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Demons (Russian: Бесы, Bésy) is an anti-nihilistic novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, first published in the journal The Russian Messenger in 1871-2. Although titled The Possessed in the initial English translation, Dostoyevsky scholars and later translations favour the titles The Devils or Demons.
An extremely political book, Demons is a testimonial of life in Imperial Russia in the late 19th century. As the revolutionary democrats began to rise in Russia, different ideologies began to collide. Dostoyevsky casts a critical eye over both the radical idealists, portraying their ideas and ideological foundations as demonic, and the conservative establishment, portraying its ineptitude in dealing with those ideas and their social consequences.
Many of the characters represent different types within this ideological conflict. By exploring their interactions, Dostoyevsky depicts the political chaos seen in 19th-century Russia.