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4.25  ·  Rating Details ·  23,907 Ratings  ·  867 Reviews
Inspired by the true story of a political murder that horrified Russians in 1869, Fyodor Dostoevsky conceived of Demons as a "novel-pamphlet" in which he would say everything about the plague of materialist ideology that he saw infecting his native land. What emerged was a prophetic and ferociously funny masterpiece of ideology and murder in pre-revolutionary Russia.
Paperback, Vintage Classics, 768 pages
Published August 1st 1995 by Vintage (first published 1872)
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Karen Michele My son just recommended that I make sure to get the Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky translation. We both read and enjoyed their translation of…moreMy son just recommended that I make sure to get the Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky translation. We both read and enjoyed their translation of The Brothers Karamazov.(less)

Community Reviews

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MJ Nicholls
Popular Culture: An Alphabetical Contempt. a) Let’s not mince words. All populist entertainment is repulsive, useless, dangerous and witheringly anti-intellectual. b) Except maybe Doctor Who. But that’s hardly Beckett, is it? c) I first became an intellectual snob in my late teens. I witnessed first hand the slow declension of burgeoning intellects through a routine of television, video games and a fear of reading books. d) How did I escape this declension? e) I learned words like declension. I ...more
Dec 19, 2015 Darwin8u rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aere-perennius, 2014
“Full freedom will come only when it makes no difference whether to live or not to live. That’s the goal for everyone.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons


[Review in limbo]

I loved the Devil(s) out of the Possessed

How the Hell do I adequately review this? Once someone hits a certain genius with writing (or other forms of art), it is impossible to really grade their art. How could one grade Beethoven's great symphonies? Is Demons/Devils/the Possessed better than Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karama
Nov 09, 2016 Fernando rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"Si usted supiera, Sónechka, cuánto cuesta ser escritor, es decir, ¡cargar con la suerte del escritor! Mire usted: yo estoy seguro de que si dispusiese para escribir una novela, de dos a tres años —lujo que pueden permitirse Turguéniev, Gonchárov y Tolstoi— me saldría una obra de la que se hablaría aún pasado un siglo.”

Con esa carga de preocupación que en una carta Dostoievski le escribe a su sobrina, Sofía Aleksándrovna Ivánovjmir, en agosto de 1870 antes de comenzar a escribir Los Demonios nos
Henry Avila
Jan 14, 2015 Henry Avila rated it it was amazing
Winds of change are finally sweeping Czarist Russia , in the 1860's. Ideas good or bad , arrive too, they have been around for decades in the rest of Europe, this land is no longer isolated ... Socialism is the new fad for the intellectuals. The serfs have been freed by Alexander the Second, courts democratized, the death penalty seldom carried out, people can speak and write freely, up to a point. There is still Siberia for those who go over the line a little. And all the new railroads, will ge ...more
Dec 16, 2008 Bruce rated it it was amazing
Dostoevsky’s novel, Demons (often falsely translated The Possessed, thereby erroneously stressing the object rather than the subject), is one of his most powerful books, a socio-political work exploring 19th century ideas (the “demons”) current in Russia at the time, specifically European liberalism and nihilism in contrast to what was most important to Dostoevsky, Russian Orthodoxy, and in this sense the author seems a forerunner of Solzhenitzyn a century later, in our own time. At times the no ...more
Mar 08, 2012 Sarah rated it it was amazing
My favorite extended quote from Demons:

“Having devoted my energy to studying the question of the social organization of the future society which is to replace the present one, I have come to the conclusion that all creators of social systems from ancient times to our year have been dreamers, tale-tellers, fools who contradicted themselves and understood precisely nothing of natural science or of that strange animal known as man. Plato, Rousseau, Fourier, aluminum columns—this is fit perhaps for
Mar 16, 2008 brian rated it liked it
all dostoevsky's usual tricks are here: his dense, documentary-like prose, succession of dialogue-heavy scenes leading up to a huge scandal, all his idiots and villains and beggers, his dark and keen psychological insight... yup, it's all in demons, but, goddamn, did i find this a chore to read. the characters, to me, felt too much as stand-ins for (albeit, insightful and interesting) ideas, and the plotting was laborious and repetitive... that said, it's amazing how the man laid out the breadcr ...more
Τα 5 αστερια ειναι πολυ λιγα για να περιγραψουν τους συγκλονιστικης δυναμης και απαραμιλλου βαθους Δαιμονισμενους του αγαπημενου μου Ντοστογιεφσκι.Εχοντας επηρεαστει απο την πρωτη πολυκροτη πολιτικη δικη που συγκλονισε την κοινωνια της Ρωσιας στα μεσα του 19ου αιωνα,πλαθει ενα ποικιλομορφο μωσαικο πληρως αντιπροσωπευτικο των ανθρωπων της(και οχι της τοτε μονο εποχης).Ως φοντο λειτουργει η πολιτικη αναστατωση και η αφυπνιση καποιων μεριδων της κοινωνιας που αναζητουν την αλλαγη διακρινομενοι σε σ ...more
Jul 25, 2016 Håkon rated it it was amazing
The likeness of the events in this novel to events that have happened recently, such as the shooting of the policemen in Dallas, or the attempted coup in Turkey, is incredible. It seems to me like the people whom this novel revolves around are misguided, they are idealists, and they will stop at nothing to get what they want. What is so interesting is that the ideas that they initially had, were sometimes good ones, the problems arised when people were starting to misinterpret ideas, or changing ...more
Maria Thomarey
Dec 21, 2015 Maria Thomarey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ενα κλασσικό βιβλιο για την εποχη μας . Μια προφητική εγγραφή εξαιρετικής πλοκής με βασανισμένους απο τους δαίμονες τους ήρωες .ο Ντοστογέφσκι ηταν μια μυστήρια , μυστηριακή φιγούρα . Ηταν άρρωστος , κατα πάσα πιθανότητα υστερικός , αν και ο ίδιος θα επιθυμούσε την επιληψίας ως άρρωστια , αμαρτωλός , σε Μια εποχή και μια χώρα που η αμαρτία ηταν άξιοκατάκριτη και παραλιγο επαναστάτης . Όλο αυτό τον έκανε θρησκόληπτο και μετανοούντα. Έτσι οι ήρωες του έχουν το θεολογικό τέλος που τους αξίζει . Το ...more
The quality and mastery of Dostoevsky’s vision, and his use of character and plot and pacing, are all on display in this marvelous work. It’s true that perhaps it doesn’t hold together as strongly as some of his other works; but it’s not true that this is a poor example of his work. In some ways, it exceeds all of them, particularly through voice and narrative instability.

There perhaps is some reticence to include it amongst the ‘greats’ due to politics and religion, both then and now. Dostoevs
وائل المنعم
I read many of Dostoyevsky's novels in Arabic translations many years ago, although they are poor translations from French and English copies, i considered Dostoyevsky as one of my top 5 novelists. The Possessed is my first English translation i read.

The greatest point of Dostoyevsky's art of novel is his characters, the most marginal character is will build and presented, there's no an ordinary shallow character. Sometimes Dostoyevsky forget one character then let it play an important role like
Jun 21, 2016 Betül rated it it was amazing
*****Happy 100th in Goodreads! *****

Strike me dead, the track has vanished
Well, what now?We've lost the way
Demons have bewitched our horses
Led us in the wilds astray
What a number! Whither drift they?
What's the mournful dirge they sing?
Do they hail a witch's marriage or a goblin's burying?

A quite unbelievable analysis from Dostoyevsky on faith, existence, human will and the system. When reading this book, you become fully aware that Dostoyevsky is one of the greatests of all times, at the same t
This is one of the few novels by Dostoyevsky that I haven't read, and I think it's not only his most political but also his most prescient in terms of today's world—particularly the individual faced with corrupt systems, the movement toward anarchy and rebellion, and the webs of power that bind all individuals to their oppressive societies no matter how hard they strive to be free of these restrictions.

I think Demons should be read after some of Dostoyevsky's more intricately plotted and deeper
Andei quase um mês às voltas com Os Possessos. Só não desisti porque é um Dostoyevski, cujas palavras e personagens são sempre bonitas por mais enfadonha que seja a história.
Revolucionários...Política; um assunto (pior só o Desporto) que me mata de tédio.
Reconheço que é uma grande obra. Eu é que...enfim...
Aug 01, 2007 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
This was my first foray into Russia's master of literature. I have to admit, I was on my way to the beach when I read this and I couldn't wait to start....I read this outloud to my husband as we drove.

A tale leading up to a political nightmare that was much too close to not be effected. The characters were diverse and yet none went untouched by the tragedy of men becoming slaves to their own ideas and fears.

I must admit that this is probably the only tale I've ever read where nearly everyone f
Aug 22, 2016 Nuno rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This was the third time I read this book , the first one was thirty years ago . Entering into this book is like entering a house of fools , and no one better than Dostoyevsky to describe the insanity of the quotidian life . Today we have the DSM ( Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ) , a sort of psychiatric encyclopedia . In the nineteenth century , there were the books written by Dostoyevsky ( this and the others ) , which were something like the DSM " avant la lettre " . As ...more
Jack Waters
May 28, 2013 Jack Waters rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

Dostoevsky is a master of oscillating between the micro- and macrocosmic effects of societal and personal politicization. He uses his narrator to bring a personal take on the revolutionary aspirations of a young collective, whose vision is grandiose and suffocating to some, and determining and valorous to others. There are the various characters opining on the usual existential themes of god and godlessness, and the smallest variations of belief cause different characters to behave in e
May 31, 2015 Islam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
دوستويفسكى رفيق الأيام الصعبة
لأننى أبغض البشر وأتألم لى ولهم، وتمور بداخلى مشاعر متنافرة فى فَوَران لا يهدأ ولا يلين، يتركنى مضعضع الروح هامد الجسد، أتراوح بين قاع اليأس وذروة البهجة، وأشاهد بعينٍ مفتوحة على اتساعها المطلق، فى دهشة فُجائية واستكانة لا مبالية. بين القهقهة والربت على الظهر والضّم إلى الصدر وقوقعة الجسد تعصر القلب والميت لا يرجع من مكانٍ ذهب إليه والحى لا يعود إلى ما كان عليه وكل شىء فى تبدّل وكل كاملٍ إلى نقصان وكل ناقصٍ إلى عدم وكل عدمٍ إلى لا شىء، أفه
Aug 12, 2013 Jonfaith rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mother-rus
I finished this at a doctor's office, not my doctor's, but my wife's. She had the flu. When my wife was in the hospital a few years before that and on the door his name was posted adjacent to her's: Faith - Grief.

There's a great deal of both in this amazing novel. I should ask Dr. Grief if he likes Dostoevsky. I am afraid to as he looks as if he's only 15 years old.
Ahmad Sharabiani
عنوان: شیاطین یا جن زدگان؛ نویسنده: فئودورمیخائیلوویچ داستایوسکی
عنوان دیگر : تسخیر شدگان
موضوع اصلی داستان: یک توطئه سیاسی در یکی از شهرهای ایالات است. قهرمانان داستان موجوداتی پست و بی خیال و از خصایص بشری بی بهره و جن زده و تسخیر شده هستند. آنها زندانی یک قدرت مرموزند که آنها را به ارتکاب اعمالی وادار میکند که لیاقت و سزاواری انجام آن را ندارند. انسانهایی که عروسکهای خیمه شب بازی هستند و به فرمان شیاطین به جنب و جوش درمیآیند. داستان با یک رشته حوادث مرموز که در ظاهر با رویدادهای دیگر ارتباط ندا
Moon Rose
The political landscape of Russia on the precipice of change palpitates with fervent perspicacity in Demons as lucidly illustrated by the prophetic insights of Fyodor Dostoevsky, demonstrating the great power of thought to dominate as he envisions the extreme danger of an idea(s) in its pernicious might to gnash with its sharp fangs of terror a whole nation of people into a bloodied oblivion, falling head down into an abysmal dawn of death as an avalanche of chaos and destruction come thundering ...more
Tom Choi
Dec 02, 2008 Tom Choi rated it it was amazing
I read a version that carried the translated title of "The Possessed." Similarly, Albert Camus' dramatization of Dostoevsky's tale of foolhardy Russian nilhists shares the same title. But "Demons" may very well be a more faithful translation of the Russian title as it also evokes the episode from the Gospels (Jesus casts the demons out of men and the fleeing demons enter a herd of swine, and fall off a cliff...).

Of the 4 great novels by Dostovesky, C&P, The Bros K., "The Idiots" and this (a
Ehsan Sharei
Dec 28, 2012 Ehsan Sharei rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
وسعت ِ ابعاد ِ اعتقادات ِ انسانی دارای مرزی مشخص نیست. در "شیاطین"، شخصیتها بینظیراند و مشابهشان در سایر آثار ادبیات کلاسیک نادر است. بعضی بسیار رنج میبرند، بعضی حد و مرزِ مازوخیسم را پشت سر گذاشتهاند و برای برخی قساوت به حد اعلا رسیده است. عدۀ دیگر دنیای درونی عجیب و منحصر به فردی دارند و تنهایند و در نهایت آنها که کمی بویی از انسانیت بردهاند بازیچه دست "شیاطین" اند. چیدمان زمانی ِ وقایع، خواننده را به نحو شگفت انگیزی در حسرت دانستن واقعیات قرار میدهد و او را بندهوار به دنبال خود میکشاند. از سو ...more
Apr 05, 2007 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book, though you really have no clear idea of what is actually going on in the plot until about 300 pages in, so if you're reading it purely for a story, you may be tempted to put it down early.

If reading about a bunch of young anarchists causing trouble in a provincial Russian town, while various characters take a time out to discuss their atheism sounds like your idea of a fun Saturday night, order it now!
Moon Rose
This very prophetic novel, of clashing ideals, will grip your thoughts till the last page, riveting as it is moving, it will carry you to unprecedented heights beyond words.

It is perhaps one of the best books I have ever read, IF NOT THE BEST . A must for all lovers of literature and a true testament of Dostoevsky's knack, not merely to entertain but provoke one's consciousness to plunge into a whirlpool of ideas.

I highly recommend the translation made by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky,
Further Reading
A Note on the Text
A Note from the Editor


Appendix: At Tikhon's
List of Characters
David Sarkies
Sep 01, 2014 David Sarkies rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who really like Dostoyevsky
Recommended to David by: Nobody in particular
Shelves: dark
A journey into the underside of revolutionary movements
1 September 2014

This book, along with a number of other 'bricks', has been sitting on my shelf for quite a while and I realised that if I wanted to reduce number of books that I have not read I was going to have to tackle some of these 'bricks', so since I have already read some of Dostoevsky I decided that I would start off with this one. The ironic thing was that when I checked the website for the Literary Classics Society, of which I am
Jun 16, 2015 Vishal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Despite finding this an intensely oppressive, at times laborious, and ultimately a bleak reading experience, it is testament to the sheer power and genius of Dostoyevsky that upon reaching the end, I was left with a distinct, overwhelming feeling that I had just finished reading one of the great and most important idea books of life. Here was a man way ahead of his time: a master psychologist, a visionary, the supreme architect of the vagaries of human nature; particularly its folly! Few writers ...more
Just to clear things up: this book is the same as Dostoyevsky's Demons and The Devils!

No, I am not finishing this book. I have listened to 1/3. My reason is very simple: the discussion/theorizing about nihilism and God, with a spicy murder or two, suicides, and the “who-dunnit” question thrown in, are elements common to all four of the four books I have read by Dostoyevsky:

Crime and Punishment
The Idiot
The Possessed
The Brothers Karamazov

I have had enough, particularly since I have already read D
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The Fyodor Dostoy...: 'Demons' Common discussion thread (Spoilers) 3 32 Jan 08, 2014 08:34AM  
  • On the Eve
  • The Enchanted Wanderer: Selected Tales
  • Dostoevsky: A Writer in His Time
  • The Fall of the Athenian Empire
  • The Sebastopol Sketches
  • Ward No. 6 and Other Stories
  • The Petty Demon
  • A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays
  • Demon
  • The White Guard
  • Novels, 1930-1942: Dance Night / Come Back to Sorrento / Turn, Magic Wheel / Angels on Toast / A Time to Be Born
  • Dead Souls
  • The Queen of Spades and Other Stories
  • Brigadoon (Vocal Score)
  • Oblomov
  • Petersburg
Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky (Russian: Фёдор Михайлович Достоевский), sometimes transliterated Dostoevsky, was a Russian novelist, journalist, and short-story writer whose psychological penetration into the human soul had a profound influence on the 20th century novel.

Dostoyevsky was the second son of a former army doctor. He was educated at home and at a private school. Shortly after the death
More about Fyodor Dostoyevsky...

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“If you want to overcome the whole world, overcome yourself.” 319 likes
“There are seconds, they come only five or six at a time, and you suddenly feel the presence of eternal harmony, fully achieved. It is nothing earthly; not that it's heavenly, but man cannot endure it in his earthly state. One must change physically or die. The feeling is clear and indisputable. As if you suddenly sense the whole of nature and suddenly say: yes, this is true. God, when he was creating the world, said at the end of each day of creation: 'Yes, this is true, this is good.' This . . . this is not tenderheartedness, but simply joy. You don't forgive anything, because there is no longer anything to forgive. You don't really love — oh, what is here is higher than love! What's most frightening is that it's so terribly clear, and there's such joy. If it were longer than five seconds — the soul couldn't endure it and would vanish. In those five seconds I live my life through, and for them I would give my whole life, because it's worth it. To endure ten seconds one would have to change physically . . . .” 70 likes
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