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Demons: A Novel in Three Parts Paperback – 15 Sep 1994

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; New Ed edition (15 Sept. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099140012
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099140016
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 122,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"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)

"Required reading for anyone who wants to understand the mind of the terrorist" (Sunday Times)

"Marvellous...fluid and well-paced translation" (Observer)

Book Description

'An outstanding achievement' John Bayley

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By A Customer on 15 Jan. 2003
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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