This book is designed to guide readers through Dostoevsky's The Idiot, first published in 1869 and generally considered to be his most mysterious and confusing work.
The volume begins with an introductory section comprising two essays: the first looks at when, where, and how The Idiot was written; the second introduces the major characters. The essays in the second section guide the reader through the plans and notebooks out of which the novel evolved; use contemporary feminist criticism to shed light on how this novel explores alternatives to traditional roles; examine the ways in which the novel reflects Dostoevsky's concern with apocalypse, modernity, and time; and address the ways in which the novel's hero, Prince Myshkin, can be compared to Christ. The final section offers an exceptionally rich collection of primary sources, including letters by Dostoevsky concerning The Idiot, and an annotated bibliography.
The contributors are Liza Knapp, Robin Feuer Miller, Nina Pelikan Straus, and David M. Bethea.