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Notes from the Underground Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Tribeca Books (December 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936594676
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936594672
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'a canny work of literature... "Notes" is still a work of modern literature; it still can kick' The New Yorker --The New Yorker

About the Author

Russian author Doestoyevsky is renowned for his vital style of writing and timeless characters. An originator of Existentialism, he ingeniously depicted the social, political and economical conditions of Russia through the psychology of his characters.

Customer Reviews

His other books are too long and difficult and to read. this one gets right to the point.
Michel Olson
Fyodor Dostoevsky was an author renowned for his ability to portray the intricacies and sublime aspects of the human mind in a wholly unique and compelling manner.
L. Salinas
Anyway, I will try to read the original Russian version in future in order to see whether I can get more understanding of this book.
Guang Wu

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Geoff Puterbaugh on November 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
"Notes from the Underground" is a brilliant satirical attack on "European ideas" as received in Russia, in general, and on one Nikolai Chernyshevsky in particular. It was strange, and hard to understand, so it was widely ignored until the 1920's, when someone finally began to notice that Dostoevsky had been RIGHT. Russians took the road of Chernyshevsky (an idiot, and a utopian socialist who denied human free will) and they wound up living the life of the Cockroach Man, where nobody was guilty of anything, and everybody was guilty of everything, and the blood flowed like water.

It is important to understand that the narrator, the Cockroach Man, is not Dostoevsky, not even Dostoevsky on one of his bad days. He is definitely a literary creation, but what is he meant to represent? When people began taking this novel seriously, they imagined that the Cockroach Man ("I am a sick man...I am a wicked man...) was some lunatic opponent of Enlightened Ideas. But Dostoevsky was a step ahead of them, and it took a long time before people began to realize that the Cockroach Man was the direct result of taking Chernyshevsky's ideas seriously. In particular, the Cockroach Man's "hyperconsciousness" seems to serve as a code word for accepting man's lack of free will; this idea is something that philosophers bandy about easily, but they never seem to stop to think what it will mean if the human race takes them seriously. If that happens, "hyperconsciousness" comes into play, and ALL moral codes, ALL OF THEM, are erased. A man slaps you in the face!

So what? He has no free will; he's just a robot. If you feel angry and slap him back, you're no better off. If you "decide" to ignore it with "compassion," it's the same thing: you are a robot as much as he is.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By L. Salinas on February 23, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fyodor Dostoevsky was an author renowned for his ability to portray the intricacies and sublime aspects of the human mind in a wholly unique and compelling manner. His characters exhibit such a fullness and vitality of verisimilitude that they seem to have more substance than your average next-door neighbor. In addition, he has long been considered a forerunner for the philosophical movement known as existentialism, where the focus lies solely on the colossal implications of human existence and the purpose of life (if any). So, it should come as no surprise that a novel from a man of these credentials is certain to pack a whollop for its readers.
Notes from the Underground is not only a masterpiece of Russian and existentialist literature, but all literature in general. I know, I know, "That's some high praise there, pal," you say, but go on -- give the book a try.
The first part of Notes serves as a monologue of sorts for the underground man (who is never named), and introduces themes and ideas that will play heavily in the second part of the novel. Weighty issues such as man's desire to always choose free will, even if it's not in his best interest but merely for the fact that he CAN choose free will; and the moral and intellectual estrangement of hyperconscious man from himself, are discussed here. I would be remiss not to say that the narrator is also probably going to be one of the most spiteful, self-loathing, and purely disgusting characters that you will ever meet in your literary life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By SparkRevolt on February 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
As my title implies, this was my intro to Dostoyevsky. This was an interesting book, it was a bit off kilter from what I normally read, but I am thankful that day when, for what ever reason I decided to buy this book before all others. Call it divine providence. I liked this book more than I ever imagined I would, the first half was a bit disorienting since unlike most books I dove into the frigid waters of Russian literature head first. It was well worth the effort, and I mean it, if I don't Like a book enough to see it through, I have no issues with putting it down and seeing what is next. This was a rare treat, I don't know if I will ever make it to some of his meatier works, but after this I certainly hope so. This is about a character that has stayed with me for many years now, like a creepy neighbor you can't move away from but ever minute of your life you wish you could. It also in a strange way makes me appreciate my dental plan.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By saket on June 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book is written with such rare honesty that it makes the entire content universal in its nature and appeal. This book exposes you to the frailties of your own being, whether or not you are a government clerk writing the journal. I am not a government clerk, but am forty just as the narrator of this amazing note, and can see a reflection in the spite which the narrator expresses towards a life which rushes past us, and reminds us how little we have achieved as we hit mid life. So brutally honest, and so nice to read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Johnson on December 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Highly recommended. The highly complex and contradictory narrative provoked self introspection on this reader that few other works have previously matched. Dostoevsky is a true genius.
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