Had the or the Demons (original title: Бесы ) is a novel of Fedor Dostoïevski published in 1872, and whose composition began in 1869. He tells the history of young revolutionists wanting to reverse the established order, and whose chief, Piotr Stépanovitch Verkhovensky, wish that Nicolaï Vsévolodovitch Stavroguine, aristocrat fascinating all the people which he meets, takes his place with the head of the group.
Dostoïevski, conservative and convinced nationalist, wanted to express in this novel its hatred of the revolutionary democrats through a fiction putting in scene the " héros" (conservatives) vis-a-vis the " enemies of the Russia " (Socialist S, Democratic S, Nihilist S). However, the book will prove to be a criticism of all the ideologies: the democrats and the Socialists are not there any more only the had (by ideas), the conservatives too. Mikhaïl Bakhtine explains that by the fact that Dostoïevski does not try to impose its vision of the world through its characters, but leaves them " vivre" , to express itself, which removes any possibility to him of expressing its own opinions through them.
The idea of this novel had come in Dostoïevski following the news from the assassination from a member from the organization “Justice from the People” by his leader, Serge Netchaïev.
Problems of translation of the title
There exists a controversy on the translation of the title, the original Russian title referring more to the idea of the object having (the " démons" , i.e. ideologies) that with the had object (democrats, Socialists). Moreover, the two quotations put in epigraph by Dostoïevski reinforce the difficulty in translating the title. Indeed, the first quotation is an extract of the poem the had Demons / the of Pouchkine (the title of the novel of Dostoïveksi is the same one as that of the poem of Pouchkine, into Cyrillic Бесы ), and seems to insist on the démoniaque character. The second quotation on the other hand (Gospel according to saint Luc, CH. VIII, 32-27.) reports the passage where Jesus releases one had of the demon and transfers the demon in a herd the pourceaux one. This quotation, more important, pleads in favor of the use of the word had in the translation of the title.
Reaction of criticism
The novel caused strong reactions on behalf of the Socialiste S, atheistic S, Progressiste S, which regarded the work as a Pamphlet in their opposition, which by-effect involved a strong reaction of the Critique Littéraire, privileged means of the expression of the opinions Politique S, circumventing the Censure. The Critical S of the time, with populist tendency (Miklaïlovski), revolutionist (Tkatchev) or liberal, denied with the work any literary value, found the characters too caricatural, or still saw there a falsification of the Réalité. The opinion of the Critique S evolved/moved with time. However, under the Soviet era , will not be republished, the criticism of this work against the revolutionary mediums of XIXe century probably not liking the novel the Soviet critics. Today, this work is considered traditional literature, and for some critical, like having had a presentiment of the totalitarian drifts of XXe century, with the image of works of Nietzsche.
With the theater (Albert Camus)The January 30th 1959, Albert Camus finishes to adapt the novel of Dostoïevski for the theater, project come to the idea from the author in October 1953. In 1955, during a radio broadcast in homage to the Russian author, Camus will state to have discovered the novel at the twenty years age. It will have a notable influence on the work of the French writer: The shock that I received some still lasts, after twenty other years .
With the cinema (Andrzej Wajda)
with Isabelle Huppert (Maria Chatov), Jean-Philippe Ecoffey (Pierre Verkhovenski), Lambert Wilson (Nicolas Stavroguine), Bernard Blier (the governor), Filipino Leroy-Beaulieu (LISA), Omar Sharif (professor Stiépane Verkhovenski), Laurent Malet (Kirillov), Wladimir Yordanoff (Lebaidkine)…
transversality of the religious topic in the Demons (or Had) of Dostoïevski , A. Messaoudi, independent editor, 2006. 358 p. ISBN: 2-35335-006-2
- Problems of poetic of Dostoïevski , Mikhaïl Bakhtine, 1929
- the original text.
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