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Meaning of the term “Demons”

Meaning of the term “Demons”

“Demons” in this sense refers not so much to individuals as to the ideas that possess them. For Dostoevsky, 'ideas' are living cultural forces that have the capacity to seduce and subordinate the individual consciousness, and the individual who has become alienated from his own concrete national traditions is particularly susceptible.


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Much of the plot develops out of the tension between belief and non-belief, and the words and actions of most of the characters seem to be intimately bound to the position they take up within this struggle.

Dostoevsky saw atheism as the root cause of Russia's deepening social p...


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Background of Demons

Background of Demons

In late 1860s Russia there was an unusual level of political unrest caused by student groups influenced by liberal, socialist, and revolutionary ideas. Dostoevsky offers commentary on the relationship of the ideas of his own generation to those of the current generation.


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Quote from the Novel

Quote from the Novel

“One must be a great man indeed to be able to hold out even against common sense. Or else a fool.”

-Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons


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Demons as allegory

Demons as allegory

Demons is an allegory of the potentially catastrophic consequences of the political and moral nihilism that were becoming prevalent in Russia in the 1860s.

It’s a fictional town that descends into chaos as it becomes the focal point of an attempted revolution. The underlying allegorical con...


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Demons as satire and Prophecy

Demons as satire and Prophecy

Demons as satire

Dostoevsky took great pains to derive the novel's characters and story from real people and real ideas of the time.


As prophecy

Since the Russian Revolution, many commentators have remarked on the prophetic nature of Demons. 


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Dostoevsky saw Russia's growing suicide rate as a symptom of the decline of religious faith and the concomitant disintegration of social institutions like the family. Self-destruction as a result of atheism or loss of faith is a major theme in Demons.

There are four actual suicides describe...


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Demons (Dostoevsky novel)

Demons (Dostoevsky novel)

Demons (sometimes also called The Possessed or The Devils) is a novel by Fyodor

Dostoevsky. Demons is a social and political satire, a psychological drama, and large-scale tragedy. The novel was first published in 1873.


“People who can speak well, speak briefly.”



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Fyodor Dostoevsky

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky 1821 – 1881), sometimes transliterated as Dostoyevsky, was a Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, and journalist. Dostoevsky's literary works explore the human condition in the troubled political, social, and spiritual atmospheres of 19th-century Russia, ...


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Introverted Extravert

Demons by Fyodor Dostoevsky


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