The Petty Demon is one of the funniest Russian novels. It is also the most decadent of the great Russian classics, replete with naked boys, sinuous girls, and a strange mixture of beauty and perversity. The main hero, Peredonov, is as comical as he is disgusting. He is at once a victim, a monster, a silly hypocrite, and a sadistic dullard. The plot moves from Peredonov’s petty quest for a promotion to arson and murder via one of the most incredible and uproarious scandal scenes in world literature, the masquerade ball, which the boy Sasha attends as a beautiful geisha. Even in its censored form, it is one of the most provocative and sexually open of Russian books. Sologub removed many passages which would have been unacceptable at the time of publication. In this edition these censored sections are appended, and all are keyed so that the reader can place them in the novel as it was written.