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on 23 November 2017
quick delivery, interesting book!
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on 27 July 2017
The book arrived in very poor condition, unfortunately
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on 3 April 2017
Ordered this on the recommendation of Sir Malcolm Muggeridge ( The end of Christendom) as a 'must read'. Oh dear ! Hard going for me, at least ! Can't get over how much Russia & it's writers can depress. One probably requires the correct level of intellect to fully appreciate the book in question. Hardly Amazon's fault. Ah well !! Kieran
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on 15 May 2017
Product as described and delivered on time.
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on 24 August 2000
You can't really argue with the whole Dostoyevsky thing, now can you? The guy knew how to write a story - and, as evidenced here - he had a grasp of character, politics and satire that we revere so much in Orwell. The story is one of his most overtly "political" -not that something like "Crime and Punishment" isn't political - but here it is the driving force of the novel as liberalism clashes with nihilistic revolutionary zeal that becomes increasingly divorced from humanity and personal convictions of right and wrong. Stavrogin is as great a creation as Raskolnikov, and although this novel doesn't enjoy the fame of "Crime and Punishment" or "The Idiot" (and is, it should be said, a "tougher" read) it is their equal in insight, achievement and value. Read the damn thing - it's too good to ever do justice too in a review.
12 people found this helpful
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on 5 August 2010
As a person revisiting some classics as a general interest, I found this book to be fantastic. The characters, the storyline, everything about it made me want to read more and more. Totally loved it.
2 people found this helpful
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on 9 December 2016
I think that 'The Brothers Karamazov' and 'Crime and Punishment' were Dostoevski's greatest achievements. I think that 'The Devils' may well be the best of his other novels, but it can be quite a difficult read in parts.

Dostoevski's writing is always masterful, and, when he wanted to, he could certainly write in a way that would keep his readers in total suspense. This is very evident in this novel, and the reader may be left fairly baffled for much of the book. He also wrote in a very modern style, and sometimes his plots are pretty wild. All these characteristics are evident in 'The Devils' (and even more so in his novel 'The Adolescent').

I found the Magarshack translation good to read, but would make a couple of comments. The edition that I read included the 'missing' chapter as an Appendix at the end. This is the chapter that was omitted from the original printing due to censorship. The appendix tells you where this chapter should have occurred so that any readers who would prefer to read it in that order could do so. Personally, I don't think it makes too much difference what order you read it.

The thing I disliked about the edition I read was that there were no notes whatsoever. It could have done with a few, and, particularly, it would have been nice to have translations of the comments in French that appear throughout the text ( as in many Russian novels of that period). I doubt whether these French comments actually have any major impact on the story, but it can be annoying that you just don't know what is being said.
One person found this helpful
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on 6 December 2007
Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, the two greatest novelists who ever lived, happened to be Russian contemporaries. The radical differences in their ideologies are perhaps most concentrated on their own versions of Christianity. Tolstoy the empiricist firmly believed in the notion of heaven on earth, of equality to all enlightened men. His two greatest novels, War and Peace and Anna Kerenina, include moments of luminous, effervescent and utter transcendence through the dousing sense of redemption his main characters find in the simplicity of goodness, hard work, and social justice and responsibility. Dostoyevsky's religious faith was catastrophically opposite. To Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy's idea of heaven on earth was actually a vision of hell. If god is found, undeniably, then man is unable to not believe in him, thus his free will is eliminated and the whole of mankind is enslaved. It was Dostoyevsk's obsession with one basic tenet- that if man must be free to believe in god, then he must be free not to believe in him with equal passion- that incites the friction and fever of his novels, the sense of reckless abandonment, of motivelessness, murder, suicide and abject despair.

The Possessed is perhaps unique among Dostoyevsky's novels in that it explores and explodes a very particular moment in time, a specific social movement that basically came down to the clash of extremes in the ideas of one generation and the next. The author's passionate, vitriolic distaste for the nihilism of the younger generation is demonstrated by the character of Verkhovensky, a petty, parasitic revolutionary with no purpose or sense of social resolve beyond a mischievous and amoral taste for tumult and destruction. Yet the most interesting character is the 'leader' of this troupe of petty revolutionaries- Nicolas Stavrogin. Stavrogin is as complex a character as Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment. His amorality, his misdeeds, cruelty and incitements to murder, come from a much more anguished soul. Seemingly an extreme form of the nihilistic youth, he is in fact torn apart by the obvious futility of this ideological bent. In typical style, The Possessed tightly works its way toward climaxes of terrifying intensity. While this novel has as much eccentric, wild humour as any other of the author's works, it also, to my mind, contains some of the most frightening scenes in dramatic literature's history (the suicide of Kirilov chief among them- you will be haunted by his inexplicable cry of 'Directly! Directly! Directly!' ten times as Verkhovesnky flees the scene for the rest of your life).

Structually, The Possessed is a train wreck. Dostoyevsky wrote at break-neck speed and rarely had time for revision. But neither this fact, nor the inconsistency of the the narrator's stance, alter the sheer manic pace, fervour and fever of the story. While many consider this great novel the lesser of D.'s four greats, I think it is perhaps the most perfect, concentrated and powerful demonstration of the panic, terror, anguish and violence that epitomise Dostoyevsky's ouvre.

The Possessed is a stunning novel, and one I will never forget. If Tolstoy belonged to the epic, to the traditions of Homer, then Dostoyevsky was his mirror as the arch dramatist, the most potent since Shakespeare.
28 people found this helpful
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