I'm struggling to understand the narrator in The Idiot. He seems like an omniscient narrator, talking of characters in third person. But, in Chapter I of Part One, while describing know-it-alls, the narrator says:

I have known scholars, writers, poets, political activists, who sought and found their highest peace and purpose in this science, who positively made their careers by it alone.

Did he mid-narration self-insert into the character of Myshkin? Does this happen throughout the novel? Is it possible that the narrator is someone or am I looking too much into it? Sure feeling like an Idiot right now :P

The translation I'm reading is that by Pevear & Volokhonsky.

  • 3
    I think that's just the omniscient narrator inserting an aside into the text. This doesn't happen very often in English novels, but Russian novels may have different conventions. – Peter Shor May 17 '18 at 14:13
  • Any other examples? – Kandrax May 20 '18 at 13:29
  • Other examples? The only Russian ones I've found (not that I've looked that hard) were also by Dostoevsky. An English example is Josephine Tey's mystery novel The Man in the Queue, where the author had good reasons to put in a not-quite-completely-omniscient narrator so as to filter the narrative through his perspective. – Peter Shor Jun 23 '18 at 17:54

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