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The Possessed

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This is a unique Kindle edition that includes 300 endnotes, explaining all major terms, names, places, and other specific details of the Russian cultural and historical background, mentioned in the novel, and numerous French insertions in the text. The Possessed (Demons) is a testimonial of life in Imperial Russia in the late 19th century. Dostoevsky casts a critical eye o This is a unique Kindle edition that includes 300 endnotes, explaining all major terms, names, places, and other specific details of the Russian cultural and historical background, mentioned in the novel, and numerous French insertions in the text. The Possessed (Demons) is a testimonial of life in Imperial Russia in the late 19th century. Dostoevsky casts a critical eye on both the liberal idealists, portraying their ideas and ideological foundation as demonic, and the conservative establishment's ineptitude in dealing with those ideas and their social consequences. The excellent navigation tools let you use the contents of the book and its referential materials smoothly.


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This is a unique Kindle edition that includes 300 endnotes, explaining all major terms, names, places, and other specific details of the Russian cultural and historical background, mentioned in the novel, and numerous French insertions in the text. The Possessed (Demons) is a testimonial of life in Imperial Russia in the late 19th century. Dostoevsky casts a critical eye o This is a unique Kindle edition that includes 300 endnotes, explaining all major terms, names, places, and other specific details of the Russian cultural and historical background, mentioned in the novel, and numerous French insertions in the text. The Possessed (Demons) is a testimonial of life in Imperial Russia in the late 19th century. Dostoevsky casts a critical eye on both the liberal idealists, portraying their ideas and ideological foundation as demonic, and the conservative establishment's ineptitude in dealing with those ideas and their social consequences. The excellent navigation tools let you use the contents of the book and its referential materials smoothly.

30 review for The Possessed

  1. 5 out of 5

    MJ Nicholls

    Popular Culture: An Alphabetical Contempt. a) Let’s not mince words. All populist entertainment is repulsive, useless, dangerous and witheringly anti-intellectual. b) Except maybe Doctor Who. But that’s hardly Beckett, is it? c) I first became an intellectual snob in my late teens. I witnessed first hand the slow declension of burgeoning intellects through a routine of television, video games and a fear of reading books. d) How did I escape this declension? e) I learned words like declension. I started to read boo Popular Culture: An Alphabetical Contempt. a) Let’s not mince words. All populist entertainment is repulsive, useless, dangerous and witheringly anti-intellectual. b) Except maybe Doctor Who. But that’s hardly Beckett, is it? c) I first became an intellectual snob in my late teens. I witnessed first hand the slow declension of burgeoning intellects through a routine of television, video games and a fear of reading books. d) How did I escape this declension? e) I learned words like declension. I started to read books. After a decade of unbridled virtual hedonism I crushed Sonic the Hedgehog to death with The Brothers Karamazov. f) It’s not hard to respect difficult art and escape the self-perpetuating loops of populist cliché. You don’t have to read broadsheets. You don’t have to speak eloquently about anything with intellectuals. Who cares about all that bulldash, the haw-hawing in ginsenged dining rooms? g) All you have to do is read, watch, listen. h) I spent four years thinking Green Day made the greatest music in the universe. One day, I heard some Stravinsky and burst into tears. i) Does this make me a pompous girlie-man? j) No. k) Or yes. l) I surprised myself by tackling Dostoevsky novels and finding them relevant to my own life, psychology, etc. m) So it all became clear. The only way to grow as a human being through art is to confront difficulty, to embrace difficulty, and be pleasantly surprised when that effort translates into bliss. n) This isn’t a homily, it’s an anecdote. But I truly believe people who hide in dreary commercial art are betraying their capacity to think and improve and understand. o) Everything.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    “At the inquest our doctors absolutely and emphatically rejected all idea of insanity.” I open with the closing lines, on the brink of exhaustion, not sure of my own state of sanity. Reading Dostoyevsky is a bit like spending time with close family members with a diametrically opposed worldview: I love them dearly, unconditionally, but I don’t LIKE them at all. As I am slowly working my way through Dostoyevsk “At the inquest our doctors absolutely and emphatically rejected all idea of insanity.” I open with the closing lines, on the brink of exhaustion, not sure of my own state of sanity. Reading Dostoyevsky is a bit like spending time with close family members with a diametrically opposed worldview: I love them dearly, unconditionally, but I don’t LIKE them at all. As I am slowly working my way through Dostoyevsky’s works, starting with the whisperings of a man taking notes from the underground, moving to the murderer Raskolnikov who manages to get my sympathy even though I loathe his actions and motives, and and then over to a holy fool like Myshkin, who enrages me completely with his ignorant arrogance and destructive power, I have now made the acquaintance of the Devils. If Raskolnikov hypnotised me, and Myshkin made me curse, the Devils have a slower, yet even more powerful impact on my mental equilibrium. While I was reading the previous novels in a frenzy, without any interruptions, I had to take a prolonged break in the middle of this one. I just could not stomach the account of the rape of a child, and the subsequent “confession” of the crime by Stavrogin to a monk. The position of the monk regarding the situation was of such evil that I felt I couldn’t read on. I thought I could deal with the Russian nationalist and orthodox mindset by now, but that was too much. The girl committed suicide out of a religious panic, believing she had “killed God” by being raped. And the representative for the church, thrilled by the confession and completely without pity for the child, tells the murderer that he will be forgiven, if only he suffers enough to please god. First of all, what kind of a god is that, who encourages suffering, even finds delight and pleasure in it, but completely ignores the victim? What if I told my child that it is acceptable to brutally assault somebody as long as I see that he suffers afterwards - that the crime is actually laudable because it gives me a welcome opportunity to watch my child suffer duly? Where is the educational police to arrest me for such parenting? Second, the priest feels that the crime is “ridiculous” and “inelegant”, and not bloody enough to be interesting. He worries the murderer will turn into a laughing-stock if he publishes his confession. And also, the crime is far too common to raise any eyebrows. That scene made me close the book and not re-open it for weeks. This may be Dostoyevsky, and he may be a genius, but I have a limit to what I can take in. And I am not willing to suffer to please any sadistic, patriarchal, sexually biased and oppressive god. Self-sacrifice is not a virtue in my worldview, it is a vice which generates violence - often resulting in horrible crimes committed against innocent people without connection to the fanatics who believe they are being religious heroes by promoting suffering. The characters in Dostoyevsky’s world act like immature young boys feeling neglected and drawing negative attention to themselves to be seen by the god-father figure. “Look at me, god!” they yell. “Look what I am doing! And I am doing it all for you! I want to be seen! It is all about ME! My confession is to be read publicly, so people talk about ME! And it is ME suffering, not that inelegant little girl, who was driven mad. We are not talking about her, it is MY suffering we are looking at. MY right to be seen as a hero in pain for the sake of penitence! The crime is just the necessary prerequisite to earn the right to the GREATEST penitence ever. Never mind a girl had to die…” While taking a break, I continue to think about the novel, though, for such is his genius. And I come to the conclusion that I am trying to square a circle when I want to reconcile the evil characters and the theological idea. Isn’t religious commitment supposed to be a force for good? That was my question, and it is wrong. Finally I realise that my premise is wrong, and that Dostoyevsky’s sincere belief works so well mainly because he believes in an evil, unfair god wanting suffering and complete submission, - a theology that isn’t intrinsically good at all (according to my worldview, which of course is personal, not universal!). It is not good. It just is. Period. Once I have dumped my connection between ethics and religion, and accepted the reality of the characters, I can read on. And I am happy I did. One of the most dramatic episodes in novelistic history must be the fête organised to benefit governesses in Russia - and what a spectacle it is. The Romantic poet, dramatically bidding a farcically narcissistic farewell to his audience, vowing never to write again, stumbles over people’s sense that romantic feelings and allegorical language are a thing of the past. The fête, which is planned more with the aim to celebrate the organisers than to support a good cause (much like any celebrity fundraising event for charity nowadays!) is a complete fiasco. The Devils at work! Who are the devils? They are a group of radical socialists, trying to impose another kind of absolute truth on a confused and explosive nation, foreshadowing the Russian Revolution and its inhumane aspects perfectly. As a document of historical processes, I found Devils to be incredibly enlightening, as it shows why Russia was incapable of transforming a patriarchal tyranny into a liberal democracy. The new ideas are propagated in the same religiously exclusive way as the old doctrine. There is one absolute truth, which all have to live by, and it will be forced upon the people by using violence. Socialist or tsarist power - the question is only which party is militarily stronger. Both have their blind followers and their holy dogma to keep people on track. In both cases, (self-)sacrifice is the motor which drives the destructive action. In both cases, the tirade in the Revelation about being spewed out by god (your chosen infallible idea!) if you are lukewarm (read: moderate and reasonable!) guides the action of fanatics who decide to be either hot (saints!) or cold (devils!) for the sake of reaching “Greatness of the Soul”. For women, who can never be committed fanatically to anything according to Dostoyevsky’s characters, that means slavery, abuse, and oppression - either way. For the male characters, it means a competition in a lethal show-down in the manner of Macbeth’s last scenes. Who has the greatest soul, who dies in the most visibly dramatic way? Curtain falls on the suffering women, who unfortunately have nothing to gain from that “virtue”. For “a woman is always a woman, even if she is a nun”. And that means she commits the crime of being lukewarm. Let’s spit her out! Devils is harrowing, darkly funny, brilliantly told. It is a masterpiece. I wouldn’t have felt such brutal pain otherwise. It is recommended to all who want to understand the strange patterns of sexual, political and ritual power that charismatic men exert over dependent people - even to this day! A tale so deeply unethical, it is a challenge to read. A worthwhile challenge though!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Бесы = Demons = Devils, Fyodor Dostoyevsky Demons is a novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, first published in the journal The Russian Messenger in 1871–2. It is considered one of the four masterworks written by Dostoyevsky after his return from Siberian exile, along with Crime and Punishment (1866), The Idiot (1869) and The Brothers Karamazov (1880). Demons is a social and political satire, a psychological drama, and large scale tragedy. عنوانها: شیاطین (جن زدگان)؛ تسخیر شدگان؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز Бесы = Demons = Devils, Fyodor Dostoyevsky Demons is a novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, first published in the journal The Russian Messenger in 1871–2. It is considered one of the four masterworks written by Dostoyevsky after his return from Siberian exile, along with Crime and Punishment (1866), The Idiot (1869) and The Brothers Karamazov (1880). Demons is a social and political satire, a psychological drama, and large scale tragedy. عنوانها: شیاطین (جن زدگان)؛ تسخیر شدگان؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز دهم ماه می سال 1966 میلادی عنوان: تسخیر شدگان؛ نویسنده: فئودور میخائیلوویچ داستایوسکی؛ مترجم: علی اصغر خبره زاده؛ چاپ دوم 1343، در دو جلد، چاپ دیگر: تهران، آسیا، 1350، در دو جلد؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، نگاه، زرین، 1367، چاپ دیگر: تهران، نگاه، 1385، در 997 ص؛ چاپ نهم 1386، شابک: 9643513211؛ پاپ چهاردهم 1392؛ شابک: 9789643513214؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان روسیه - سده 20 م عنوان: شیاطین (جن زدگان)؛ نویسنده: فئودور میخائیلوویچ داستایوسکی؛ مترجم: سروش حبیبی؛ تهران، نیلوفر، 1386، در 1019 ص؛ شابک: 9789644483349؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان روسیه - سده 20 م موضوع اصلی داستان: یک توطئه سیاسی، در یکی از شهرهاست. قهرمانان داستان موجوداتی پست، و بی خیال و از آموزه های بشری، بی بهره، و جن زده، و تسخیر شده هستند. آنها زندانی یک قدرت مرموزند، که آنها را، به ارتکاب اعمالی وادار میکند، که لیاقت و سزاواری انجام آن را ندارند. انسانهایی که عروسکهای خیمه شب بازی هستند، و به فرمان شیاطین، به جنب و جوش درمیآیند. داستان با یک رشته رخدادهای مرموز، که در ظاهر با رویدادهای دیگر ارتباط ندارند، پایان مییابد. ا. شربیانی

  4. 4 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    “Full freedom will come only when it makes no difference whether to live or not to live. That’s the goal for everyone.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons [Review in limbo] I loved the Devil(s) out of the Possessed How the Hell do I adequately review this? Once someone hits a certain genius with writing (or other forms of art), it is impossible to really grade their art. How could one grade Beethoven's great symphonies? Is Demons/Devils/the Possessed better than Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, The Idiot? Tell me, do you prefer Matthew, Mark, Lulimbo]I “Full freedom will come only when it makes no difference whether to live or not to live. That’s the goal for everyone.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons [Review in limbo] I loved the Devil(s) out of the Possessed How the Hell do I adequately review this? Once someone hits a certain genius with writing (or other forms of art), it is impossible to really grade their art. How could one grade Beethoven's great symphonies? Is Demons/Devils/the Possessed better than Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, The Idiot? Tell me, do you prefer Matthew, Mark, Luke or John? Dostoyevsky is writing the gospels man*. Greatness is not a bolus of achievement or a gout of acclaim. It just is. Each of Dostoyevsky's big novels is a piece that is both infinitely frustrating and beautifully perfect at the same time. There was probably more to love (for me) in Brothers Karamazov, but it didn't flow as easily as Demons, but still gah, still I think I love Demons more. No, Brothers K. No. Gah! Desert Island book? Forced to pick? To HELL with you. I'm taking both or trade my food of foot or future for the second book. IT IS that good. Demons is what you get when you mix a writer who is a philosopher on par with the thinking greats + a writer who is a psychologist on par with the behavioral greats + a writer who is a preacher on par with the moral greats. Oh, and you better make damn sure this writer is hypergraphic. OK. I'm going to have to calm down. Let this review stew and seep. Think some. Sip some, and return and revise. This (this review) captures some of the energy I felt closing this book, but doesn't even come close to demanding from me what this book and the Man deserve. * Yes, I kept thinking vaguely of the Big Lebowski as I read this.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    Winds of change are finally sweeping Czarist Russia , in the 1860's. Ideas good or bad , arrive too, they have been around for decades in the rest of Europe, this land is no longer isolated ... Socialism is the new fad for the intellectuals. The serfs have been freed by Alexander the Second, courts democratized, the death penalty seldom carried out, people can speak and write freely, up to a point. There is still Siberia for those who go over the line a little. And all the new railroads, will ge Winds of change are finally sweeping Czarist Russia , in the 1860's. Ideas good or bad , arrive too, they have been around for decades in the rest of Europe, this land is no longer isolated ... Socialism is the new fad for the intellectuals. The serfs have been freed by Alexander the Second, courts democratized, the death penalty seldom carried out, people can speak and write freely, up to a point. There is still Siberia for those who go over the line a little. And all the new railroads, will get you to it, that cold, desolate territory, very quickly. In a provincial town where nothing ever happens, a new Governor has been appointed. Andrei Antonovich von Lembke, yes there are a lot of intelligent Germans in the country, to modernize Imperial Russia. Lembke is a good man and wants to help the Russians in his province. But a weak person and his wife, Yulia, is the power behind the throne. She is greatly influenced by Pyotr Verkhovensky , ( some say controlled by him), the secret leader of a group of Nihilists, they believe the bizarre notion, you have to destroy everything, before you can rebuild the nation. Pyotr is the estranged son of Stepan Verkhovensky, a lazy scholar, who sponges off the wealthy widow of a general, Varvara Petrovna Stavrogin. She's the head of the local high society, what there is here, and has a wild son, Nikolai, the main character in the book, who gets involved in deadly duels, and his best friend is Pyotr Verkhovensky, it's a small town. Nikolai has many adventures with women and violence, travels the world, Greece, Germany, France, Switzerland, Egypt and even Iceland, but can never be happy, his conscience will not permit that. Nikolai, is not comfortable joining the nihilists, and Pyotr is afraid of him. Strange events begin in this quiet town, a big rise in transgressions , and newspapers urging revolution, are being found. Fedka, an escaped convict, and former serf, goes on a crime spree, imagine murders and robberies, in this place ! The police can't capture him, why ? Crazy rumors flow , like a flooding river. Yulia, has problems with her jealous husband, not to mention , Varvara, a big rival, and her literary celebration efforts, and party , are a disaster, quite funny if you're not she or her friends. The wobbly Governor is acting weirdly, yelling at everyone , giving orders, the difficulty, nobody understands his words. Fires breaks out at a nearby town, more dead bodies discovered, suicides increase, there is something not right ....Dostoyevsky's philosophical novel ( inspired by a real political killing in 1869), about demons possessing the people of Russia, causing them to do evil deeds, in the name of revolution. Anything can be justified, as long as the results satisfy , ( The Ends Justify the Means). Sadly this concept is still widely believed, in the 21st century.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Elie F

    Seeking for God through demons Dostoevsky's Demons reminds me a bit of the spirit which Socrates sees love as in The Symposium: halfway through gods and man and serving as a ladder in between. At first glance Demons is a anti-nihilist anti-Western pamphlet novel preaching a certain Russian Christianism that is essentially religious nationalism. The charismatic (and demonic) characters can be regarded as spokesmen for different ideologies that are gripping on the Russian mind. Each of these ideologies ca Seeking for God through demons Dostoevsky's Demons reminds me a bit of the spirit which Socrates sees love as in The Symposium: halfway through gods and man and serving as a ladder in between. At first glance Demons is a anti-nihilist anti-Western pamphlet novel preaching a certain Russian Christianism that is essentially religious nationalism. The charismatic (and demonic) characters can be regarded as spokesmen for different ideologies that are gripping on the Russian mind. Each of these ideologies carry a perspective on God, as Shatov put it: "The aim of all movements of nations...is solely seeking for God." Let it be Pyotr Verkhovensky's destructive nihilistic socialism which serves as a disguise for opportunism, or Kirilov's faith in self-will to overcome pain and fear and become God himself, or Shatov's religious nationalism which regards God as the synthetic person of a nation, or Stavrogin's figure as a Satan-like, seductive, yet repellent and empty personality which Dostoevsky associates with the hallucination of Romanticism. All of them perish at the end of the novel, which Dostoevsky portrays as a sign of "immeasurable and infinite" divinity. I don't know how much Dostoevsky agrees with the neurotic Christianism which he seemingly preaches in all his major works and is also iterated by the dying Stepan Verkhovensky at the end of Demons: "And perhaps they already have! It is us, us and them, and Petrusha. . . et les autres avec lui, and I, perhaps, first, at the head, and we will rush, insane and raging, from the cliff down into the sea, and all be drowned, and good riddance to us, because that's the most we're fit for. But the sick man will be healed and 'sit at the feet of Jesus'. . and everyone will look in amazement." "The whole law of human existence consists in nothing other than a man's always being able to bow before the immeasurably great." Stepen Verkhovensky self-identifies as a demon that will eventually come out of the sick man that is Russia and enter into swines. What the swines will be, I'm curious.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Luís C.

    The Demons is a thought-provoking book that captures the attention of the reader by the richness of detail, the engaging and differentiated narration. The narration is done through chronicles, where the chronicler narrates the facts that are happening, other times he reports what happened as he also acts as a character witnessing what happened. This process of narration makes reading dynamic and engaging. It is important to emphasize the philosophical and socio-political content of the dialogues The Demons is a thought-provoking book that captures the attention of the reader by the richness of detail, the engaging and differentiated narration. The narration is done through chronicles, where the chronicler narrates the facts that are happening, other times he reports what happened as he also acts as a character witnessing what happened. This process of narration makes reading dynamic and engaging. It is important to emphasize the philosophical and socio-political content of the dialogues, which give the book a philosophical character. The novel portrays with fidelity (typical of those who experienced the political, social and philosophical events of that time), the political movements constituted by young people in search of the organization of a revolutionary society in Russia of the XIX century. As an excellent connoisseur of the human soul, the author exposes his protagonists with mastery, showing how moral miseries can lead to spurious actions, despite starting from altruistic philosophical concepts and well-intentioned ideologies. Thus Pyotr Stepanovich, an intelligent and ambitious young man, devoid of moral values but a skilled speaker, endowed with a great charisma and power of conviction, uses this capacity and creates a mythical and prophetic atmosphere around him to lead a constituted group of individuals, who act submissively to their excesses. This subservience stems from the lack of ethical principles, moral inadequacy and, above all, greed for power, regardless of the means. Therefore, conspiracies, crimes and intrigues are committed in the name of the cause for which they fight, in order to destabilize order, instill panic and lead the people to rebellion. Reading makes it possible for us to conclude, that without moral and ethical principles and a true humanism, there is no ideology that can conquer a more just and egalitarian society.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bruce

    Dostoevsky’s novel, Demons (often falsely translated The Possessed, thereby erroneously stressing the object rather than the subject), is one of his most powerful books, a socio-political work exploring 19th century ideas (the “demons”) current in Russia at the time, specifically European liberalism and nihilism in contrast to what was most important to Dostoevsky, Russian Orthodoxy, and in this sense the author seems a forerunner of Solzhenitzyn a century later, in our own time. At times the novel seems almost Dostoevsky’s novel, Demons (often falsely translated The Possessed, thereby erroneously stressing the object rather than the subject), is one of his most powerful books, a socio-political work exploring 19th century ideas (the “demons”) current in Russia at the time, specifically European liberalism and nihilism in contrast to what was most important to Dostoevsky, Russian Orthodoxy, and in this sense the author seems a forerunner of Solzhenitzyn a century later, in our own time. At times the novel seems almost droll, particularly in the author’s finely drawn characterizations of his protagonists, but the story turns progressively and inexorably sinister and tragic, plumbing the depths of human anguish and despair, no character escaping the darkness. The work is powerful and haunting, psychologically perceptive and penetrating. One critical chapter, “At Tikhon’s,” was deleted by the censor as immoral, Dostoevsky being forced to publish the book without it; the chapter was included in this edition (the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation) as an appendix, and it is critically important to an understanding of the thought and motivation of the main character, Stavrogin; not to read it is to miss much, Stavrogin’s actions seeming inexplicable and arbitrary without these insights. This work provides insights into Dostoevsky’s development as a novelist and is a worthy predecessor to his monumental masterpiece, The Brothers Karamazov.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    My favorite extended quote from Demons: “Having devoted my energy to studying the question of the social organization of the future society which is to replace the present one, I have come to the conclusion that all creators of social systems from ancient times to our year have been dreamers, tale-tellers, fools who contradicted themselves and understood precisely nothing of natural science or of that strange animal known as man. Plato, Rousseau, Fourier, aluminum columns—this is fit My favorite extended quote from Demons: “Having devoted my energy to studying the question of the social organization of the future society which is to replace the present one, I have come to the conclusion that all creators of social systems from ancient times to our year have been dreamers, tale-tellers, fools who contradicted themselves and understood precisely nothing of natural science or of that strange animal known as man. Plato, Rousseau, Fourier, aluminum columns—this is fit perhaps for sparrows, but not for human society. But since the future social form is necessary precisely now, when we are finally going to act, so as to stop any further thinking about it, I am suggesting my own system of world organization. Here it is! I wanted to explain my book to the gathering in the briefest possible way; but I see that I will have to add a great deal of verbal clarification, and therefore the whole explanation will take at least ten evenings, according to the number of chapters in my book. Besides that, I announce ahead of time that my system is not finished. I got entangled in my own data, and my conclusion directly contradicts the original idea from which I start. Starting from unlimited freedom, I conclude with unlimited despotism. I will add, however, that apart from my solution of the social formula, there can be no other.”

  10. 5 out of 5

    Vit Babenco

    Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s portrayal of human nature is so idiosyncratic that he simply can’t be surpassed by anybody in this art. There always are some fashionable ideas and human beings, who can’t think indepedably, prefer to follow this fashion blindly and those people are eventually used by the others… They just become cat’s paw. “And you know it all comes from that same half-bakedness, that sentimentality. They are fascinated, not by realism, but by the emotional ideal side of socialism, by the reli Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s portrayal of human nature is so idiosyncratic that he simply can’t be surpassed by anybody in this art. There always are some fashionable ideas and human beings, who can’t think indepedably, prefer to follow this fashion blindly and those people are eventually used by the others… They just become cat’s paw. “And you know it all comes from that same half-bakedness, that sentimentality. They are fascinated, not by realism, but by the emotional ideal side of socialism, by the religious note in it, so to say, by the poetry of it… second-hand, of course.” They are hollow men, men of paper but united, they turn into a disturbed wasp nest or a skein of venomous snakes… “Men made of paper! It all comes from flunkeyism of thought. There's hatred in it, too. They'd be the first to be terribly unhappy if Russia could be suddenly reformed, even to suit their own ideas, and became extraordinarily prosperous and happy. They'd have no one to hate then, no one to curse, nothing to find fault with. There is nothing in it but an immense animal hatred for Russia which has eaten into their organism…” He who can’t find his place in the sun always ends up trying to destroy the word…

  11. 4 out of 5

    Katia N

    Demons First of all, a little note. I’ve read the book in Russian, and normally I would review it in Russian as well. But I think the Demons are unjustifiably overshadowed in the West by other Dostoevsky novels. So I wanted to write something to change the situation a bit. It is the most powerful novel by Dostoevsky. It is more profound than schematical “Crime and Punishment” and much less preaching than “Karamazovs Brothers”, though the later one is building upon the “Demo Demons First of all, a little note. I’ve read the book in Russian, and normally I would review it in Russian as well. But I think the Demons are unjustifiably overshadowed in the West by other Dostoevsky novels. So I wanted to write something to change the situation a bit. It is the most powerful novel by Dostoevsky. It is more profound than schematical “Crime and Punishment” and much less preaching than “Karamazovs Brothers”, though the later one is building upon the “Demons”. It is the only big novel by him which contains a strong political element along with the traditional psychology and his religious thinking. Some of the main protagonists are revolutionary terrorists. The similar people would kill the Russian reformist tsar Alexander II just a few years after the novel was finished. Among other things, Dostoevsky demonstrates, how the pure desire of power could corrupt soul. I do not have sufficient knowledge of the world’s history, but I think the revolutionary sects in Russia of the second half of the19th century have become the pioneers of using the terror for their purposes in its modern meaning of the word. Anna Geifman, the American scholar, in her book "Death Orders: The Vanguard of Modern Terrorism in Revolutionary Russia" shows a lot of similarities between the Russian terrorists and nowadays’ terrorists: “Converting concrete grievance into messianic aspirations and practical purposes into holy causes, they operate within distinctive parameters of a theology of Armageddon a final battle between good and evil in which at stake in no less than universal salvation.” It is a very modern novel in many other ways. The methods those terrorists (on the radical left) use could be a primer for the radical right who supported Trump in the recent elections: fake news; making everyone confused and disoriented; spread rumours as true facts and play on liberals’ impotency in certain issues; marginalising and discrediting the authority - all these "tools" are described in the book. I was shocked to find so many analogies with our time. However, the main purpose of the novel (imho) to show what a spiritual emptiness can do to a human nature. How unresolved individual existential crisis and the search for completeness might lead to a disaster. For those who read the novel for the first time, it is an imperative to read the chapter “At Tikhon’s” after the end of the part ii of the novel. Currently, they publish it as an Appendix. It was censored out by the Russian authorities at that time on the basis of its “unbearable realism”. It is a shocking and revelatory chapter summarising the essence of the novel. And it is impossible to understand and appreciate the novel with leaving the reading of this chapter to the end. In spite of all the bleakness, it is a very funny novel. I’ve read it for the first time when I was 17. And then it was shocking and tragic. When I’ve read it now, it has come across more like a farce. Generally, one needs to read Dostoyesky novels during the one’s teens, while you ask all those big questions about the meaning of life and look for the answers…. I think that is why Nabokov was quite cold about Dostoevsky: according to him, Dostoyevsky is not an artist.. May well be, I personally do not totally share his religious and historiographic views. But his work creates a huge impact on a different level - it is not about language, it is about daring to go deep into the darker side of human nature and coming back from there constantly balancing… I finish with the quote from the article by Rowan Williams: “What makes it (the Demons) so well worth reading now is its unsparing vision of what destructive forces come into the world when there is a vacuum of spiritual understanding. “ По-русски Известное высказывание, что история первый раз происходит как трагедия и повторяется второй раз как фарс. Так и для меня второе прочтение этого романа. Первый раз почти в детстве меня шокировали и трогали трагические аспекты. Сейчас - все более хаос и фарс. Жаль, что этот роман скорее всего в современной России может быть использован властью для маргинализации любой оппозиции и защиты статус-скво. А вообще роман про “меня ужаснула великая праздная сила, ушедшая нарочито в мерзость”. - слова Тихона из опущенной главы.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chris_P

    I wish I was eloquent enough so I could talk about Demons. I'm not. I severely lack the necessary intellect that would allow me to analyze it or even say a few things worth mentioning, the way they should be said. I will, however, state the obvious. Demons has great, limitless philosophical value. It's not a novel meant to be read as a pastime activity. It's demanding of one's full attention and capacity and still, it might be necessary for one to go back several times in order to not lose grip of the plot a I wish I was eloquent enough so I could talk about Demons. I'm not. I severely lack the necessary intellect that would allow me to analyze it or even say a few things worth mentioning, the way they should be said. I will, however, state the obvious. Demons has great, limitless philosophical value. It's not a novel meant to be read as a pastime activity. It's demanding of one's full attention and capacity and still, it might be necessary for one to go back several times in order to not lose grip of the plot and/or grasp the meaning of Dosto's words. Several matters are touched, such as that of suicide which Camus, a century later, took even further. The main theme, though, is change. A change brought about by persons possesed by demons and this change is the projection of their own demonized selves. Another thing worth mentioning is its darkness. What I found impressive, though, is that it doesn't need to label itself dark. It doesn't shout it nor does it let its darkness cover its aforementioned philosophical value. It simply is dark. Not the way a novel is, but rather the way life is. Last but not least, the chapter which was censored and thus left out is very important to the story and truely unique for its time. I'd say that it shines light on the story's point and that alone justifies the title. It beats me why it's included merely as an appendix nowadays and not where it should be. It's one of the books that every reader should read eventually. One of those books that justify the statement that literature can help elevate the spirit and offer enlightenment. A true masterpiece.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Khashayar Mohammadi

    I was savoring every single page , but the library deadline suddenly forced me to plough through the second half in a single day. I shall not review this book until I have thoroughly re-read it, but the pages I read attentively were truly inspiring and posed the moral dilemmas that Russian literature and especially Dostoyevsky himself is famous for. Also a technical fact that made me worship the book was the simple fact that Dostoyevsky had used the characters' full names EVERY SINGLE I was savoring every single page , but the library deadline suddenly forced me to plough through the second half in a single day. I shall not review this book until I have thoroughly re-read it, but the pages I read attentively were truly inspiring and posed the moral dilemmas that Russian literature and especially Dostoyevsky himself is famous for. Also a technical fact that made me worship the book was the simple fact that Dostoyevsky had used the characters' full names EVERY SINGLE TIME. As a lover of Russian literature who struggles with remembering names, I CAN'T STRESS ENOUGH how great that felt!!!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    The quality and mastery of Dostoevsky’s vision, and his use of character and plot and pacing, are all on display in this marvelous work. It’s true that perhaps it doesn’t hold together as strongly as some of his other works; but it’s not true that this is a poor example of his work. In some ways, it exceeds all of them, particularly through voice and narrative instability. There perhaps is some reticence to include it amongst the ‘greats’ due to politics and religion, both then and now. Dostoevs The quality and mastery of Dostoevsky’s vision, and his use of character and plot and pacing, are all on display in this marvelous work. It’s true that perhaps it doesn’t hold together as strongly as some of his other works; but it’s not true that this is a poor example of his work. In some ways, it exceeds all of them, particularly through voice and narrative instability. There perhaps is some reticence to include it amongst the ‘greats’ due to politics and religion, both then and now. Dostoevsky, the author, is something that always seems to outstrip the pigeon-holer: even Dostoevsky, the man... A genuine review of this book would be at least another book, and I would prefer to be reading more and writing other things… While I love Dostoevsky independently (as did the Frenchman of whom I shall now speak), my motivation to read this book now was to prepare myself to read Camus’ ‘The Possessed’, the play he wrote based on the novel, as part of my 2013 centenary celebration of the Frenchman (yes, I know he was born in Algeria...). So I will start with some general points and then discuss the book in terms of how it relates to Camus and his thinking. Dostoevsky, through the character of his narrator, Mr G—v, is exploring a world in change: there are ‘new ideas’ everywhere. This was a liminial phase in Europe and western Asia that both men were living in, the real and the fictional. Politics was on the move, class structures were under assault, what to believe in was being problemised. (It’s still going on now, but in different ways and, mostly, less overtly violently on a grand scale.) Man, woman; master, serf; science, religion; and more so, on a larger scale, how we go about believing in things and what effects these changes (or lack-of-changes) would have on people and social life itself and on being moral. Many opinions get expressed in this novel, many of which could easily slip into contemporary discourse without much of a hitch (just add some pop culture references…) Particularly: ‘Half-science is a despot such has never been known before. A despot that has its own priests and slaves, a despot before whom everyone prostates himself with love and superstitious dread, such as has been quite inconceivable until now, before whom science itself trembles and surrenders in a shameful way.’ And the terrible villain himself: ‘On the other hand, the docility of schoolboys and fools has reached the highest pitch; the schoolmasters are full of bile; everywhere we see vanity reaching inordinate proportions; enormous bestial appetites … Do you realize how many converts we will make by trite and ready-made ideas?’ Mr G—v, our very all-too-well-informed-of-events narrator, certainly leans toward a rather traditional line, and his summings up, particularly the ones that he demands are the most true, are often a little fishy in terms of their reliability. As with any narrator, any time he or she is not directly present in events, even if they discuss which character informed them etc etc, there is room for playful doubt for the reader, and I would urge any reader to take this into account, as I'm sure would the author. That the villains of the piece get their come-uppance we are fore-told by the narrator early on, but not the depths and nature of the villainy: Dostoevsky makes use of prolepsis on numerous occasions to lead us along. There is quite a body count: it would have to be the most violent of his novels I know of, and he handles violence interestingly, both in a visceral sense and a psychological. As for Camus and Absurdism: there are two exchanges I wish to mention specifically, and both involve the moral suicide-intendee, Kirilov. Now, Camus’ first major work of Philosophy, The Myth of Sisyphus, has a famous first line: ‘There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide.’ Is life worth living: why/why not? Or, put earlier: To be or not to be? Kirilov is planning to kill himself; why he is waiting, I shall not reveal for spoiler reasons, but he is fully and completely intending to do so. ‘Everyone who desires supreme freedom must dare to kill himself’ he tells our narrator in the first exchange I wish to talk about. When he’s discussing suicide as an option and they talk about pain, Kirilov brings up the example of a massive, huge stone, suspending in the air above your head, and makes the point that while you could be intellectually sure that releasing that stone on yourself would make death instantaneous and painless by such a large weight, you would still fear the pain that you know wouldn’t happen. And he likens this to the nature of God, or, if your prefer to be more contemporary, Grand Narrative Meaning of your choice (insert this wherever you see God too, if you like). ‘He doesn’t exist, but He is. There’s no pain in a stone, but there’s pain in the fear of a stone.’ God is there, like the stone, the maker of death and all things, he hangs over us (like Meursault’s sun on the beach in The Outsider too…). But He also isn’t there, not in any sensible way, in any sort of intellectual manner. Much later, when speaking to Peter Verkhovensky, there is a further exchange relating to this problem: ‘God is necessary, and so must exist.’ [Kirilov] ‘Well, that’s all right then.’ [Peter V] ‘But I know he doesn’t exist and can’t exist.’ ‘That’s more likely.’ ‘But don’t you understand that a man with two such ideas cannot go on living?’ Camus’ chief contribution to literature and ideas can be summed up as his effort to save Kirilov; to answer his question. Living with this Kirilovic tension is what his Absurd Hero does: not denying one in favour of the other, but charting the contradiction of being human. I am very much looking forward to now reading how Camus uses his own ideas to play with these dramatic features in 'The Possessed'. There are other echoes of this tension even in the relationship between the socialist plotters and the nature of the existence of the Central Committee. The 'group of five' often worry that it doesn't exist, that it's 'mythical'. And I haven’t even touched on the fascinating moral drama of Stavrogin, or the rises and falls of the elder Verkhovensky, or Shatov’s bizarre role and metamorphosis, or many other things… And ensure that you obtain an edition that includes Stavrogin’s Confession, which was suppressed at the time (you'll see why...). It really fills out the character of Stavrogin psychologically. In it, I found such a beautiful line that could have been written just for me. You know those lovely moments... Stavrogin asks the priest, Tikhon, if he has a problem with his atheism. ‘On the contrary,’ Tikhon replied with unconcealed gaiety and good humour, ‘complete atheism is much more acceptable than worldy indifference.’ I could almost believe in God if every priest I met was written by Dostoevsky. I’m pretty sure Camus would agree. My review of 'The Possessed': Camus' play based on 'The Devils'

  15. 4 out of 5

    brian

    all dostoevsky's usual tricks are here: his dense, documentary-like prose, succession of dialogue-heavy scenes leading up to a huge scandal, all his idiots and villains and beggers, his dark and keen psychological insight... yup, it's all in demons, but, goddamn, did i find this a chore to read. the characters, to me, felt too much as stand-ins for (albeit, insightful and interesting) ideas, and the plotting was laborious and repetitive... that said, it's amazing how the man laid out the breadcrumbs le all dostoevsky's usual tricks are here: his dense, documentary-like prose, succession of dialogue-heavy scenes leading up to a huge scandal, all his idiots and villains and beggers, his dark and keen psychological insight... yup, it's all in demons, but, goddamn, did i find this a chore to read. the characters, to me, felt too much as stand-ins for (albeit, insightful and interesting) ideas, and the plotting was laborious and repetitive... that said, it's amazing how the man laid out the breadcrumbs leading to twentieth century totalitarianism and the assorted madmen associated with it. but, yeah, i definitely found this to be the least of the man's 'major' works...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sidharth Vardhan

    Wanna start with a 1984 like quote: 'He suggests a system of spying. Every member of the society spies on the others, and it's his duty to inform against them. Every one belongs to all and all to every one. All are slaves and equal in their slavery. In extreme cases he advocates slander and murder, but the great thing about it is equality. To begin with, the level of education, science, and talents is lowered. A high level of education and science is only possible for great intellects, and t/> Wanna start with a 1984 like quote: 'He suggests a system of spying. Every member of the society spies on the others, and it's his duty to inform against them. Every one belongs to all and all to every one. All are slaves and equal in their slavery. In extreme cases he advocates slander and murder, but the great thing about it is equality. To begin with, the level of education, science, and talents is lowered. A high level of education and science is only possible for great intellects, and they are not wanted. The great intellects have always seized the power and been despots. Great intellects cannot help being despots and they've always done more harm than good. They will be banished or put to death. Cicero will have his tongue cut out, Copernicus will have his eyes put out, Shakespeare will be stoned that's Shigalovism. Slaves are bound to be equal. There has never been either freedom or equality without despotism, but in the herd there is bound to be equality, and that's Shigalovism!' This novel kind of takes Dostoyevskism to a new extreme – you know what I mean; slow beginnings, lots of extremely emotional characters and long scenes. For example there is this one scene in which we have eleven characters in a single room (I counted) and each one of had a role to play in the scene in about fifty odd pages. You might think after reading like first two hundred pages that nothing is ever going to happen but that would be wrong; by the end of novel you will have dealt with a gun-duel, murders (in plural), suicides (three of them), natural death, adultery, secret marriage, unrequited loves (plural), arson, child-birth scene (it was beautiful), family reunion, riots, dancing-balls-gone-wrong etc. you name it, Dostoveskyen circus has it all. Narrator and biography The narrator is a very unimportant character in the story. He is a close friend of Stepan (a widower) – and comes out as a great observer of people, people are easily trusting their secrets in him but do not seem to think of him as a person of consequence. He begins by telling us that he is writing Stepan’s biography but soon limits himself to later’s last few days; and often talks about things that has no relation with Stephen or things he can’t possibly know. For example, how can he know what do a husband and wife talk about in their bedroom! Stepan, about whom the novel is supposed to be, is an easily excitable intellect –who despite being respected by people of his time doesn’t seem to have achieved anything of consequence and has an annoying habit of using French phrases. Although he shows some great insight into politics of his time, he never goes anywhere with it. He is, in fact, kept by a rich widow Varvara, a woman of strong character, with whom he has a strange sort of relationship. She keeps him in her house maintaining a platonic relationship, refuses angrily his offer to marry her, reads letters he wrote her daily (sometimes twice a day) with out ever replying, often throws him out only to go looking for him later and even sets a match between him and a young servant – and yet when he is on his deathbed, reproaches him vaguely for wasting twenty years. One of many love stories in this novel. Socialism and Nihilism The 'demons' in title refer to new ideas that seems to be making Russia sick. Stepan’s son Pyotr is a Nihilist and anarchist and is a cunning and very annoying person. He kind of reminds you of Cassius in Shakespeare’s ‘Julies Ceaser’. He is also that kind of guy who can quickly get on to your nerves. He pretends to be a socialist but that is only a way to manipulate people of his organization for personal objects. FD’s view on socialism seems to be same as Stavrogin (Varvara's son) - 'It’s a great idea but its exponents are not always great men.' (think Stalin) Pyotr is the exponent here and his followers seem to know nothing about it; are so removed from politics that they can’t hold a voting by show of hand. 'They are fascinated, not by realism, but by the emotional ideal side of socialism, by the religious note in it, so to say, by the poetry of it … second-hand, of course.' Pyotr’s strategy of binding people to his leadership by making them commit a crime for himself (‘the cause’) seems to be quite widely used one among politicians. FD also divined another great observation - 'The convictions and the man are two very different things.' Have you ever wondered how some of really good people seems to be asking to be punched on their noses whenever they start talking about some particular socio-political subject? Shigalevism A social system suggested by one of character - Shigalevism (see opening quote) wants ninety percent of population to be slave of remaining ten percent. Shigalev is not only suggesting it but he actually argues that is form all systems end up being like and that it is the only system that can survive. Quite a way to look at modern economies - whether capitalist or socialist given income inequialities in all of them. Censored Chapter Stavrogin’s character might remain a mystery to you till the very end – partly because one chapter which contained key to his character was censored. It has been translated by Woolf ever since along with Dostoevsky's notes on an unwritten novel as Stavrogin's Confession & the Plan of the Life of a Great Sinner. A PDF of same can be download here. It is for second time, in my reading, that FD hinted/ talked about Lolita-like sexuality in young girls. The other time was in 'Crime and Punishment' but that time it was only a dream. "I've killed the God." On Sucide FD have a great distaste of extreme rationalism and it shows – whether it is in musings of underground man; tragedy of Rashkilonov or that of Ivan Karamazov; this time it shows in character of Kirillov who has got this idea in his head that there is no God and that thus we can all become God, all we have to do is … kill ourselves. I won’t go into details of his reasoning but here are some of things he says: “If there is no God, then I’m God.” “God has tormented me all my life.” “Everyone who wants the supreme freedom must dare to kill himself.” Karmazinov K is Dostoyevsky's parody of his contemporary Ivan Turgenev, author of another novel examining the 'nihilist' generation, 'Fathers and Sons'. FD too uses allegorical relationship of fathers and sons in Stepan (liberal idealist) and Pyotr (Nihilist) Confusion Stavgrin tries to take advantage of Matryosha (an eleven year old); Cheats with Marie on her husband and marries Marya (a sort of holy fool, my favorite) – all three different and that’s not including Darya and Lisa, who have a crush on him. Want more? Lisa had a crush on Nikolai (stavgrin) but was instead engaged to Nikolaevich. Marie's husband Shatov who has a habit of changing his ideas by walking out insultingly on people when he feels used or called for compromise on his dignity; is not same as Shiagalov. Also, although he punches Stavgrin it is not because later had an affair with his wife Marie but rather because he made Marya pregnant. Talk about confusion! Some quotes: 'Poetry is nonsense and justifies what would be considered imprudence in prose.' 'A woman would deceive the all-seeing eye itself. Le bon Dieu knew what He was in for when He was creating woman, but I'm sure that she meddled in it herself and forced Him to create her such as she is.' 'How can we expect a cultured man not to commit a murder, if he is in need of money.'

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mark André

    The first sentence of Albert Camus’ Forward to his 1959 play redacted from Dostoyevsky’s novel reads, “The Possessed is one of the four or five works that I rank above all others.”

  18. 5 out of 5

    Håkon

    The likeness of the events in this novel to events that have happened recently, such as the shooting of the policemen in Dallas, or the attempted coup in Turkey, is incredible. It seems to me like the people whom this novel revolves around are misguided, they are idealists, and they will stop at nothing to get what they want. What is so interesting is that the ideas that they initially had, were sometimes good ones, the problems arised when people were starting to misinterpret ideas, or changing The likeness of the events in this novel to events that have happened recently, such as the shooting of the policemen in Dallas, or the attempted coup in Turkey, is incredible. It seems to me like the people whom this novel revolves around are misguided, they are idealists, and they will stop at nothing to get what they want. What is so interesting is that the ideas that they initially had, were sometimes good ones, the problems arised when people were starting to misinterpret ideas, or changing them, or simply fighting for the "mark" so to say, as we commonly see today, people often fight for groups or such with no knowledge of what they actually stand for. It is a known phenomena that people often feel like they have to be a part of something, an idea of sorts, what those ideas are, is of no importance, people want power, and if they can be part of a group that possesses immense power, then the ideas which they fight for are of little to no importance. The Most brilliant part of this book is the ending. (spoiler alert, or maybe not) There is barely a single character with which things go well. Either, they die, or they are put to jail, if not that, they suffer for the rest of their life. These things ring true today, and the repercussions are the same that we see with the coup attempt in Turkey for example. While not necessarily his most philosophical or psychological work, this is still an immense masterpiece, and while Dostoevsky's criticisms were true back then, i believe they are even more relevant today.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Edward

    Chronology Introduction Further Reading A Note on the Text A Note from the Editor --Demons Appendix: At Tikhon's List of Characters Notes Glossary

  20. 5 out of 5

    Proustitute

    This is one of the few novels by Dostoyevsky that I haven't read, and I think it's not only his most political but also his most prescient in terms of today's world—particularly the individual faced with corrupt systems, the movement toward anarchy and rebellion, and the webs of power that bind all individuals to their oppressive societies no matter how hard they strive to be free of these restrictions. I think Demons should be read after some of Dostoyevsky's more intricately plotted and d This is one of the few novels by Dostoyevsky that I haven't read, and I think it's not only his most political but also his most prescient in terms of today's world—particularly the individual faced with corrupt systems, the movement toward anarchy and rebellion, and the webs of power that bind all individuals to their oppressive societies no matter how hard they strive to be free of these restrictions. I think Demons should be read after some of Dostoyevsky's more intricately plotted and deeper psychological work, novels like Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov especially. The latter is the most fresh Dostoyevsky is my mind as I was reading through Demons, and the dialogue that the texts struck up with one another made Demons more profound, deeply affecting, and an immense achievement. Every sentence was a joy and a small heartbreak. This will have me moving rereads of Dostoyevsky's work higher up on my to-read list, without any doubt. What an amazing book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Londi

    What Dostoyevsky diagnosed in this novel was the tendency to think of ideas as being somehow more real than actual human beings. The 19th Century Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote about characters who justified murder in the name of their ideological beliefs. For this reason, John Gray argues, he's remained relevant ever since, through the rise of the totalitarian states of the 20th Century, to the "war against terror". Dostoyevsky suggests that the result of abandoning morali What Dostoyevsky diagnosed in this novel was the tendency to think of ideas as being somehow more real than actual human beings. The 19th Century Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote about characters who justified murder in the name of their ideological beliefs. For this reason, John Gray argues, he's remained relevant ever since, through the rise of the totalitarian states of the 20th Century, to the "war against terror". Dostoyevsky suggests that the result of abandoning morality for the sake of an idea of freedom will be a type of tyranny more extreme than any in the past. As one of the characters in Demons confesses: "I got entangled in my own data, and my conclusion directly contradicts the original idea from which I start. From unlimited freedom, I conclude with unlimited despotism." BBC News

  22. 5 out of 5

    Fonch

    Dedicated with affection to Juan Manuel de Prada, and Manuel Alfonseca. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... Ladies and gentlemen as promised them, if you have read my review of "Spiderlight" https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2... & from_search = true I will be very busy writing criticisms of books I read in the Holy week break, so maybe my reading pace suffers for that I apologize to my fans. Well it's my punishment for writing criticisms so heavy and boring:-). First thing to do is to explain the reason for the dedication. Without my admired Juan Manuel de Prad Dedicated with affection to Juan Manuel de Prada, and Manuel Alfonseca. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... Ladies and gentlemen as promised them, if you have read my review of "Spiderlight" https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2... & from_search = true I will be very busy writing criticisms of books I read in the Holy week break, so maybe my reading pace suffers for that I apologize to my fans. Well it's my punishment for writing criticisms so heavy and boring:-). First thing to do is to explain the reason for the dedication. Without my admired Juan Manuel de Prada, and my dear friend Manuel Alfonseca I think, that I would have never dared to read this novel by Dostoyevsky, because as the main character of the novel by A.J. Cronin "the Citadel" https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6... & from_search = true I feel intimidated when I am faced with what Andrew Manson called as the "Russian bugs" record, that this qualifier is not an insult, but rather quite the opposite. Russia has colossal and great writers, and I feel like a Lilliputian when I face or abarco readings of his books. They are giants, they are giganteas, besides his books tend to be very extensive so I feel so overwhelmed by reading them, but all these "Russian bugs" perhaps paradoxically with Dostoevsky, with whom I most identify, and I have a priceless debt with my adored Juan Manuel de Prada, because it was Prada who I urge to read, when he spoke of the extraordinarily beneficial and positive effect that caused him. That for me is my favorite novel of Dostoevsky "crime and punishment" https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7... & from_search = true It is a novel that shows the greatness of the human soul, and shake yours. I forgot to say in my criticism of "Spiderlight" I think, as always I wrote too, but the best refutation that may have inhuman Frederich Nietszche theories are to be found in "crime and punishment", which shows the man as it is not a God, but also as a sub-human being, which is what the currency tends to convert to man. Such, shows it as it is. With their miseries and their greatness, and this is the oldest well that offers us the literature of Dostoevsky, although I do think, the more positive their Orthodox Christianity. In the Russia of that time, there were two streams the internationalist represented by Bielinski Pissarev, Herzen, Tugueniev very influenced by Europe, and that dismissed the Russian tradition, but I think, that this dichotomy and the fight between Europe-Russia is born in the century 18th with Pedro the great, when traffic Europeanize Russia, and this creates Petesburgo, facing his own son he killed (like a good part of the Czars by the way) that defended the eslavofilia whose drivers were Nikolai Gogol https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... Nikolai Danilevski, Ivan Kireievski, Konstantin Aksakov and Yuri Samarin. This is accentuated in the 19th century. With nuances, and while I initially was a pro-European Christian, as much of the Spanish intelligentsia (now that sentiment has cooled and the European issue I'm agnostic, but I continue to support proposals like the Don Jaime Mayor Oreja one of Us) I I am more inclined with the eslavofila line, but with nuances. Above all, what makes me closest to the eslavofila line is religiosity. However, in non-Western countries there has always been this struggle between preserving the tradition of the country or accept Westernization. In my opinion Japan I believe, it was who knew how to make it better. Imported many of the things of the West, although it refuses to import the best Catholic religion, but he knew how to be faithful to its origins. I regret the barbiturate by written means that I've got them, but this prologue is important, because that goes is novel the pernicious which are some theories imported from Europe. Dostoyevsky in his youth had been conviction, and to alleviate the miseries of the utopian Socialist Russian people, but the Tsarist police captured him and sentenced him to death, a mock execution by firing squad was made, but he commuted you worthwhile a prison in Siberia, and there He discovered his Russian roots embracing the eslavismo and orthodoxy. There are authors who are a blessing for their peoples Balzac was for France https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... , Charles Dickens who with his novels changed the heart of England, and thanks to them England undertook a series of reforms, which eased the misery of the Industrial Revolution. It is true that the young Marx embraced socialism reading little Dorrit" but it is also quote, that which prevents the Marxism in England were the works of Dickens (hence is where Marxism and not in Russia was prepared). In Spain I would not dare to say, who is the beneficent author could tell Benito Pérez Galdós, but does not have the religiosity of the two previous authors https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... could say Jaime Balmes https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... Donoso Cortés https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... or Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... , but not they are novelists, perhaps Pedro Antonio de Alarcón https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8... m_search=true or the friend of Galdós, and Menéndez Pelayo José María Pereda https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... the problem is that it happens as the giant Antaeus, and as it moves from the Cantabrian lands loses its strength. Miguel de Unamuno is perhaps https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... but with immense nuances due to their protestantizantes readings and their socialist bias. This novel by Dostoyevsky (novel, I read, I would like to thank the users of Goodreads, because it is certainly has been that more I like you received while reading it) is prophetic. It is possible that if the tsars had had it in mind. They were been able to alleviate or mitigate part of the horrors of that monstrous revolution. Since then Dostoyevsky announces the horror that lurks behind the Socialist and Communist, ideologies which would have a demonic origin. What has the novel was based on a real case the murder by Nechayev (disciple of Bakunin) and its cell Milyukov to a dissident named Ivanov. That you give rise to the characters of the novel. Dostoyevsky recasts two novels "The demons" properly speaking, and the sinners, which are the origin of the demonic character o Nikolai Vsevolodovich Stavrogin. It is interesting to compare this figure with Lyov Nikolayevich Mishkin (the protagonist of the "idiot" https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1... this novel produced me an extremely deep impression when I read it.) Because he had a personal problem, since I thought the same as Prince Mhiskin and lived obsessed by the triangle of Nastasha Filipovna, and Parfen Semionovich Rogozhin. It is curious how could Dosyevski to read my soul as well. He thought and acted the same as Mhiskin, and also that person decided to opt for another equal to Nastasha Filipovna). Ending with "The idiot", I will say that the best adaptation made it Akira Kurosawa, who eliminated the dullest elements from the novel by Dostoyevsky, and went to the essence of the novel by the Russian writer. If the second was a transcript of Christ, succumbing to the power of evil (by the way, take this opportunity to encourage publishers to editing in Spain equivalent (Japanese equivalent "Wonderful fool" by Shusaku Endo https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2... ). It could be said that Stavrogin is a corrupter, although previously another prior corrupter in this case Stepan Trofimovich Verjovenski, without that much liberalism his son Piotr Stepanovich Verjovenski, as Stavrogin would have not finished being those characters as evil or embracing the Communist creed. Although the actual event that inspired him was anarchist. Dostoyevsky is anticipated to 1905 and 1917 and denounces both communism and socialism. Becomes a premise that I behave, which is the liberalism of Western Court, and European which gives wings to these criminal iconoclasts. Without the destructive effects of the French Revolution, and the pernicious effect of Lutheranism and Locke's it would have been impossible that communism came to Russia. Here Dostoevsky is right. Last year I read the wonderful book of Patrick J. Deneen "Why what failure liberalism?" https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3... . I thought it was an extraordinary book, but it had a flaw. It is quite possible, that because of his Protestant friends did not have value to put Martin Luther in the list of proponents of liberalism. But without Luther, and its individualism and personal reading of the Bible never would have been possible the creation of liberalism. It is quite possible, that that was not his intention, and that only a hatred to Rome, but in the end had been Lutheranism is the hotbed of liberalism. Machiavelli devised it, was Lutero who took him out to Locke, and later he, and the creators of Freemasonry Teofilo Desaguliers and Anderson in France introduced it to the French encyclopaedists. This seems to me a great success by Dostoevsky that become father to the liberal Stepan Trofimovich Verjovenski, and that his son Piotr Stepanovich Verjovenski . In how the figure of the corruptor will see her in other works of Dostoyevsky as "Adolescent" https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5... in this case will be Lambert, and "The Brothers Karamazov" in this case the corruptor to your though will be Iván Karamazov, than with their preaching nihilists will make his stepbrother Smersdiakov something terrible https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4... . The hypocrisy and venality of the Russian society of the moment is beautifully described. Particularly the characters of Lembke, and Yulia Mijailovna, who first praised and idolize Verjovenski and his boys, for then shocked hypocritically of their misdeeds after. I was terrified, because it is happening with certain political parties, which are emerging in the West (a particularly cruel scene of the novel is when the crowd censorship and hooted to Karmazinov and Stepan Verjovenski. There he is attacking fashions, and his cruelty). Initially the Spanish society, to a party that came to denounce the caste, and that remained the same methods as Verjovenski and Stavrogin (there are counterpoints part of the book, which the Russian censorship did not admit in where Dostoyevsky becomes a strean of Nabokov https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7... https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... ) all were praises before the apparent shenanigans, which weren't chiquilladas, but calculated evil acts. The society is a reflection of how is a country, and the appalling that in the West seems to be on the verge of suicide, taking and tolerating the nastiest aberrations. This makes the novel greatly present now more than ever. Because Dostoyevsky attacks feminism, secularism begun by the Liberals and the heirs of the demons flag today in the West with the tolerance of the welfare society. The scene of the niece is extraordinary. When he begins to talk about Shigaliov and says that they have 100 million people die of the neck hairs is crept me. Because communism was responsible for the death of 120 million, and still in places such as China, Viet Nam, Korea of the North, Cuba and allied with the Muslim theocracy Venezuela. With true rebound in these theories in Europe and in the United States. Despite the false forecasts of Francis Fukuyama are not looking at the end of the story on the other hand is more alive than ever, because not be task with the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989. This novel should be a spur for White Russians and heirs of the eslavofilia, who faced the Soviet totalitarianism from heterogeneous positions Ana Ajmatova https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... , Gumilov https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... , Zamiatyn if your ball https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... , Pavel Florensky https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... , Boris https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... Vasily Grossman Pasternak https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... but perhaps the greatest heir to Dostoyevsky, and that it has also alerted against the emptiness of capitalism is Soljenitshin https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... because really what you fear most these anti-Christian ideologies It is Christianity, which is the true remedy for the evils which suffers from West, prisoner of ideologies destructive since the end of the middle ages. Already warned you one thing if you are a person who has a propensity to empathize with certain characters to identify with them, and love them you will undergo with this novel. I entristecí me very much with the end of some like Lizabeta Nikolayevna, or Ivan Shatov, who embodies the Russian Orthodox Dostoyevskiana. There are brilliant dialogues as those who hold Shatov, and Stavrogin, and Verjovenski when tells you Stavrogin is beautiful, you my Sun, and I am his worm. Never better said. . It is also very good the dialogue of Piotr Verjovenski with Lembke which shows that socialismo-comunista is the son of liberalism. There is a character that greatly enhances, and Dostoevsky gives a very nice final Stepan Trofimovich (which seems to be, it was inspired by a real character Granovski). Instead Dostoyevsky is relentless with the representative of Europeanism with Karmazinov, who is inspired by the Turgenev author https://www.goodreads.com/author/show.... Although one thing I agree with Dostoevsky that Bazarov is not an authentic nihilist. In this case Dostoyevsky wins the literary duel. This novel is infinitely superior to "Fathers and sons" https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1... . I shall briefly comment on the five-star Although it has been in 4.5 it is too long. There are parts that are made somewhat heavy, and some characters are irritants such as Lebiadkin, or Varvara Stavroguina, and also some passages of Stepan Verjovenski are children. Also I have disapproved the Anti-Catholicism of Dostoevsky, that is for me the worst of his novelistic work, also their phobia by Poland country whereby I feel a profound affection. It arrives here to say that it is worse than communism, that we have succumbed to the temptation to second. There will be more succumbed Russia, which tends to associate to religious, with political power. Yet I think, that Russia will have much to say in the future history, but because the message of the Virgin saying that we must evangelize it. But in general we have a masterpiece of literature with much to say. Reading it is a classic.

  23. 5 out of 5

    وائل المنعم

    I read many of Dostoyevsky's novels in Arabic translations many years ago, although they are poor translations from French and English copies, i considered Dostoyevsky as one of my top 5 novelists. The Possessed is my first English translation i read. The greatest point of Dostoyevsky's art of novel is his characters, the most marginal character is will build and presented, there's no an ordinary shallow character. Sometimes Dostoyevsky forget one character then let it play an importa I read many of Dostoyevsky's novels in Arabic translations many years ago, although they are poor translations from French and English copies, i considered Dostoyevsky as one of my top 5 novelists. The Possessed is my first English translation i read. The greatest point of Dostoyevsky's art of novel is his characters, the most marginal character is will build and presented, there's no an ordinary shallow character. Sometimes Dostoyevsky forget one character then let it play an important role like Dasha in our novel. Pyotr Stepanovich is one of the greatest characters in the history of novel, he has the same influence on me like clockwork orange's Alex in its first half. Shatov is the only character i got sympathy with him. The novel contains many great scenes but the most remarkable one is the last encounter between Pyotr and Kirillov before the last got suicide. The Bishop Tikhon's chapter doesn't have any particular significant except that we know about the relation between Stavrogin and the twelve years old girl.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Betül

    *****Happy 100th in Goodreads! ***** Strike me dead, the track has vanished Well, what now?We've lost the way Demons have bewitched our horses Led us in the wilds astray What a number! Whither drift they? What's the mournful dirge they sing? Do they hail a witch's marriage or a goblin's burying? A quite unbelievable analysis from Dostoyevsky on faith, existence, human will and the system. When reading this book, you become fully aware that Dos *****Happy 100th in Goodreads! ***** Strike me dead, the track has vanished Well, what now?We've lost the way Demons have bewitched our horses Led us in the wilds astray What a number! Whither drift they? What's the mournful dirge they sing? Do they hail a witch's marriage or a goblin's burying? A quite unbelievable analysis from Dostoyevsky on faith, existence, human will and the system. When reading this book, you become fully aware that Dostoyevsky is one of the greatests of all times, at the same time you ask yourself is this man a writer or a theologist (maybe an evangelist), a philosopher, a psychologist and a sociologist. Or both. Therefore, there will be no Dostoyevsky again. In fact, the poem cited from beginning of the book is a striking analysis of the main character who failed to be aware of his existence, to be responsible over his acts, to forgive himself rather chose to be blame on external factors and beings (namely "demons") because of losing his faith with everything. On the other side, this poem is an excellent sarcasm about cynicist and nihilistic thoughts which spredt into Russian society at that time. According to Dostoyevsky all these existential vacuum, cynicism and dissipate lifestyle comes from disbelief and loss of faith. Once Descartes said " I think, therefore, I am". For Dostoyevsky this transformes into " I believe, therefore, I am." But this is a belief all comes from love. Love is the most valuable thing and even more important than existing and living. And the God is the only one whom one can love eternally. He underlines: "The one essential condition of human existence is that man should always be able to bow down before something infinitely great". Even it made me tremble not like by The Brothers Karamazov, I will always carry with me so many lines to draw inspiration.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Moon Rose

    This very prophetic novel, of clashing ideals, will grip your thoughts till the last page, riveting as it is moving, it will carry you to unprecedented heights beyond words. It is perhaps one of the best books I have ever read, IF NOT THE BEST . A must for all lovers of literature and a true testament of Dostoevsky's knack, not merely to entertain but provoke one's consciousness to plunge into a whirlpool of ideas. I highly recommend the translation made by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, retitled Demons . It in This very prophetic novel, of clashing ideals, will grip your thoughts till the last page, riveting as it is moving, it will carry you to unprecedented heights beyond words. It is perhaps one of the best books I have ever read, IF NOT THE BEST . A must for all lovers of literature and a true testament of Dostoevsky's knack, not merely to entertain but provoke one's consciousness to plunge into a whirlpool of ideas. I highly recommend the translation made by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, retitled Demons . It includes the censored chapter that further outlines the dark and complex character of Nikolai Vsevolodovich Stavrogin. ***Originally posted on the 22nd of January, 2011 at ManyBooks.net. ****According to my good Indian friend who got an exclusive chance of asking Orhan Pamuk in one of his book signing, this book, he considers his most favorite book. Related Review: Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Richard Pevear (Translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translator)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mεδ Rεδħα

    With The Demons (or The Possessed, title less consistent but more famous in French, especially because of the theatrical adaptation that has made Albert Camus, see the nota bene at the bottom of this notice), Dostoevsky tackles a an immense political-societal canvas that is difficult to define in two words and whose limits seem to me, themselves, rather vague. In order to situate the work somewhat, I suggest you start with this excerpt from Stepan Agonizing (Part III, Chapter VII, at With The Demons (or The Possessed, title less consistent but more famous in French, especially because of the theatrical adaptation that has made Albert Camus, see the nota bene at the bottom of this notice), Dostoevsky tackles a an immense political-societal canvas that is difficult to define in two words and whose limits seem to me, themselves, rather vague. In order to situate the work somewhat, I suggest you start with this excerpt from Stepan Agonizing (Part III, Chapter VII, at the end of subchapter 2), which seems revealing to me before commenting ( NB: Dostoevsky has just quoted the corresponding passage in the Gospels, for those who are interested, it is the episode of the demoniacal Géramenien found in the Gospels of Mark, Matthew or Luke): "These demons who come out of a sick person and enter into pigs, are all the wounds, all the miasmas, all the impurity, all these great and small demons, which have accumulated, for centuries and centuries, in our great and dear sick man in our Russia. Yes, that Russia that I still loved. But a great idea and a great will will enlighten him from above like that possessed by the devil, and all these demons will come out of it, all the impurity, all this turpitude which suppurates on the surface ... and they will ask for themselves to enter pigs. Besides, perhaps they have already entered it; perhaps ! It's us, us, and them, and Petrusha ... and the others with him, and me perhaps the first, and we will rush, crazy and enraged, from the top of the rock into the sea and we will drown ourselves all and it will be well done for us because we are good only for that. But the sick person will recover and "sit at the feet of Jesus" ... " We understand well I think the message that seeks to deliver us the author. In the 1870s, Russia was in turmoil, the old established order faltered (especially since the abolition of serfdom in 1861), religion was in crisis, and the ferment of the "French-style" revolt began to see the light of day . Opportunists of all kinds seek to blow on the sparks with ideologies (socialist, nihilist, others) to set fire to Russia and seize the power left to indulge in bloodshed. The aristocracy fallen and close to ruin (following the division of land when the abandonment of serfdom) is no stranger. It is thus this bundle of fears and threats that the author tries to portray in this strange book, half political, half social, half romantic, half mystical (lovers of Pagnol and who can count better than me will note that as Caesar I, too, have four thirds in my cocktail, or even a little more, but I have never managed to count as far). Fyodor Dostoevsky builds a complex scaffold scenario animated by a myriad of characters (the Russian names with double name, in the long run, end up all look alike, I advise you to put a reference to the page of presentation of the characters, that you will be useful until the end) whose main appear to be Nikolai Vsevolodovich Stavrogin and Petr Stepanovich Verkhovenski. The first symbolizes the decadent aristocracy, the second, the upper classes, the drifting upper classes; the whole constituting "the demons" which Russia "possessed" will have to get rid of to recover its secular serenity. In short, a reading a little convoluted, but not unpleasant, we do not really know where the author takes us, but he takes us. A stay in apnea in the half-madness of almost all his characters (as almost always Dostoevsky), among the demons of Tsarist Russia. All this, of course, is only my devil of opinion, which I invite you to dispossess if it does not suit you because, on its own, it does not mean much. N. B.: According to the editions and the translations, the title is transcribed either in the form "The Possessed", or in the form "The Demons", but it is indeed the same book. Traditionally, and because the first French translations have transcribed it so the title The Possessed has become popular while the more recent translations and more concerned with the letter tend to favor The Demons. This difference is solved by a story of container and content, it is according to. Some bad minds tend to believe that there might also be a very small financial incentive to believe in new under the sun with these title changes, but personally I would be very surprised that any demon of the greed can animate any publisher, who knows?

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    A ludicrously complicated plot plus excessively long drawing room convos plus characters who are obvious stand-ins for ideologies but who nevertheless somehow seem to be real people, plus brutal violence plus Shakespeare allusions plus loads of biting comedy, plus love plus hate plus good old-fashioned Bible-thumping all thrown in a blender set to "Ahhhhh!"--Dostoevsky on steroids. The first 200 pages are glacial but it does pick up (and this is a massive understatement). Indulge your casual loa A ludicrously complicated plot plus excessively long drawing room convos plus characters who are obvious stand-ins for ideologies but who nevertheless somehow seem to be real people, plus brutal violence plus Shakespeare allusions plus loads of biting comedy, plus love plus hate plus good old-fashioned Bible-thumping all thrown in a blender set to "Ahhhhh!"--Dostoevsky on steroids. The first 200 pages are glacial but it does pick up (and this is a massive understatement). Indulge your casual loathing for atheists and atheism TODAY! Dostoyevsky, ranked Crime and Punishment The Idiot The Brothers Karamazov Notes from Underground Demons

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I normally write my reviews as soon as I have finished reading a book. I have been sitting on this one for several weeks because I really do not know what to say. I struggled with finishing this at all, forcing myself through a chapter and then breaking for a long while before taking up the next chapter. That might explain why it never gelled for me. It was boring and laborious and dark. I love Russian literature as a general rule and after reading Crime and Punishment the first time, I would I normally write my reviews as soon as I have finished reading a book. I have been sitting on this one for several weeks because I really do not know what to say. I struggled with finishing this at all, forcing myself through a chapter and then breaking for a long while before taking up the next chapter. That might explain why it never gelled for me. It was boring and laborious and dark. I love Russian literature as a general rule and after reading Crime and Punishment the first time, I would have said I was a fan of Dostoevsky. But, it took me three tries to finish The Brothers Karamazov , a novel that was replete with worthy themes and difficult structure. After finishing it, I was glad I had made the third try; it was not a book I could regret reading. I am having no such feeling with regard to this one. The novel is a highly political novel, concerned with the factions operating in Russia at the time. Without at least a fair understanding of Russian history, I believe it would be virtually incomprehensible. It is sad to say, but I have several other Dostoevsky’s on my must read list and I am thinking about either removing them or moving them to the bottom. I certainly could not face another right now and I’m having a hard time imagining facing them at all. The edition I have is beautifully bound, with exquisite illustrations. I am now torn about leaving it on my shelf or passing it on in hopes that someone else can appreciate it more than just aesthetically.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nuno

    This was the third time I read this book , the first one was thirty years ago . Entering into this book is like entering a house of fools , and no one better than Dostoyevsky to describe the insanity of the quotidian life . Today we have the DSM ( Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ) , a sort of psychiatric encyclopedia . In the nineteenth century , there were the books written by Dostoyevsky ( this and the others ) , which were something like the DSM " avant la lettre " . As This was the third time I read this book , the first one was thirty years ago . Entering into this book is like entering a house of fools , and no one better than Dostoyevsky to describe the insanity of the quotidian life . Today we have the DSM ( Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ) , a sort of psychiatric encyclopedia . In the nineteenth century , there were the books written by Dostoyevsky ( this and the others ) , which were something like the DSM " avant la lettre " . As there is a book called " Proust was a neuroscientist " , showing up how Proust anticipated many conclusions of the modern neurobiology , there should be a book called " Dostoyevsky was a psychiatrist " or something similar . This book shows us the very beginning of the Russian Revolution , fifty years before the event . It also shows the close relation between psychopaths and radical ideologies , which they use to pursuit their goals . Something very very actual . This book was forbidden by Stalin , in the Soviet Union , certainly because he and many other bolsheviks did not like this mirror . Once in a while , I think to myself what will be the book I will be reading in the day I die . This one would be perfect .

  30. 4 out of 5

    Maru Kun

    This picture - 'Arrest of a Revolutionary Propagandist' by the incomparable Ilya Repin was just too good not to share with a wider audience. It gets a showing in this fairly interesting article: The Power of the Meme — An Alternative Reading of History

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