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The Possessed or the Devils

The Possessed or the Devils

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The Possessed or the Devils

ratings:
4/5 (808 ratings)
Length:
947 pages
15 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Apr 10, 2015
ISBN:
9786155565076
Format:
Book

Description

"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?"
Pushkin.


"And there was one herd of many swine feeding on this
mountain; and they besought him that he would suffer them to
enter into them. And he suffered them.


"Then went the devils out of the man and entered into the
swine; and the herd ran violently down a steep place into
the lake and were choked.


"When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and
went and told it in the city and in the country.


"Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus
and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed,
sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind;
and they were afraid."


Luke, ch. viii. 32-37.



IN UNDERTAKING to describe the recent and strange incidents in our town, till lately wrapped in uneventful obscurity, I find myself forced in absence of literary skill to begin my story rather far back, that is to say, with certain biographical details concerning that talented and highly-esteemed gentleman, Stepan Trofimovitch Verhovensky. I trust that these details may at least serve as an introduction, while my projected story itself will come later.


I will say at once that Stepan Trofimovitch had always filled a particular rôle among us, that of the progressive patriot, so to say, and he was passionately fond of playing the part—so much so that I really believe he could not have existed without it. Not that I would put him on a level with an actor at a theatre, God forbid, for I really have a respect for him. This may all have been the effect of habit, or rather, more exactly of a generous propensity he had from his earliest years for indulging in an agreeable day-dream in which he figured as a picturesque public character. He fondly loved, for instance, his position as a "persecuted" man and, so to speak, an "exile." There is a sort of traditional glamour about those two little words that fascinated him once for all and, exalting him gradually in his own opinion, raised him in the course of years to a lofty pedestal very gratifying to vanity. In an English satire of the last century, Gulliver, returning from the land of the Lilliputians where the people were only three or four inches high, had grown so accustomed to consider himself a giant among them, that as he walked along the streets of London he could not help crying out to carriages and passers-by to be careful and get out of his way for fear he should crush them, imagining that they were little and he was still a giant. He was laughed at and abused for it, and rough coachmen even lashed at the giant with their whips. But was that just? What may not be done by habit? Habit had brought Stepan Trofimovitch almost to the same position, but in a more innocent and inoffensive form, if one may use such expressions, for he was a most excellent man.

Publisher:
Released:
Apr 10, 2015
ISBN:
9786155565076
Format:
Book

About the author

Murat Ukray, aynı zamanda yayıncılık da yapan yazar, 1976 yılında İstanbul'da doğdu. Üniversite'de Elektronik Mühendisliği okuduktan sonra, Yazarlık ve Yayıncılık hayatına atıldı. Yayınlanmış -14- kitabı vardır. Son Kehanet Yazarın 14. Kitabıdır. Yazarın yayınlanmış diğer Kitapları: 1- Kıyamet Gerçekliği (Kurgu Roman) (2006), 2- Birleşik Alan Teorisi (Teori - Fizik & Matematik) (2007), 3- İsevilik İşaretleri (Araştırma) (2008), 4- Yaratılış Gerçekliği- 2 Cilt (Biyoloji & Biyokimya Atlası)(2009), 5- Aşk-ı Mesnevi (Tasavvuf & Kurgu Roman) (2010), 6- Zamanın Sahipleri (Otobiyografi & Deneme) (2011), 7- Hanımlar Rehberi (İlmihal) (2012), 8- Eskilerin Masalları (Tarih & Araştırma) (2013), 9- Ruyet-ul Gayb (Haberci Rüyalar) (Deneme) (2014), 10- Sonsuzluğun Sonsuzluğu (114 Kod) (Teori & Deneme) (2015), 11- Kanon (Kutsal Kitapların Yeni Bir Yorumu) (Teori & Araştırma) (2016), 12- Küçük Elisa (Zaman Yolcusu) (Çocuk Kitabı) (2017), 13- Tanrı'nın Işıkları (Çölde Başlayan Hikaye) (Dini Bilim-Kurgu Roman) (2018), 14- Son Kehanet- 2 Cilt (Tarihi Bilim-Kurgu Roman) (2019)


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4.0
808 ratings / 24 Reviews
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  • (5/5)
    I finished this at a doctor's office, not my doctor's, but my wife's. She had the flu. When my wife was in the hospital a few years before that and on the door his name was posted adjacent to her's: Faith - Grief.

    There's a great deal of both in this amazing novel. I should ask Dr. Grief if he likes Dostoevsky. I am afraid to as he looks as if he's only 15 years old.
  • (5/5)
    As with all books by Dostoyevsky, the characters are what makes it. He takes one plot incident and builds around it, circling like an eagle, then jumps on his prey, which is you the reader.
  • (5/5)
    It hurt me to read, and I loved every second of it.
  • (2/5)
    better the 2nd time through... can hardly stand the whole russian tendency to stereotype themselves, or their continual rebelling against their government.... but yeah, decent.
  • (5/5)
    : Another really good book by what is becoming my favourite author behind Charles Dickens. The way he presents philosophic ideas and then takes them to their disastrous conclusions makes for very powerful reading. The one thing disappointing about this novel is the removal of Stavorgin's Confession to the back of the book. The chapter, probably the best in the book, would have given a better understanding of Stavrogin's actions later in the book. The description of pedophilia though makes it understandable why it wasn't included in the main canon, but surely in these immoral days it could be included in the book.
  • (3/5)
    I read it about 35 years ago, but include it here to go with other more recently read Dostoyevsky books. The emphasis was mainly on the cynical and, from Dostoyevsky's point of view, misguided activities of political radicals in Russia at that time. There are some interesting portraits, such as that of Stavrogin, but the book is not as compelling as Crime and Punishment, which I also read at that time.
  • (4/5)
    This is my second Dostoyevsky novel, after the Brothers Karamazov. Like that work, I was engaged by Dostoyevsky's narrative voice, which always has a hint of ironic humor, even when he is discussing truly terrible things - and there are a lot of them in this book. In the end, it descends into a maelstrom of nihilism (OK - that's a bit overdone, but you get in that mood after reading this author.) The book isn't as good as the Brothers Karamazov because the events and characters are even more inexplicable. I guess my problem with Dostoyevsky is that I'm not Russian. His characters do and say things that just don't seem very logical to me - but obviously THEY feel very deeply about what they are doing. I don't know if it is the "19th century"-ness or the Russian-ness of the novel that creates the most problems. Still, I'm intrigued, and the next time I'm heading out for a vacation and want to take a book I can be sure I won't finish in two weeks, I may pick up another one of his. There is considerable pleasure to be found spending a few disoriented weeks in his company and that of his fascinating, if ultimately tragic, characters.
  • (4/5)
    I like this novel better than most of the rest of Dostoevsky's work - things actually *happen,* and they're interesting, to boot. That being said, I'm not super-fond of this translation (Pevear and Volokhonsky) I think it's miles better than their translation of The Idiot - this novel, for example, doesn't have any instances of very awkward and/or confusing word choice - but their treatment of the French phrases really grates on me. I feel like there should have been a smoother way to integrate them. I'm not a French speaker, and there is a character who speaks half his dialogue in French - it was very frustrating to have to refer back to the translation every sentence or so. It was this that made me positively *hate* the character Stepan Trofimovich, though I think the author meant me to feel sympathy towards him.
  • (4/5)
    Part two of my grand 'I should read Dostoevsky's big 3' plan, and much more successful than part 1, Brothers K. Demons was *way* funnier, ultimately much darker, and less mind-numbingly repetitive than K; in fact, I really enjoyed it. Yeah, it's baggy as hell; but it's tighter than K. It has all the tricks and gadgets you'd expect, but they're less intrusive. The strangest gadget by far is the indeterminate narrator. He's a character... who knows what other characters are thinking, even when he wasn't present while they were doing whatever it was they were doing. Is this okay? I really can't tell. It definitely makes it harder to suspend disbelief. But if you're not a big one for suspending disbelief, I'm sure you can come up with some justification for this technique, for instance, it's a really great novel! Or perhaps something involving much more French theory.
  • (5/5)
    I've read this great political novel, but in a crappy old translation with no footnotes. The Pevear / Volokhonsky translation of Karamazov was such an improvement that I'm now working on going back and reading all of the great Russians in their versions.
  • (4/5)
    I liked The Demons, mostly its characters, though sometimes the dialogue devolves in such funny ways. The translation may be a bit uneven. This is not the translation I read, actually, but the one by Magarshack.
  • (5/5)
    Die Namen können verwirren. Deswegen notierte ich mir ein Personenregister:Die Hauptpersonen:Stepan Trophimowitsch Werkchowenski, ehemalsTutor von Stawrogin, Schatoff u seiner Schwester „Dascha“ und Lisaweta NicolajewnaPjotr Stepanowitsch Werkchowenski, sein Sohn 31,102, 124-26, 182, 255ff, ...Warwara Petrowna Stawrogina, Witwe des Generalleutnants Stawrogin, Besitzerin des Gutes SkworeschnikiNicolai Wszewolodowitsch Stawrogin („Prinz Heinz“ des 2.Kap.), ihr Sohn 53ffWeitere Presonen:Andrejeff, Kaufmann 31-33, 36Nadeschda Nicolajewna Dundassowa, Berliner Bekannte 33Der Skworeschniki Kreis um Stepan Trophimowitsch u. Warwara Petrowna („Freidenkernest“), auch Gäste u. Verwandte (Bd.1, Kap. 1-VIII, IX):Iwan Ossipowitsch, ehem.Governeur, entfernter Verwandter von Warwara Petrowna 35, 59, 66-70Liputin, kleiner Beamter, liberal, Atheist mit sarkastischer Laune, klatscht 36, 41, 65-66, 70-72, 83, 108, 113-114, 123ff, 164ff, ...Iwan Schatoff, Sohn von Warwara Petrownas ehem. Kammerdiener, ehem.Schüler Stepan T.s, 36-39, 49-52, 83, 154ff, 176ff, 188-215, ...Wirginski, Beamter, 30 Jahre alt, Autodidakt 39-43, ...Wirginskaja (...) seine Frau, Hebamme 40-42, ...„Hauptmann“ Lebädkin, gewöhnlich betrunken 41-42 (hier erste Erwähnung seiner Schwester Marja Timofejewna „die Lahme“), 131, 156, 164ff, 182ff, 241-255, ...Lämschin, jüdischer Postbeamte, spielt Klavier u. Streiche, 43-44, 475ffKartusow, ehem. Offizier 43Anton Lawrentjewitsch G – w, der Erzähler, Beamter (sein Name wird S.177u.179 genannt)__________Pjotr Pawlowisch Gaganow, ein ehrwürdiger Greis an der Nase herumgeführt 61, 70, 300Agafja, Liputins Magd 65-66Aljoscha Telätnikow, Schreiber des Governeurs Iwan Ossipowitsch 67-68, 301Praskowja Iwanowna Drosdowa, Warwara Petrownas Jugendfreundin, ihr verstorbener Mann, General Drosdoff war ein alter Kollege ihres Mannes, schwer reich 73-74, 79, 87, ...Lisaweta Nicolajewna Tuschina, ihre Tochter, ehem.Schülerin Stepan T.s, 73-74, 80-81, 87-90, 112, 147-155, 165-166, 176-186, ...Mawrikij Nicolajewitsch Drossdoff, Offizier, Neffe des alten Drossdoff (Lisawetas Stiefvater) 79-80, 148ff, 176ff, 415ff, 476, ...Darja Pawlowna „Dascha“, Schatoffs Schwester, ehem. Schülerin Stepan T.s 37, 73-74, 84, 87, 89ff, 154, ...Andrei Antonowitsch von Lemke, jetziger Governeur 75, 77-79, 454ff, ...Julija Michailowna, seine Frau 78ff, ...Karmasinow (Karmasinoff), Novellist, entfernt mit Madame Lembke verwandt 81, 84, 115-121, ...Alexei Nilyitsch Kirilloff, Ingenieur 124-145, 156-164, 192, ...Marja Timofejewna Lebädkin „die Lahme“ 4. Kap. (S.176): „Die Hinkende“ (4-V, -VII), 6-X: 397-409, ...Schigaleff, Bruder der Madame Wirginskaja, griesgrämig mit den ‚trauernden‘ Ohren 190-192, ..., Bd.II: 93-101, II-120-121, ...Alexei Igorytsch, Warwara Petrownas Diener 215, 330ff, 495Artemij Petrowitsch Gaganoff, Rittmeister der Garde, Sohn des „an der Nase herumgeführten“ verstorbenen Pjotr Pawlowisch Gaganow 300, 322ff, 7. Kap. (S.414), II-289, II-341Fedjka, Stepan Trophimowitsch ehem. Leibeigener 327, 6.Kap.VIII: 373ff, 6-XI, ...Tichon, ehem. Bischof, 372Blümer, Beamter der Gouvernementskanzlei, 470, II-10ff, II-33ff, II-132, II-167Semjon Jakowlewitsch, Prophet 481, 485ffErkel, Fähnrich II-292, II-341ffTolkatschenko „der Volkskenner“ II-297, 299Anissim Iwanowitsch, Bedienter bei Gaganoff II-454ffSophja Matwejewna Ulitina, Biebelverkäuferin II-452-3, II-456-7, II-459ff, ... „Goldene Bande“ [jeunesse dorée] um Julija Michailowna 475ff Rahsins Übersetzung scheint recht frei zu sein ; so kürzte sie den recht ausführlichen Vergleich von Stepan Trophimowitsch mit Gulliver (gleich auf der ersten Seite) zu:„Nicht umsonst wurde man unwillkürlich an Gulliver erinnert: gleich wie dieser sich in den Straßen von London noch immer im Lande der Lilliputaner glaubte und die Menschen behandelte, als ob sie Zwerge seien und er selber ein Riese, ganz so spielte auch Stepan Trophimowitsch sich auf, in einer Gemisch von Gewohnheit, wie gesagt, und Dünkel – nur einem Dünkel von einer unschuldigen und unbeleidigenden Art, so daß er, gerade mit dieser rührenden Schwäche, denn alles in allem sehr wohl das sein konnte, was man einen lieben Menschen zu nennen pflegt.“ This reads much less stilted than either Katz’ 1992 or Constance Garnett’s rendering. The latter’s first English translation (from around 1900 as is Rahsin’s German translation) now appears dated whereas the Rahsin text does not.Ein weiterer Vergleich: E.K. Rahsin1906: "Schatoff stand fünf Schritte von ihr, schüchtern, doch mit einem ganz sonderbaren Ausdruck, seelig und wie erneuert. Er hörte ihr zu und ein Leuchten ging dabei über sein Gesicht." (II-334) M.R. Katz 1992 : "Shatov stood in front of her, about five paces away, on the other side of the room, listening to her timidly, but with a sense of renewal, with unwonted radiance in his expression" (638). I much prefer the German translation: it is simpler, more fluid and natural.Zu Stawrogins Aufsuche des Bischofs Tichon und Beichte: Der vollständige Text wurde erst 1921 im Nachlass gefunden. Der Rhasin Ausgabe liegt dessen Anfang (bis zur Überreichung des Briefes) als Anhang bei; Katz (und wohl auch alle späteren Übersetzungen) fügen ihn vollständig nach dem Kapitel „Zarewitsch Iwan“ ein. Katz schreibt, dass Dostojewskis Verleger sich weigerte, ihn zu drucken. (VIII-16)
  • (5/5)
    More directly political than D's other big novels.
  • (4/5)
    A protracted illustration of the moral etc. decay as shown by a small Russian town.
  • (3/5)
    Demons is a very political novel about extreme political views and the ineptitude of the conservative status quo to control them. The book centers around Pyotr Verkhovensky, who is a nihilist and a bit of an opportunist, whose political views lead to death and destruction. Also present is Shigalovism, which is kind of a twisted sort of Communism, and the conservatism of the local governor, Lembke. Meanwhile, the reader is left to make sense of Pyotr's intellectual father, Stepan, who seems to be muddled in his beliefs, and there is also the enigmatic Nickolay Stavrogin, who seems to lack any real convictions at all. This interplay of different characters and their beliefs, both harmless and destructive, lie at the heart of the novel and tell us a lot about Dostoyevsky's view of Russia at this time.While I found the characters and the politics interesting, I was a bit put off by this book. For one thing, it took Dostoyevsky way too long to get past basic characterization and get to the plot of the novel. For this reason, I thought that this was not nearly as well crafted as the other three Dostoyevsky novels that I have read. Additionally, the use of first person narrator who was a confidante of Stepan was off-putting as well. There were several scenes that seemed to drift into third person as the narrator could not have possibly have known about what was happening. An example of this would be a conversation between two people who would not live long enough to share their conversation with anyone else. However, just when I thought that Dostoyevsky had switched narrative styles, the narrator would start telling you things that had happened in the first person. It was very jarring and made it difficult for me to enjoy the novel. For these reasons, while this is a decent novel, I didn't find it to be nearly as good as the other three Dostoyevsky novels that I haver read.
  • (5/5)
    This is by far the most readable Dostoevsky work I have yet come across, and one with a spell-bindingly unputdownable plot once you get past page 300 or so. The book is narrated, after the fact of its action, by a character who acts as a close observer but who does not participate as actively in the plot as the other characters do. There are times when this device seems far-fetched (how does he know so much about everything relevant?), but just when you begin to think so, the author has his narrator explain exactly how he came to know things, whether second-hand or by viewing from a distance. Dostoevsky very deftly handles actions and conversation as if they are occurring among real people, and thus not always privy to all equally. This establishes a reality that more than compensates for the slight distance attributable to the non-omniscient narration.Likewise, some readers may find that the first 300 or so pages, which primarily set up the romantic and domestic backgrounds of the essential personnel, have little to do with the action that eventually takes place. On the contrary, it is just this which comes back to give so much weight to the characters in the end. As the plot becomes more and more political, they are not simply men caught up in their "great idea," but fallible humans who come home to wives and lovers and have a great deal more to give and receive in their relationships than simply the philosophical intrigues that occupy the bulk of their moral concern. The back cover of the Barnes & Noble edition suggests that for Dostoevsky, these grand political ideas were not considerate enough of the everyday person. With his attention to detail, it could be argued that few people were as considerate of the everyday person and his psyche as Dostoevsky.The book has garnered tremendous praise for its prescient resemblance to the events of the Bolshevik Revolution. It is clear that the author's concern was primarily for his native land. In the words of Stepan Trofimovitch, "You see, that's exactly like our Russia, those devils that come out of the sick man and enter into the swine. They are all the sores, all the foul contagions, all the impurities, all the devils great and small that have multiplied in that great invalid, our beloved Russia, in the course of ages and ages. . . . But a great idea and a great Will will encompass it from on high, as with that lunatic possessed of devils. . . and all those devils will come forth, all the impurity, all the rottenness that was putrefying on the surface. . . and they will beg of themselves to enter into swine; and indeed maybe they have entered into them already! They are we, we and those. . . ." Dostoevsky's thoughts may have been only of Russia, but his novel endures precisely because "we and those" are all nations who turn to devils other than that "great idea and great Will." Even in utterly democratic America, the havoc that can be wrought by men in the name of great political ideas will cause the reader to shudder.The Barnes & Noble edition of this book includes an introduction by scholar Elizabeth Dalton, the "Stavrogin's Confession" chapter excised by Dostoevsky's editors and translated by Virginia Woolf, a final note on the work's importance to the philosophies of Sartre and Camus, and a selection of quotations about the book and questions for further consideration. I was particularly surprised at the book's influence on existentialist thinking in spite of what to me seemed obvious Christian messages. However, this is perhaps best captured in the quotation by André Glucksmann included in the supplementary material: "The inner nature of this nihilistic terrorism is that everything is permissible, whether because God exists and I am his representative, or because God does not exist and I take his place. That is what I find so impressive about Dostoevsky: he is a secret, a riddle." I find the idea that one can take an author to be whatever one wants somewhat troubling, but this novel is proof positive of why Dostoevsky continues to be a riddle worth trying to figure out: it offers a great story wrapped up in great thought; or, if you prefer, great thought wrapped up in a great story.
  • (2/5)
    Eindeloos meanderend verhaal over allerlei misdadigers. Lectuur na 350 blz stopgezet, wegens gebrek aan intrige.
  • (4/5)
    The first 350 pages were very tedious, but after that long build up, it did finally get good.
  • (3/5)
    Not much of a story.
  • (5/5)
    Fantastic book. So subtly described, sensitive in almost every word, funny and at the same time tragic in almost every sentence.
    Events are recorded thoroughly and a point is made based on a lifetime of personal experiences.
  • (5/5)
    Probably my favorite work by Dostoyevsky, Demons discusses the implications of nihilism and the drive for destructive revolution. Built within are allegories to traditional Russian views of evil and devils, which can easily make the reader wonder if the antagonists are really just evil nihilist revolutionaries or something even more sinister.
  • (4/5)
    Certainly an underappreciated work of Dostoevsky's, but also not the place to begin reading. Demons is better crafted, as regards plot, than The Idiot but lacks a lot of the latter's charm. The first section of the book is terribly dull -- things begin to pick up when we return to the present and Pyotr Stepanovich arrives. Stavrogin is fascinating. It's frustrating that he doesn't get a real conclusion. Demons might actually be more heartbreaking than the average novel of Dostoevsky, in part because F.M. doesn't get around to fleshing out a couple of the most sympathetic characters until their fates have caught up with them. Worth readings -- but only after reading several of his other novels.
  • (5/5)
    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.
  • (3/5)
    This was a decent novel, but I do not consider it among the finer of Dotoyevsky's works. There seemed to be a little distance, with the style of the writing, that enforced a certain reticence involving the reading. Although there were good parts, and great character development, overall it felt lacking. 3 stars.