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lunababymoonchild

Notes From Underground

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This is a short story, some 92 pages in my copy, but it does pack a lot into said pages so it took me much longer to read than I anticipated.  I'd class it as deliciously difficult.

 

This is Dostoevsky writing both stream of consciousness and existentialism (how's that for a combination!) in a combination that I've never seen before.  

 

From Amazon

 

Isolated from society in a tenement basement in St. Petersburg, a malicious former civil servant vents his resentments. In the rambling notes that follow, we are exposed to the inner turmoil of the Underground Man, who represents the voice of his generation. An emotional, paranoid knot of contradictions, the spiteful narrator is also desperate to join a society he loathes, if only to prove his superiority to it.

 

Exploring themes of free will versus determinism, Dostoyevsky’s existential exploration was written to challenge increasingly popular Western egoist philosophies. In the Underground Man, he found the embodiment of the antihero, whose behaviour—like all human behaviour—defies rationalization.

 

So, the book is called Notes from Underground because we are reading the notes of a man who feels that he forms the underground.  It does ramble, like the thoughts of a man (stream of consciousness) and ponders his own and other's behaviour (existentialism).  The prose is amazing and it's worth reading for just that alone. 

 

I'd recommend this even although it would be difficult to read for the average (like me) reader.

 

 

 

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I read this as a teenager whilst still at school. Not as part of the curriculum. Friends had started reading Russian literature and so I gave it a go. I still have the small hardbacked copy in some boxes of books I've not unpacked since my move. If I remember correctly the book also included a story called White Nights about a love affair gone wrong. As for 'Notes' I doubt if understood half of it back then (and definitely wouldn't have been able to articulate it as well as you Luna) but it sowed a love of Russian literature which has stayed with me through all the years. 

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2 hours ago, Tay said:

I read this as a teenager whilst still at school. Not as part of the curriculum. Friends had started reading Russian literature and so I gave it a go. I still have the small hardbacked copy in some boxes of books I've not unpacked since my move. If I remember correctly the book also included a story called White Nights about a love affair gone wrong. As for 'Notes' I doubt if understood half of it back then (and definitely wouldn't have been able to articulate it as well as you Luna) but it sowed a love of Russian literature which has stayed with me through all the years. 

 

That's very kind of you Tay.  I'm sure that I'll get more out of it the second time I read it. Don't think mine has White Nights in it though

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