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Demons: A Novel in Three Parts [Kindle Edition]

Fyodor Dostoevsky , Larissa Volokhonsky , Richard Pevear
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

From the award-winning translators of Crime and Punishment, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.

Based on a real-life crime which horrified Russia in 1869, Dostoevsky intended his novel to castigate the fanaticism of his country's new revolutionaries, particularly those known as Nihilists. Blackly funny, grotesque and shocking, it is a disturbing portrait of five young men saturated in ideology and bent on destruction, and a compelling study of terrorism

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"ÝAn admirable new translation of...Dostoevsky's masterpiece." -"New York Review of Books" "The merit in this edition of "Demons" resides in the technical virtuosity of the translators...They capture the feverishly intense, personal explosions of activity and emotion that manifest themselves in Russian life." -"New York Times Book Review"""Demons" is the Dostoevsky novel for our age...ÝPevear and Volokhonsky have managed to capture and differentiate the characters' many voices...They come into their own when faced with Dostoevsky's wonderfully quirky use of varied speech patterns...A capital job of restoration." -"Los Angeles Times" With an Introduction by Richard Pevear


" 'Volokhonsky's and Pevear's translation brings to the surface all of Dostoevsky's subtle linguistic and nationalist humour, and the copious notes are indispensable for making one's way through the thicket of 19th-century Russian politics' - Kirkus Reviews. 'An outstanding achievement' John Bayley. 'As close to Dostoevsky's Russian as is possible in English' - Chicago Tribune"

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1149 KB
  • Print Length: 769 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0679734511
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital; New Ed edition (30 Sept. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005I4D9M4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #109,556 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky was born in Moscow in 1821, the second of a physician's seven children. His mother died in 1837 and his father was murdered a little over two years later. When he left his private boarding school in Moscow he studied from 1838 to 1843 at the Military Engineering College in St Petersburg, graduating with officer's rank. His first story to be published, 'Poor Folk' (1846), was a great success.

In 1849 he was arrested and sentenced to death for participating in the 'Petrashevsky circle'; he was reprieved at the last moment but sentenced to penal servitude, and until 1854 he lived in a convict prison at Omsk, Siberia. In the decade following his return from exile he wrote The Village of Stepanchikovo (1859) and The House of the Dead (1860). Whereas the latter draws heavily on his experiences in prison, the former inhabits a completely different world, shot through with comedy and satire.

In 1861 he began the review Vremya (Time) with his brother; in 1862 and 1863 he went abroad, where he strengthened his anti-European outlook, met Mlle Suslova, who was the model for many of his heroines, and gave way to his passion for gambling. In the following years he fell deeply in debt, but in 1867 he married Anna Grigoryevna Snitkina (his second wife), who helped to rescue him from his financial morass. They lived abroad for four years, then in 1873 he was invited to edit Grazhdanin (The Citizen), to which he contributed his Diary of a Writer. From 1876 the latter was issued separately and had a large circulation. In 1880 he delivered his famous address at the unveiling of Pushkin's memorial in Moscow; he died six months later in 1881. Most of his important works were written after 1864: Notes from Underground (1864), Crime and Punishment (1865-6), The Gambler (1866), The Idiot (1869), The Devils (1871) and The Brothers Karamazov (1880).

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mesmerising Experience 15 Jan. 2003
By A Customer
This is the fourth long novel by Dostoevsky that I have read, and for my money by far the best. It concerns the rise of nihilism in the Russian soul in the 1820s and is partially based on a factual murder. Far from being a dull subject the plot is fabulously exciting, and Dostoevsky weaves into it a multilayered examination of how powerful ideas can ensnare peoples will. As ever in Dosteoevsky heavy Christian themes pervade the novel- how can a man do good deeds in a world filled with evil? His narrative artistry - allowing the characters to drive the novel with their dialogue, so that complex ideas gradually flower in the readers mind - works beautifully in this flawless translation. It took me about 6 weeks to read this book and I really felt like it lived with me and grew inside me over that time - not just a read, but a genuine experience. Take a deep breath, and let Dostoevsky into your life!
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get the best translation 10 Jan. 2007
By Jonathan Birch VINE VOICE
Demons is intensely depressing and intensely bloody, though its dialogue-driven plotline also contains some of Dostoevsky's cleverest and funniest scenes. The novel (based on a true story) portrays Nihilist terrorists with harrowing realism, and as a result is as relevant as ever today.

This often-forgotten classic is commonly translated as "The Possessed" or the "The Devils". "Demons" makes more sense, and this is just one of the strengths of the magnificent Pevear and Volokhonsky translation. The notes and introduction are excellent, and Pevear and Volokhonsky's attention to detail renders the novel in idiosyncratic, flowing, fantastically readable prose that really shows you the best of Dostoevsky.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This will chew you up and spit you out 31 Jan. 2008
By dogme
This is Dostoyevsky at his bipolar best - the most hysterically funny and shockingly tragic book ever written, with a twitching, leaping cast of characters all hellishly lit by the brilliant halloween lantern Stavrogin. There is no more original or powerful characterization than this in literature - he appears as a kind of blank slate or ghost who can only be read by reference to the contradictory ways he has influenced, almost 'created' the other amazing characters in the book, as if they were acting out his potential while he remains untouched and spiritually dead. This is the great existentialist figure, eclipsing everything before and since. Not that I'd recommend this book to anyone, if you are worth anything it will haunt you and your dreams forever.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dostoyevsky's Demons Clarified 12 Dec. 2012
When I read previous translations of Demons, the titles always were The Possessed, so in each case the translators obscured the novel's meaning. Now, I think, after reading Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky's translation, I have been set straight. The demons, in part, are Puskin's goblins and witches, but in a much greater sense they are the lies (rationalism, materialism, anarchism, nihilism, atheism) that enter a man and woman's soul, and like the demons that came out of the man and entered the swine in Luke's Gospel, they drive the man or woman to destruction. Dostoyevsky connects the liberal idealists and freethinkers of 1840's Russia (they are the fathers and mothers) with the Nihilist Revolutionaries of the 1860's. He predicted the Bolshevik Revolution forty years before it happened, because he understood the essence of the revolutionary movement was not social Christianity but Nihilist destruction, from "unlimited freedom it would turn into unlimited despotism." Nikolai Stavrogin stands at the center of the novel, a sensualist, both good and evil, but more evil than good, because evil gives more pleasure. His demon is the thrill some find in danger, sadism, and moral depravity. Stavrogin is strikingly handsome and a taciturn aristocrat, so he is not without glamor. He is mentor to Ivan Shatov, a reformed Nihilist revolutionary, to Pyotr Verkhovensky, the Nihilist revolutionary leader, and to Kirillov, the man-godhead. The novel begins with Stepan Trofimovich Verkhovensky's story, he a liberal of the `40's who continues his rant under the sponsorship of Varvara Petrovna, Stravogin's mother, in a Russian provincial town, where Pyotr Verkhovensky, Stepan Trofimovich's abandoned son, decides to test his Nihilist theories. Read more ›
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