The Idiot

English translations

Since The Idiot was first published in Russian, there have been a number of translations into English over the years, including those by:

  • Frederick Whishaw (1887)
  • Constance Garnett (1913)
    • Revised by Anna Brailovsky (2003)
  • Eva Martin (1915)
  • David Magarshack (1955)
  • John W. Strahan (1965)
  • Henry Carlisle and Olga Carlisle (1980)
  • Alan Myers (1992)
  • Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (2002)
  • David McDuff (2004)
  • Ignat Avsey (2010)

The Constance Garnett translation was for many years accepted as the definitive English translation, but more recently it has come under criticism for being dated. The Garnett translation, however, still remains widely available because it is now in the public domain. Some writers, such as Anna Brailouvsky, have based their translations on Garnett's. Since the 1990s, new English translations have appeared that have made the novel more accessible to English readers. The Oxford Guide to Literature in English Translation (2000) states that the Alan Myers version is the best currently available, though since then, new translations by David McDuff and Pevear & Volokhonsky have also been well received.

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