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The Idiot (Gibberish: Идиот) is a horribly dull book written over the course of two years (1868 - 1869) by Tsar Fyodor Dostoevsky, who lives up to the name of his father, Ivan the Terrible, as one of the worst figures in 19th century Russian literature. Like all other novels Dostoevsky wrote, it is very long, completely incoherent, and gives each character approximately twelve pseudonyms, each of which you must remember to avoid becoming absolutely confused. In the book's entirety, nothing of remote interest happens at all; it is merely 643 pages of unbearable boredom that just makes you want to claw your eyes out.
The book's original title was "Идіотъ", but the title was changed in the 1920s because no one understood what "Идіотъ" meant, or if it was even a word at all, much less how one was supposed to pronounce such a word. However, the new title, "Идиот", was equally incoherent. Modern researchers attribute the book's incoherency largely to the fact the book was written in Russian, a language closely related to gibberish.
Though Dostoevsky is commonly attributed to have written the book, both Greek philosopher Idiocrates and Roman philosopher Moronicus have been suggested as the true writers because Dostoevsky was known to be an unoriginal asshole who could not have written such a profoundly stupid book. However, both died long before the book was first published and Dostoevsky was a real dumbass, so this is considered unlikely.
edit Plot Summary
The book begins with Prince Myshkin (who is also subsequently named Lev Nikolayevitch in an attempt to confuse readers) as he arrives aboard a train in St. Petersburg (which for some reason, Dostoevsky did not give multiple names, though it has had many). He then visits the house of General Yepanchin (who also has numerous names) and tells his life story to everyone within the house, including some of the walls. Upon seeing the portrait of some random woman, Myshkin falls instantly in love with her and subsequently begins to stalk her around until she marries someone who was not quite as creepy and actually had money. This happens over the course of 183 pages.
For the next several hundred pages, the prince stays at his house (which is not really his, but someone else's) and talks to people, one of whom (Hippolite) becomes so completely fed up with such monotony he yells at everyone, coughs up blood, and dies. Around that time, for ten pages, Dostoevsky refuses to start a new paragraph, leaving huge blocks of unintelligible text that takes hours upon hours to read. Then, somehow, the same guy is brought back to life so he can shout and go nuts for another fifty or so pages, after which, he attempts and fails to shoot himself, having forgotten to load the gun. He acts like a baby and cries because he had done so in front of numerous people, who were then laughing like crazy. Everyone hates him until he finally dies and stays in that state. General Ivolgin (who evidently is not General Yepanchin, though the reader is confused into thinking so) steals some money, feels guilty, returns it, and out of grief has a stroke. Somehow, he survives, but remains in a coma for a couple of days, after which he dies. By that point, it becomes so dull that you would rather commit suicide than read another sentence.
However, if, because of masochistic tendencies, you continue to read, Dostoevsky subjects you to every unimportant character's life story for an hour, even if they're only mentioned once in the entire book, dragging the story out as long as possible as if he were paid per page. This style was prevalent throughout Dostoevsky's time, particularly with Leo Tolstoy, the only person capable of writing longer and duller works than Dosteovsky.
The book's ending is unknown, because no one has ever had the superhuman strength to continue reading it for that long and survive. Some who claim to have skipped to the end, however, say that Myshkin's father is, in fact, Darth Vader, that he is the true King of Gondor, and that the paper in the book is entirely comprised of people. Myshkin goes on to become the first Russian to win the World Cup, 3 - 1, against France.
There are about 287 characters in The Idiot, each of which symbolically represents a conflict in 19th century Russia (evidently there was a civil war or mass chaos of some sorts going on), a technique known as symbolism. This is opposed to realism, where the characters actually make sense and do not usually number in the hundreds. What they represent is as follows:
- Prince Myshkin: stupid loners who for some reason believe Catholicism is the spawn of all evil because it’s not the Russian Eastern Orthodox Church, yet somehow everyone seems to enjoy him, particularly making fun of his stupidity (for which he was evidently treated, though the doctors seem to have failed to cure), watching his epileptic fits, and hearing his fanatical, super-nationalistic ravings
- Nastassya Filippovna: lunatics
- Aglaya Ivanovna: bat fuck insane sadistic lunatics
- Rogozhin: murderous lunatics who marry other lunatics, though both know that the murderous lunatic will kill the other
- 'Alexandra Ivanovna: women nobody wants to marry
- General Ivolgin: drunks who blabber on and on about how they met Napoleon and Napoleon loved them and asked their advice on important matters, which everyone, having heard the story ten times already, is quite frankly sick of
- Kolya: annoying little kids no one cares about
- Hippolite: terminally ill kids who enjoy being assholes
- Lebedev: asskissers who enjoy being sadistic and psychologically torturing their friends by claiming their leg was shot off in the War of 1812 (though they had not been born yet), so they picked it up and buried it in a cemetery, where a grand monument for the leg was built and flowers are left yearly on the anniversary of the event, all while having both of their legs in plain sight
- Ferdyshchenko: people who refer to themselves in the third person (evidently so that people are sure to pronounce their name correctly), disappear for a while, return for a short bit, and then disappear again so everyone will think he stole something
- Ptitsyn: people who have unpronounceable names with dirty words in it
- Gavril Ardalionovitch/Ganya/Ivolgin/Gavril Ivolgin/Whatever else Dostoevsky decided to call him: assholes who decide to have a hundred different names, though most are pronounceable
- Keller: creepy people who for a long time have no name, being referred as simply that boxer guy or Muhammad Ali
- Prince N.: people who have no name because they’re only mentioned once
- Prince S.: people who have no name, though they’re mentioned numerous times
- Darya Alexeyevna: people who have a name, but are only mentioned once
- Adelaïda: people who marry people who have no name, thus losing all seventy-eight or so of their names and receiving little mention afterwards
- Yevgeny Pavlovitch: people mentioned a couple of times, probably because they’re a transvestite
- Totsky: communists
Due to the fact it made no sense whatsoever, The Idiot was an instant classic upon its publishing in 1869. Shortly thereafter, Dostoevsky wrote an equally incoherent sequel, The Dumbass, an autobiography that was even more successful. Modern critics consider it to be Dostoevsky's most contemporary novel in that it sucks horribly. It is no longer under copyright because nobody wanted to waste several dollars to license a glorified piece of crap.