The Possessed is regarded the world over as the most shattering vision of nihilism in action to come out of Russia. Despite their different interpretations of radical politics, the young men, Stavrogin and Verhovensky combine fanaticism, treachery, and self-contradiction to incite an entire town to pillage, arson, and slaughter. In this story of misfits who believe in nothing and wish only to destroy, Dostoyevsky is everywhere concerned with the passion man demonstrates for the lie in order to create a chaos that mirrors his tortured soul.
"Dostoyevsky wrote of the unconscious as if it were conscious; that is in reality the reason why his characters seem 'pathological,' while they are only visualized more clearly than any other figures in imaginative literature....He was in the rank in which we set Dante, Shakespeare and Goethe." --Edwin Muir
A New Transaltion by Andre R. MacAndre and Afterword by Marc Slonim
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