Show Less
Restricted access

The Perverted Ideal in Dostoevsky's «The Devils»


Nancy Anderson

The Devils (also translated as The Possessed) is one of the four major novels of the great nineteenth-century Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky. This book is the first full-length English-language study of The Devils to examine the novel as a unified whole. Its approach is based upon recognition of a central theme of Dostoevsky's thought: the human need of and search for an ideal transcending the needs and demands of one's own self. Such an ideal may be expressed in many spheres - in religion, in the relations between human beings, and in aesthetics. As this work demonstrates, The Devils is a powerful psychological and sociological study of what occurs when the ideal of transcendence is denied in each of these spheres and a perverted ideal - an anti-ideal - is set up in its place.