Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Idiot. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
The Idiot: Introduction
The Idiot: Plot Summary
The Idiot: Detailed Summary & Analysis
The Idiot: Themes
The Idiot: Quotes
The Idiot: Characters
The Idiot: Terms
The Idiot: Symbols
The Idiot: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Fyodor Dostoevsky
Historical Context of The Idiot
Other Books Related to The Idiot
- Full Title: The Idiot
- When Written: 1867-1869
- Where Written: Switzerland and Italy
- When Published: 1868-69 in serial form; 1874 as a complete work
- Literary Period: Realism
- Genre: Novel
- Setting: St. Petersburg and Pavlovsk, Russia, 1861-1862
- Climax: The book is structured around several scandalous, climactic scenes, including when Nastasya throws Rogozhin’s money in the fire, the argument between Myshkin and the nihilists in Pavlovsk, the fight at the Vauxhall in Pavlovsk, Ippolit’s attempted suicide, and when Nastasya abandons Myshkin at the altar.
- Antagonist: Parfyon Rogozhin
- Point of View: Third person
Extra Credit for The Idiot
Bad Press. When The Idiot was first published, it received almost universally negative reviews, both within Russia and across Europe.
A Modern Twist. Elif Batuman, a contemporary Turkish-American writer, has named both the books she has published thus far after novels by Dostoevsky. Yet her novel called The Idiot is a far cry from the subject matter of Dostoevsky’s text—it depicts a freshman student at Harvard in the 1990s.