Notes from the Underground

Notes from the Underground

by Fyodor Dostoevsky


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Darkly fascinating short novel depicts the struggles of a doubting, supremely alienated protagonist in a world of relative values. Embraces moral, religious, political, and social themes. Authoritative Constance Garnett translation. New introduction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780486270531
Publisher: Dover Publications
Publication date: 02/21/1992
Series: Dover Thrift Editions Series
Edition description: Unabridged
Pages: 96
Sales rank: 86,424
Product dimensions: 5.19(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

With his sympathetic portrayals of the downtrodden of 19th-century Russian society, Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821–1881) exercised immense influence on modern writers. His novels featured profound philosophical and psychological insights that anticipated the development of psychoanalysis and existentialism.

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Notes from the Underground 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am from Russia and I believe this book is great. Dostoyevsky is one of my favorite authors and I recommend this book to everyone who is interested in Dostoyevsky. Thank you for listening to me, I thankful for such nice behavior from United States.
samatoha on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In this book dostoevsky historicly draws the line between nihalism and existentialism.The 1st part is almost pure philosophical:the author/hero write his thoughts about the confused,and over-knowledged modern man, that results a negative modern human being.Kafka and Musil took that example and developed it,the existentialists tried to solve the problem aroused.The 2nd part is the prose story and it's magnificent.Dostoevsky is not the best user of words in fiction, but he is genius regardless - describing human nature,both psychologiclly and philosophiclly.
gmillar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I can see what it is that literary critics like about this book but I found that it required a bit more concentration than I was willing to give it.
hellbent on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My favourite Dostoyevsky and have read several times.
GTWise on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Notes from Underground is a distinctly Russian novel, it deals with a Russian character facing a Russian problem. I did not notice this my first time reading it, however, because the Underground Man's spite and resentment transcends his particular Russian situation and can be applied to anyone who is out of step with his culture and times. It should be noted, though, that the particular problem that the Underground Man faces is that his view of life is derived from European romantic literature ¿ which of course is literature and not real life. A distinctly Russian problem in that he is trying to lead a Russian life according to the fantasies and emotions of Western European authors (perhaps a modern day analog would be American teenagers who lead their lives with values and fantasies they get from Japanese anime ¿ although somehow that feels insulting to the Underground Man and to European romanticism). He cannot be the man he wishes to be or lead the life he wishes to live because both cannot be found in the real world, certainly not the practical Russian society he rails against.In the first half of the book, the Underground Man rails against both himself and his times. He rails against modern science and the effect that determinism has on free will. He rails against utopianism and the idea that reason and science will one day build a ¿crystal palace.¿ He rails against himself for being ¿too conscious¿ which leads to a kind of paralysis and both praises and condemns the men of action who, while less aware than him, are productive and able to attain their ends in the world. He is indeed a spiteful man who realizes (or at least perceives) that there is no way to get society and reality to work the way he wants it to, but refusing to reconcile himself to that fact, preferring instead to be spiteful. It is tempting to judge the first half of the book as a work of philosophy, which it is to an extent except that it is a fictional work of philosophy, it exists to give insight into the Underground Man's character not to genuinely critique anything (of course, that's my conclusion. Make your own). In the second half of the book ¿ Apropos of the Wet Snow ¿ the man tries unsuccessfully to live real life according to the rules of romantic fiction. He imagines an epic confrontation between himself and a soldier who has disrespected him, he imagines a duel to the death with an old classmate of his to defend his honor, and he imagines himself saving the soul of a diamond-in-the-rough prostitute. All tropes of romantic literature, and all ending in failure when the Underground Man tries to live them out in real life ¿ particularly his attempts to save the prostitute's soul when she instead becomes the one to help him, leading him to become spiteful toward her. He has grand visions and grand dreams for his life, but he can't get anyone else to play along with him. They go about their lives in a practical way, and he is just left being ridiculous and, at best, a minor irritant.Even though the particulars of the man's situation are Russian, the feelings and attitudes the man has belong to humanity in general. The essential feeling the book deals with is that spite one feels when one knows that things will not go their way, but they refuse to get on board with the rest of society. It's self-destructive, it's senseless, but there's something (I say) noble in preferring to be oneself and miserable than to allow oneself to adopt the prevailing hopes and values in hopes of being united with everyone else. Surely everyone has felt it at one time or another, and for that reason I say that this book has universal appeal. It is also a short read, which lends itself easily to contemplation, re-reading, dissection, and enjoyment. Highly recommended to anyone and everyone.
JonArnold on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For such a short work I was finding this hard going until I realised the problem was with my mindset and over reverent reading of Russian literature. When I realised it was a comedy and worked out something of the Russian sense of humour it all clicked - it's viciously funny enough to anticipate the satire boom of the mid 20th century. Still have problems with the sort of existentialist viewpoint presented here, but at least Dostoyevsky's wit makes it enjoyably palatable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a freshman in high school and having a deep, deep admiration of literature, I fear I do not have much good to say about this novella. I was expecting some form of plot from FyodorDostoevsky, and was a bit pleased towards the end to see it begin to take form, but for the most part was displeased. I am glad, that I did finish all 95 pages and am able to say that I did read a book by Dostoevsky.
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