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The Idiot

Vintage Classics
Narrated by: Peter Batchelor
Length: 30 hrs and 46 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

"Pevear and Volokhonsky may be the premier Russian-to-English translators of the era." (The New Yorker)

Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky’s masterful translation of The Idiot is destined to stand with their versions of Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, and Demons as the definitive Dostoevsky in English.

After his great portrayal of a guilty man in Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky set out in The Idiot to portray a man of pure innocence. The 26-year-old Prince Myshkin, following a stay of several years in a Swiss sanatorium, returns to Russia to collect an inheritance and “be among people.” Even before he reaches home he meets the dark Rogozhin, a rich merchant’s son whose obsession with the beautiful Nastasya Filippovna eventually draws all three of them into a tragic denouement. In Petersburg, the prince finds himself a stranger in a society obsessed with money, power, and manipulation. Scandal escalates to murder as Dostoevsky traces the surprising effect of this “positively beautiful man” on the people around him, leading to a final scene that is one of the most powerful in all of world literature.

This audio edition of The Idiot is masterfully narrated Peter Batchelor.

©2001 Richard Pevear, Larissa Volokhonsky (P)2019 Echo Point Books & Media, LLC
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Idiotic Characteristics: Divine and Human

Incredible tale of how humanity is almost perfected through the struggles and fits of epilepsy; only to be succumbed by the rush and complications of Russian society.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-01-31

Excellent Reading of the Best Translation

I loved this dynamic reading of what is, in my opinion, the best existing translation of Dostoevsky's The Idiot. I am not a Russian speaker so I can't address the mispronunciations that another reviewer mentioned, but the Russian names and words all sounded great to me and I thought Peter Batchelor did a fantastic reading. He has one of those classic audiobook narrator voices that fits so well with a book like this.
I received this product in exchange for an honest review. After listening to it, I'd like to hear more of Batchelor's work, and I hope there will be more audio editions of Pevear and Volokhonsky's translations!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ben
  • 2019-11-15

I should've learned my lesson

While this psychological deep-dive is one of my all-time favorite novels, the performance of Peter Batchelor completely destroyed the enjoyment factor of this magnificent translation of Dostoevsky's "The Idiot."

I listened to Peter Batchelor read David Copperfield and abhorred it, but was so excited to revisit the P&V translation, I deluded myself into thinking Batchelor would do better this time around. His mumbling, squealing, and inability to enunciate made this listen very arduous and unbearable at times.

Lastly, the very insightful and useful endnotes that the translators prepared for this version of the book are missing. Adding them as an appendix or integrating them into the text as is the case with P&V's "Anna Karenina" would be much appreciated.

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  • Natalie Freeborg
  • 2019-10-27

Right translation - fatal flaw

Everything is fine here, except the narrator was apparently never told how to correctly pronounce Nastasia Philipovna. As a result, I find that I cannot listen to this performance.

3 people found this helpful