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Memorias del subsuelo by Fiódor Dostoievski
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Memorias del subsuelo (original 1864; edition 2011)

by Fiódor Dostoievski

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7,39773475 (4.08)1 / 260
Member:Locals_Only
Title:Memorias del subsuelo
Authors:Fiódor Dostoievski
Info:Catedra (2011), Edición: 4 Tra, Paperback, 200 páginas
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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Notes from Underground by Fedor Mikhaïlovitch Dostoïevski (Author) (1864)

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English (65)  Swedish (3)  Italian (2)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  All languages (73)
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
“My God. A moment of bliss. Why, isn’t that enough for a whole lifetime?” (p. 61)

So concludes Dostoyevsky’s first short story (“White Nights”) in this collection. It’s a story of unrequited love … in a sense. But Dostoyevsky being Dostoyevsky, the love is not entirely unrequited, and the requisition of it is not entirely a requisition. And I suppose we’ll just have to ponder the use of that comma after “why” (in the last sentence of the story). It’s obviously not an interrogative ‘why.’ Is it merely an interjection? I, for one, will never know for sure.


“It’s hard to imagine to what extent a man’s nature can be corrupted” is how Dostoyevsky concludes the selection ‘In the Hospital’ from his “House of the Dead.” This is preceded by a detailed psychological study – and an excellent one – of the man whose responsibility it is to mete out punishment in a prison: i.e., the flogger. In an age in which BDSM (bondage/discipline/sado-masochism) apparently still fascinate (cf. the success of Fifty Shades of Grey), Dostoyevsky’s observations are clearly as relevant as the day he first made them.


“Notes from (the) Underground” is the principal story in this collection and is indeed sui generis. Never have I read what amounts to an internal monologue by what has to be literature’s most notably bipolar-disordered antihero. (“Antihero,” by the way, is not my invention. As you’ll see shortly [below], Dostoyevsky uses it himself to describe the principal character of his novella.)


Perhaps the following “exchange” (with himself) will help to illustrate the matter: “I don’t want to let considerations of literary composition get in the way. I won’t bother with planning and arranging; I’ll note down whatever comes to my mind.

“Now, of course, you may feel you’ve caught me and ask my why, if I really don’t expect to have any readers, I bother to record all these explanations about writing without a plan, jotting down whatever comes to mind and so on. What’s the point of all these excuses and apologies then?

My answer is—well, that’s the way it is “ (p. 122).


But with what justification do I use the words “disordered” and “antihero” to describe the principal character of this piece? Could I (or anyone else) not just as accurately call him a truth-teller or a soothsayer? Perhaps this is the conceit of the work — and its genius.


In a footnote at the very beginning (p. 90) of the piece, Dostoyevsky writes “(i)t goes without saying that both these Notes and their author are fictitious. Nevertheless, people like the author of these notes may, and indeed must, exist in our society…”.


We subsequently learn everything we could possibly want to know about this principal character — except his name. And then, on the penultimate page (p. 202), Dostoyevsky writes (in the voice, once again, of the narrator) “I swear it (the story) has no literary interest, because what a novel needs is a hero, whereas here I have collected, as if deliberately, all the features of an anti-hero. These notes are bound to produce an extremely unpleasant impression, because we’ve all lost touch with life and we’re all cripples to some degree. We’ve lost touch to such an extent that we feel a disgust for life as it is really lived and cannot bear to be reminded of it.”


And so, one is forced to ask: is the principal character of this piece supposed to be everyman? If so, Dostoyevsky is on to something no other writer (at least in my experience) has ever attempted.


The final piece in this collection, “The Dream of a Ridiculous Man,” is just that: the dream of a ridiculous man. If you can figure out some higher purpose or meaning to this piece, you’re a better, more intelligent and more perceptive reader than I am.


If I’ve been at all unclear or equivocal in this review, I apologize. Andrew R. MacAndrew—in his quite helpful Afterward (which I’ve just now read) — states clearly that I’m not alone in my mis- (or dis-) understanding of Dostoyevsky. More to the point, MacAndrew illustrates with a series of events in Dostoyevsky’s own life why the author was not only self-contradictory, but has also been largely misunderstood by readers, scholars and critics alike since he first put pen to paper. It might help you, as a potential reader of this collection, to first read MacAndew’s Afterward as to better understand the sense (or nonsense) of each part of it.


RRB
08/08/14
Brooklyn, NY


( )
  RussellBittner | Dec 12, 2014 |
Who would have imagined that the thoughts of such a loathsome and miserable person could make for such entertaining reading? In Fyodor Dostoevsky’s classic Notes from Underground, we meet Underground Man, a menial Russian bureaucrat living a squalid existence in St. Petersburg “that most abstract and pre-meditated city.” The novel is divided into two sections. The first part comprises Underground Man’s philosophical musings—sometimes thoughtful, sometimes wildly contradictory—arguing that people are neither enlightened nor rational, and only too willing to deny the simple fact that “twice two is four” merely for the perversity of doing so. The second part of the book then details three specific episodes from his past in which he was either offended by someone else’s actions or behaved very badly—almost hysterically foolish, in fact—to a variety of his acquaintances and colleagues.

Some critics have labeled Notes from Underground as the first Modernist novel while others have called it the first Existentialist novel. Whatever the truth of those lofty claims, it is easy to see the influence that this book has had on the development of literature over the subsequent 150 years, including the work of Kafka, Camus, and Sartre right up through that of Joyce, Woolf, Hemingway, and Faulkner. In Underground Man, the author has created one of the most compelling and frustrating characters I have ever come across; he is at once intelligent and hopelessly naïve, arrogant and frightened, lucid and self-delusional, as well as someone who desperately craves love but is incredibly cruel to a decent young woman who might provide it. He is someone who, through his actions and words, has much to teach us about ourselves, although that is likely the last thing he would ever want to do. Nevertheless, Underground Man is not a person you would want to have as a friend or even be forced to sit next to at a dinner party. ( )
  browner56 | Nov 6, 2014 |
What a horrible person -- sad, sick, poisonous. If this guy is supposed to be a metaphor for modern man, what's the point of going on? ( )
  AliceAnna | Oct 22, 2014 |
Marele D. Iar m-a bulversat în doar o sută şi ceva de pagini. ( )
  mariusgm | Sep 12, 2014 |
With the opening sentences: "Dostoevsky introduces the unifying idea of his tale: the instability, the perpetual 'dialectic' of isolated consciousness". - Richard Pevear in the introduction.

I've read two other translations. This one is excellent. It was like seeing an old friend with new clothes, ones that fit better and were complementary. ( )
  DinoReader | Aug 21, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1393 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dostoïevski, Fedor MikhaïlovitchAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adrian, EsaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coulson, JessieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dekker, PietTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ginzburg, LeoneContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary 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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Information from the Portuguese (Brazil) Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Epigraph
Information from the Polish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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.Puszkin)
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)
Dedication
First words
I am a sick man. ... I am a spiteful man.
Quotations
"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
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:03 -0400)

(see all 7 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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 12 descriptions

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