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About the book
  • Published: 12 May 2008
  • ISBN: 9780141441412
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 880
  • RRP: $25.00

Demons




Demons, also known as The Possessed or The Devils, is a dark masterpiece that evokes a world where the lines between and good and evil long ago became blurred. This

Penguin Classics edition of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Demons is translated by Robert A. Maguire and edited by Ronald Meyer, with an introduction by Robert L. Belknap.

Pyotr Verkhovensky and Nikolai Stavrogin are the leaders of a Russian revolutionary cell. Their aim is to overthrow the Tsar, destroy society and seize power for themselves. Together they train terrorists who are willing to go to any lengths to achieve their goals - even if the mission means suicide. But when it seems their motley group is about to be discovered, will their recruits be willing to kill one of their own circle in order to cover their tracks? As the ensuing investigation and trial reveal the true identity of the murderer, Dostoyevsky's and everyone's faith in humanity is tested. Partly based on the real-life case of a student murdered by his fellow revolutionaries, Dostoyevsky's sprawling novel is a powerful and prophetic, yet lively and often comic depiction of nineteenth-century Russia, and a savage indictment of the madness and nihilism of those who use violence to serve their beliefs.

Robert A. Maguire's superb translation captures Dostoyevsky's vigorous prose. In his introduction, Robert L. Belknap discusses Dostoyevsky's own revolutionary activities, his narrative technique and use of different genres, and the background of Radicalism in Imperial Russia. Edited by Ronald Meyer, this volume also includes a chronology, further reading, notes and a glossary.

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky (1821-1881) was born in Moscow. From 1849-54 he lived in a convict prison, and in later years his passion for gambling led him deeply into debt. His other works available in Penguin Classics include Crime & Punishment, The Idiot and Demons.
If you enjoyed Demons, you might like Joris-Karl Huysmans' The Damned (Là-Bas), also available in Penguin Classics.

  • Pub date: 12 May 2008
  • ISBN: 9780141441412
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 880
  • RRP: $25.00

About the Author

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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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