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4.28  ·  Rating details ·  37,047 ratings  ·  1,597 reviews
Alternate Cover Edition ISBN 0679734511. (ISBN13: 9780679734512)

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 maste
Paperback, 733 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)

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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
“At the inquest our doctors absolutely and emphatically rejected all idea of insanity.”

I open with the closing lines, on the brink of exhaustion, not sure of my own state of sanity.

Reading Dostoyevsky is a bit like spending time with close family members with a diametrically opposed worldview: I love them dearly, unconditionally, but I don’t LIKE them at all.

As I am slowly working my way through Dostoyevsky’s works, starting with the whisperings of a man taking notes from the underground, movi
Ahmad Sharabiani
Бесы = The Possessed = Demons = The Devils, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The Devils is a novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, first published in the journal The Russian Messenger in 1871–2. It is considered one of the four masterworks written by Dostoyevsky after his return from Siberian exile, along with Crime and Punishment (1866), The Idiot (1869) and The Brothers Karamazov (1880). The Devils is a social and political satire, a psychological drama, and large scale tragedy.

After an almost illustrious but prema
Mar 06, 2011 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
Henry Avila
Jan 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Amalia Gavea
"Listen to a big idea: There was one day on earth, and in the middle of the earth stood three crosses. One on a cross believed so much that he said to another: 'This day you will be with me in paradise.' They day ended, they both died, went, and did not find either paradise or resurrection. What had been said would not prove true. Listen: this man was the highest on all the earth, he constituted what it was to live for. Without this man the whole planet with everything on it is--madness only. ...more
Jul 12, 2010 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
Vit Babenco
Apr 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s portrayal of human nature is so idiosyncratic that he simply can’t be surpassed by anybody in this art.
There always are some fashionable ideas and human beings, who can’t think indepedably, prefer to follow this fashion blindly and those people are eventually used by the others… They just become cat’s paw.
“And you know it all comes from that same half-bakedness, that sentimentality. They are fascinated, not by realism, but by the emotional ideal side of socialism, by the rel
Katia N
Mar 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing

First of all, a little note. I’ve read the book in Russian, and normally I would review it in Russian as well. But I think the Demons are unjustifiably overshadowed in the West by other Dostoevsky novels. So I wanted to write something to change the situation a bit.

It is the most powerful novel by Dostoevsky. It is more profound than schematical “Crime and Punishment” and much less preaching than “Karamazovs Brothers”, though the later one is building upon the “Demons”. It is the only big
Elie F
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Seeking for God through demons

Dostoevsky's Demons reminds me a bit of the spirit which Socrates sees love as in The Symposium: halfway through gods and man and serving as a ladder in between.

At first glance Demons is a anti-nihilist anti-Western pamphlet novel preaching a certain Russian Christianism that is essentially religious nationalism. The charismatic (and demonic) characters can be regarded as spokesmen for different ideologies that are gripping on the Russian mind. Each of these ideolo
Jul 26, 2008 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
Khashayar Mohammadi
I was savoring every single page , but the library deadline suddenly forced me to plough through the second half in a single day. I shall not review this book until I have thoroughly re-read it, but the pages I read attentively were truly inspiring and posed the moral dilemmas that Russian literature and especially Dostoyevsky himself is famous for.

Also a technical fact that made me worship the book was the simple fact that Dostoyevsky had used the characters' full names EVERY SINGLE TIME. As a
I wish I was eloquent enough so I could talk about Demons. I'm not. I severely lack the necessary intellect that would allow me to analyze it or even say a few things worth mentioning, the way they should be said.

I will, however, state the obvious. Demons has great, limitless philosophical value. It's not a novel meant to be read as a pastime activity. It's demanding of one's full attention and capacity and still, it might be necessary for one to go back several times in order to not lose grip
Demons are arguably one of the most successful books I know. The intrigue, intricate and detailed, the reflection that constitutes this extraordinary novel, the strange, dark and mysterious characters, make this work a unique story of its kind. It is both a beautiful work of art and magnificent background work. In The Demons, Dostoevsky gives us a masterful reflection and a magnificently composed book, which takes up the procedures of the serial novel. It's a beautiful meditation on God, violenc ...more
Mar 16, 2008 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
Sidharth Vardhan
Wanna start with a 1984 like quote:

'He suggests a system of spying. Every member of the society spies on the others, and it's his duty to inform against them. Every one belongs to all and all to every one. All are slaves and equal in their slavery. In extreme cases he advocates slander and murder, but the great thing about it is equality. To begin with, the level of education, science, and talents is lowered. A high level of education and science is only possible for great intellects, and the
Mark André
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first sentence of Albert Camus’ Forward to his 1959 play redacted from Dostoyevsky’s novel reads, “The Possessed is one of the four or five works that I rank above all others.”
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
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dedicated with affection to Juan Manuel de Prada, and Manuel Alfonseca.
Ladies and gentlemen as promised them, if you have read my review of "Spiderlight" & from_search = true I will be very busy writing criticisms of books I read in the Holy week break, so maybe my reading pace suffers for that I apologize to my fans. Well it's my punishment for writing criticisms so heavy
E. G.
Further Reading
A Note on the Text
A Note from the Editor


Appendix: At Tikhon's
List of Characters
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What Dostoyevsky diagnosed in this novel was the tendency to think of ideas as being somehow more real than actual human beings.

The 19th Century Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote about characters who justified murder in the name of their ideological beliefs. For this reason, John Gray argues, he's remained relevant ever since, through the rise of the totalitarian states of the 20th Century, to the "war against terror".

Dostoyevsky suggests that the result of abandoning morality for the s
The Possessed or Demons—it is known by both names—is probably the most enigmatic of Dostoyevsky’s novels. The first ½ consists of a long, meandering monologue about an deluded elderly man, Stepan Verkhovensky, twice a widower and his wealthy patroness, Varvara Petrovna Stavrogina, and their twenty-year relationship of pettiness, alternately humorous and curious. The nameless narrator tells the reader this is leading up to something, which considering the length is a good thing, but it still seem ...more
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
Mεδ Rεδħα
With The Demons (or The Possessed, title less consistent but more famous in French, especially because of the theatrical adaptation that has made Albert Camus, see the nota bene at the bottom of this notice), Dostoevsky tackles a an immense political-societal canvas that is difficult to define in two words and whose limits seem to me, themselves, rather vague.

In order to situate the work somewhat, I suggest you start with this excerpt from Stepan Agonizing (Part III, Chapter VII, at the end of s
Chris M.H
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
It thought this book was mind twisting, indignant, frightening, beautiful, and wickedly clever.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s words literally dance of the page in almost all the novels I have read by him and this one I found is taken to the extreme. It’s superb. He lulls the reader into believing that the creation of his world is done effortlessly to produce so much feeling and meaningful action but intentionally encourages you to hang your judgements up for scrutiny and revision continually, as the sourc
Nov 11, 2013 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
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 Volokhonsk
I normally write my reviews as soon as I have finished reading a book. I have been sitting on this one for several weeks because I really do not know what to say. I struggled with finishing this at all, forcing myself through a chapter and then breaking for a long while before taking up the next chapter. That might explain why it never gelled for me. It was boring and laborious and dark.

I love Russian literature as a general rule and after reading Crime and Punishment the first time, I would
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spring-2016
A ludicrously complicated plot plus excessively long drawing room convos plus characters who are obvious stand-ins for ideologies but who nevertheless somehow seem to be real people, plus brutal violence plus Shakespeare allusions plus loads of biting comedy, plus love plus hate plus good old-fashioned Bible-thumping all thrown in a blender set to "Ahhhhh!"--Dostoevsky on steroids. The first 200 pages are glacial but it does pick up (and this is a massive understatement). Indulge your casual loa ...more
Farha Crystal
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dostoyevsky-dear
So, Dostoyevsky again threw another brick in the wall .
This is a socio-political work inspired by a real political killing in 1869 exploring 19th century ideas current in Russia at the time.

Law is made according to the depth of reasoning level of lawmakers . Every living being is bound with the ties of lie. A nihilist watches the world full of absurdity. This chemical sucking nihilism invades his life like a plague. He founds no difference between the life made of cheating/ lies and death .Th
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Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky was born in Moscow in 1821. His debut, the epistolary novella Poor Folk (1846), made his name. In 1849 he was arrested for involvement with the politically subversive 'Petrashevsky circle' and until 1854 he lived in a convict prison in Omsk, Siberia. From this experience came The House of the Dead (1860-2). In 1860 he began the journal Vremya (Time). Already married, ...more

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