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Notes from Underground (1864)

by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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12,417151495 (4.05)3 / 371
Notes from the Underground is Fyodor Dostoevsky's 1864 masterpiece following the ranting, slightly unhinged memoir of an isolated, anonymous civil servant. A dramatic monologue in which the narrator leaves himself open to ridicule and reveals more of his weaknesses than he intends, this influential short novel lays the ground work for the political, religious, moral and political ideas that are explored in Dostoevsky's later works.… (more)
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English (132)  Spanish (4)  Italian (4)  Dutch (3)  Swedish (3)  Greek (1)  Hungarian (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  French (1)  All languages (150)
Showing 1-5 of 132 (next | show all)
I’m not sure if this novel is timeless or ahead of its time, but either way, it’s one of the most profound and yet relatable works I’ve ever read. I saw a Youtube video that updated the setting of the novel by portraying the main character as a blogger, and I’m convinced that if the Underground Man were alive today, the first forty pages of his book would indeed have taken the form of a blog. He shares his philosophical and existential ramblings, pretending he has an audience, but admitting that no one is really listening.

In the second part of the novel, he transitions from philosophizing to recounting the actual events that drove him to isolation and despair. The humor is (sometimes painfully) relatable as the protagonist’s rich inner life is contrasted with his bathetic social interactions. For example, the section in which he tries to impress the popular kids from his former school—several years too late to improve their opinion of him—reminds me of the song “High School Never Ends.” The Underground Man’s disastrous attempts to gain the recognition he believes he deserves are as darkly hilarious as anything in contemporary entertainment, but with an added depth. Like the clues at the start of a well-written mystery novel, the narrator’s existential ramblings at the beginning of the book take on an ironic quality upon rereading. Although the underground man’s claims that humans will always choose freedom over happiness and individuality over rationality may be controversial as generalizations, they are certainly true of his own life.
( )
  soulforged | Jan 7, 2024 |
A ~40yr-old man philosophizes about conformity, identity, and society in general, and then tells a story about his experiences just prior to his being sent 'underground'. He seems to be both bipolar and an Aspie, and struggles with his manic phase as he is also trying to figure out how and why other people fit in easily and are accepted in society while he must struggle to do the same. He tries dressing differently, asserting himself into social circles with people he vaguely knows, and spending the night with a prostitute, and each experiment just complicates his life without making him any more accepted as just a normal guy. And of course, he knows he is really better than all of them anyway, so his failures just prove how exceptional he really is.
Of course, when Dostoevsky was writing there was no Dr. Asperger yet, and no Aspergers diagnosis, so while he was no doubt writing from his own experiences of himself and/or people he knew, he would not have thought he was writing about the inner life of someone with this brain type(Aspergers/High-functioning Autism). I always find books like this interesting not just for the story, but also for what they show about past eras, that these mental disorders and neurotypes existed in the past too, and that they were just interpreted differently before psychology created the labels we know now. (So, there is not really such an 'epidemic' of autism; we simply are recognizing the wider range of people in the Autistic Spectrum.)
I liked seeing how this book compared with Dostoevsky's others, too. Some of the scenes and ideas from this book crop up again in other books, in other contexts. And,I liked that this book was fairly short. ( )
  JBarringer | Dec 15, 2023 |
I'm going to be honest. I don't understand what the function of the first half of the book serves, at all.

The second half is great, however. The narrative works and the political rants tie in well. It's like reading the urine soaked rants of an incel in the 19th century. The issue with the other officer and the dinner with the classmates are inspired. But things really pick up with the prostitute. While the ending is a little uneven, it is full of some inspired drama and humor. I can see how this book was an influence on Taxi Driver.

Marginal recommendation. ( )
  JuntaKinte1968 | Dec 6, 2023 |
Re-read this in 2022 for the first time in maybe 20 years? Not quite what I remembered it to be, but perhaps that is just my age making me less willing to be in reverent awe of classics like this. It's a dreary and joyless walk through foundational 19th century philosophical and moral ideas about human nature and society, ideas that would become very influential, told by a particularly unlikeable narrator. Worth refreshing my memory of those ideas, but I'm glad it's not a long book. ( )
  CJdeBoix | Oct 4, 2023 |
the epitome of an enneagram 4 ( )
  femmedyke | Sep 27, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 132 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (156 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dostoevsky, Fyodorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adrian, EsaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Aplin, HughTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Appelbaum, StanleyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cansinos Assens, RafaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coulson, JessieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dekker, PietTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
FitzLyon, KyrilTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garnett, ConstanceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Geier, SwetlanaÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ginsburg, MirraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ginzburg, LeoneContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hughes, JennyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ingold, Felix PhilippTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kallama, ValtoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kennedy, Paul E.Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
López-Morillas, JuanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lönnqvist, BarbaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pacini, GianlorenzoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pacini, GianlorenzoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pevear, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Polledro, AlfredoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Praag, S. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Randall, NatashaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Redl, ChristianNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roseen, UllaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Self, WillForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simonelli, PeteNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, PhilipEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Steiner, GeorgeForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Volokhonsky, LarissaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
Dedication
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I am a sick man. ... I am a spiteful man.
I am a sick man... I am a wicked 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 reveal 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.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Notes from the Underground is Fyodor Dostoevsky's 1864 masterpiece following the ranting, slightly unhinged memoir of an isolated, anonymous civil servant. A dramatic monologue in which the narrator leaves himself open to ridicule and reveals more of his weaknesses than he intends, this influential short novel lays the ground work for the political, religious, moral and political ideas that are explored in Dostoevsky's later works.

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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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Legacy Library: Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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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.

An edition of this book was published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co..

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Voland Edizioni

An edition of this book was published by Voland Edizioni.

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Urban Romantics

3 editions of this book were published by Urban Romantics.

Editions: 1907832475, 1907832483, 1907832491

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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