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Notes from Underground

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4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  79,865 Ratings  ·  2,946 Reviews
A collection of powerful stories by one of the masters of Russian literature, illustrating the author's thoughts on political philosophy, religion and above all, humanity: Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead (150th Anniversary Edition)

The compelling works presented in this volume were written at dis
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Paperback, 233 pages
Published November 2nd 2004 by Signet (first published 1864)
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Pope-punk it would seem to me a book about the psychology of being an asshole would be of great interest to you, my friend :)
DeanJean If you don't like being pointed out by Mr Dostoevsky as an asshole (and I can identify with some of the situations that he points out) - don't read…moreIf you don't like being pointed out by Mr Dostoevsky as an asshole (and I can identify with some of the situations that he points out) - don't read this book. You'll end up loathing him for 1) this reason, and 2) for the mind-twisting philosophies. It's like a metaphoric mirror being held up to the dark side of your character.(less)
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoyevskyAnna Karenina by Leo TolstoyThe Master and Margarita by Mikhail BulgakovWar and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Best Russian Literature
8th out of 388 books — 1,618 voters
Pride and Prejudice by Jane AustenJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëWuthering Heights by Emily BrontëThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeCrime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Best Books of the 19th Century
52nd out of 870 books — 4,772 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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...
Nate D
Apr 06, 2015 Nate D rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who overthink, people who think.
Recommended to Nate D by: dfw
Shelves: read-in-2009, russia
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.
Samadrita
I did two things after finishing with this book.
- 1)Strengthened my resolve to finish Crime and Punishment and read the rest of Dostoyevsky's works without any inner grumbling.
- 2)Looked up Albert Camus' background and profile on the internet.
Yes Dostoyevsky was one of Camus' influences. If you read Notes from Underground right after Camus' The Fall, it becomes all the more obvious.

Well anyway here's a word of advice.
Do not read this book on a cold, practical day. Do not read this on a day w
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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 of
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Nataliya
Dec 03, 2014 Nataliya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Dolors
Nov 06, 2014 Dolors rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Seekers of truth rather than beauty
My edition of “Notes from Underground” includes a magisterial foreword by Richard Pevear that gives an extra dimension to the introspective musings of its sardonic anti-hero, bestowing them with the required intellectual authority to reproach the utopian socialism and the aesthetic utilitarianism prevalent in the Russia of the 1860s and offer responses to ideological, philosophical and moral paradoxes of a world in the threshold of progress and modernity.
The fact that Dostoevsky’s novella consti
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mark monday
Apr 18, 2016 mark monday rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to mark by: Andrew Schirmer
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 ...more
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.
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Heba Nouraldeen
حُسن الختام لعام 2015 :)
كنت أمام شخصية من تلك الشخصيات التي صورتها عبقرية دستويفسكي ...عصّية على فهمها ولم اتمكن من فك الغازها أو فتح مغاليق أسرارها..
وهنا تكمن عبقرية الكاتب ...
رجل في الأربعين من عمره لا يسكن قبوه بل القبو من يمكث فيه...يحتمي فيه منعزلاً حانقاً من الانسانية بأسرها
لم يفارق ذاكرته كل صفعات الأهانة التي تلقاها في حياته ولم يقابلها إلا بالتمرد والسخط عليها..
و لم يلتفت اليه أحد يوماً أو يلتمس صداقته ..
يرى فى أعين الآخرين نظرة احتقار واذدراء لشخصه لذا ادعى الذكاء والوعى حد ما يُميزه
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Salma
Dec 25, 2009 Salma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
النسخة التي عندي مترجمة تحت عنوان "في سردابي" لعبد المعين الملوحي..._و هي معنونة في قبوي ترجمة سامي الدوربي و دار ابن رشد، أو الانسان الصرصار(أو رسائل من أعماق الأرض) في ترجمة ثالثة لا أدري لمن_ نسختي كانت _قبل أن أبيعها_ نسخة قديمة مصفرة الأوراق مطبوعة عام 1956... و قد اشتريتها من على بسطة الكتب القديمة...0

رواية عن رجل يتحدث عن نفسه بصيغة المتكلم قد قرف المجتمع و زيفه...0


هل أستطيع أن أدلي باعتراف صغير هنا... لطالما أحببت دوستويفسكي... لكن في روايته هنا أحسست به يعرفني منذ أمد بعيد

لا أحد يشك بأ
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David Lentz
Jul 18, 2015 David Lentz rated it it was amazing
Dostoyesky's anti-hero is the the first of a long line of existential anti-heroes who followed later in the 20th century. Clearly, here is an utterly loathsome man who is alienated from his brethren by virtue of his own worldview and is victimized by it. In his sublime genius Dostoyevsky sufficiently respects his readers to challenge them to find something, however dreadful it may be, to connect intellectually with a protagonist who is virtually impossible to admire. While so many novelists of h ...more
Stephen P
Nov 16, 2014 Stephen P rated it it was amazing
I am writing this review because I have just finished and writing is the only thing I can do at this moment. The book has shaken me where reading any other book in the future has come into question. Maybe I should have waited till the heat simmered and collected my thoughts but this too would counter what I have just read, experienced and been shaken by. Let's start with the simple and easy and get it out of the way. The book is told in first person by a narrator who was not raised by parents or ...more
Vessey
Mar 21, 2016 Vessey rated it it was amazing
To all who would like to read an interpretation or analysis of “Notes from the Underground”: stop here. The following is something quite different. The only thing that it has in common with the book is that the man it features, just like the protagonist, is self-loathing and incapable of love, but much more dangerous and malicious than Dostoevsky’s character.

You are supposed to be gone. I don’t know whether you really are, or you go on being here using again a false identity. Even if you are tru
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Riku Sayuj
Short, brisk, Scathing and dark as dark can be. I hope you experience some of the uplifting depression this book gave me... It does pull you out in the end but around the middle of the book, it buries you deeper than you ever thought possible.
Paul Bryant
Apr 10, 2015 Paul Bryant rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
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
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Lyn
Dec 16, 2015 Lyn rated it really liked it
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
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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
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Jason Koivu
Feb 25, 2013 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it
Madness...This is madness, I tell you!

Or worse, it's philosophy, some sound, some twisted in counterintuitive logic.

In the first part of Notes for Underground the narration reads like the journal of a rambling genius or psychopath. It's difficult to decide. This section had my mind wandering in a whirl of amazement, boredom and confusion. If the entire book went on this way, as slim as it is, I doubt I would've finished it, or if I had, you'd not see a four star rating up there.

The second part
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Rowena
Nov 12, 2012 Rowena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Ahmed Oraby
Dec 02, 2014 Ahmed Oraby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
حسنًا حسنًا، دويستويفسكي العظيم من جديد
هذا الرجل المحير للغاية مرة أخرى، يجذبك بأسلوبه وبكلماته العميقة البسيطة، في آن واحد، لتكمل قراءة الرواية لآخرها.
رواية أخرى لا يسعنى بعد الفراغ منها إلا أن أقف مشدوهًا أمام قدرة هذا العبقري
ها هنا، يتجلى دوساويفسكي في أبهى صوره؛ في صورة الفيلسوف، بالطبع.
صدقًا، هذا الرجل ملئ بالمفاجآت، فلرواياته طعم خاص ولون مغاير للغاية، عن أي ما ستقرأ مستقبلًا
ولرواياته ألوان عديدة ومختلفة، فقلما تجده يكرر نفسه وأسلوبه.
عند أول عهدي به، مع روايته الجريمة والعقاب، ما وسعني إلا
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Ian GalaDali
Sep 10, 2014 Ian GalaDali rated it it was amazing
Original Review

Notes from Underground is a small but influential work.

In particular, it is the inspiration for the Howard Devoto (of Magazine fame) song "A Song from under the Floorboards" from "The Correct Use of Soap" (later covered by the solo artist Steven Patrick Morrissey).

The song begins, "I am angry, I am ill and I'm as ugly as sin", which is partly based on the first paragraph of the novel.

The name of the novel takes a bit of a liberty with the original Russian title.

In the English, it
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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 that final blow doesn't come; the victim is not shown the mercy of an easy execution.

Instead Dostoyevsky strangles him, squeezes the very life out
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Seemita
I scribbled on my notepad, random words, stared at them, struck them and occasionally, tore the page to reveal a new one. The overcast sky was teetering at the rain’s behest and the drowning sun was not of much assistance either. I was wriggling my fingers between the spaces of the black wrought iron bench on which I had been sitting for over three hours now. My patience was about to surrender and I was in no mood to cajole it any further. I snapped shut my notepad, freed my fingers and was abou ...more
Glenn Russell
Aug 21, 2014 Glenn Russell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Emilian Kasemi
Sep 28, 2012 Emilian Kasemi rated it it was amazing
Dostoyevsky was the first to analyze the human soul. He realized the importance of an aspect of the personality that a few years later Sigmund Freud revealed it was the case of an element so darkly,yes, but knowable, that is the unconscious.
The underground as the title suggests doesn't describe a social condition (even if miserable), but instead represents the soul of the narrator. His unconscious, his weaknesses, his frustrations, his neuroses.
Dostoevsky, a master on investigating the darkest
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Nikos Tsentemeidis
Συγκλονιστικό!!! Το κατατάσσω στα κορυφαία έργα του Ντοστογιέφσκι μαζί με το Έγκλημα και τους Καραμάζοφ. Θυμίζει περισσότερο το δεύτερο, με διαφορά στον όγκο, που οφείλεται στην έλλειψη πλοκής. Το Υπόγειο, είναι ίσως από τα καλύτερα βιβλία Ψυχολογίας που έχουν γραφτεί ποτέ.
Γιατί με συγκλόνισε; Γιατί διάβασα σκέψεις που έχω ζήσει σαν έφηβος, όταν ακόμα δεν μπορούσα να τις εξηγήσω. Έχει απόλυτο δίκιο ο Νίτσε όταν λέει: «Ο μόνος που μου έμαθε κάτι για την ανθρώπινη ψυχολογία ήταν ο Ντοστογιέφσκι».
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Mohammed
Mar 13, 2016 Mohammed rated it it was amazing
يقول دوستويفسكي في أحد قصص هذا الكتاب متحدثاً عن أيامه في السجن :"أردت أن أدرك المستويات المختلفة من الأحكام والعقوبات, وكافة أشكال العقاب وموقف المساجين منها. حاولت أن أضع نفسي في في الحالة الذهنية للمساجين الذين ستُطبق عليهم العقوبة...".
من هذه المقولة وغيرها يمكننا الجزم بأن دوستويفسكي لم يحمل القلم ليعبر عن الربيع, عن المرح, عن مباهج الحياة. كلا, بل هي المعاناة البشرية التي شغلت ذهنه وسخر قلمه لوصفها واضعاً أياها تحت المجهر ليراها ويشعر بها أسعد القراء طراً. كما أن البؤس الموزع بسخاء في طيات
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Arnie
Oct 01, 2014 Arnie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone paying attention
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.
Amir
Aug 16, 2015 Amir rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
ایدههایی ناآزموده در باب کتابی که هرگز نمیتوانم تمامش کنم


فقط تا صفحهی 120 تونستم پیش برم. شاید اگه سه چهار سال پیش بود با سماجت پیش میرفتم. اما این روزها زمانم کمتر از چیزی هست که بخوام سر سماجت تلفش کنم
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تقسیمبندی رمان بسیار خیرهکنندهست. عنوان بخش اول -تاریکی- طعنهای هست به دنیای امیدوار عصر روشنگری و عنوان فصل دوم -روی برف نمناک- گریزی زده به پروژهی مخالفخوان اون روزهای عصر روشنگری؛ یعنی رمانتیسم. شخصیت اصلی رمان تکافتادهی منفعلی هست که از فضای فکری پیرامون خودش احساس تشنج میکنه. هیچ اندیشهای
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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
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  • The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol
  • Oblomov
  • Summer in Baden-Baden
  • The First Circle
  • Envy
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Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky (Russian: Фёдор Михайлович Достоевский), sometimes transliterated Dostoevsky, was a Russian novelist, journalist, and short-story writer whose psychological penetration into the human soul had a profound influence on the 20th century novel.

Dostoyevsky was the second son of a former army doctor. He was educated at home and at a private school. Shortly after the death
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More about Fyodor Dostoyevsky...

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“Man only likes to count his troubles; he doesn't calculate his happiness.” 2023 likes
“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” 1897 likes
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