Fyodor Dostoevsky

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Great Russian writer

"To love someone means to see them as God intended them"

Dostoevsky’s The Idiot: History of the Novel

The beginning of work on the novel coincided with sad events in the author’s life. The death of Sonya’s three-month-old daughter deeply shocked Dostoevsky and his wife.

Partly in order to forget himself from deep grief, the writer takes a large advance from the magazine “Russian Bulletin” and in 1867 goes abroad. In many ways, his desire to write a novel was dictated by the difficulties of the financial plan. In one of the letters he sent from Dresden in the spring of the same year, he admitted that “… there will be no money now until the new year, you need to write.”

With the rough drafts of the novel, the author moved from Germany to Geneva and again admitted in letters that “A big thing will come out and, perhaps, not bad… I will write with pleasure.”

While in Berlin, Dresden, Hamburg, Fyodor Mikhailovich closely followed the events in the public life of Russia. In particular, the stories described in Russian newspapers gave him rich food for creativity. His imagination was greatly excited by the facts about the Umetsky family, where a teenage daughter rebelled against parental arbitrariness and committed a crime. In a much modified form, the echoes of these events are heard in the Ivolgins’ family scandals.When the novel was finished, the writer admitted that he was dissatisfied with it because he “… could not express even a tenth of what he feels.”

Stages of work

The novel was written in the period 1867-1869 .

During this time, Dostoevsky, while abroad, actively corresponded with his contemporaries, shared his thoughts about the novel. This correspondence helped to restore in some detail the chronology of the writing of the work.

In 1868, the editorial office of the “Russian Bulletin” received five chapters of the first part of the novel. The Idiot was completely finished in 1869, and even after the completion of the work, the writer was not sure that it was of interest to readers, and a second edition could be expected over time.

Publication of the work

The publication of the first part in February 1868 in the “Russian Bulletin” clearly showed that the novel is a success. Famous public figures Milyukov, Lamansky, Solovyov expressed their sincere delight to the writer. However, some of those who admired the first part were not at all impressed by the rest of the chapters of the novel. Critics reproached the writer for the fact that the work is replete with heavy scenes and descriptions of mental anguish.

By the mid-1870s, it became clear that the novel was a huge success with a wide readership, whose opinion for Dostoevsky was more important than the words of critics. The book was bought better and better every year.Over the past century (1910-2010), the novel has been screened 18 times in Russia, Italy, France, Germany, Great Britain and other countries. Performances based on the work “Idiot” in different years were staged by the BDT of St. Petersburg, the theaters “Workshop” and them. Vakhtangov.

In 2013, the novel was included in the list of “One Hundred books recommended for students to read” compiled by the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia.