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Devils, also known in English as The Possessed and The Demons, was first published in 1871-2. The third of Dostoevsky's five major novels, it is at once a powerful political tract and a profound study of atheism, depicting the disarray which follows the appearance of a band of modish radicals in a small provincial town. Dostoevsky compares infectious radicalism to the devils that drove the Gadarene swine over the precipice in his vision of a society possessed by demonic creatures that produce devastating delusions of rationality. Dostoevsky weaves suicide, rape, and a multiplicity of scandals into a compelling story of political evil, yet he is at his most humorous in Devils: the novel is full of buffoonery and a grotesque comedy.

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classics / fiction / Fyodor Dostoevsky / international / Russian / translation /