Last modified on 28 July 2014, at 17:09

Demons (novel)

Demons is a novel by Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky. Though titled The Possessed in the initial English translation, Dostoyevsky scholars and later translations favour the titles The Devils or Demons. An extremely political novel, Demons is a testimonial of life in Imperial Russia in the late 19th century.

Part IEdit

  • What may not be done by habit?
    • I, Ch. 1
  • There are strange friendships. The two friends are always ready to fly at one another, and go on like that all their lives, and yet they cannot separate. Parting, in fact, is utterly impossible. The one who has begun the quarrel and separated will be the first to fall ill and even die, perhaps, if the separation comes off.
    • III, Ch. 1
  • Nationalism has never existed among us except as a distraction for gentlemen's clubs, and Moscow ones at that.
    • IX, Ch. 1
  • Stepan Trofimovitch succeeded in reaching the deepest chords in his pupil's heart, and had aroused in him a first vague sensation of that eternal sacred yearning which some elect souls can never give up for cheap gratification when once they have tasted and known it.
    • I, Ch. 2
  • Russian Atheism has never gone further than making a joke.
    • Ch. 4
  • "I haven't answered, why? You insist on an answer, why?" repeated the captain, winking. "That little word 'why' has run through all universe from the first day of creation, and all nature cries every minute to its creator: "Why?" And for seven thousand years it has had no answer, and must Captain Lebyadkin alone answer? And is that justice, madam?"
    • Ch. 5
  • you know real genuine sorrow will sometimes make even a phenomenally frivolous, unstable man solid and stoical; for a short time at any rate; what's more, even fools are by genuine sorrow turned into wise men, also only for a short time of course; it is characteristic of sorrow.
    • VII, Ch. 5

Part IIEdit

  • My dear, the real truth is always improbable, do you know that? To make truth sound probable you must always mix in some falsehood with it. Men have always done so. Perhaps there's something in it that passes our understanding.
    • II, Ch. 1
  • (French Cleverness)If you have the guillotine in the foreground of your programme and are so enthusiastic about it too, it's simply because nothing's easier than cutting of heads, and nothing's harder than to have an idea
    • II, Ch. 1
  • There is no more better dodge than one's own character, because no one believes in it.
    • III, Ch. 1
  • When all mankind attains happiness then there will be no more time, for there'll be no need of it
    • V, Ch. 1
  • Man is unhappy because he doesn't know he's happy. It's only that.
    • V, Ch. 1
  • He who teaches that all are good will end the world(Shatov). He who taught it was crucified(stavrogin)
    • V, Ch. 1
  • A man who is not orthodox could not be Russian
    • VII, Ch. 1
  • If France is in agonies now it's simply the fault of Catholicism, for she has rejected the inquitous God of Rome and has not found a new one.
    • VII, Ch. 1
  • Socialism from its very nature bound to be atheism(Shatov)
    • VII, Ch. 1
  • It's a sign of the decay of nations when they begin to have gods in common. When gods begin to be common to several nations the gods are dying and the faith in them, together with the nations themselves. The stronger a people the more individual their God.
    • VII, Ch. 1
  • Reason never had the power to define good and evil.
    • VII, Ch. 1
  • France throughout her long history was only the incarnation and development of the Roman God, and if they have at last flung their Roman god into the abyss and plunged into atheism, which, for the time being, they call socialism, it is solely because socialism is, anyway healthier than Roman Catholicism.
    • VII, Ch. 1
  • It seems, in fact, as though the second half of a man's life is usually made up of nothing but the habits he has accumulated during the first half.
    • II, Ch. 2
  • One must really be a great man to be able to make a stand even against common sense.
    • II, Ch. 2
  • Anyone is worthy of an umbrella(stavrogin). At one stroke you define the minimum of human rights(Lebyadkin)
    • II, Ch. 2
  • In every misfortune of one's neighbour there is something cheering for an onlooker - whoever he may be.
    • II, Ch. 5
  • You know, amongst us socialism spreads principally through sentimentalism.(Pyotr Stepanovitch)
    • VII, Ch. 6
  • Cicero will have his tongue cut out, Copernicus will have his eyes put out, Shakespeare will be stoned - that's Shigalovism. Slaves are bound to be equal. There has never been either freedom or equality without despotism.
    • Ch. 8
  • The thirst for culture is an aristocratic thirst. Boredom is an aristocratic sensation.
    • Ch. 8
  • I am a nihilist, but I love beauty. Are nihilists incapable of loving beauty?(Pyotr Stepanovich)
    • Ch. 8
  • outright atheism merits greater respect than does wordly indifference. An out-and-out atheist stands only one step below the most consummate faith, but an indifferent man never has any beliefs, but only base fear.(Tihon)
    • I, Ch. 9
  • By sinnning, every man has also sinned against all other men, and everyone is at least in part to blame for the sin of others
    • II, Ch. 9
  • I want to forgive myself and that is my main aim, my sole aim(Stavrogin)
    • II, Ch. 9
  • A woman is incapable of complete remorse
    • I, Ch. 10

Part IIIEdit

  • In every period of transition this riff-raff which exists, in every society, rises to the surface, and is not only without any aim but has not even a symptom of an idea, and merely does its utmost to give expression to uneasiness and impatience.
    • I, Ch. 1
  • I maintain that Shakespeare and Raphael are more precious than the emancipation of the serfs, more precious than nationalism, more precious than socialism, more than the young generation, more precious than chemistry, more precious than almost all humanity because they are the fruit, the real fruit of all humanity and perhaps the highest fruit that can be.(stepan)
    • IV, Ch. 1
  • Even science would not exist a moment without beauty.
    • IV, Ch. 1
  • The convictions and the man are two very different things.(Shatov)
    • III, Ch. 5
  • God is necessary and so must exist. But I know He doesn't and can't(Kirillov)
    • II, Ch. 6
  • If Stavrogin has faith, he does not believe that he has faith. If he hasn't faith, he does not believe that he hasn't.
    • II, Ch. 6
  • Man has done nothing but invent God so as to go on living, and not kill himself, that's the whole of universal history up till now.
    • II, Ch. 6
  • All are unhappy because all are afraid to express their will.
    • II, Ch. 6
  • A woman is always a woman even if she is a nun.
    • II, Ch. 7
  • Can there ever be said to be absolutely no hope?
    • III, Ch. 7
  • God is necessary to me, if only because he is the only being whom one can love eternally.
    • III, Ch. 7
  • If there is a God, then I am immortal.
    • III, Ch. 7
  • What is far more essential for man than personal happiness is to know and to believe at every instant that there is somewhere a perfect and serene happiness for all me3n and for everything. The one essential condition of human existence is that man should always be able to bow down before something infinitely great.
    • III, Ch. 7