Rereading this now, and have been totally glued to it so far. Every scene is just amazing, powerful, and compelling, and the characters are so real and familiar, they're so human, it's as though I know them all from life, though I can't think who they remind me of. I think reading this so soon after The Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment has finally shown me that this is my favorite novel of all time.
I do feel so bad for the women, for how they were treated and how powerless they were in general. This time I think Nastasha Fillipovna is clinically mentally ill. Either that or her fury at being used and debased against her will, and her anger at how people are treating her, has just swept her completely out of herself, out of all reason. Her anger and spitefulness just can't find enough satisfaction, it seems. I guess that's understandable, but it's eating her up and making it impossible for her to feel better.
I really like the Prince this time, as I did before. My son thinks Myshkin's epilepsy let him have mystical experiences that made him how he was. I think it was his humility at being ill (in a way that affected his brain) that gave him so much sympathy for others, and made him so extraordinary. He may be my favorite character in all of literature.
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It's amazing how much these books change over time given our life experiences. Dostoyevsky wrote it when he was relatively old, and as I age toward his age I see so much more in all this characters! Lizaveta Prokovievna is so funny and awesome now to me. More than just comic relief this time, she's so acute in her observations, and so plain-spoken, it's beautiful.
I love Dostoyevsky's way of showing us the real hearts of good people. He sees all the crud, too, the unfortunate and pathetic ways in which we try to project ourselves to be someone better than we are, the ways we are insincere, conventional, silly, and downright debased. But he clearly sees the divine beauty, the honest best feelings in even the worst of us, and he still loves us. He still sees how we can choose that truth and be our best selves. His clear vision of this is probably what I love most about him. By doing this he gives everyone permission to be their true best selves. Thanks, Fyodor Mikailovich, I'm doing my best to do that and finding it's the only way to really live.