Also known as Demons, The Possessed is a powerful socio-political novel about revolutionary ideas and the radicals behind them. It follows the career of Pyotr Stepanovitch Verhovensky, a political terrorist who leads a group of Nihilists on a demonic quest for societal breakdown. They are consumed by their desires and ideals, and have surrendered themselves fully to the darkness of their ‘demons’. This possession leads them to engulf a quiet provincial town and subject it to a storm of violence. Inspired by a real political killing in 1869, the book is an impassioned response to the ideologies of European liberalism and nihilism, which threatened Russian Orthodoxy; it eerily predicted the Russian Revolution, which would take place fifty years later. Funny, shocking and tragic, it is a profound and affecting work with deep philosophical discourses about God, human freedom and political revolution. This edition contains the original banned Chapter Nine, translated by S.S. Koteliansky and Virginia Woolf, which is presented here as an appendix.
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