cover of book

By Authors Possessed: The Demonic Novel in Russia
by Adam Weiner
Northwestern University Press, 1998
Cloth: 978-0-8101-1614-6
Library of Congress Classification PG3096.D45W45 1998
Dewey Decimal Classification 891.7300937

By Authors Possessed examines the development of the demonic in key Russian novels from the last two centuries. Defining the demonic novel as one that takes as its theme an evil presence incarnated in the protagonists and attributed to the Judeo-Christian Devil, Adam Weiner investigates the way the content of such a book can compromise the moral integrity of its narration and its sense of authorship.

Weiner contends that the theme of demonism increasingly infects the narrative point of view from Gogol's Dead Souls to Dostoevsky's The Devils and Bely's Petersburg, until Nabokov exorcised the demonic novel through his fiction and his criticism. Starting from the premise that artistic creation has always been enshrouded in a haze of moral dilemma and religious doubt, Weiner's study of the demonic novel is an attempt to illuminate the potential ethical perils and aesthetic gains of great art.
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