معرفی کتاب ابله

اثر فئودور داستایفسکی از انتشارات نشر چشمه - مترجم: سروش حبیبی-داستان فلسفی

ابله در 1868–1869 منتشرشد. پرنس مویخکین، آخرین فرزند یک‌ خاندان بزرگ ورشکسته، پس‌‌ از اقامتی‌ طولانی در سوئیس برای معالجۀ بیماری به‌ میهن خود بازمی‌گردد. بیماری او رسماً افسردگی عصبی است، ولی درواقع مویخکین دچار نوعی‌ جنون شده‌ است که نمودار آن بی‌‌ارادگی مطلق است. به‌علاوه، بی‌‌تجربگی کامل او در زندگی، اعتماد بی‌‌حدّی نسبت‌ به دیگران در وی پدید می‌آورد. مویخکین، درپرتو وجود روگوژین، همسفر خویش، فرصت می‌یابد نشان‌ دهد که برای مردمی «واقعاً نیک»، درتماس‌ با واقعیّت، چه ممکن‌ است پیش‌ آید. روگوژین، این‌ جوان گرم و روباز و بااراده، به‌ سابقۀ هم‌‌حسّی باطنی و نیاز به ابراز مکنونات قلبی، درراه سفر سفرۀ دل خود را پیش مویخکین، که ازنظر روحی نقطۀ مقابل اوست، می‌گشاید. روگوژین برای او عشق قهّاری را که نسبت‌به ناستازیا فیلیپوونا احساس می‌کند بازمی‌گوید. این‌ زن زیبا، که ازنظر حسن‌ شهرت وضعی‌ مبهم دارد، به‌ انگیزۀ وظیفه‌ شناسی، نه بی‌‌اکراه، معشوقۀ ولی‌ نعمت خود می‌شود تا از این‌ راه حق‌‌شناسی خود را به‌‌او نشان‌ دهد. وی، که طبعاً مهربان و بزرگوار است، نسبت‌ به مردان و به‌ طورکلّی نسبت‌ به همۀ کسانی‌ که سرنوشت با آنان بیشتر یار بوده و به‌ نظر می‌‌آید که برای خوارساختن او به‌ همین‌ مزیّت می‌‌نازند نفرتی‌ در جان‌ نهفته دارد. این‌ دو تازه‌ دوست، چون به سن‌ پترزبورگ می‌‌رسند، از یکدیگر جدا می‌شوند و پرنس نزد ژنرال اپانچین، یکی‌ از خویشاوندانش می‌‌رود به‌ این‌ امید که برای زندگی فعّالی‌ که می‌خواهد آغاز کند پشتیبانش باشد... / به‌ نقل‌ از «فرهنگ آثار»–جلد اوّل


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معرفی کتاب ابله از نگاه کاربران
THE IDIOT: THE JOURNEY FROM RESURRECTION TO CRUCIFIXION

I am selective in reading novels, particularly long ones, and I dither to dip my head into middling ones even if they offer some interesting perspectives on life, history or storytelling. I was wary when started reading The Idiot , since the drama spans over 660 pages. Having read the work, my feeling is –Give me another 600 pages of this signature! The Idiot has made deep imprint in my psyche and I am sure it is going to stay with me forever. I may even consider a re-read!

If the primary purpose of literature is entertainment spliced with enlightenment, then The Idiot is a spectacular success. Its plot is thick with events, the characters exhibit extremes of unpredictability in behavior and emotions, the events are engrossing and many passages have rare lyrical intensity , intellectual insight and psychological depth. Unlike Crime and Punishment and Brothers Karamzov (the only other two novels that I have read), pontificating passages (common in many Russian novels) - eg: the letter of Ippolit and Prince Myshkin’s last debate during the party at the house - are kept to the bare minimum . The novel concentrates on events, situations, actions, moods, misunderstandings, accusations, whimsical outpourings, loneliness and untenable sympathies to engage the reader. Many fine novels end up in catastrophic denouement damaging the overall effectiveness. Surprisingly, The Idiot excels in its finale too. No wonder, this classic has achieved a rare stature of greatness in the realm of art.

Most of the central characters of this novel surface at the very beginning when Prince Lyov Nikolayevitch Myshkin returns to Petersburg from a Swiss clinic after a prolonged treatment for epilepsy. The train journey at the beginning introduces two important characters- Parfyon Semyonovitch Rogozhin (someone who stays till the end as a shadow of the Prince, a kind of doppelgänger) and Lebedyev – and soon we enter into the world of two major families of this novel- Epachin and Ivolgin - representing two ends of social strata. The prince soon makes acquaintance of the sole distant relative of him in the city - Lizaveta Prokofyevna, the wife of General Ivan Fyodorovitch , the head of Epachin family. His childlike candor and ‘inimitable idiocy’ soon charms all Epachins including the three daughters, Alexandra, Adelaida, and Aglaya, the latter being the youngest and the most beautiful. It is here he first encounters the portrait of the beautiful and mysterious lady Nastasya Filippovna Barashkov , the tumultuous character that occupies the center stage of this novel. Immediately following this, the Prince meets the chaotic Ivolgin Family: General Ardalion Alexandrovitch , the alcoholic father; Nina Alexandrovna , the gracious mother; the ambitious daughter Varvara Ardalionovna (Varya) ; the son Gavril Ardalionovitch (Ganya) who later rivals the Prince and Kolya , the younger brother of Ganya, the ever ready errant boy of everyone who soon becomes the Prince’s confidante.

The greatness of Dostoevsky lies in his imponderable capacity to delve into the depth of all the above characters exposing their goodness and weakness. In a novel of this magnitude, it is quite possible that a modern day author knowingly or unknowingly sidelines some of the characters or sketch a shallow portrayal of them; but not in the case of Dostoevsky. The overall architecture of the novel is also robust and there are signal sentences embedded in the beginning that foreshadows the finale. The reader wonders about the mysterious absence of a central character of this novel for more than 300 pages and yet at the end, everything falls in place in its grand scheme.

Everyone that the Prince meets is disarmed with his simplicity, open manners, and for a brief time at least he does manage to bring out some goodness even in the worst of them. He is identified as a @holy fool@ by Rogozhin early in the novel. He is loved by almost all characters in this novel, but no one wants to own him. Both Aglaya , the fiancée of Prince, and her mother Lizaveta Prokofyevna are in eternal vacillation whether the Prince would make a good husband. As a character openly confronts him in the novel, My dear Prince, paradise on earth is not easily achieved; but all the same you are counting on paradise in a way; paradise is a difficult thing, Prince, much more difficult than it seems to your wonderful heart..

One cannot help noticing a Christ-like quality in everything that Prince does or speaks. Perhaps one scene in the novel that nakedly showcases the Princes nature happens immediately after the Prince undergoes the first epileptic seizure after his return. The prince, still recuperating from it, is being visited by the whole Epachin family, when suddenly into this cheerful and elegant though inwardly tense circle burst the fashionable young revolutionaries and nihilists which include the garrulous Ippolit , the ostensible @son of Pavlishchev @, Keller the @boxer@. They accuse the Prince that he acted like avaricious man in grabbing a fortune left to him by Pavlishchev , the late benefactor of Prince Myshkin , without sharing it with the ‘so called’ legitimate ones (Ganya proves later that they non-existent) . This is a disagreeable, repulsive and disquieting scene where these misguided young people mercilessly and nakedly inflicts a double pain upon the good Myshkin. The Prince, unaided, stands exposed, critically observed by the entire members of Epachin family and most of the Ivolgin family. And how does the situation end? It ends with Myshkin, despite the minor mistakes he makes during the excitement, behaving exactly according to his kind, gentle, childlike nature, accepting smilingly the unbearable, answering selflessly the most shameless speeches, willing to assume every fault and to search for every fault in himself – and his complete failure in this with the result that he is despised, not by one side or the other, but by both! All turn against him, he has stepped on everyones toes; for an instant the most extreme social opposites in age and point of view are completely wiped out, all are united and at one in turning their backs with indignation and rage on the single one among them who is pure!

Can a pure heart bring solace to this world? I won’t answer it as the readers are sure to find answer as they immerse in this one. Why does no one comprehend the Prince, even though almost all love him in some way, almost everyone finds his empathetic gentleness exemplary? What distinguishes him, the man of magic, from the others, the ordinary folks? Why are they right in snubbing him? Why must they do it, inexorably? Why must things go with him as they did with Jesus, who in the end was abandoned not only by the world but by all his disciples as well?

It is because the @idiots@ way of thinking is unlike others. Not that he thinks less logically or in a more childlike and associative way than they – that is not it. His way of thought is magical. This gentle @idiot@ completely denies the life, the way of thought and feeling, the world and the reality of other people. His reality is something quite different from theirs. Their reality in his eyes is no more than a shadow, and it is by seeing and demanding a completely new reality that he becomes their enemy.

In an excellent introduction to this novel, superbly translated by the best known translator pair in the world of translations , Richard Pevear Larissa Volokhonsky , a letter written by Dostoevsky to his beloved niece Sofia Ivanova is cited :

The main idea of the novel is to portray a positively beautiful man. There is nothing more difficult in the world and especially now. All writers, not only ours, but even all European writers, who have merely attempted to portray the positively beautiful, have always given up. Because the task is immeasurable. The beautiful is an ideal, but this ideal, whether ours or that of civilized Europe, is still far from being worked out. There is only one perfectly beautiful person -Christ - so that the appearance of this immeasurably, infinitely beautiful person is, of course, already an infinite miracle

The Idiot is constructed out of two impossibilities-the impossibility of a novelistic portrayal of an epileptic living in tranquility and the impossibility of portrayal of a Christ like figure , and beyond that , the failure of that figure to transmute the world around him. I believe Dostoevsky has astonishingly succeeded in this attempt.




مشاهده لینک اصلی
I love this book because it made me think. Hard.

According to my understanding of @The Idiot,@ Dostoevskys definition of an idiot is someone who actually believes that everyone is trying to do their best and do no harm. This is in utter ignorance, usually, of everyones tendencies to do harm to others, regardless of intent. Hooray for idiots!

Ippolit Terentyev, one of the minor characters, is a socialist, and a suicide. He has one of the great lines in literature, I think, and I will share it now. @We degrade God too much, ascribing to him our ideas, in our vexation at being unable to understand Him.@ Not verbatim, necessarily, but thats the sense.

Also included in this story is a story about how governments are not scared of atheists, because atheists have no real back-bone. When it comes down to it, if life is the end-all, be-all, then anyone who is sane (having some idea of self-preservation) will break at threats on their life. Whereas if someone believes that there is a payoff greater than life can offer, or better yet, has an internal motivation that comes from somewhere else, he or she is less likely to be afraid of death. What capitalist governments are really scared of is socialists with a moral imperative that drives them to offer something better than the @one-step-out-of-the-cave@ animalism of capital. Luckily, anyone who actually believes that they can or should offer anything better will be rendered ineffective by the capital machine. Anyone with this perspective will be unable to function in real life (The Idiot, I forget the main characters name) or will become so stricken with the dichotomy of living in a way that completely contradicts their philosophy that they will eventually kill themselves (Terentyev).

Back to the question of God -- who says that God isnt a kind of mean drunk, watching the folly of man, laughing, falling asleep, sobering up and making things okay for a while? Ha ha. The best thing about life is that it has a begninning and an end. A lot of the stuff in between kind of sucks.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
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