The Possessed (The Devils) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Download The Possessed (The Devils) ebook. “What I am writing now is a tendentious thing,” Dostoyevsky wrote to a friend in connection with his first outline for The Devils. “I feel like saying everything as passionately as possible. (Let the nihilists and the Westerners scream that I am reactionary!) To hell with them. I shall say everything to the last word.”
As Dostoyevsky predicted, The Devils, or The Possessed, was indeed denounced by radical critics as the work of a reactionary renegade. But radicals aside, it enjoyed great success both for its literary power and for its explicit and provocative politics; and for its story of Russian terrorists plotting violence and destruction, only to murder one of their own number.
“Stavrogin’s Confession”, the section omitted when the novel first appeared, is included as an appendix to this volume.
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Devils’ (‘Besy’), also known in English as ‘The Possessed’ and ‘The Demons’ is the third of Dostoevsky’s five major novels. It is at once a powerful political tract and a profound study of atheism, depicting the disarray which follows the appearance of a band of modish radicals in a small provincial town. Dostoevsky compares the radicals to the devils that drove the Gadarene swine over the precipice in his vision of a society possessed by demonic creatures that produce devastating delusions of rationality. The novel is full of buffoonery and grotesque comedy. The plot is loosely based on the details of a notorious case of political murder, but Dostoevsky weaves suicide, rape, and a multiplicity of scandals into a compelling story of political evil.
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Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821–1881), one of nineteenth-century Russia’s greatest novelists, spent four years in a convict prison in Siberia, after which he was obliged to enlist in the army. In later years his penchant for gambling sent him deeply into debt. Most of his important works were written after 1864, including Notes from Underground, Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and The Brothers Karamazov, all available from Penguin Classics.
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