Demons (Penguin Classics)

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Demons (Penguin Classics)

Demons (Penguin Classics)

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Julia Mikhaylovna, who has somehow managed to reconcile Andrey Antonovich, is at the summit of her ambition. The father and son are a representation of the aetiological connection Dostoevsky perceived between the liberal idealists of the 1840s and the nihilistic revolutionaries of the 1860s.

Kirillov is a kind of philosopher of suicide and, under questioning from several interlocutors (the narrator, Stavrogin, Pyotr Verkhovensky), expounds his ideas on the subject, mostly as it relates to him personally but also as a general phenomenon.

Estranged from his wife, who has unwittingly become a pawn in the conspirators' game, he descends into a mental breakdown as events get increasingly out of control. Pyotr Stepanovich claims to be connected to the central committee of a vast, organized conspiracy to overthrow the government and establish socialism.

A hint is given when Varvara Petrovna asks the mentally disturbed Marya, who has approached her outside church, if she is Lebyadkina and she replies that she is not. Ivanov was a former member of the group who had chosen to defect, and was killed for fear he would inform. A conviction that has been drummed into me from my time doing A-Level English Literature is that you can never truly ‘get’ a novel until you have read it more than once. As Dostoevsky wrote to a friend about the novel, “What I’m writing is a tendentious piece, I want to speak out rather more forcefully.Conversely, Kirillov was convinced by Stavrogin's exhortation of atheism—the supremacy of Man's will, not God's—and forges a plan to sacrifice himself to free humanity from its bondage to mystical fear. 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. It took several re-readings for me to appreciate the poetic genius of Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness, such that I now rate him over E.

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