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Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Notes from Underground (1864)

by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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8,57898355 (4.07)1 / 310

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English (88)  Swedish (3)  Dutch (3)  Italian (3)  French (1)  All (98)
Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)
Dostoevsky's view of the self has always seemed to me very similar to Kierkegaard's dialectical view of the self. As the relation that relates itself to itself and to the others and ultimately to the eternal.

Here we see the alienation of the underground man. The underground man is this cold and aloof, intelligent, spiteful, slightly sadistic and pitiable creature. He looks at all the shallow and superficial people with both contempt and envy. He considers himself to be morally and intellectually superior to everyone else in the world and also inferior to them. He is filled with shame and self-disgust.
He stands as a mockery to the idea that just promoting science and reason will lead to a better world. In fact, there's a brilliant literary critique of the enlightenment in the part I.
It seems to me that all the despair and hopelessness of the underground man comes from the fact that he refuses to be himself.

( )
  kasyapa | Oct 9, 2017 |
My first Dostoyevsky reading, and I really enjoyed it. Soon I'll begin reading his longer works, this was a good introduction. ( )
  RonTyler | Aug 11, 2017 |
Possibly the first existential novel (novella). The unnamed writer, 40 years old, tells us he is writing to no one but argues that man must choose (free will) and will choose not to live by logic and in fact will choose against logic. The second part, gives us the background of the writer and how he ended up underground. Then the very end, we learn that even this has been edited and we the reader do not know what is the truth. Rating 3.43. ( )
  Kristelh | Jul 31, 2017 |
I think this may be the shortest work by a Russian novelist I have ever read. That being said, I don't know that this book is truly a novel so much as it is an extended short story told from the perspective of a Russian man who tends to rabble and who once drove away a woman who might have been able to love him. Overall, I liked the book, although the first part was certainly difficult to get through, the second (which actually relates a story instead of just philosophizing) more than made up for it. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Jul 24, 2017 |
Fyodor Dostoevsky's classic novella Notes from Underground can be described as either idiosyncratic or rambling, depending on whether you liked it or not. For my part, I can see the author's method behind the madness of his narrator. It is a strange book, I'll grant: the first part is an almost formless collection of philosophical polemic, though chock full of ideas, whilst the second is devoted to a more conventional (but still irregular) narrative involving a dinner party and a prostitute.

This means it is a book you'll have to work at, and I am a bit disappointed that my appreciation for Dostoevsky (both here and in Crime and Punishment) has – by necessity – been so hard-won. It seems a common habit for this writer to critique and parody philosophical texts and movements of his own time and place, the flavour and immediacy of which is obviously lost in reading it over 150 years later in a different language. (In this respect, the assured translation and footnotes by Pevear & Volokhonsky are again welcome.)

Nevertheless, Notes from Underground is a very human piece of writing, betraying insecurities and conceits and restlessness, and it is this which gives it its enduring artistic value. Dostoevsky's narrator is an everyman ("I never even managed to become anything: neither wicked nor good, neither a scoundrel nor an honest man, neither a hero nor an insect." (pg. 5)), though an everyman deliberately turned up to eleven by the writer so that our own lives are illuminated through him. Observe one of the final lines in the book:

"... I have merely carried to an extreme in my life what you have not dared to carry even halfway, and, what's more, you've taken your cowardice for good sense, and found comfort in thus deceiving yourselves." (pp 129-30).

By making us bear witness to the narrator's idiosyncrasies/ramblings, Dostoevsky encourages us to shake off our own complacency about our lives. "Observe yourselves more closely," the defensive narrator urges us on page 16, and if you're willing to engage with this book, you'll certainly find yourself doing so. For in observing the narrator, we soon find we are appraising a strange and unflattering aspect of ourselves. Notes from Underground is a scrap of our psyche being given electric shocks to see how it twitches. ( )
  MikeFutcher | Mar 18, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (455 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dostoevsky, Fyodorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adrian, EsaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coulson, JessieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dekker, PietTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garnett, ConstanceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Geier, SwetlanaÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ginzburg, LeoneContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ingold, Felix PhilippTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kallama, ValtoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lönnqvist, BarbaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pevear, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Polledro, AlfredoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Praag, S. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roseen, UllaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Volokhonsky, LarissaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Wokół mrok, choć wykol oczy;
Co tu robić? Będzie źle!
Bies nas widać w polu toczy
I kołuje nami we mgle.

Biesy kręcą się szalone,
Jako liście w słotny dzień.
Skąd ich tyle? Dokąd pędzą,
Zawodzące straszną pieśń?
Czy to czart się żeni z jędzą?

A była tam duża trzoda świń, pasących się na górze. Prosiły go więc (złe duchy) żeby im pozwolił wejść w nie. I pozwolił im. Wtedy złe duchy wyszły z człowieka i weszły w świnie, a trzoda ruszyła pędem po urwistym zboczu do jeziora i utonęła. Na widok tego, co zaszło, pasterze uciekli i rozpowiedzieli to po mieście i po zagrodach. Ludzie wyszli zobaczyć, co się stało. Przyszli do Jezusa i zastali człowieka, z którego wyszły złe duchy, ubranego i przy zdrowych zmysłach, siedzącego u nóg Jezusa. Strach ich ogarnął. A ci, którzy widzieli, opowiedzieli im, w jaki sposób opętany został uzdrowiony.

(Łuk. VIII, 32-36)
First words
I am a sick man. ... I am a spiteful man.
I am a sick man... I am a wicked man.
"I wished to stifle with external sensations all that was ceaselessly boiling up inside me."
"...because for a woman it is in love that all resurrection, all salvation from ruin of whatever sort, and all regenerations consists, nor can it revel itself in anything but this."
"Leave us to ourselves without a book and we'll immediately get confused, lost -- we won't know what to join, what to hold to, what to love and what to hate, what to respect and what to despise."
At home, I merely used to read. Reading stirred, delighted, and tormented me.
It is impossible for an intelligent man seriously to become anything, and only fools become something.
Last words
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Nella prima parte, "Il sottosuolo", il protagonista racconta la sua infanzia e la formazione della personalità più nascosta (il sottosuolo per l'appunto). Nella seconda, "A proposito della neve fradicia", ripercorre alcuni episodi della sua vita dove più emerge il "sottosuolo". Segue alcuni compagni di scuola ad una cena, sfoga poi l'amarezza per le offese subite su Liza, una prostituta incontrata in una casa di tolleranza, mostrandole con durezza che cosa l'aspetta nel futuro. Dopo qualche giorno Liza ritorna da lui col desiderio di una vita pura, ma viene trattata con disprezzo e volgarità. Per umiliarla le mette in mano un biglietto da cinque rubli, che poi ritroverà sul suo tavolo quando la donna se ne sarà andata, testimonianza della grande dignità di Liza.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 067973452X, Paperback)

(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)Dostoevsky’s most revolutionary novel, Notes from Underground marks the dividing line between nineteenth- and twentieth-century fiction, and between the visions of self each century embodied. One of the most remarkable characters in literature, the unnamed narrator is a former official who has defiantly withdrawn into an underground existence. In full retreat from society, he scrawls a passionate, obsessive, self-contradictory narrative that serves as a devastating attack on social utopianism and an assertion of man’s essentially irrational nature.Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, whose Dostoevsky translations have become the standard, give us a brilliantly faithful edition of this classic novel, conveying all the tragedy and tormented comedy of the original.

From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:28 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

A faithful translation of the classic written at the turn of the nineteenth to the twentieth century follows the narrator's withdrawal from his life as an official to the underground, where he makes passionate and obsessive observations on social utopianism and the irrational nature of humankind.… (more)

» see all 27 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0451529553, 0141024917, 0141194863

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

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Voland Edizioni

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Urban Romantics

3 editions of this book were published by Urban Romantics.

Editions: 1907832475, 1907832483, 1907832491

Tantor Media

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