demonsDemons by Fyodor Dostoevsky. New York. July 1994. Knopf. Newly Translated From The Russian By Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. 733 pages. Jacket illustration from GODS' MAN by Lynd Ward. Jacket design by Archie Ferguson. 0679423141.

My favorite Dostoevsky novel . Dostoevsky has been blasted by both the left and the right for this book, a prophetic novel of the impact of revolutionary nihilism in Russia shortly before the time of the Russian Revolution. Lenin even makes a brief appearance.


 Completed in 1872, DEMONS is rivaled only by THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV for the place of Dostoevsky’s greatest work. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, whose acclaimed translations of THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, and NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND have become the standard versions in English, now give us a brilliant new rendering of this towering masterpiece, previously translated as THE POSSESSED. Dostoevsky first conceived of the book as a ‘novel-pamphlet’ in which he intended to ‘say everything’ about the new Russian nihilists, the growing group of anti-czarist political terrorists. The present novel grew out of an actual event in the winter of 1869: Ivan Ivanov, a student at the Petrov Agricultural Academy in Moscow and a man of strong character, had broken with his fellow young revolutionaries and was subsequently murdered by a small group of them headed by Sergei Nechaev. Around this crime and the ensuing trial of the Nechaevists in the summer of 1871, Dostoevsky constructed this superbly nuanced work, inexhaustibly rich in character and circumstance, which he also intended as a broad condemnation of the legion of ideas, or ‘demons,’ that had migrated from the West and were threatening the soul of the Russian nation. His magnificent achievement has, proven to be one of the most powerfully prophetic statements about Russia’s political destiny, not only in his own day but in ours as well. Like all of Dostoevsky’s great novels, Demons is also a ‘philosophical tale. ’ As it reveals its many faces-comic, satirical, symbolic, and tragic-it enacts the drama of the promethean revolt of modern humanity against the institutions and values of tradition, and offers a brilliant investigation into the workings of the human will and the nature of evil. With this glorious new version all the stunning idiosyncrasies of the Russian original are available to English readers for the first time. RICHARD PEVEAR and LARISSA VOLOKHONSKY were awarded the PEN Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize for their version of THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV. They are married and live in France. This translation has been made from the Russian text of the Soviet Academy of Sciences edition, volumes ten and eleven. This translation has been made from the Russian text of the Soviet Academy of Sciences edition, volumes ten and eleven.

Dostoevsky Fyodor

Born November 11, 1821

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky (11 November 1821 – 9 February 1881), sometimes transliterated Dostoevsky, was a Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist and philosopher. Dostoyevsky's literary works explore human psychology in the context of the troubled political, social, and spiritual atmosphere of 19th-century Russia. He began writing in his 20s, and his first novel, Poor Folk, was published in 1846 when he was 25. His major works include Crime and Punishment (1866), The Idiot (1869), and The Brothers Karamazov (1880). His output consists of eleven novels, three novellas, seventeen short novels and numerous other works. Many literary critics rate him as one of the greatest and most prominent psychologists in world literature. RICHARD PEVEAR and LARISSA VOLOKHONSKY were awarded the PEN Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize for their version of THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV. They are married and live in France. . (original title: Besy, 1872). This translation has been made from the Russian text of the Soviet Academy of Sciences edition, volumes ten and eleven.




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