The Idiot

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The Idiot (pre-reform Russian: Идіотъ; post-reform Russian: Идиот) is a novel by the 19th-century Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky. It was first published serially in the journal The Russian Messenger in 1868–69.

The title is an ironic reference to the central character of the novel, Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin. He is a young man whose goodness, open-hearted simplicity and guilelessness mislead many of the more worldly characters he encounters. They assume he is an idiot because he seems to lack intelligence and insight. In the character of Prince Myshkin, Dostoevsky set himself the task of depicting "the positively good and beautiful man". The novel is about the effect of having such an unusual person at the center of the conflicts, desires, passions and egoism of a worldly society.