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Notes From The Underground (Illustrated) + Free Audiobook

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[THIS KINDLE BOOK QUALITY IS GUARANTEED: It has been carefully edited with a fully interactive content.] Notes from Underground, 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 m [THIS KINDLE BOOK QUALITY IS GUARANTEED: It has been carefully edited with a fully interactive content.] Notes from Underground, 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, it seems, are destroying and sometimes renewing the underground man, who acts as a first person, unreliable narrator and anti-hero. BONUS : • Notes From the Underground Audiobook. • The 19 Best Fyodor Dostoyevsky Quotes. • 10 Illustrations about Fyodor Dostoyevsky ABOUT THE PUBLISHER: Rutilus classics publishes great works of literature at an affordable price. Our books have been carefully edited with a fully interactive content.


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[THIS KINDLE BOOK QUALITY IS GUARANTEED: It has been carefully edited with a fully interactive content.] Notes from Underground, 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 m [THIS KINDLE BOOK QUALITY IS GUARANTEED: It has been carefully edited with a fully interactive content.] Notes from Underground, 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, it seems, are destroying and sometimes renewing the underground man, who acts as a first person, unreliable narrator and anti-hero. BONUS : • Notes From the Underground Audiobook. • The 19 Best Fyodor Dostoyevsky Quotes. • 10 Illustrations about Fyodor Dostoyevsky ABOUT THE PUBLISHER: Rutilus classics publishes great works of literature at an affordable price. Our books have been carefully edited with a fully interactive content.

30 review for Notes From The Underground (Illustrated) + Free Audiobook

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nate D

    1. Irritated by Underground Man. 2. Amused by Underground Man. 3. Sick of Underground Man. 4. Want to fly to St. Petersburg, travel back in time, and punch Underground Man right in the face. 5. Pity for Underground Man. 6. Horrified by Underground Man. 7. Further reading of Underground Man's monologue almost physically painful. I almost wanted to cover my eyes, but this would have posed problems for reading. 8. Glad to be free of the Underground Man, but glad to have known him, in the end.

  2. 5 out of 5

    karen

    oh, dear. this is not a character that it is healthy to relate to, is it?? he is a scootch more pathetic than me, and more articulate, but his pettinesses are mine; his misanthropy is mine, his contradictions and weaknesses... i have to go hide now, i feel dirty and exposed... come to my blog!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    More than anything, this book should make you think. And not about trivial shit either, but about big, important conditions of life and how best to view and react to them. I have "should" italicized in that first sentence for a reason: If you don't give yourself time to think -- if just skim through the book quickly -- then you won't get anything out of it. It's narrated by a guy living underground, in poverty. You are reading his notes. The first half, his ramblings, thoughts and philosophies o More than anything, this book should make you think. And not about trivial shit either, but about big, important conditions of life and how best to view and react to them. I have "should" italicized in that first sentence for a reason: If you don't give yourself time to think -- if just skim through the book quickly -- then you won't get anything out of it. It's narrated by a guy living underground, in poverty. You are reading his notes. The first half, his ramblings, thoughts and philosophies of life, via monologue. The second half, humiliating stories from when he was 24 (he is now 40). He is a fascinating character. A paranoid, ridiculous, introspective, analytical, abrasive, laughable, vengeful, antisocial, extreme, hypersensitive, pathological, delicate, hilarious, bottom-dwelling, pathetic, indecisive, crazy, loner of a man. He is an educated and intelligent man. Both his thoughts and actions are paradoxical. He is emotionally tough, then emotionally sensitive and fragile. He stands for great unequivocal moral virtue, then cowers further in his morally rotten state. At one moment he has what seems to be great conviction and inner strength. At the next moment, wavering doubt and uncertainty. He is an individual, unaffected by people, choosing to live by himself -- He is hypersensitive to what others think, to the point of being paranoid. He lives in great poverty; he has manic spurts, dreams, and visions of megalomania. You want to feel sorry for him, because he's pitiful and full of pain. You want to hate him, because he is hateful and a burden on humanity. He is a contrarian against everything, even himself. As previously mentioned, the beauty of this novel comes from the many various thoughts it can give birth to. It doesn't offer any easy answers or an obvious paradigm. There are no gifts in this book. New thoughts must be earned, but the opportunities are plenty. Below I’ve listed out some of the random-ass thoughts I had while reading, just to give you an idea of what I’m talking about. Those of you who read the book will probably disagree with some of them, and trust me, I don’t claim to be good with literary analysis, so you could probably convince me against some… after all they’re just thoughts. And don’t feel like you need to read them; maybe one or two to get the main thinkin’ point: - The narrator is an angry man with strongly violent speech, reveries, and threats. Yet we never see him act in violence. Is he, or is he not, physically dangerous? - What a shame it is that someone who has the capability of making great impact -- such as this man -- ends up being so insignificant. If anything, the world would be a better place without this guy. He uses his intelligence and intuition in all the wrong ways, bringing others down, including himself (or often, just himself) through his actions. - Our underground man wavered too much. He had trouble making up his mind and once having made a decision, he'd change it. In regards to making difficult decisions, Yogi Berra once said, "When you come to the fork in the road, take it!" Sometimes, most -- or even all -- of the options available are better than not taking any, or changing your mind midway through. Our narrator even wavered or made stupid decisions when faced with simple situations – common sense scenarios that 99% of the population would respond to in a better fashion than the ridiculous, silly ways that he did. How can such a smart man be such a poor decision maker? - I wonder how successful would he would be if his chemical imbalance where fixed (I guess it would have to be through pills) and he saw a good shrink. I wonder how much of his inner turmoil and unhappiness is caused by not being chemically stable. I wonder how much of his pathological condition is “fixable". - He seems to be incapable of love, and even says so. Yet, he shows dashes of deep understanding of it, and so you think he can't be right about that (himself not being able to love)… but, wouldn't he know? Is he bullshitting? Maybe he’s serious, but just wrong about himself: perhaps he's capable of love but hasn’t yet, perhaps because nobody has ever loved him. He seems to want to love at times, but then he'll completely shun it: glorifying it at one moment and then spitting upon it the next. Could he have opened his heart to the innocent whore that he meets? Given their compliments in character, could they have provided one another with support, understanding, and love, had he just given it a chance? Or, perhaps he doesn't need those things -- ultimately he retreats from such opportunities and returns to his spite. Are things like support, human understanding, and love things that we all need? Maybe if he would just open up once, he would get the love he needs and change into a much better person in all aspects of his life. - At one point in the book, our narrator states, "she is the cause of it all." Perhaps this one quote sums up a large portion of his problem: Instead of taking life by the horns and making the most of it, he's bitter and blames other people for his problems. He needs to take charge of the things he can control, instead of freezing himself with contempt. - In the second half of the book the narrator seems to be completely honest about his ridiculous past actions, and his various shortcomings. There's something to be said for that kind of honesty. It goes hand-in-hand with his anti-social, anti-establishment persona. He doesn't feel a need to present himself as more acceptable to society than he really is (which is to say, not at all). I like this about him. - If the narrator didn’t live in such poverty, could he gave gotten himself out of his figurative hole? If he had the basic necessities, would he have then had the level of conformability needed to start improving himself? If so, would he he then chose to improve himself? - He states, “the most intense pleasures occur in despair” Is he actually enjoying his situation? Oh man, there are just so many ways to look at that…. That sentence alone describes the paradox of this book in so many ways. Go ahead, think about it some.. - This guy is a great example of how common sense and emotional stability are often more important than IQ. But he would probably make a semi-strong argument to the contrary. - The stories of his foolishness (part 2 of the novel) took place 16 years before his writing about them. Was he wiser at the time of writing than he was when the actions took place? He articulates some recognition of shame and regret. Does he still behave ridiculously? We don’t have a strong idea of what his philosophies were 16 years ago (during part 2), and we don't know what his behavior was like at the time part 1 was written (at his "current" age of 40). - "Real life oppressed me with its novel so much that I could hardly breathe.” Is his problem that he’s too introspective? Is his heavily introspective nature a reason he's such a mess? Perhaps his problem is that he's just too analytical, too much of a thinker, too caught inside his own head. Perhaps he's not in touch with his feelings enough, and that by avoiding them, when they inevitably come out (to live is to feel), they are so foreign to him that he doesn't know how to deal with them. - He is known as a great anti-hero. Perhaps one can learn how to live by not being like this guy. But he does have some positive qualities: he's introspective, and prone to the kind of independent, critical analysis that leads to innovation. A great hero wouldn’t necessarily be the opposite of this guy… or would he? And what constitutes a "hero" anyway? And so you see, after reading this, I feel a bit like the narrator: conflicting, contrary and paradoxical thoughts running in different directions, often without conclusions. It's frustrating, but there's an energizing element to taking on such thoughts. These listed contemplations probably differ from yours, but that's part of what makes this novel of paradox so good. Despite it being short, it's the kind of book I could read over and over again and still find it thought provoking and satisfying each time. Society is persistent about filling our brains with the largely mindless: celebrity gossip, mtv, the newest trends, sitcoms, etc. -- hell just look around, examples are everywhere. Good books can bring us to our thinking place, which puts us in an opposite state. Getting to the thinking place, and staying there for a while, is not easy. It takes effort, but it's rewarding. The thinking place is were we grow as individuals and as a society. This book can take you to your thinking place.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nataliya

    Imagine 19th century Russian literature as a loud boisterous party. Here's Pushkin, basking in the center of attention, charming up all the ladies. Here are Chekhov and Gogol at the heart of a passionate intellectual argument. Here's Count Tolstoy, busily serving canapés while rejoicing in the pleasure of work, stopping only to chat about the pleasures of countryside with Turgenev. But where's Dostoyevsky? Oh, there he is, sitting by himself in a dark corner, dead broke after a high-stakes cards Imagine 19th century Russian literature as a loud boisterous party. Here's Pushkin, basking in the center of attention, charming up all the ladies. Here are Chekhov and Gogol at the heart of a passionate intellectual argument. Here's Count Tolstoy, busily serving canapés while rejoicing in the pleasure of work, stopping only to chat about the pleasures of countryside with Turgenev. But where's Dostoyevsky? Oh, there he is, sitting by himself in a dark corner, dead broke after a high-stakes cards game, giving you the unsettling intense heavy glare that easily penetrates right into the darkest best-guarded secrets of your soul, the glare that clearly says 'been there, done that, been repulsed by what I saw.' And if he looks like he's judging you, it's because he is. And you deserve it, probably. Fyodor Mikhailovich, you don't make liking you easy, do you? ---------- This book is brilliant. Unpleasant and hard to read, disturbing and unsettling, and really brilliant. But before I go into my long-winded discussion, let me get this off my chest, for the honesty purposes and full disclosure:I finally can admit - I don't "get" Dostoyevsky. Perhaps my mind is a tad too shallow for his literary depths; perhaps my inner ball of sunshine deep deep inside refuses to see the world through Dostoyevsky's disillusioned glare. But I don't need to "get" him to know the greatness when I see it, to respect his sharp writing, his keenly observant eye that does not let anything slip away, and his scarily clear perceptions of people and the layers in which they dress up their otherwise petty and pathetic selves.In this short and strange book, Dostoyevsky manages to create perhaps the most disturbing image of a human being in the entire 19th century literature. Let me jot down just a few of the epithets that came pouring into my head with every page I read: petty, bitter, miserly, resentful, selfish, pitiful, entitled, cruel, deeply unpleasant and frankly miserable. The person who finds disgusting satisfaction in little acts of petty nastiness. The person who perversely enjoys stewing in self-imposed misery and figurative self-flagellation over every perceived slight, building exquisite mountains out of molehills. The person who would thrive on humiliating others, but if unable to achieve that would just as happily thrive on self-humiliation and self-loathing. The person who in the confines of his little mind hides a true despot, but gets his sense of self-worth by assuming that everyone else is beneath his miserable but clearly enlightened and misunderstood self - despite the world pointing to the contrary. The person who'd quietly spit into your bowl if you haven't offered to share it with him - and then will internally torment himself for years over the act, feeling that the act of torment is enough to elevate him out of the mud. The person who, in ramblings about how rotten society is helps it rot a little bit more. In short, he created a character the sheer mention of whom makes me want to take a shower and wash all of the above off me. He created a character that with all of the above scarily reminds you of so many people you know - and maybe sometimes even yourself. And that's what really disturbing about it. And this disturbing part is exactly what makes me from time to time abandon the fun bits of the Russian literature party and instead join Fyodor Mikhailovich in his dark gloomy corner for a minute or so. Because he makes me, unpleasant as it is, take a long critical look at myself, so that I can try to keep myself out of this "underground". Because he "gets" to me even if I don't quite "get" him. Because it's not a story, it's a mirror, and you have to work hard to make it not be so. I don't know how to rate this book. I did not enjoy it (how can you?) but it made a sizeable imprint on my soul. Stars are irrelevant here, so I'll randomly pick something. 4? ------ Written in Munich airport, stuck on an unscheduled 20hr layover, with almost no sleep and beginnings of jet lag.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Bravo, Dostoyevsky! This is the perfect, absolutely accurate and universal portrait of the insecure, self-conscious egomaniac - pitiful and dangerous, on a negative quixotic rampage against himself, society and the laws of nature he despises but cannot change. There are so many of these angry men (and women), and they don’t speak from the underground anymore. With modern technology, they have conquered the virtual world, spewing out their self-pity and hatred in long, inconsistent, frustrated ti Bravo, Dostoyevsky! This is the perfect, absolutely accurate and universal portrait of the insecure, self-conscious egomaniac - pitiful and dangerous, on a negative quixotic rampage against himself, society and the laws of nature he despises but cannot change. There are so many of these angry men (and women), and they don’t speak from the underground anymore. With modern technology, they have conquered the virtual world, spewing out their self-pity and hatred in long, inconsistent, frustrated tirades, contradicting themselves at each moment, without thinking. “I am this or that … or no, wait, I was lying, … I am that or the other… I am going to show them all, slap them in the face …“ Dostoyevsky’s misfit is far more eloquent than his modern alter egos, quite similar to authors like August Strindberg, darkly misanthropic and full of self-loathing, but with a sharp intellect and deep understanding of the world of the 19th century, which is undergoing deep and irreversible change. The man from the underground is seriously shaken by the new scientific era, which he intellectually recognises, but hates because it leaves it to his own responsibility to define meaning in life. The new individual initiative which is required for success in the modern world is scary and diametrically opposed to the old structure, which gave him an unshakable place and aim: “What stone wall? Why of course, the laws of nature, the deductions of natural science, mathematics. As soon as they prove to you, for instance, that you are descended from a monkey, then it is no use scowling, accept it for a fact … [...] … for twice two is a law of mathematics. Just try refuting it.” It would take Orwellian dictatorship to put 2+2=4 in doubt again, but the man in the underground doesn’t, as a rule, stick to his own advice, and he curses and rants against the laws he cannot change, claiming that will give him a distinctive identity: “He will launch a curse upon the world, and as only man can curse (it is his privilege, the primary distinction between him and other animals), maybe by his curse alone he will attain his object - that is, convince himself that he is a man and not a piano-key!” He might of course just have proven that he is a piano-key that is capable of cursing, and he knows about the inconsistencies of his arguments. They follow him like a thread through all his interactions with other human beings. He craves a distinguished position in society, but only manages to show superiority by humiliating and despising the company he seeks, and by subsequently falling into passionate remorse and emotional crisis. He can’t be part of a group on equal terms because he wants to rise above it intellectually while feeling inferior to it on a psychological level. His relationship to women builds on the same oxymoron of romantic idealisation and disgust for reality. He despises women for giving the pleasure he craves. With the prostitute Liza, he has his final breakdown, losing all inhibitions and all sense of shame, pride and dignity. While seeing her helpless situation, her position as a victim of the patriarchal, sexually repressed and morally bigoted society, he still abhors the fact that she has been “used” like an object by other men, and he can’t consider her a subject, an individual, a human with a future anymore, once she has been sexually active with other men. This is so common, so universal, so deeply felt in most sexually repressive, patriarchal societies: men force women to be sexually dependent, either within marriage or outside it, and then they blame them for not being pure anymore. As if purity and chastity have to be virtues. Once that ancient oxymoron is erased from sexual and religious education, we might see some real change. Consent between grown-ups would be a good commandment for sexual behaviour, but it would seriously shake the foundation of many marriages. It would force many men to be considering ways beyond physical and societal power to attract and keep the devotion of a woman. That sounds like work, and like having to leave the egomaniac bubble. Our man from the underground wouldn’t be up to it. So he will fail, and continue to ensnare himself in a frustrating grey zone between desire and shame. Just like natural laws stay natural laws, whether you like them or not, sexuality will be there, whether you can deal with it or not. Our protagonist can’t obviously, like so many other young men brought up in a confused state of mind, with pride and honour as a guideline, and sexual repression and misogyny taught from early childhood, caught in a modern world that offers too many different lifestyles for them to be able to choose, and too few dogmatic guidelines to stick to. Being instinctively egomaniac, their antisocial behaviour falls flat in a group and in a democratic environment, and they compensate the vacuum in their mind with illogical, yet powerful rants! Don’t underestimate the danger of the voices from the underground. Dostoyevsky masterfully depicts the scary profile of a lost person, overlooked and ridiculed for his deficiencies, yet with enough anger in his heart to lash out, seemingly randomly and spontaneously. We need to have pity, and show respect, and care for those young people caught between modernity and patriarchy, to open our arms and integrate them as best we can. We can’t afford to let them rant in shame and frustration. There must be a place for them to fill “over the ground”, but they won’t take the first step to integrate - being emotionally too unstable. Give those misfits a place at the table, and they won’t have to shout from the underground, they won’t have to insult women, they won’t have to engage in meaningless, yet deadly duels to save their face. Give them a face. Like Dostoyevsky gave them a voice -from the underground.

  6. 5 out of 5

    mark monday

    so I came across this guy at a party that I had known in college, many years ago. I remembered him clearly: that brilliant, pretentious guy with his stories and his sarcasm and his nihilism. our classmates mocked him and so did I, but I enjoyed him too. he was a funny fellow, entirely self-absorbed, smart and well-read and amusingly melodramatic in his comments about the world and his life; he wore his pathos blatantly, like some kind of robe or badge or shield. I always thought that was brave o so I came across this guy at a party that I had known in college, many years ago. I remembered him clearly: that brilliant, pretentious guy with his stories and his sarcasm and his nihilism. our classmates mocked him and so did I, but I enjoyed him too. he was a funny fellow, entirely self-absorbed, smart and well-read and amusingly melodramatic in his comments about the world and his life; he wore his pathos blatantly, like some kind of robe or badge or shield. I always thought that was brave of him, that naked vulnerability so openly displayed. and here he was, many years later, pretty much the same guy except the years had not been so kind to him. we struck up a conversation and talked about the old days. he asked if I wanted to leave the party and go back to his place, do some drugs; I agreed. his place was a dump but my place is little better (just cleaner). he had piles of books stacked everywhere (mine are kept neatly, in bookshelves). the place had a goaty smell, and a musty one too, smelling like dust and old food and socks and sweat and semen (I keep my windows wide open all the time to avoid those scents). we sat on his ratty couch, side by side, and began to do line after line. he talked and talked and talked. it was amusing at first; his spiteful and malicious commentary made me smile. such an odd fellow, so energetic in his negative way, and yet surprisingly self-aware. he talked about how low he was, but that at least he recognized what he was, unlike everyone else, how he was such a worm, an insect, really that's how he described himself, his life so meaningless and his job so mundane and the only things he gained pleasure from were books, people were nothing to him, he was nothing to himself. at one point I asked him: but what do you do with your time besides reading? he sneered and said not a lot, he's online a lot, he likes the anonymity, the ability to speak his mind and tell people exactly what he thinks about them and their world views and their fake happiness and their stupid families and their stupid beliefs and opinions and their stupid way of ignoring how shitty everything really is, they live their fake lives just pretending they are happy, how we are all divorced from life, we are all cripples, every one of us, more or less, we are so divorced from it that we immediately feel a sort of loathing for actual "real life," and so cannot even stand to be reminded of it, at least he knows the real score, at least he knows how the world works even as he rejects it. he opened up his laptop to show me some of his favorite posts and I have to admit that they were sort of funny. he had a way with words for sure. he also had an enviable collection of porn on his laptop and we enjoyed that for a while, doing more lines and laughing about all of the stupid whores in the world and weren't they just pathetic and wasn't everyone just pathetic. we stripped down to our boxers because the room was stifling and a person can feel pretty hot when they are doing a lot of drugs and watching a lot of porn. at some point I passed out to the sound of his miserable ricocheting laughter, like sad little toy gun bullets popping pitifully. I woke up early; the sun wasn't even out. I had fallen asleep on his couch sitting up and he had fallen asleep sideways: two things creating one perpendicular shape. I noticed a part of his leg touching my own leg; his naked flesh touching my own bare skin. I looked at that connection and recoiled, appalled. I jumped up from the couch and he moaned fitfully in his sleep, like a child or someone being tortured. I grabbed his laptop and smashed it into his head, again and again, making a red pulp. still feeling out of sorts, I went to his bathroom to shower. out of the showerhead poured mud, all over me. I bathed in the mud like it was water, rubbing it all over my face and body until I couldn't see any more of me. LOL what a night! 7 of 16 in Sixteen Short Novels

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    871. Записки из подполья = Zapiski iz podpol'ia = Letters from the Underworld = Notes from the Underground = Notes from Underground, Fyodor Dostoevsky Notes from Underground, 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, who is a retired civil servant living in St. Petersburg. The first part of the story is told in monologue form, 871. Записки из подполья = Zapiski iz podpol'ia = Letters from the Underworld = Notes from the Underground = Notes from Underground, Fyodor Dostoevsky Notes from Underground, 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, 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 anti-hero. عنوانها: یادداشتهای زیرزمین؛ یادداشتهای زیر زمینی؛ یادداشتهای زیرزمینی با چهارده تفسیر؛ نویسنده: فئودور داستایوسکی (علمی و فرهنگی) ادبیات روسیه؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و یکم ماه سپتامبر سال 1972 میلادی عنوان: یادداشتهای زیر زمینی؛ نویسنده: فئودور داستایوسکی؛ مترجم: رحمت الهی؛ تهران، زوار، 1333، در 235 ص، قیمت: 45 ریال؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، کتابهای جیبی، 1343، موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان روسی - سده 19 م عنوان: یادداشتهای زیرزمین؛ نویسنده: فئودور داستایوسکی؛ مترجم: رحمت الهی؛ تهران، جامی، 1369، در 223 ص؛ چاپ ششم 1387، در 223 ص؛ شابک: 9789642575305؛ عنوان: یادداشتهای زیرزمینی؛ نویسنده: فئودور داستایوسکی؛ مترجم: رحمت الهی؛ تهران، علمی فرهنگی، 1379، در 6 و 200 ص؛؛ چاپ ششم 1386؛ هفتم 1388؛ هشتم 1392؛ شابک: 9789644452598؛ عنوان: یادداشتهای زیرزمین؛ نویسنده: فئودور داستایوسکی؛ مترجم: شهروز رشید؛ تهران، آرش، 1391، در 152 ص؛ شابک: 9786009299812؛ ترجمه از متن آلمانی؛ عنوان: یادداشتهای زیرزمینی با چهارده تفسیر؛ نویسنده: فئودور داستایوسکی؛ مترجم: حمیدرضا آتش برآب؛ تهران، علمی فرهنگی، 1394، در ده و 546 ص؛ شابک: 9786001217760؛ از متن: «میبینم که هنوز معتقدید: بالاخره بشر روزی، فضایلی را که مصالح و منافعش در آن است، درمییابد، و آنگاه که آخرین باقیمانده های عادات احمقانه ی گذشته، از یادش رفت، آنوقت عاقلانه رفتار خواهد کرد . . .؛ اما غافل از اینکه، به همان نسبتی که زندگی بسیار عاقلانه ای درست میکنیم، در اثر همان خسته کننده بودن، و یکنواخت بودن آن، چه فکرها که برای مردم پیش نمیآید. آن سنجاقهای طلایی را نیز، «کلئوپاترا»، برای همان ملال آور بودن، و یکنواخت بودن زندگی، در سینه کنیزکان فرو میکرد ...؛ گاه بشر، دانسته و متعمداً، امری مضر و احمقانه، و حتی احمقانه ترین کار را، برای خود آرزو میکند، و انجام میدهد ...؛ او میخواهد این حق را داشته باشد که بتواند حتی احمقانه ترین کار را، برخلاف همه ی قوانین آرزو کند، و انجام دهد. نه این که مکلف باشد که فقط کارهای عاقلانه و خردمندانه بکند».؛ و: «آقایان من، شما به وجود کاخهای بلورین، که هیچ وقت فرو نمیریزند، و تا ابد باقی میمانند، اعتقاد دارید، یعنی در حقیقت به چیزی معتقدید، که احتمال نمیرود، و نمیتوان از آن سیر، و دلزده شد. به چیزی که ممکن نیست از آن خسته شد، و پنهانی بر ضدش درآمد. در برابرش مقاومت کرد، زبان را از دهان بیرون آورد، و به آن دهان کجی کرد. ولی م،ن از این جور قصرهایی که میگویید، میترسم. میترسم که دوامی نداشته باشد». پایان انتخاب از متن. ا. شربیانی

  8. 4 out of 5

    Glenn Russell

    Dostoevsky leads us into the deepest recesses of human consciousness, a mire of stinky sewers, feted pits and foul-smelling rat holes - novel as existential torment and alienation. Do you envision a utopia founded on the principals of love and universal brotherhood? If so, beware the underground man. And what is it about the underground? Well, ladies and gentlemen, here are several quotes from the text with my comments: "I would now like to tell you, gentlemen, whether you do or do not wish to he Dostoevsky leads us into the deepest recesses of human consciousness, a mire of stinky sewers, feted pits and foul-smelling rat holes - novel as existential torment and alienation. Do you envision a utopia founded on the principals of love and universal brotherhood? If so, beware the underground man. And what is it about the underground? Well, ladies and gentlemen, here are several quotes from the text with my comments: "I would now like to tell you, gentlemen, whether you do or do not wish to hear it, why I never managed to become even an insect. I'll tell you solemnly that I wanted many times to become an insect."----------The underground man's opening reflections form the first part of this short novel. He is forty years old, sits in his apartment, arms folded, brooding about life and death, telling us all about his underbelly-ish plight as a man-mouse, speaking about the subject giving him the greatest pleasure: himself. "If man has not become more bloodthirsty from civilization, at any rate he has certainly become bloodthirsty in a worse, a viler way than formerly.” ----------The underground man spews out his view of others. If all humankind were to succumb to plague and die a horrible, anguished death, we can see in our mind's eye the underground man chuckling to himself and thinking every single minute of the excruciating pain of all those millions of men and women and children were well deserved. But, in all fairness, the underground man tells us he has a sensitive streak, being as insecure and touchy as a hunchback or dwarf. "Two times two is four has a cocky look; it stands across your path, arms akimbo, and spits. I agree that two times two is four is an excellent thing; but if we're going to start praising everything, then two times two is five is sometimes also a most charming little thing."----------The underground man despises nature and the laws of nature. One can imagine how he would react if someone spoke of the philosophy of harmony or compassion – squinting his eyes, grinding his teeth and clenching his fists so hard blood would appear on his palms. "Of Simonov's two guests, one was Ferfichkin, from Russian-German stock- short, monkey-faced, a fool who comically mimicked everyone, my bitterest enemy even in the lower grades--a mean, impudent little fanfaron who played at being most ticklish ambitious, though of course he was a coward at heart." ----------Here we have the underground man's reflections on encountering someone from his boyhood past. If you think the underground man would have less flattering things to say about you if he saw you talking in a railway station or eating at a restaurant, please continue reading. The underground man's hatred and bitterness reaches a high pitch by simply being around three of his former acquaintances. Has there ever been a more comical and compelling scene in all of literature? "That night I had the most hideous dreams. No wonder: all evening I was oppressed by recollections of the penal servitude of my school years, and I could not get rid of them. I had been tucked away in that school by distant relations whose dependent I was and of whom I had no notion thereafter - tucked away, orphaned, already beaten down by their reproaches, already pensive, taciturn, gazing wildly about at everything. My schoolfellows met me with spiteful and merciless derision, because I was not like any of them. . . . I immediately began to hate them, and shut myself away from everyone in timorous, wounded, and inordinate pride."----------The underground man deals with a cab driver, a young prostitute and his servant. Such nastiness, such viciousness -- every single encounter vivid and memorable. Dostoyevsky at his finest. "We're stillborn, and have long ceased to be born of living fathers, and we like this more and more. We're acquiring a taste for it. Soon we'll contrive to be born somehow from an idea. But enough; I don't want to write any more "from Underground" . . . "----------You may forget other works of literature you have read; however, I can assure you, once you have read the underground man's notes it will be an experience you will not soon forget.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Absolutely brilliant and penetrating analysis of human nature in all its vainglorious ridiculousness. Dostoyevsky is especially insightful in taking down what I'll loosely call "rationalism"--the belief (somewhat popular then and surprisingly popular now) that people act in a rationally self-interested way, especially if they're made aware of where their self-interest lies. This book should be required reading for nearly every economics department in the US, where such fantasies still rule the d Absolutely brilliant and penetrating analysis of human nature in all its vainglorious ridiculousness. Dostoyevsky is especially insightful in taking down what I'll loosely call "rationalism"--the belief (somewhat popular then and surprisingly popular now) that people act in a rationally self-interested way, especially if they're made aware of where their self-interest lies. This book should be required reading for nearly every economics department in the US, where such fantasies still rule the day! The character of the Underground Man is like a child yelling "the emperor has no clothes!," except that he's also an emperor and is talking about himself and making the point that nobody else has any clothes either. By the way, I read this in the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation, and while I've had my quibbles with their work in the past, this is terrifically well-done and captures more of the humor than I've seen in other translations.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Garima

    Shall the world go to hell, or shall I not have my tea? I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea. Thus Spoke Dostoevsky There were many things for me to get excited about after finishing this novella (It’s a trap!) but the first and an essentially timeworn image which appeared in my mind was that of a small child, sitting in a corner after being rebuked by an elder for giving little or no thought about the world with its countless complexities and contradictions around her. Shall the world go to hell, or shall I not have my tea? I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea. Thus Spoke Dostoevsky There were many things for me to get excited about after finishing this novella (It’s a trap!) but the first and an essentially timeworn image which appeared in my mind was that of a small child, sitting in a corner after being rebuked by an elder for giving little or no thought about the world with its countless complexities and contradictions around her. Now, everything about that image is strictly metaphorical in nature but the important thing is that “I” felt like a small child. Reading philosophical discourses whether in the form of a story or endless ramblings drenched in satirical juices does that to me and Mr. Dostoevsky, by way of these notes written by his Underground Man, made me both wriggle and relish in my noetic limitations. But it is precisely in this cold, loathsome half-despair, half-belief, in this conscious burying oneself alive from grief for forty years in the underground, in this assiduously produced and yet somewhat dubious hopelessness of one’s position, in all this poison of unsatisfied desires penetrating inward, in all this fever of hesitations, of decisions taken forever, and repentances coming again a moment later, that the very sap of that strange pleasure I was talking about consists. Divided into two parts, the first part, Underground is the abode of our unnamed narrator where he engages himself in all sorts of monologues ranging from talks of some really strange pleasures to the inevitable and self-imposed sufferings which further leads to the dissection of the human nature in the wake of reasoning, logic, goal, and most significantly, wanting & free will. All this is provided with a peculiar but apparently rational justifications or I thought they were rational in an unconventional but tremendously comical way. And suddenly you hid your face In trembling hands and, filled with horror, Filled with shame, dissolved in tears, Indignant as you were, and shaken . . . Etc., etc., etc. It’s in the second part, Apropos of the Wet Snow where the whole setting turns biting cold though a sense of relief can be experienced with the presence of scathing satire, charming wit and ingenious story-telling. Here the narrator opens the door of his past and recounts the outlandish tales of his life which can invoke all sorts of emotions in a reader and also serve as the basis of first part hence rendering a meandering pattern to this work. And once you’ll get around the whole thing, don’t get baffled on finding a part (or whole) of your personality within the startling words originated from some dark, horrid place. The influence of Gogol can be easily observed in these stories and a comfort can be found that Dostoevsky deftly picked up the threads of Russian Literature where Gogol must have left them (It’s funny that I’m drawing out these conclusions after reading one book each by both authors so you can tell me if I’m wrong or exaggerating). In any case, I was left pleasantly surprised on finding that my preconceived notions were crushed and dusted and a new, although a little confused perspective was gained on contemplating the questions which our Underground Man has asked in this book. I’m now asking an idle question of my own: which is better – cheap happiness, or lofty suffering? Well, which is better? I’m hoping to find the answers in Dostoevsky’s chefs-d'oeuvre Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamzov which I’ll surely read soon but till then I need to work on materializing a new and grown-up image of myself. Books will help.

  11. 5 out of 5

    jessica

    im trying to become more of a classics person and ive found that foreign classics, especially russian, is the easiest way to do that. not only do i feel cultured, but the writing style and themes are so interesting - particularly with this book. if i could rename this book, it would be ‘the impossible rant of a cranky recluse.’ lol. the narrator spends part one of this book rambling about the shortcomings of humanity, how he despises modern society as it is, and his contempt for just about every im trying to become more of a classics person and ive found that foreign classics, especially russian, is the easiest way to do that. not only do i feel cultured, but the writing style and themes are so interesting - particularly with this book. if i could rename this book, it would be ‘the impossible rant of a cranky recluse.’ lol. the narrator spends part one of this book rambling about the shortcomings of humanity, how he despises modern society as it is, and his contempt for just about everything. most of the time, i just wanted to shout ‘preach, sis!’ but there were moments where i thought ‘wow, who hurt you!?!’ which leads us to part two, where the narrator shares various stories of his youth which showcase just how alienated he actually is from the world. the narrator himself is very dislikable and bitter and selfish and lonely. but wow, its shockingly easy to relate to him! its also one of the best representations of anxiety i have ever seen portrayed in a character. hes one of those characters where you are glad to get finally rid of him at the end of the story, but are somehow glad you got to know him. this was such a wildly insane and exhaustively weird book, but its also brutally honest. you definitely have to be in the right sort of mindset to read this because this will take everything out of you, but its worth it! side note - i might bump this up to 4 stars after i have a think, because 3 stars feels a little too harsh at the moment. ↠ 3.5 stars

  12. 5 out of 5

    Vit Babenco

    A novelette Notes from Underground is a conspicuous harbinger of existential novel. It is like a warning to the future society of hypocritical and conforming featureless worms into which the world is gradually turning these days. And now I am living out my life in my corner, taunting myself with the spiteful and utterly futile consolation that it is even impossible for an intelligent man seriously to become anything, and only fools become something. Yes, sir, an intelligent man of the nineteenth c A novelette Notes from Underground is a conspicuous harbinger of existential novel. It is like a warning to the future society of hypocritical and conforming featureless worms into which the world is gradually turning these days. And now I am living out my life in my corner, taunting myself with the spiteful and utterly futile consolation that it is even impossible for an intelligent man seriously to become anything, and only fools become something. Yes, sir, an intelligent man of the nineteenth century must be and is morally obliged to be primarily a characterless being; and a man of character, an active figure – primarily a limited being. A miserable nook turns into a confessional and the protagonist begins his confession to himself… Or in the modern terms the underground is the sort of a couch and the wretched hero is both a patient and a psychoanalyst… This confession is a personal revolt but it is a rebellion of a bedbug against its aimless existence: a mutiny against those who have more to do than to suck blood…

  13. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    Literary Characters React to Notes from the Underground Eeyore This Accounts for a Good Deal. It Explains Everything. In Life, you see, we can't all, and some of us don't. Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush. This book is telling everybody “We can look for the North Pole, or we can play 'Here we go gathering Nuts in May' with the end part of an ants' nest. It's all the same to me." Amusing in a quiet way, but not really helpful. Piglet Help, help! A hexistentialist! A horrible Literary Characters React to Notes from the Underground Eeyore This Accounts for a Good Deal. It Explains Everything. In Life, you see, we can't all, and some of us don't. Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush. This book is telling everybody “We can look for the North Pole, or we can play 'Here we go gathering Nuts in May' with the end part of an ants' nest. It's all the same to me." Amusing in a quiet way, but not really helpful. Piglet Help, help! A hexistentialist! A horrible hexistentialist! Hex, hex! A hexistible horribilist! Oh my… I know it’s only a story. But, it is hard to be brave when you are a very small animal entirely surrounded by despair. Shrek Well, it’s about this guy and he lives under some floorboards somewhere in a hovel, and he’s full of rage and horror and bile, like. Talks about toothache a lot. When I was reading this book I was thinking, I know this guy. This guy is my cousin. He’s a right misery. He’d split your head open for a tuppeny bit. Woody (sings) You've got a fiend in me You've got a fiend in me You got troubles and I got 'em too There isn't anything I wouldn't do To make everything twice as bad for you 'Cause you've got a fiend in me Ha ha. That’s a parody. Did you get that? Friend – fiend! See? Okay, don’t knock yourself out. Peter Pan When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies. Now when the first baby fell out of its pram and banged its little head on the hard hard floor, it howled for the first time, and its howl broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went crawling around, and that was the beginning of Dostoyevsky. Mary Poppins I propose to dispense with the a spoonful of sugar, Mr Under the Floorboards. So it’s two Xanax on retiring and two at noon. Is that understood? Upon my soul, no more of that please. We are not a codfish. Tony Soprano I got a steel-jacketed antidepressant right here, just say so it’s yours. Cher Horowitz There’s like this creep who lives in the ground, I think like Lord of the Rings, what’s those things, bobbits? Anyway he hates everything and he doesn’t have the internet. At least the bobbits got to travel. Not this dude. I mean, this is like from history so you know, there is a severe lack of things like credit cards and betties to pay for with the credit cards. . Way back then people were barely alive. I can’t even believe there were any people back then. So he’s waaa waaa everything I think and everything I do is wrong but hey, I like having toothache. I know! He’s just totally clueless. Reading this really wigged me out. Okay, all right, reading Spark Notes on this wigged me out. I was Seriously? And this is good because?

  14. 4 out of 5

    J.L. Sutton

    Fyodor Dostoevsky is one of my favorite authors. As an undergrad, I did my honors thesis on Dostoevsky and suffering using Notes from Underground, Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment, The Devils and The Idiot. To increase my suffering, I also took Russian my senior year! I've probably read Notes five or six times. It is a quick read, but I get something different from it every time (and at every period in my life) that I read it. This text is Existentialism writ large, but it's had power for Fyodor Dostoevsky is one of my favorite authors. As an undergrad, I did my honors thesis on Dostoevsky and suffering using Notes from Underground, Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment, The Devils and The Idiot. To increase my suffering, I also took Russian my senior year! I've probably read Notes five or six times. It is a quick read, but I get something different from it every time (and at every period in my life) that I read it. This text is Existentialism writ large, but it's had power for over 150 years because it is not one dimensional. At one level, it's a capitulation, a giving up of whatever this life has to offer. At another level, it's an affirmation that despite whatever comes crashing down on us, we have greatness in us and we will persevere. Yeah, and there's the suffering for whatever course we take. “I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.” “I swear to you gentlemen, that to be overly conscious is a sickness, a real, thorough sickness.” “To love is to suffer and there can be no love otherwise.” “It was from feeling oneself that one had reached the last barrier, that it was horrible, but that it could not be otherwise; that there was no escape for you; that you never could become a different man; that even if time and faith were still left you to change into something different you would most likely not wish to change; or if you did wish to, even then you would do nothing; because perhaps in reality there was nothing for you to change into.” For better or worse, Notes from Underground (along especially with The Idiot and the Grand Inquisitor section of Brothers Karamazov) are go to works for me!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Piyangie

    I found Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground to be quite a different work from his other works. Dostoevsky's writing style adopted in this novella and the dominating existentialism has much to contribute to this difference. The novella is of two parts. The first part consists of a bitter rambling of an unnamed narrator who is called the "underground man" (he is understood to be a retired civil servant living in St. Petersburg). This bitter rambling extends to Petersburg society and civilization I found Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground to be quite a different work from his other works. Dostoevsky's writing style adopted in this novella and the dominating existentialism has much to contribute to this difference. The novella is of two parts. The first part consists of a bitter rambling of an unnamed narrator who is called the "underground man" (he is understood to be a retired civil servant living in St. Petersburg). This bitter rambling extends to Petersburg society and civilization, and even to laws of nature; and the underground man criticizes how these concepts dictate human action and behaviour. Dostoevsky's existentialist views are expressed in this part of the story. Existentialists believed and advocated independent choice of will of people and the freedom to exercise that will. They were of the view that without submitting to any outside force humans should be governed by their beliefs and desires. The second part of the novella consists of the story proper. This part describes certain events that took place in the life of the underground man. This is where the readers gain a good understanding of his character. He is bitter and contemptuous and seems to be suffering from some sort of complex. His thoughts are so contradictory signifying his mental instability. At the same time, there is also a cunning and cruel nature. He seems to be taking immense pleasure at crushing who are helpless when he is unable to fight off his betters. This part of the story displays Dostoevsky's love for exploring human psychology. Underground man is an anti-hero. He is not a character to be liked, nor pitied. This is my first Dostoevsky experience with such a character. And to be quite honest, I read all his thoughts and actions with utter disgust. This is one of the reasons I love Dostoevsky. He brings strong emotions out of the readers. What stands out Dostoevsky is, of course, his writing. With the use of both monologue (first part) and descriptive (second part) forms, he writes this novella in a clever and engaging way. This was not a pleasant reading experience. The content was quite disturbing. But even then Dostoevsky manages to exercise humour to lighten the unpleasantness and unburden your mind. Dostoevsky's creativity continually amazes me. The more I read him, the more I'm in awe of his ingenuity. This was not an easy read for me. My sensitive self was rebelling against the vile behaviour of the underground man. But yet something held me on. That is no doubt the skill of a great master. And no one can doubt that of Dostoevsky.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rowena

    Never be fooled by book size when it comes to Dostoevsky! This novella was just under 100 pages long so I figured it would take me just a couple of hours to read. I was obviously wrong but I enjoyed the read. The prose is extremely dense so I had to read it slower than I read other books. The protagonist was fascinating (peculiar, even) and I enjoyed reading his introspective thoughts about different issues. I will definitely be re-reading this one.

  17. 4 out of 5

    MJ Nicholls

    New: “ . . . we’ve all grown unaccustomed to life, we’re all lame, each of us more or less. We’ve even grown so unaccustomed that at times we feel a sort of loathing for real “living life,” and therefore cannot bear to be reminded of it. For we’ve reached a point where we regard real “living life” almost as labor, almost as service, and we all agree in ourselves that it’s better from a book. And why do we sometimes fuss about, why these caprices, these demands of ours? We ourselves don’t know why New: “ . . . we’ve all grown unaccustomed to life, we’re all lame, each of us more or less. We’ve even grown so unaccustomed that at times we feel a sort of loathing for real “living life,” and therefore cannot bear to be reminded of it. For we’ve reached a point where we regard real “living life” almost as labor, almost as service, and we all agree in ourselves that it’s better from a book. And why do we sometimes fuss about, why these caprices, these demands of ours? We ourselves don’t know why. It would be the worse for us if our capricious demands were fulfilled. Go on, try giving us more independence, for example, unbind the hands of any one of us, broaden our range of activity, relax the tutelage, and we . . . but I assure you: we will immediately beg to be taken back under tutelage. I know you’ll probably get angry with me for that, shout, stamp your feet: “Speak just for yourself and your miseries in the underground, don’t go saying ‘we all.’” Excuse me, gentlemen, but I am not justifying myself with this allishness. As far as I myself am concerned, 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. So that I, perhaps, come out even more “living” than you. Take a closer look! We don’t even know where the living lives now, or what it is, or what it’s called! 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. It’s a burden for us even to be of it, we consider it a disgrace, and keep trying to be some unprecedented omni-men. We’re stillborn, and have long ceased to be born of living fathers, and we like this more and more. We’re acquiring a taste for it. Soon we’ll contrive to be born somehow from an idea.” (p118-9) Old: Man on a Bench: A Roman Anecdote. i) The littlest things can drastically alter a person’s mood. ii) For example, seeing a squirrel scurry across the road and shimmy up a tree. That would improve one’s mood. Seeing a squirrel flattened by an HGV hauler—that wouldn’t improve one’s mood. iii) But I knew this man. iv) He sat on benches all day long. Sometimes he’d feed the ducks, sometimes he’d sit and observe passersby. v) I spotted him on various benches across Edinburgh. He sat with a neutral expression. Looking. Most people, as people do, dismissed him as a creepy loner. vi) People are so very empathetic. vii) But I loved this man. viii) He was a modern day Underground Man. He sat on the sidelines of life, observing. Cold and detached. All day long. On benches. A visible nonentity, the bland face of self-erasure. ix) Chances are he had a family, or a cat. But when he sat on those benches, on his lonesome, the serenity oozed from this man. x) I took comfort in the fact that a person can be happy without people. That people are useful, and necessary, but essentially undesirable. xi) So whenever I spotted him around town, sitting blankly on his bench, my mood skyrocketed. xii) How brilliant to be alone, in the throb of a city, and to be content! xiii) I haven’t seen him in a long time. Hopefully he hasn’t committed suicide.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    I first met the Russian on the loading docks. Filling trailers with freight out in the weather, in the humid heat and then again in the freezing cold was not a career, not a job anyone especially wanted, it was a job to fill in the gaps, work that paid a wage and filled a need as necessary as the empty trailers that backed into the dock one after the other. I had seen him in the break room, out on the picnic tables - always alone. He scribbled incessantly in an old thesis book, would pause long m I first met the Russian on the loading docks. Filling trailers with freight out in the weather, in the humid heat and then again in the freezing cold was not a career, not a job anyone especially wanted, it was a job to fill in the gaps, work that paid a wage and filled a need as necessary as the empty trailers that backed into the dock one after the other. I had seen him in the break room, out on the picnic tables - always alone. He scribbled incessantly in an old thesis book, would pause long moments staring into space, as still as a statue, and then would bend his head and write feverishly. Sometimes he would sit quietly on his break, with a thin old paperback or a tattered library book in his lap. Passing once, I could not help glancing over his shoulder and saw that his book was a collection of poems. Another time, in the cold of January, when we all dressed like astronauts in plump suits, or like Eskimos in thick woolen parkas, the Russian was dressed in a thin old ragged coat and cloth gloves with holes in several fingers. He looked ill, and little doubt, we still had hours to go on our shift and his only head covering was the sparse patch of thinning hair atop his sallow scalp. I remembered having an extra woolen cap in my locker, and fetched it and then offered it to him without a word, just held it out. It was a colorful winter toboggan hat with a bright red fluffy ball atop. He looked up at me and seemed to almost decline, he looked embarrassed to wear the warm cap, as if its incongruous color atop his sullen head would be a greater hindrance than the warmth it would provide. A dirty hand ventured up and took the cap and black eyes beneath scruffy brows looked into me, seeking to discover was this true kindness or a jest at his expense. I smiled and he seemed to relax, and a thickly accented “thanks” drifted up from his stringy mustache and beard. The other dockworkers said of him that when they worked a trailer in tandem, he spoke very little or nothing at all, loading mechanically and only passing information as needed. My first trailer with him was on a cold night in March and the brisk pace of the work kept us warm. I tried to spark a conversation, but he only answered in grunts and shrugs. Another time I got him to speak a little, talked some about his origins and his life before this. At the end of the load, he smiled shyly, thanked me for the winter cap, reached from his back pocket, returned it and gave me a firm handshake. I returned the grip and looked at him and saw again those eyes that seemed to look into me. “I’m Lyn,” I said. “Fyodor.” After that we slowly began to talk, to share ideas. Working together, Fyodor told me about his writing, during breaks, he would read aloud. “Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms. It's by talking nonsense that one gets to the truth! I talk nonsense, therefore I'm human.” “Man only likes to count his troubles; he doesn't calculate his happiness.” “I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.” “To love is to suffer and there can be no love otherwise.” Fyodor was … insane. He was inspired, passionate, angry, hurt, a victim, a survivor, a damaged soul that had lived beyond torture and then had been able to describe the journey into hell and the ascent past. There were days that I had to walk away from him, unable to meet the brutal honesty, the too focused intensity, I had to step away. “I am alone, I thought, and they are everybody.” And I would scream at him, but also screaming at myself, “It doesn’t have to be this way, damn you! Life is not this black and white, you are not the final judge and jury, you cannot cut down to our souls like a scalpel, it is not your place to examine us, you are ONE OF US!!” And he answered: “I love, I can only love the one I've left behind, stained with my blood when, ungrateful wretch that I am, I extinguished myself and shot myself through the heart. But never, never have I ceased to love that one, and even on the night I parted from him I loved him perhaps more poignantly than ever. We can truly love only with suffering and through suffering! We know not how to love otherwise. We know no other love. I want suffering in order to love. I want and thirst this very minute to kiss , with tears streaming down my cheeks, this one and only I have left behind. I don't want and won't accept any other.” And I had to get away. I quit, I left, and I separated myself from him. Who was he to say these things, who was he to judge me, to judge all of us?? Yet I could not forget, could not stop thinking of his words, could not get away from those eyes that delved into me.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Arnie

    When I read it at the height of my existential angst college days, I felt I had never identified with a character so strongly. I don't underline books, this might be the only one, I underlined about 90% of it.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Shivam Chaturvedi

    You see, this man Dostoyevsky calls you witness to a killing, a killing that he himself intends to perform. You are apprehensive, frightened even, but you walk in nevertheless. There in front of you lies this despondent figure of a man whom this convener intends to slaughter. Settled in rather uncomfortably, you prepare for the death blow to fall. But it doesn't; the victim is not shown the mercy of an easy execution. Instead Dostoyevsky strangles him, squeezes the very life out of him. And he do You see, this man Dostoyevsky calls you witness to a killing, a killing that he himself intends to perform. You are apprehensive, frightened even, but you walk in nevertheless. There in front of you lies this despondent figure of a man whom this convener intends to slaughter. Settled in rather uncomfortably, you prepare for the death blow to fall. But it doesn't; the victim is not shown the mercy of an easy execution. Instead Dostoyevsky strangles him, squeezes the very life out of him. And he does it ever so slowly. Somewhere midway through all of this, you want to cry out in disgust; nauseated with all the gore you want to go puke somewhere. But Dostoyevsky has no mercy for the horrified spectator either. You were never meant to leave afterall, and this while torture continues unabated. And when the end is nigh, this new understanding begins to dawn upon you. You've always suspected this, somewhere deep down, but were never sure until this is all about to get over in all its splendid glory. With great despair and humiliation you realize that the illusionist has pulled off the greatest illusion of them all. It has been you all along. Not just a nobody, but you yourself who have been killed here. Dostoyevsky has had you witness to your own merciless damnation. Why, oh why, did you ever have to this Fyodor Mikhailovich. Why?

  21. 5 out of 5

    Khashayar Mohammadi

    I once read somewhere: "during the 19th century, the Prussians were turning their writers into philosophers, while the Russians were turning their philosophers into writers." I think that pretty much sums of Dostoyevsky

  22. 5 out of 5

    Steven Godin

    Master Russian Dostoevsky has probably written one of the best short novels of all time with this 1864 study of a solitary man. From the darkness of an underground dwelling, a former civil servant, and the unreliable narrator is intoxicated with spite for the outside world and writes an embittered monologue narrated from his St Petersburg basement. The lower this alienated antihero sinks, the loftier his intellectual pontifications, critiquing contemporary philosophies on rationalism and free wi Master Russian Dostoevsky has probably written one of the best short novels of all time with this 1864 study of a solitary man. From the darkness of an underground dwelling, a former civil servant, and the unreliable narrator is intoxicated with spite for the outside world and writes an embittered monologue narrated from his St Petersburg basement. The lower this alienated antihero sinks, the loftier his intellectual pontifications, critiquing contemporary philosophies on rationalism and free will. He is burdened with one ancient memory, and hopes that in writing it down it will let go of him, freeing himself from the torment. As a younger man, his life is one of gloom and semi- existence, he yearns to be on an equal social footing with those around him. After an altercation with old schoolfriends, he pursues them seeking retribution but meets instead Liza, a prostitute, by whom he is both attracted and repelled. In his attempts at climbing up the ladder of a better life, he only digs himself into an ever deeper darker hole. Dostoevsky takes us through the hidden depths of the human psyche, and the complex motivations of our central character. The picture he paints is ostensibly bleak, but the shimmers of hope and faith that shine through round out this story to great effect. A Russian classic.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sara Alaee

    Obsessive, sick, horrific, painful… Did I like it?!...Should I like it?!... Dostoyevsky depicts one of the most disturbing and unsettling images of a human being in this book. I don’t get it!… Not that I don’t get what he says. I do!… It’s just that I don’t want to see the world through a lens of despair that presents a disillusioned version of reality. “If the heightened consciousness showers one with agony and self-loathing, frustration and humiliation, then what is ignorance!?” I clearly don’t Obsessive, sick, horrific, painful… Did I like it?!...Should I like it?!... Dostoyevsky depicts one of the most disturbing and unsettling images of a human being in this book. I don’t get it!… Not that I don’t get what he says. I do!… It’s just that I don’t want to see the world through a lens of despair that presents a disillusioned version of reality. “If the heightened consciousness showers one with agony and self-loathing, frustration and humiliation, then what is ignorance!?” I clearly don’t get existential philosophy! However, I respect Dostoyevsky’s keen observant eye and his clear perception and profound psychological penetration into the human mind.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Elham

    I am a man. I am forty. I am sick. My soul is sick. My thought is sick. My conscience is sick. My desires are suppressed. I am undesirable. I am unchangeable. I am unrecognizable. I am nothing. I am a typical man. I fell in love twice. I fell in love because of ennuie. I am not social. I inhabit my literary world. I hate my stupid friends. I suffer. And, indeed, I will ask on my own account here, an idle question: which is better—cheap happiness or exalted sufferings? Well, which is better? This I am a man. I am forty. I am sick. My soul is sick. My thought is sick. My conscience is sick. My desires are suppressed. I am undesirable. I am unchangeable. I am unrecognizable. I am nothing. I am a typical man. I fell in love twice. I fell in love because of ennuie. I am not social. I inhabit my literary world. I hate my stupid friends. I suffer. And, indeed, I will ask on my own account here, an idle question: which is better—cheap happiness or exalted sufferings? Well, which is better? This book I think is the shortest book that I read it in the longest period of time (Actually the first half in more than two weeks and the second half in less than 3 hours!). This is not because I didn't enjoy it. Rather I have to say this book demands much concentration and patience just like the sick man himself. I haven't searched about this book yet, but I am sure this is truly one of Dostoyevsky's masterpieces. In 200 pages through a monologue, he reveals the true nature of a man who resembles Dostoyevsky himself. I feel I found myself a soulmate character. A character through which I can see myself. A mirror which reflects my own concerns. I am sure many other readers who liked this book felt the same. So let's celebrate for all the agonies that this book proposes. Let's unite for a universal purpose against all the superficial happiness and misunderstandings that we use to deceive ourselves. Let's face our true face once.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Srđan

    Have you ever tried thinking of a really hard-to-grasp topic only to reach some kind of a barrier in your mind? It's like, you can only reach a certain point of thought and if you try to think beyond that, your stream of thoughts either goes in a wrong direction or just completely vanishes. Well, somehow, Dostoyevsky is able to reach beyond the barrier and he's even able to present it through this dark glimpse of life and suffering that is oh so relatable.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    "Because I only like playing with words, only dreaming, but, do you know, what I really want is that you should all go to hell. That is what I want. I want peace; yes, I'd sell the whole world for a farthing, straight off, so long as I was left in peace." I ponder his words as I sit in his disturbed and confused underground mind, this mind supposedly brilliant, yet also a heap of self-destruction; these words which offer some profundity, some lackluster chit-chatter. It makes me consider how we "Because I only like playing with words, only dreaming, but, do you know, what I really want is that you should all go to hell. That is what I want. I want peace; yes, I'd sell the whole world for a farthing, straight off, so long as I was left in peace." I ponder his words as I sit in his disturbed and confused underground mind, this mind supposedly brilliant, yet also a heap of self-destruction; these words which offer some profundity, some lackluster chit-chatter. It makes me consider how we all want peace, to be left in peace, and yet we sometimes create our own tragedies, our own tortured existence. Our own underground. Play with words that leave me cold in the first few pages, will you, underground man, and then lure me when I'm halfway in, only to bore me again. For this book seems to lack a beginning or end, the semi-existent scenes torment each other, a contradictory heap of sentences, as if Dostoyevsky had unaligned and unfinished thoughts. When the tone of a psychological novel isn't grabbing, and the protagonist seems to be trapped within his own mind, I seek other cues, like that of the mood which enveloped me in The Days of Abandonment, or the heightened self-consciousness in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, or the deeply entrenched thematics of The Brothers Karamazov, or the texture within The Sorrows of Young Werther and Selected Writings. Somehow, I couldn't hold on to any such thing within this novel. Perhaps I'm confined to my own underground, so I'm sure my underground protagonist wouldn't mind that I'm not raving about his rants. It's not as if his rants aren't appealing at times, after all, the guy is on a roll. He thinks being forty means he's old (someone should tell him that forty is now the new thirty), and he swears that he doesn't believe one word of what he's written. Just when you think he's really gone off the deep end, he shows you he is still very self-aware: "You boast of consciousness, but you are not sure of your ground, for though your mind works, yet your heart is darkened and corrupt, and you cannot have a full, genuine consciousness without a pure heart. And how intrusive you are, how you insist and grimace! Lies, lies, lies!" And there are those moments, when his words pierce the subconscious: And so, furtively, timidly, in solitude, at night, I indulged in filthy vice, with a feeling of shame which never deserted me, even at the most loathsome moments, and which at such moments nearly made me curse. Already even then I had my underground world in my soul. I was fearfully afraid of being seen, of being met, of being recognised. I visited various obscure haunts. I wish I'd had more of these moments because although I don't reach the depths I yearn for, I linger with the 'voice' of this underground man when he reaches those moments of self-aware insanity and the narration produces some form of clarity through intimacy, because let's face it, otherwise, we don't really know this underground man, do we? His annoying inconsistency showcases humanity's perversity, his disdain of the real world, I understand, even when I can't grasp the reasoning for his odd treatment of Liza and of his friends. Perhaps I'll find this "scoundrel's" beginning and his end, when I read Crime and Punishment. Ah, Dostoyevsky, you trickster.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine

    'Ah, gentlemen! What will become of your will once the whole business ends up with tables and arithmetic, when only twice two is four is in demand? Twice two will make four without my willing it. So much for your will!' (p. 29)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Elie F

    Better Passive Consciousness? After reading this genius novel, I waited for a week before trying to write a review of some sort, because there is so much in there and I had to digest it first. Indeed, the underground man is sick, malicious, irredeemable, yet still I relate to him deeply, and not just on a spiritual level, but I realize to my surprise that I actually behave like him in concrete terms. The underground man rails against the laws of nature, against social norms, against science, and Better Passive Consciousness? After reading this genius novel, I waited for a week before trying to write a review of some sort, because there is so much in there and I had to digest it first. Indeed, the underground man is sick, malicious, irredeemable, yet still I relate to him deeply, and not just on a spiritual level, but I realize to my surprise that I actually behave like him in concrete terms. The underground man rails against the laws of nature, against social norms, against science, and against every possible alternative, every hint of salvation and change: "If there still was any time or faith left to make myself into something different, I should most likely have refused to do so." He curses the external world, but he finds fault with himself most of all, and his scorn of others simply serves as a distraction to his fundamental scorn of himself. Indeed, if others are to be hated, they have to be hated for something, and this something is nothing other than the humiliation, insult, and injury of oneself. To hate someone else, one has to be injured, to be petty, to be an insect. But what complicates the issue is the definition of being, or the definition of definition. To define is to conclude, and definition is as arbitrary, as much "a stone wall" as the laws of nature. Neither an insect nor a hero, the underground declares, he can't be anything, because he wants to retain some consciousness and free will against arbitrariness, and his consciousness doesn't allow him to do or to be anything. "Crushed by doing nothing. For the direct, the inevitable, and the legitimate result of consciousness is to make all actions impossible." The problem for him is that there are only two options, either an insect or a hero, either the tyrannizing one or the tyrannized one. Everything is reduced to a hateful competition, one knocking against the other, one humiliating the other, or one becomes the injured one, and when in the second part of the novel, a light of salvation, a gesture of compassion is extended to him through the prostitute girl, he rejects, smashes it. To play the role of the spiteful victim and silently remember every injury to the most shameful detail is easier than seeking the alternative, because devil knows what the alternative might lead to. Indeed, all the words of the underground man are hateful cheap egoistic talk, endless railing, but it is precisely the endlessness about his despair and spite that I relate to the most. The natural men (those who are normal, those who live as nature intended, those whom the underground man despises) go on and on in their following the arbitrary laws of nature like a mere physical entity that is set into motion, but likewise the underground man goes on and on in his railing, in his petty and spiteful writing. The ending of this short novel is pure genius: "This is not, by the way, the end of the Memoirs of this paradoxical fellow. He could not resist and went on and on. But it seems to us, too, that we may stop." The laws of nature can set us arbitrarily into endless, meaningless actions, but the "doing nothing" "better passive consciousness" principle of the underground man is no different.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Anya (~on a semi-hiatus~)

    I am a despicable woman...I am a jealous woman. I am a greedy woman. I believe my brain is sick from all the ill thoughts I silently stash in its dankest recesses, hiding them from the judgemental eyes of the polite society. I subsist on a diet of antidepressants and multivitamins. I feel bored and lonely in this sea of people. I am sad often. I cry. “For a woman, all resurrection, all salvation, from whatever perdition, lies in love; in fact, it is her only way to it.” I desperately feel the ne I am a despicable woman...I am a jealous woman. I am a greedy woman. I believe my brain is sick from all the ill thoughts I silently stash in its dankest recesses, hiding them from the judgemental eyes of the polite society. I subsist on a diet of antidepressants and multivitamins. I feel bored and lonely in this sea of people. I am sad often. I cry. “For a woman, all resurrection, all salvation, from whatever perdition, lies in love; in fact, it is her only way to it.” I desperately feel the need to worship Dostoyevsky for worming into the darkest, most disturbing corners of the human brain and so adeptly relaying it in a novel(la?) about a bitter 40-year-old man—human-vermin—who’s jaded and resentful and selfish and cruel and honestly detestable. The story reads like the rabid rambling of a deranged sociopath. It’s the paradoxical soliloquy of our anti-hero who ponders over revenge, ennui, suffering and the illogical pleasure that it imparts while being holed up in his shabby apartment. The Underground Man is me. The Underground Man is you. The Underground Man is trapped in the mire of everyday life and its monotonous inactivity. Like you and I, he is emotionally strong and yet vulnerable. He goes through bouts of self-loathing and loneliness. He is spiteful and cruel. I could relate to him. You could relate to him. And that is where the brilliance of this novel lies. “I used to imagine adventures for myself, I invented a life, so that I could at least exist somehow.”

  30. 5 out of 5

    Prashasti

    I feel completely drained.

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