Into a compellingly real portrait of nineteenth-century Russian society, Dostoevsky introduces his ideal hero, the saintly Prince Myshkin. The tensions subsequently unleashed by the hero’s innocence, truthfulness, and humility betray the inadequacy of his moral idealism and disclose the spiritual emptiness of a society that cannot accommodate him. Myshkin’s mission ends in idiocy and darkness, but it is the world that is rotten, not he. Written under appalling personal circumstances when Dostoevsky was travelling in Europe, The Idiot not only reveals the author’s acute artistic sense and penetrating psychological insight, but also affords his most incisive indictment of Russia’s struggling to emulate contemporary Europe and sinking under the weight of Western materialism. This new translation by Alan Myers is meticulously faithful to the original and has a critical introduction by W. J. Leatherbarrow.