him, in the most noble sense of the word, of course’
Returning to St Petersburg from a Swiss sanatorium, the gentle and naive Prince Myshkin – known as ‘the idiot’ – pays a visit to his distant relative General Yepanchin and proceeds to charm the General, his wife and his three daughters. But his life is thrown into turmoil when he chances on a photograph of the beautiful Nastasya Filippovna. Utterly infatuated with her, he soon finds himself caught up in a love triangle and drawn into a web of blackmail, betrayal and, finally, murder. In Prince Myshkin, Dosteyevsky set out to portray the purity of ‘a truly beautiful soul’ and to explore the perils that innocence and goodness face in a corrupt world.
David McDuff’s new translation brilliantly captures the novel’s idiosyncratic and dream-like language and the nervous, elliptic flow of the narrative. This edition also includes a new introduction by William Mills Todd III, which is a fascinating examination of the pressures on Dostoyevsky as he wrote the story of his Christ-like hero.
A Note on the Translation