Pevear and Volokhonsky have found critical acclaim with previous translations of Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov (Classic Returns, LJ 8/90), Crime and Punishment (Classic Returns, LJ 1/92), and Notes from Underground (Classic Returns, LJ 7/93). Their Demons should be equally respected.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Dostoevsky's sprawling political novel is given new life in this fresh translation. The previous translations of the husband-and-wife team of Larissa Volokhonsky and Richard Pevear--The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment, and Notes From Underground--have been universally praised for capturing Dostoevsky's force and subtlety, and all three works are now considered the English standards. Now they have successfully tackled one of Dostoevsky's most complex and dense works. Mistakenly translated in the past as ``The Possessed,'' the title refers to the infestation of foreign political and philosophical ideas that swept Russia in the second half of the 19th century. Pevear writes in the introduction, ``These demons, then, are ideas, that legion of -isms that came to Russia from the West: idealism, rationalism, empiricism, materialism, utilitarianism, positivism, socialism, anarchism, nihilism, and, underlying them all, atheism.'' Dostoevsky, taking as his starting point the political chaos around him at the time, constructs an elaborate morality tale in which the people of a provincial town turn against one another because they are convinced of the infallibility of their ideas. Stepan Trofimovich, an affable thinker who does little to turn his liberal ideas into action, creates a monster in his student, Nikolai Vsevolodovich Stavrogin, who takes his spiritual father's teaching to heart, joining a circle of other nihilists who will justify any and all violent excesses for the sake of their ideas. Stavrogin aims for a ``systematic corrupting of society and all its principles'' so that out of the resulting destruction he may ``raise the banner of rebellion.'' A chilling foreshadowing of Stalinist logic. Volokhonsky and Pevear's translation brings to the surface all of Dostoevsky's subtle linguistic and nationalist humor, and the copious notes are indispensable for making one's way through the thicket of 19th-century Russian politics. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews
This was the 5th book I have read by Dostoevsky ... it is about revolution and social idealls in 19th century Russia, but it is also about humans and their relationships. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mr D
This my first time reading one Dostoevsky novels. I was very surprised by the amount different characters he can create with their own unique traits and problems. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Kindle Customer
Not an easy read, at times not even a pleasant read, but the legacy of Dostoevsky and his ideas are too important to excuse not reading this book. It is a classic, for good reason. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
This novel contains the following exchange between two characters:
"God is necessary and therefore must exist."
"Well, that's wonderful. Read more
As much as I love my Dostoevsky, this book was a bit too bleak for me. The ending left me feeling very empty. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Vrinda Pendred
My favorite book of all time. An emotional, spiritual & intellectual journey. Layered & beautifully convoluted. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Kate