Dostoevsky: the demonic Tendenz

  • John Orr
Part of the Edinburgh Studies in Sociology book series (ESIS)


The Devils is the most politically controversial of all Dostoevsky’s novels. It contains a vicious caricature of Russian liberalism, and open condemnation of the revolutionary ideas of its epoch. Many Marxist critics have preferred to concentrate on Dostoevsky’s other work rather than risk the task of condemning it in terms of their own theory. Lukacs is no exception to the rule. Apart from some brief remarks on Nicholas Stavrogin, he ignores the novel almost completely.1 The fact remains that the novel is written in a realist tradition and fulfils all the criteria of Lukacs ‘critical realism’ bar one—and that one of course is crucial. The novel does not champion an ideologically progressive attitude.


Major Character Virgin Soil Political Tendency False Confession Literary Creation 
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© John Orr 1977

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  • John Orr

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