Demons (Dostoyevsky novel)
|Translator||Constance Garnett (1916)
David Magarshack (1954)
Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (1995)
Robert A. Maguire (2008)
Michael R. Katz (1992)
Published in English
|Preceded by||The Idiot|
||This article is written like a personal reflection or opinion essay that states the Wikipedia editor's particular feelings about a topic, rather than the opinions of experts. (September 2014)|
Demons (Russian: Бесы, Bésy) is an anti-nihilistic novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, first published in the journal The Russian Messenger in 1871-2. Although titled The Possessed in the initial English translation, Dostoyevsky scholars and later translations favour the titles The Devils or Demons.
An extremely political book, Demons is a testimonial of life in Imperial Russia in the late 19th century. As the revolutionary democrats began to rise in Russia, different ideologies began to collide. Dostoyevsky casts a critical eye over both the radical idealists, portraying their ideas and ideological foundations as demonic, and the conservative establishment, portraying its ineptitude in dealing with those ideas and their social consequences.
Many of the characters represent different types within this ideological conflict. By exploring their interactions, Dostoyevsky depicts the political chaos seen in 19th-century Russia.
The original Russian title is Bésy (Russian: Бесы) (singular bés), which means "demons".
There are three popular English translations of the title: The Possessed, The Devils, and Demons. Constance Garnett's 1916 translation popularized the novel and gained it notoriety as The Possessed. However, this interpretation of "Bésy" has been challenged by some Dostoyevsky scholars. It is argued that The Possessed "points in the wrong direction" and that the Russian title Бесы refers not to those who are "possessed" but rather to those who are doing the possessing - the "possessors". Some insist that this difference is crucial to a full understanding of the novel:
It would be simpler if the title were indeed The Possessed, as it was first translated into English (and into French – a tradition to which Albert Camus contributed in his dramatization of the novel). This misrendering made it possible to speak of Dostoevsky's characters as demoniacs in some unexamined sense, which lends them a certain glamor and even exonerates them to a certain extent. We do see a number of people here behaving as if they were 'possessed.' The implications of the word are almost right, but it points in the wrong direction. And in any case it is not the title Dostoevsky gave his novel. Discovering that the Russian title Bésy refers not to possessed but to possessors, we then apply this new term 'demons' to the same set of characters in the same unexamined way – a surprising turnabout, if one thinks of it.
As a result, newer editions of the novel are rarely, if ever, rendered under Garnett's earliest title "The Possessed".
The novel takes place in a provincial Russian setting, primarily on the estate of Varvara Stavrogina. Living with her on the estate is her son's former tutor, Stepan Trofimovich Verkhovensky, with whom she has been in an intimate but essentially platonic relationship for twenty years. Stepan Trofimovich's son, Pyotr Verkhovensky, is an aspiring revolutionary conspirator who attempts to organize a knot of revolutionaries in the area. He considers Varvara Stavrogina's son, Nikolai, central to his plot because he thinks Nikolai Stavrogin has no sympathy for mankind whatsoever.
Verkhovensky gathers conspirators like the philosophizing Shigalev, suicidal Kirillov, and the former military man Virginsky, and he schemes to solidify their loyalty to him and each other by murdering a former fellow conspirator who now regrets his involvement - Ivan Shatov. Verkhovensky plans to have Kirillov, who has committed to killing himself, take credit for the murder in his suicide note. Verkhovensky murders Shatov and Kirillov complies, but the scheme falls apart. Verkhovensky escapes, but the remainder of his aspiring revolutionary crew is arrested. In the denouement of the novel, Nikolai Stavrogin kills himself, tortured by his own misdeeds.
The narrative is written in the first person by a minor character, Anton Lavrentyevich G—v, who is a close friend and confidant of Stepan Verkhovensky. Young, educated, upright and sensible, Anton Lavrentyevich is a local civil servant who has decided to write a chronicle of the strange events that have recently occurred in his town. Despite being a secondary character, he has a surprizingly detailed and intimate knowledge of all the characters and events, such that the narrative often seems to metamorphose into that of the omniscient third person. This choice of narrative perspective, according to Frank, enables Dostoyevsky "to portray his main figures against a background of rumor, opinion and scandal-mongering that serves somewhat the function of a Greek chorus in relation to the central action." A similar technique is used in The Brothers Karamazov.
- Stepan Trofimovich Verkhovensky is a refined and high-minded intellectual whose ideas and actions are nevertheless partly responsible for the development of the nihilistic forces, centering around his son Pyotr Stepanovich and Nikolai Stavrogin, that ultimately bring local society to the brink of collapse. The character is Dostoyevsky's rendering of an archetypal liberal idealist of the 1840s Russian intelligentsia, and is based partly on Timofey Granovsky and Alexander Herzen.
- The novel begins with the narrator's affectionate but ironic description of Stepan Trofimovich's character and early career. He has been married twice, but is a widower during the events of the novel. He has one child, Pyotr Stepanovich, from his first marriage, but he took no part in his son's upbringing, instead leaving him to be raised by aunts in a distant province. He had the beginnings of a career as a lecturer at the University, and his writings and occasional speeches argued on the Western side of the Westernizer/Slavophile debate that dominated intellectual discussion at that time in Russia. He claims that this made government officials concerned that he is a potentially dangerous thinker, forcing him out of academia and into exile in the provinces. In reality it is more likely that no one of note in the government knew who he was, much less had any concern about his spreading dangerous ideas. He nonetheless hastened to accept the proposal from Varvara Stavrogina that he should take on himself "the education and the entire intellectual development of her only son in the capacity of a superior pedagogue and friend, not to mention a generous remuneration."
- The delicate, ambiguous relationship between Stepan Trofimovich and Varvara Stavrogina runs through the book. They love each other and cannot part, but at the same time they are a source of immense frustration for each other. In a cynical but not entirely inaccurate critique of his father, Pyotr Stepanovich describes their mutual dependence thus: "she provided the capital, and you were her sentimental buffoon." He is utterly dependent on her financially and she frequently rescues him from the consequences of his irresponsibility. She promotes his reputation as the town's preeminent intellectual, a reputation he happily indulges at regular meetings, often enhanced with champagne, of the local "free-thinkers". Present at these meetings are many of the individuals who go on to play a role in the chaos that follows.
- On his death bed at the end of the novel, Stepan Trofimovich goes through the harrowing ordeal of reconciling with Varvara Stavrogina. He recognizes the deceit of his life, accepts the blame, forgives others, and makes an ecstatic speech expressing his re-kindled love of God.
- Varvara Petrovna Stavrogina is a wealthy and influential landowner, residing on the magnificent estate of Skvoreshniki where much of the novel takes place.
- Varvara Petrovna begins by inviting Stepan Trofimovich to become the tutor and spiritual guide of her young son Nikolai Vsevolodovich, but goes on to form an attachment to him that endures for twenty years. She supports him financially and emotionally, protects him, fusses over him, even creates a costume for him, and in the process acquires for herself an idealized romantic poet and intellectual, modelled somewhat on the writer Nestor Kukolnik.
- Generous, noble-minded and strong willed, Varvara Petrovna prides herself on her patronage of artistic and charitable causes. She is "a classic kind of woman, a female Maecenas, who acted strictly out of the highest considerations". But she is also extremely demanding and unforgiving, and is almost terrifying to Stepan Trofimovich when he (usually out of weakness) fails her or humiliates her in some way. Pyotr Stepanovich, on his arrival in the town, is quick to take advantage of her resentment towards his father.
- Varvara Petrovna almost worships her son Nikolai Vsevolodovich and has high hopes for him, but there are indications that she is aware that there is something deeply wrong. She tries to ignore this however, and Pyotr Stepanovich is able to further ingratiate himself by subtly presenting her son's inexplicable behaviour in a favourable light.
- The story ends tragically for Varvara Petrovna, with the death of Stepan Trofimovich, and the suicide of her son.
- Nikolai Vsevolodovich Stavrogin is the central character of the novel, but he is a highly ambiguous figure and often only an observer or secondary participant in key events. Though in appearance handsome, intelligent, aristocratic and refined, the narrator notes that he is a little too perfect: "you might say that he was a picture of beauty, but at the same time there was something repellent about him." Though self-assured and courteous, his general demeanour is described as "stern, pensive and apparently distracted."
- Growing up, Stavrogin was greatly influenced by Stepan Trofimovich. The teacher "knew how to reach into his young friend's heart and pluck the deepest chords." Although Varvara Petrovna herself took little part in her son's development, Nikolai Vsevolodovich was nevertheless always "morbidly aware that that she was keeping a close watch on him." At the age of sixteen he left Skvoreshniki to study at the Lyceum. After completing his studies he served time in the military in an elite horse regiment, then lived for a time in Petersburg before returning home, aged about twenty-five, to live with his mother. Though at first well behaved and decorous, he suddenly shocks the locals with several ridiculous but aggressively antisocial actions. These include dragging a man of high social standing by the nose at a local bar, kissing another man's wife at the couple's wedding party, and biting the governor's ear. Society is outraged, but he is partly forgiven owing to a medical diagnosis of an acute episode of mental illness.
- When in Petersburg Stavrogin had secretly married the mentally and physically disabled Marya. He shows signs of caring for her, but ultimately he becomes complicit in her murder. At the end of the chapter "Night (Continuation)" he throws a number of banknotes at Fedka the Convict, apparently as a down payment to kill his wife and brother in law. The extent to which he fully understands what will happen when he does this is unclear, but he is aware that the murder is being plotted and does nothing to prevent it. In a letter to Darya Pavlovna, not long before his eventual suicide, he affirms that he is guilty in his own conscience for the murder of his wife.
- Other characters are fascinated by Stavrogin, especially the younger Verkhovensky, who envisions him as the figurehead of the revolution he is attempting to spark. Shatov once looked up to him as a potentially great figure who could inspire Russia to a Christian regeneration. Disillusioned, he now sees him as "an idle, footloose son of a landowner", a man who has lost the distinction between good and evil. Stavrogin, according to Shatov, is driven by "a passion for inflicting torment", not simply for the pleasure of harming others, but to torment his own conscience, to wallow in the sensation of "moral carnality".
- In an originally censored section (included as the chapter "At Tikhon's" in modern editions), Stavrogin confesses to, among other things, raping and driving to suicide a girl of only 12 years. In his written confession he describes in detail the profound inner pleasure he experiences when he becomes conscious of himself in shameful situations, particularly in moments of committing a crime. He notes that the pleasure is always accompanied by an equally powerful anger, but that the pleasure is heightened immeasurably by suppressing the anger.
- Pyotr Stepanovich Verkhovensky is the son of Stepan Trofimovich Verkhovensky and the principal driving force of the mayhem that ultimately engulfs the town. The father and son are a representation of the aetiological connection Dostoyevsky perceived between the liberal idealists of the 1840s and the nihilistic revolutionaries of the 1860s. The character of Pyotr Stepanovich was inspired by the revolutionary Sergey Nechayev, in particular the methods described in his manifesto Catechism of a Revolutionary. Verkhovensky's murder of Shatov in the novel was based on Nechayev's actual murder of a former revolutionary associate.
- Pyotr Stepanovich claims to be at the center of a vast, organized conspiracy to overthrow the government and establish socialism. He manages to convince his small group of co-conspirators that they are just one revolutionary cell among many, and that their part in the scheme will help set off a nationwide revolt. In reality, there is probably not much of a conspiracy beyond himself, but he still hopes that fermenting chaos and unrest in this remote province might help spark a widespread uprising. His ambitious scheme requires Stavrogin as the figurehead, and he tries desperately, through a combination of ensnarement and persuasion, to recruit him. The revolution he envisages will ultimately require a despotic leader, and he thinks that Stavrogin's strong will, personal charisma and "unusual aptitude for crime" are the necessary qualities for such a leader.
- Pyotr Stepanovich is never at a loss for words. He is very adept at flattery and saying what people want to hear. He begins by using these abilities to manipulate Varvara Stavrogina, but his greatest success is with the Governor's wife, Yulia Mikhaylovna von Lembke, and he manages to gain an extraordinary influence over her and her social circle. This influence, in conjunction with constant undermining of authority figures like his father and the Governor, is ruthlessly exploited to bring about discord and a breakdown of standards in society.
- Ivan Pavlovich Shatov is the son of Varvara Stavrogina's deceased valet. When he was a child she took him and his sister Darya Pavlovna under her protection, and they received tutoring from Stepan Trofimovich. At university Shatov had socialist convictions and was expelled following an incident. He travelled abroad as a tutor with a merchant's family, but the employment came to an end when he married the family's governess who had been dismissed for 'freethinking'. Having no money and not recognizing the ties of marriage, they parted almost immediately. He wandered Europe alone before eventually returning to Russia.
- By the time of the events in the novel Shatov has completely rejected his former convictions and become a passionate defender of Russia's Orthodox Christian heritage and destiny. In general Shatov is awkward, gloomy and taciturn, but when aroused by a perceived affront to his Russian nationalist convictions he becomes unrestrained and loquacious. This is seen most vividly in the chapter 'Night' where he engages in a heated discussion with Stavrogin about God, Russia and morality. As a younger man Shatov had idolized Stavrogin, but now, having seen through him and guessed the secret of his marriage, he seeks to tear down the idol in a withering critique. But Stavrogin, though affected, is certainly not withered, and answers by drawing attention to the inadequacy of Shatov's own faith, something Shatov himself recognizes. As they part, Shatov advises Stavrogin to go and see the holy man Tikhon.
- Shatov's relationship with Pyotr Verkhovensky is one of mutual hatred. Verkhovensky conceives the idea of having the group murder him as a traitor to the cause, thereby binding them closer together by the blood they have shed. The murder occurs shortly after Shatov's estranged wife Marie suddenly reappears in the town, pregnant with Stavrogin's child. Shatov is overjoyed to reunite with her and is planning to be the father to the illegitimate child.
- Alexei Nilych Kirillov is an engineer who lives in the same house at Bogoyavlenskaya Street as Shatov and Lebyadkin. He has a connection to Verkhovensky's revolutionary movement but of a very unusual kind: he is determined to kill himself and has agreed to do it at a time when it can be of use to the movement's aims.
- Kirillov, like Shatov, has been deeply influenced by Stavrogin, but in a diametrically opposed way. While inspiring Shatov with the ecstatic image of the Russian Christ, Stavrogin was simultaneously encouraging Kirillov toward the logical extremes of atheism -the absolute supremacy of the human will. "If God does not exist" according to Kirillov, "then all will is mine, and I am obliged to proclaim self-will." This proclamation, for Kirillov, must take the form of the act of killing himself with the sole motive being annihilation of mankind's fear of pain and death, so that the new era of the Man-God, where there is no God other than the human will, can begin.
- That such a proclamation must take the form of suicide is a reflection of Kirillov himself. Despite the apparent grandiosity of the idea, Kirillov himself is a reclusive, deeply humble, almost selfless person who has become obsessed by the idea of making himself a sacrifice for the greater good of humanity. Pyotr Stepanovich tells him: "You haven't consumed the idea but you... have been consumed by the idea, and so you won't be able to relinquish it." The motives are of no interest to Pyotr Stepanovich, but he has latched on to the sincerity of Kirillov's intention and seeks to use it to deflect attention from his own crimes. Kirillov, despite his friendship with Shatov and contempt for Pyotr Stepanovich, does actually end by writing a suicide note falsely taking responsibility for the murder of Shatov, and in the presence of Pyotr Stepanovich, kills himself.
- The character of Kirillov is a subject of deliberation in Camus' philosophical essay The Myth of Sisyphus.
- Captain Lebyadkin is the former officer whose sister is secretly married to Stavrogin. He receives payments from Stavrogin for her care, but he mistreats her and squanders the money on himself. He is loud, indiscreet, and almost always drunk. Although in awe of Stavrogin, he is a constant threat to maintaining the secrecy of the marriage. He is unwillingly involved in Pyotr Stepanovich's plans, and his inept attempts to extract himself via approaches to the authorities are another cause of his eventual murder.
- Marya Timofeevna Lebyadkina is Captain Lebyadkin's sister and is married to Nikolai Stavrogin. Though childlike, mentally fragile and confused, she frequently demonstrates a deeper insight into what is going on, and has many of the attributes of a "holy fool".
- Fedka the Convict is an escaped convict who is suspected of several thefts and murders in the town. He was originally a serf belonging to Stepan Trofimovich, but was sold into the army to help pay his master's gambling debts. He is willing to murder for money and Pyotr Stepanovich seeks to take advantage of this. It is Fedka who murders Stavrogin's wife and her brother Lebyadkin, at the instigation of Pyotr Stepanovich. Stavrogin himself initially opposes the murder, but his later actions suggest a kind of passive consent.
- Lizaveta Nikolaevna Tushin is a vivacious local beauty who becomes engaged to her cousin Mavriky Nikolaevitch Drozdov, but is fatally attracted to Stavrogin.
- Mavriky Nikolaevich Drozdov is a visiting gentleman and is Lizaveta Nikolaevna's fiancé. He is quiet, sensible, and traditional.
- Liputin is a known liberal and has a reputation of an atheist. He thrives on the subject of gossip in the meetings held by Stepan, which was the major reason for his attendance. Liputin is also heavily involved within Peter's organization.
Demons is a combination of two separate novels that Dostoyevsky was working on. 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.
Mikhail Katkov, the editor of the journal The Russian Messenger in which Demons was originally serialized, refused to publish the chapter "At Tikhon's" and Dostoyevsky was eventually forced to drop it and rewrite parts of the novel that dealt with its subject matter. The chapter concerns Stavrogin's visit to the monk Tikhon at the local monastery, during which he confesses, in the form of a lengthy and detailed written document, to taking sexual advantage of a downtrodden and vulnerable 12 year old girl, Matryosha, and then waiting and listening as she goes through the process of hanging herself. Dostoyevsky considered the chapter to be essential to an understanding of the psychology of Stavrogin, and he tried desperately but unsuccessfully to save it through revisions and concessions to Katkov. Dostoyevsky himself never included the chapter in subsequent publications of the novel, but it is generally included in modern editions as an appendix. It has also been published separately, translated from Russian to English by S. S. Koteliansky and Virginia Woolf and edited by Sigmund Freud.
Demons is often noted for the range of clashing ideologies present in the novel. As in most of Dostoyevsky's other works, certain characters are descriptive of specific philosophies.
- Nihilism, embodied by Pyotr Verkhovensky, is an anarchist ideology that demands the destruction of the current social order. A description of Verkhovensky's philosophy of political change is posited as "the method of a hundred million heads," referring to his predicted death toll.
- Shigalevism (or "shigalevshchina") is a philosophy specific to the book and particularly to the character Shigalev. Shigalevism demands that ninety percent of society be enslaved to the remaining ten percent. Equality of the herd is to be enforced by police state tactics, state terrorism, and destruction of intellectual, artistic, and cultural life. Like Verkhovensky, Shigalev agrees that for "reason" to spread, one hundred million heads will have to roll. In Marxist interpretations, Shigalev and his fellow conspirators are seen as caricatures, and as "a slander on socialism." Others, including Soviet dissidents Boris Pasternak, Igor Shafarevich, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn, have called Dostoyevsky's description of Shigalev prophetic about the tactics used following the October Revolution. Pasternak, in particular, is known to have often used the term "Shigalevism" to refer to Joseph Stalin's Great Purge.
- Tsarism is embodied by the provincial Governor Andrei Antonovich von Lembke, who is a German aristocrat and convert from Lutheranism to the Russian Orthodox Church. Like the government he serves, Count von Lembke is shown to be incapable of dealing with radical extremism. Indeed, the local Russian nobility find the radicals trendy and charming, arranging at their request the literary banquet from which the fiasco of the planned revolution begins.
References in other works
- Dmitri Shostakovich, Four Verses of Captain Lebyadkin for bass and piano, Opus 146 (1974). Shostakovich draws his text from Lebyadkin's puerile and pretentious poetry, which is scattered through the novel. He stated: "There is much of the buffoon in Lebyadkin, but much more of the sinister. I have turned out a very sinister composition."
- The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus. Camus discusses the novel along with others by Dostoyevsky in relation to absurdism. Particular attention is given to the character of Kirillov and his choice to kill himself.
- 1913, play produced by the Moscow Art Theater.
- 1959, French play The Possessed written by Albert Camus.
- 1967, French film La Chinoise adapted by Jean-Luc Godard.
- 1969, BBC mini-series The Possessed adapted by Lennox Phillips starring Keith Bell; also broadcast on PBS television in 1972.
- 1984, French drama La femme publique (The Public Woman) is a film inspired by the novel.
- 1988, French film Les Possédés adapted by Andrzej Wajda.
- 2008, I demoni di San Pietroburgo by Giuliano Montaldo.
- 2009, "...the itsy bitsy spider..." adapted by Alexandre Marine for Studio Six Theatre Company.
- Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Demons trans. Robert A. Maguire. Penguin Books, 2008. Chronology x
- Frank, Joseph (2010). Dostoevsky A Writer in his Time. New Jersey: Princeton University Press. p. 623. ISBN 978-0-691-12819-1.
- The introduction of Demons Trans. Pevear and Volokhonsky. New York: Vintage Classics, 1995
- Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Demons. Trans. Pevear and Volokhonsky. New York: Vintage Classics, 1995. Page xiii.
- Frank, Joseph (2010). Dostoevsky A Writer In His Time. New Jersey: Princeton University Press. p. 261.
- Frank, Joseph (2010). Dostoevsky A Writer In His Time. New Jersey: Princeton University Press. pp. 603–4, 610. ISBN 978-0-691-12819-1.
- Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Demons trans. Robert A. Maguire. Penguin Books, 2008. p12
- Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Demons trans. Robert A. Maguire. Penguin Books, 2008. p339
- Wasiolek, Edward (1964). Dostoevsky: The Major Fiction. Cambridge, Massachusetts: M.I.T. Press. p. 112.
- Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Demons trans. Robert A. Maguire. p725-34
- Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Demons trans. Robert A. Maguire. Penguin Books, 2008. p21-2
- Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Demons trans. Robert A. Maguire. Penguin Books, 2008. p14
- Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Demons trans. Robert A. Maguire. p48
- Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Demons trans. Robert A. Maguire. p201
- Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Demons trans. Robert A. Maguire. p45
- Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Demons trans. Robert A. Maguire. p44
- Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Demons trans. Robert A. Maguire. p312
- Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Demons trans. Robert A. Maguire. p744
- Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Demons trans. Robert A. Maguire. p282
- Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Demons trans. Robert A. Maguire. p764
- Wasiolek, Edward (1964). Dostoevsky: The Major Fiction. Cambridge, Massachusetts: M.I.T. Press. p. 112.
- Frank, Joseph (2010). Dostoevsky A Writer in his Time. New Jersey: Princeton University Press. p. 630. ISBN 978-0-691-12819-1.
- Wasiolek, Edward (1964). Dostoevsky: The Major Fiction. Cambridge, Massachusetts: M.I.T. Press. p. 135.
- Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Demons trans. Robert A. Maguire. Penguin Books, 2008. p281
- Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Demons trans. Robert A. Maguire. p33
- Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Demons trans. Robert A. Maguire. p265-84
- Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Demons trans. Robert A. Maguire. p280-1
- Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Demons trans. Robert A. Maguire. p685
- Frank, Joseph (2010). Dostoevsky A Writer In His Time. New Jersey: Princeton University Press. pp. 654–5. ISBN 978-0-691-12819-1.
- Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Demons trans. Robert A. Maguire. p618
- Frank, Joseph (2010). Dostoevsky A Writer in His Time. New Jersey: Princeton University Press. p. 658. ISBN 978-0-691-12819-1.
- Frank, Joseph (2010). Dostoyevsky A Writer In His Time. New Jersey: Princeton University Press. pp. 622–4. ISBN 978-0-691-12819-1.
- Stavrogin's Confession including Dostoevsky and Parricide, by Fyodor Dostoevsky (Author), Sigmund Freud (Afterword) including a psychoanalytic study of the author, Virginia Woolf (Translator), S.S. Koteliansky (Translator) Publisher: Lear Publishers (1947) ASIN: B000LDS1TI ASIN: B000MXVG94
- The Possessed By Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Elizabeth Dalton, Constance Garnett Translated by Constance Garnett Contributor Elizabeth Dalton Published by Spark Educational Publishing, 2004 ISBN 1-59308-250-9, ISBN 978-1-59308-250-5 pg 679 
- Alexander Solzhenitsyne et al (1981), From Under the Rubble, Gateway Editions. Page 54.
- Alexander Gladkov (1977), Meetings with Pasternak, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Pages 34.
- Boris Pasternak (1959), I Remember: Sketch for an Autobiography, Pantheon, pg. 90.
- Shostakovich, Dimitri. Letter to Isaak Glickman, 23 August 1974
- The Possessed (The Devils) at Project Gutenberg
- Joyce Carol Oates: Tragic Rites In Dostoevsky's The Possessed
- Dr Rowan Williams on Demons
- Compare English translations of Demons
- Online Russian text of Demons (Russian)
- The Possessed public domain audiobook at LibriVox