The Devils has been, since the Bolshevik revolution, a happy hunting-ground for those in search of quotations to demonstrate Dostoevsky's profound prophetic insight into revolutionary mentality. The Devils, unlike any other novel of Dostoevsky, is rich in elements of caricature. The episode of the young nihilists in The Idiot, in which this interest found its first expression, is a rather tedious excrescence which clashes a little with the prevailing tone of the novel. The ethical problem of Crime and Punishment becomes the ethico-political problem of The Devils. The germ thus planted in Dostoevsky's mind while he was writing The Idiot was suddenly fertilized a year later by a striking event which came home to him in a peculiar way. During the year 1869 a student of Moscow University named Nechaev, a revolutionary fanatic who had consorted with Herzen, Ogarev and Bakunin in Switzerland, began to organize his fellow-students for the coming revolution.