The original Russian title is Bésy (Russian: Бесы) (singular bés), which means "demons".
There are three popular English translations of the title: The Possessed, The Devils, and Demons. Constance Garnett's 1916 translation popularized the novel and gained it notoriety as The Possessed. However, this interpretation of "Bésy" has been challenged by some Dostoyevsky scholars. It is argued that The Possessed "points in the wrong direction" and that the Russian title Бесы refers not to those who are "possessed" but rather to those who are doing the possessing - the "possessors". Some insist that this difference is crucial to a full understanding of the novel.