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Bettie's Books

A Stuga On the Cusp of the Orust Riviera, tucked away next to a hobbit hole in the woods.

Demons - Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Richard Pevear, Larissa Volokhonsky In setting out to describe the recent and very strange events that took place in our town, hitherto not remarkable for anything, I am forced, for want of skill, to begin somewhat far back - namely, with some biographical details concerning the talented and much esteemed Stepan Trofimovich Verkhovensky.This story is also known as 'The Devils' and The 'Possessed' depending upon the translator. Confusing or what!?As usual with Dostoevsky, Demons is a brick of a book - 714 pages dissing nihilists and set against the backdrop of an in-house murder; it is a combination of two separate novels that Dostoyevsky was working on... skanked from wiki ('cos I'm too lazy) - One was a commentary on the real-life murder in 1869 by the socialist revolutionary group ("People's Vengeance") of one of its own members (Ivan Ivanovich Ivanov). The character Pyotr Verkhovensky is based upon the leader of this revolutionary group, Sergey Nechayev, who was found guilty of this murder. Sergey Nechayev was a close confidant of Mikhail Bakunin, who had direct influence over both Nechayev and the "People's Vengeance". The character Stepan Trofimovich Verkhovensky is based upon Timofey Granovsky. The other novel eventually melded into Demons was originally a religious work. The most immoral character Stavrogin was to be the hero of this novel, and is now commonly viewed as the most important character in Demons.Censored chapter - The government censor, at the time Dostovesky submitted his book, suppressed the chapter "At Tikhon's", which concerns Stavrogin's confession of having molested a 10 year old girl, causing the girl to commit suicide. The chapter gives insight into the reason that Stavrogin later hangs himself, as his guilt for this transgression and others, including the murder of his wife and brother in law, ultimately catch up with him. Stavrogin is depicted as the embodiment of nihilism, being apathetic, lacking empathy, devoid of emotion, but his ultimate suicide makes clear that in the end he had a conscience and was overwhelmed by his guilt. The chapter is generally included in modern editions of the novel and also published separately, translated from Russian to English by S. S. Koteliansky and Virginia Woolf and edited by Sigmund Freud.This is the least interesting of his novels for me so far.