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Notes from Underground; The Double (Penguin…
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Notes from Underground; The Double (Penguin Classics) (edition 1972)

by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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1,380129,643 (4)20
Collected here in Penguin Classics are two of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's shorter works, Notes from Undergroundand The Double, translated by Ronald Wilks with an introduction by Robert Louis Jackson.Alienated from society and paralysed by a sense of his own insignificance, the anonymous narrator of Dostoyevsky's groundbreaking Notes from Undergroundtells the story of his tortured life. With bitter irony, he describes his refusal to become a worker in the 'anthill' of society and his gradual withdrawal to an existence 'underground'. The seemingly ordinary world of St Petersburg takes on a nightmarish quality in The Doublewhen a government clerk encounters a man who looks exactly like him - his double, perhaps, or possibly the darker side of his own personality. Like Notes from Underground, this is a masterly tragicomic study of human consciousness.Ronald Wilks's extraordinary new translation is accompanied here by an introduction by Robert Louis Jackson discussing these pivotal works in the context of Dostoyevsky's life and times. This edition also contains a chronology, bibliography, table of ranks and notes on each work.Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky (1821-1881) was born in Moscow. From 1849-54 he lived in a convict prison, and in later years his passion for gambling led him deeply into debt. His other works available in Penguin Classics include Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, The Idiotand Demons.If you enjoyed Notes from Underground and The Double, you might like Dostoyevsky's Demons, also available in Penguin Classics.… (more)
Member:trurl
Title:Notes from Underground; The Double (Penguin Classics)
Authors:Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Info:Penguin Classics (1972), Edition: Reprint, Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:mainstream fiction

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Notes from Underground / The Double by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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» See also 20 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
I've not much to say about this book that hasn't been said before. Both stories are nice and deep.

'Notes from Underground' - a mind bender!

'The Double' - a mind bender in a very different way!

Though hard going at times - I think that was largely due to translations - I loved this book. I'd love to read it in Russian, but I don't speak Russian :) ( )
  ReneePaule | Jan 23, 2018 |
Hey wait, are you a misanthrope? Do you feel betrayed and disappointed with life? Are you a bitter, bitter man? Why narrator, I never would have guessed! Why don't you spend the next hundred pages telling me about it? That sounds like loads of fun. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
This book contains two short novels that have some thematic common ground, which helps to explain why Penguin housed them in a single volume.

Notes from Underground:

This is a very dark and surprisingly modern novella in which an unsympathetic narrator, a retired junior civil servant, describes his gradual alienation from society, initially in a description of his philosophy, but then through narrating some of the episodes that led to his downfall. This book prefigures some of the themes of Crime and Punishment.

The Double:

This is an earlier novella that is more of a comedy, though the core story is a dark vision. Once again the narrator is a St Petersburg civil servant. This one sees himself as an essentially honest person, but gradually falls from grace, then encounters his double, a lookalike answering to the same name, who gradually takes over the "hero's" life. A compelling vision of a broken man trapped in his own nightmare ( )
  bodachliath | Jul 6, 2015 |
This volume combines two of the great Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky's iconic stories: Notes from Underground and The Double; both are thematically linked by their study of the human consciousness in a decidedly tragic-comedic fashion.

In the first novella, Notes from Underground, Dostoyevsky recounts in an extended monologue the thoughts and feelings of the eponymous Underground Man who rambles and rages against the oppressive society "above ground" with bitter irony and how, because he does not want to take part in any aspect of that society, retreats underground to an isolated and tortured existence. He attacks Western philosophy and idealism, choosing instead "conscious inertia".
The second part of this novella delves deeper into the Underground Man's psyche by three events that happened, seemingly before his descent underground, and how they work together to destroy him, demonstrating the uncooperative and irrational actions of humans.

The second novella follows a civil servant as he encounters his doppelgänger one stormy night, and thereupon descends into a nightmarish world as his double demonstrates all the charm and social skills the original Golyadkin lacks to the latter's despair. Eventually, the original Golyadkin encounters more and more of his doubles and must be committed to an insane asylum, leaving the reader questioning how much of the narrator's story was fabricated in his own head.

Both novellas study the human condition and, particularly Notes from Underground, deal with the themes of alienation and existentialism; both are at the start of a long tradition of modern novels that are permeated with a sense of ennui and the meaningless of existence. Both novels in fact explore these themes at length and are an excellent introduction to the works of one of the greatest writers in Russia and indeed the world. ( )
  xuebi | May 30, 2014 |
I imagine Notes was just as difficult when it was published as it is now. The "story" is depressing and starts only in the second part of the novel. During the first part, I kept thinking, "How can the depressed extremes of this character ever be interesting? Is this book one long whine by a self-involved jerk?" As I read on, I started to understand that the man was relentless in following his motivations to their unsentimental beginnings. Uh-oh. This guy is doing something that very few of us do, and he's bragging about it. At that point, I knew I had better read on, no matter painful it gets. A cruel, self-centered, honest person. ( )
  wrk1 | Jan 15, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fyodor Dostoyevskyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Coulson, JessieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Korin, AlexeiCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilks, RonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I am a sick man. ...I am an angry man.
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Collected here in Penguin Classics are two of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's shorter works, Notes from Undergroundand The Double, translated by Ronald Wilks with an introduction by Robert Louis Jackson.Alienated from society and paralysed by a sense of his own insignificance, the anonymous narrator of Dostoyevsky's groundbreaking Notes from Undergroundtells the story of his tortured life. With bitter irony, he describes his refusal to become a worker in the 'anthill' of society and his gradual withdrawal to an existence 'underground'. The seemingly ordinary world of St Petersburg takes on a nightmarish quality in The Doublewhen a government clerk encounters a man who looks exactly like him - his double, perhaps, or possibly the darker side of his own personality. Like Notes from Underground, this is a masterly tragicomic study of human consciousness.Ronald Wilks's extraordinary new translation is accompanied here by an introduction by Robert Louis Jackson discussing these pivotal works in the context of Dostoyevsky's life and times. This edition also contains a chronology, bibliography, table of ranks and notes on each work.Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky (1821-1881) was born in Moscow. From 1849-54 he lived in a convict prison, and in later years his passion for gambling led him deeply into debt. His other works available in Penguin Classics include Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, The Idiotand Demons.If you enjoyed Notes from Underground and The Double, you might like Dostoyevsky's Demons, also available in Penguin Classics.

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