The Possessed

The Possessed

by Fyodor Dostoevsky
4.1 17

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The Possessed by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Possessed is an anti-nihilistic novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. An extremely political book, Demons is a testimonial of life in Imperial Russia in the late 19th century.

As the revolutionary democrats begin to rise in Russia, different ideologies begin to collide. Dostoyevsky casts a critical eye on both the radical idealists, portraying their ideas and ideological foundation as demonic, and the conservative establishment's ineptitude in dealing with those ideas and their social consequences. Dostoyevsky's novels focus on the idea that utopias and positivist ideas, in being utilitarian, were unrealistic and unobtainable.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783736804975
Publisher: BookRix
Publication date: 06/23/2017
Sold by: Readbox
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 1015
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

FyodorDostoyevsky (1821–1881), one of nineteenth-century Russia’s greatest novelists, spent four years in a convict prison in Siberia, after which he was obliged to enlist in the army. In later years his penchant for gambling sent him deeply into debt. Most of his important works were written after 1864, including Notes from Underground, Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and The Brothers Karamazov, all available from Penguin Classics.

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Possessed (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this on the classics rack at B&N, and wondered why I couldn't recall having heard of this Dostoyevsky novel. The subject matter is so timely, I couldn't wait to read it, even though I was committing to another big, long book... Well, I suppose this is the Dostoyevsky novel your professors DON'T want you to read. It makes socialists look bad. It predicted, several decades in advance, the violence and horror of Stalin's U.S.S.R. This book transported me to 19th-century Russia and I didn't want it to end. It instantly has earned a place in my top-ten books list. It alternates between being horrific and laugh-out-loud funny. Some basic info: Constance Garnett's translation is fine, and I don't see a need for a more modern one. What I have the most difficulty with is the Russian names and their variations, and keeping track of who's who in the large cast of characters. I suggest keeping a list for yourself or writing them down somewhere in the book. I also advise reading the censored chapter when you reach the part of the book where the author intended it to be. Ah yes - the introduction by Elizabeth Dalton is very good, but it will give away some of the story, so I suggest reading it as an afterword. The notes are very helpful. There is a character in the story who constantly speaks French, and this version gives you footnotes with a translation of all the French. I was reading concurrently another copy of The Possessed without the French translations, and while I understand some French, I was so thankful for my B&N copy so I could understand it all. I recommend this as a good quality version of the book to buy, with lots of useful extras.
RobertTyler More than 1 year ago
The people and passions of the 19th century clash in this masterpiece, which comments on political conditions in Russia. The politics and ideas of the day entangle all the characters as the action unfolds, and the moral that unfolds along alongside the plot is that ideas have consequences. The accuracy of the predictions made about what would happen politically to Russia is so astonishing that the novel could be read for that reason alone. In any case, it knocked my socks off. Always lurks more than one reason to read a Dostoyevsky, and politics does not obsure a well-turned plot. The author's ability to present every point of view uncontaminated by his own biases is a hallmark of his genius, and this talent adds immeasurably to the narrative power. Here one might find the secret of the book's excellence. My own favorite character in the story is Kirillov, and the care the author takes with him hints at a soft spot Dostoyevsky nurtures even for this young nihilist. Shatov I found a warmly sympathetic character, the vessel that carries Russia in its hold. The characterization of a political meeting in a safehouse stands out in my mind for it's cunning humor, the best in 19th century literature. One small note: it's better to read the chapter "Savrogin's Confession" in the order the author originally intended, not at the end. I prefer the Garnett translation to the current title, "Demons." Although that was the correct Russian word, it carries a religious connotation absent from the novel except in certain places. "The Possessed" better captures in English what is happening in the novel -- the fact that ideas are driving the action, as opposed to persons, that ideas are taking posssession over people. Garnett was on-target to choose that as the English title.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel is harder to digest than Crime & Punishment and The Idiot. The author has a whole lot of build up before the end of the book takes off. I guess he did it for readers to get a feeling for the characters because Dostoevsky is good at characterization. In all of his books you feel like you get a first hand view of the charcters' souls and personalties. In this story which is set in a small russisn town, the characters form a secret society to create a hotbed of social unrest and start a revolution. The chaos that ensues causes the quintet of leaders to turn devilish and turn on each other. One observation I have is that Dostoevsky makes the point that anyone can manipulate and control a group even if they are off their rocker with the right rhetoric and how dangerous that can be. His social commentary in this book may still have some use today. I highly recommend this book and Dostoevsky's other works. I will be reading Brothers Karamazov next. Also, give Tolstoy's War and Peace and Anna Karenina a read if you like russian 19th century lit. War and Peace is LONG but worthwhile and Anna Karenina may be the best novel ever written.
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Tennesseedog More than 1 year ago
In high school (a while ago) I also read Notes from the Underground. Don't remember much of it to comment on it. A couple of days ago I finished this monster (710 pages), The Possessed. I found it very interesting and entertaining. I enjoyed the somewhat convoluted story line but was able to follow plot developments by concentrating on the story. The characters were richly developed though the bizarre nature of many of them made me laugh and then cringe sometimes within the space of a few minutes of reading. More importantly I found the author's placement of political and philosophical arguments and expositions to be stunning in their effect. He craftily combined plot actions that occurred simultaneously into distinct sections that were overseen by the omniscient narrator and then presented to the reader in a rational manner. It is a dark novel and reflects on the mind of the author who saw much and lived much in a cruel and dangerous 19th Century Tsarist Russia. One can feel sympathy for some characters and outright distaste for others. Their bumblings and stupid actions seem to actually reflect quite accurately how some human beings really are. Woe with us if we find ourselves reflected in this generally dismal cast.
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49typecast More than 1 year ago
I chose this book as my summer reading last year. I made my own list of characters because this edition does not list them. I wanted to know what "nihilism" was. I was not disappointed. This was not the first Dostoevsky book for me. (In high school we read 'Notes From The Underground.') The most striking image for me are the clandestine meetings of pre-Bolshevik revolutionaries; the discussion over 'the woman question,' and the fact that in the Gulags, Dostoevsky was given one book to read: the Bible. God bless this author. I love Dostoevsky!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Simply Outstanding. Once you understand it.. you'll love it. Fyodor Dostoevsky does not disappoint. If you want a nice long read, where you'd learn something interesting, and have a chance to look into the literary texts of one of the most influential and highly acclaimed novelists in all of literature, then this book would be a good start.