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Notes from the Underground (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – Unabridged, February 21, 1992
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Against the backdrop of an ancient battle between the forces of Light and the forces of Darkness, Aidan struggles to control the newly awakened and enigmatic powers that seem to be his only hope for rescuing Ava, his little sister, trapped somewhere beyond the Veil. Paperback | Kindle book | See more for Teen and Young Adult readers
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Original Language: Russian
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Top Customer Reviews
The writing is absolutely brilliant. Dostoyevsky does not seem to have created this character but instead pulled him from the street. The character was not one dimensional, an attribute that I found personally refreshing . The thoughts and emotions are complex and real and were constantly understated, adding to the impression that the book was written by the character himself, who lacks writing experience needed to capture these feelings.
The main character views himself cut off and removed from society, rejected by all in nearly every way. He has become so obsessed with this notion that he has created this exact situation as a result of searching for justification of this impression. He has in fact created most of his own misery, and only continues to propagate more. Yet he seem himself as miserable and rejected and finds pride in this image. He imagines himself to be pitiful and also to be strong and fiercely independent as a result of his social isolation. He feels he poses a strength of spirit for being able to endure the loneliness and envisions himself as a martyr.
This fuels his ego and he plans heroic acts in order to show the proof of his worth or to win attention and love. He however lacks the courage to complete the monumental self serving tasks he set before himself. Through a strange twist of logic these failures are also seen as something to be admired. It only makes him more pitiful and thus a greater martyr.Read more ›
Perhaps the best translation I've found to date is that by Andrew MacAndrew, available in a Signet Classics edition. MacAndrew's prose has a vigor and modern clarity that truly make this work speak to the reader - the Underground Man truly comes to life as a living, breathing character with a relevance and immediacy.
For all the praise the Pevear/Volokhonsky translations have gotten, I do not think they necessarily surpass the efforts of those who came before them in this particular instance. Although a big fan of their Tolstoy, the Dostoevsky comes off somewhat comparatively muted.
Compare MacAndrew's rendering of the opening words in which the Underground Man introduces himself:
"I'm a sick man... a mean man. There's nothing attractive about me. I think there's something wrong with my liver. But, actually, I don't know a damn thing about my sickness; I'm not even too sure what it is that's ailing me."
"I am a sick man... I am a wicked man. An unattractive man. I think my liver hurts. However, I don't know a fig about my sickness and am not sure what it is that hurts me."
Of the two, MacAndrew's Underground Man obviously speaks a more contemporary English. I am aware that this has actually been a criticism of his. In fact, many readers might actually be put off by the brusque and terse take or find it even slightly disturbing.Read more ›
The book is presented in two parts. Part one `Underground' is written in the form of the nameless narrator's rambling thoughts on reason and his claim that throughout history, human actions have been anything but influenced by reason. Underground Man's charge is that man values most the freedom to choose to act in opposition to reason's dictates. Dostoyevsky's critique of reason then, although it demands attention and is somewhat difficult to follow, sets the philosophical foundations for the rest of the book.
Part two `A Propos of the Wet Snow' is much easier to read, as the narrator recounts three episodes which happened when he was fifteen years younger and working as a civil servant in St. Petersburg. The first considers an incident in which an army officer insults him and goes on to detail Underground Man's subsequent internal anguish at his inability to commit an act of retribution. The second episode takes place at a farewell dinner for an acquaintance named Zverkov. The narrator is utterly disgusted with the company in which he finds himself but despite this, he is unable - even though he desires it - to make them realise this. The third episode details Underground Man's brief, painful and emotional relationship with a prostitute.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's all about the inability of being happy. It's become even commoner nowadays.Published 16 days ago by Sheng
I am reading his other works now - one of the best works I have read in my life on existentialism.Published 1 month ago by Mast3r R3view3R
sometimes its not clear who is speaking, and characters switch between nicknames and regular names so you have to be alertPublished 2 months ago by 50somethingMGR
It is a reference work by a classic author which is a welcome addition to my library and well worth the free price!Published 2 months ago by george
A first person account of mental illness; dark and gloomy but so revealing.Published 2 months ago by Michael W Ressel
Russian Existentialism in short form. A specific taste and narrow topic, but excellent.Published 6 months ago by Michael Naaden
This book is depressing. It ruined my relationship because I wanted to say screw humanity and my gf was a utilitarianist. Oh well, I got over it.Published 6 months ago by Isa galmont