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Demons: A Novel in Three Parts (Vintage Classics) Paperback – August 1, 1995
"The Lost Girls of Devon" by Barbara O'Neal
From the Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestselling author of When We Believed in Mermaids comes a story of four generations of women grappling with family betrayals and long-buried secrets. | Learn more
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“The merit in this edition of Demons resides in the technical virtuosity of the translators…They capture the feverishly intense, personal explosions of activity and emotion that manifest themselves in Russian life.” –New York Times Book Review
“Demons is the Dostoevsky novel for our age…[Pevear and Volokhonsky] have managed to capture and differentiate the characters’ many voices…They come into their own when faced with Dostoevsky’s wonderfully quirky use of varied speech patterns…A capital job of restoration.” –Los Angeles Times
With an Introduction by Richard Pevear
From the Inside Flap
- Item Weight : 1.64 pounds
- Paperback : 768 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0679734511
- ISBN-13 : 978-0679734512
- Product Dimensions : 5.19 x 1.55 x 7.99 inches
- Publisher : Vintage; First Printing Thus Edition (August 1, 1995)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #28,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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His philosophical presentation of the importance of ideas (especially bad ones, "demons") is truly significant and relevant.
I bought the Pevear and Volokhonsky version. The translation itself I thought was better than other Dostoevsky works I've read from other translators (The Brothers K by Garnett and Borders Classic's version of C&P), because I thought that it had fewer awkward and repetitive phrases when describing people. It also had many helpful historical notes lending extra context (needed for the author's then contemporary references). The intro was very helpful as well, giving some interpretive guidance for reading this, as well as other, Dostoevsky works.
I've read that some folks find the revolutionary characters in the book unrealistic, a fabrication of the author's mind. However, I would suggest that all who hold this opinion read The Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn. You will see that his characters are actually quite reasonable compared to the real-life leaders in Stalin's Russia. The P&V version also contains helpful footnotes that point out some events in the book that may seem unbelievable were actually based on real events; including the climax.
I think one of my favorite traits about this work is how well explained and logical all the evil ideas seem, but that which is pure and beautiful does not answer this attack with a logical discourse; goodness is beheld in a sort-of silence, a response to truth deeper than a dissertation can express. The main characters always give a convincing why as to their murders and abuses (the real evil characters usually commit wrong from philosophical motives and not from lust), but the one would-be redemptive moment in the book is accompanied by no wordy explanation, only the description of joy and tenderness in the characters participating. Perhaps a hint that the good in humanity is more deeply rooted and hidden than the corruption. This hints at the Orthodox conception of man after the fall, which contrasts with the Calvinistic vision of total depravity that often taints Western thought.
Top reviews from other countries
Rather than writing just a political tract Dostoyevsky produced a tale of political intrigue, social unrest, murder and suicide. What else could result from the importation of Western demons to Russia? "Demons", then, is an attack on the Westernizers and their cherished ideas, ideas best left in Europe. The cold-blooded murder of one of the conspirators by his comrades foreshadowed the callous disregard of life shown by the Bolsheviks; in this Dostoyevsky was a true prophet. "Demons" is a novel in which Dostoyevsky's moral insight shines brightly. It is also a good story, a tale well told by a great author.
This edition contains an introduction by the translators, a list of characters with stress marks to aid in correct pronunciation and it also contains the chapter entitled "At Tikhon's" which was rejected by the magazine in which "Demons" first appeared serially. It is a chapter which Dostoyevsky valued but was never able to rewrite to the magazine editor's satisfaction. This chapter, included as an appendix, is worth reading as it does a lot to illuminate the character of Nikolai Vsevolodovich Stavrogin.
Now, about this print (Everyman's Library Classics Clothbound, Year 2000): The paperback "vintage" print does not even compare to this print. The cloth cover feels sturdy and, in fact, encourages one to continue reading this rather heavy work almost by itself. Same goes for the superb paper quality and the high-resolution print.
Lastly, Pevear & Volokhonsky's translation (of whom I also recommend C & P's translation) captures my image of the tired but still soulful Dostoevsky perfectly. A man whose exorbitant mind and intelligence was cramped into a tired and abused body and environment.
If you - like myself - have no knowledge at all of the Russian 19th century political, social and ethical circumstances, you might need to bring a lot of patience and perhaps research a bit. The (ca. 30p long) Introduction by Joseph Frank as well as the Translators' Notes and the Chronology do help as well, though.