Notes from Underground

Hardcover, 160 pages

English language

Published March 23, 2004 by Everyman's Library.

ISBN:
978-1-4000-4191-6
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OCLC Number:
53059249

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4 stars (36 reviews)

Notes from Underground (pre-reform Russian: Записки изъ подполья; post-reform Russian: Записки из подполья, tr. Zapíski iz podpólʹya), also translated as Notes from the Underground or Letters from the Underworld, is an 1864 novella by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Notes is considered by many to be one of the first existentialist novels. It presents itself as an excerpt from the rambling memoirs of a bitter, isolated, unnamed narrator (generally referred to by critics as the Underground Man), who is a retired civil servant living in St. Petersburg. The first part of the story is told in monologue form, or the underground man's diary, and attacks emerging Western philosophy, especially Nikolay Chernyshevsky's What Is to Be Done? The second part of the book is called "Apropos of the Wet Snow" and describes certain events that appear to be destroying and sometimes renewing the underground man, who acts as a first person, unreliable narrator and …

58 editions

Review of 'Notes from underground' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

This was probably not the best pick to read as my first exploration of Fyodor Dostoevsky. Notes from Underground consists of two essays that were first published in Russian magazines during the nineteenth century. Both articulated Dostoevsky’s rejection of contemporary philosophers who argued that human reason could be harnessed in pursuit of the beautiful and lofty.

The first essay, “Underground,” features our narrator philosophizing about human nature. In a firm rejection of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Dostoevsky argues that humans possess an inherently evil and dilatory nature and that whether civilized or not, humankind leans toward the promotion of suffering. He also takes aim at Edmund Burke and Immanuel Kant, arguing that “want” (desire/appetite) represents a “manifestation of the whole of life—that is, the whole of human life, including reason and various little itches” (28). Of course, this is also an inversion of Aristotle’s allegory of the charioteer whereby the “reason” horse …

Review of 'Notes from underground' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

This was disappointing. The Brothers Karamazov is one of my favorite books, so I thought I'd love this one, too. But the first part of the book is just one long ramble that sounds like something you'd hear from a drunk, "intellectual", 14 year-old. The second half of the book was much better, as there was an actual story to it. It was a glimpse into the mind of a 19th century neckbeard/"niceguy", replete with all the expected complaints about Chads and concomitant bitterness towards women.

Review of 'Notes from underground' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Depressing yet strangely uplifting at the same time. It might be pretentious of me to say that I found so much of myself in the 'unnamed' man from the underground, but that feeling of quiet understanding of narrator's emotions compels me to say so. Perhaps I finally found my best friend - who cares if he is a dead Russian author from 19th Century!

Review of 'Notes from Underground' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Have you ever read one of those books where once you put it down you feel like you yourself have become a better person by osmosis? …that the spark of good inside you has discovered new ways of taking the reins and making its influence felt in the world? …that the protagonist has taken you by the hand, pulled you into the pages, and then turned you around to look back at your world with new eyes to see previously unguessed-at hints of possibility for human progress and redemption?

This is pretty much the opposite of those.

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Subjects

  • Russia
  • Literature - Classics / Criticism
  • Russian Novel And Short Story
  • Classics
  • Fiction
  • Officials and employees
  • Fiction / Classics
  • 1801-1917
  • History