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Notes from Underground & The Double

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4.18  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,290 Ratings  ·  174 Reviews
‘It is best to do nothing! The best thing is conscious inertia! So long live the underground!’Alienated from society and paralysed by a sense of his own insignificance, the anonymous narrator of Dostoyevsky’s groundbreaking Notes from Underground tells the story of his tortured life. With bitter sarcasm, he describes his refusal to become a worker in the ‘ant-hill’ of soci ...more
Paperback, 287 pages
Published July 30th 1972 by Penguin Classics
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ian Not His Real Name
I Am the Lowest and the Worst

I am 40
I am naughty
I am sick
I am angry
I am ugly
I am superstitious
I am undesirable
I am different
I am indifferent
I am petty
I am nothing
I am unstable
I am rude
I am impudent
I am timid
I am frightened
I am vengeful
I am lazy
I am dirty
I am secret
I am wretched
I am self-loathing
I am humiliating
I am humiliated
I am nasty
I am irritable
I am irritating
I am snarling
I am spiteful
I am unseemly
I am disgusting
I am disgusted
I am repulsive
I am ignoble
I am immoral
I am evil
I am guilty
I am sha
...more
Barry Pierce
Notes from Underground

This was the more enjoyable work in this collection. I enjoyed the narrator's pithy voice while he went over the events which lead to his "living underground". It also contains Dostoyevsky's infamously morbid black humour which has you smiling at the most desolate of images. I strangely found myself relating with the narrator which probably says a lot about my outlook on life.


The Double

Good god this story is 150-pages long and it took me two months to get through. Se
...more
Poncho
Apr 19, 2015 Poncho rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If spite makes you unworthy of a single pound,
Try to write about your life in the underground.
If this makes life as cold as ice,
To read Dostoevsky is my advice.



Notes from underground.

The above quasi-verse was written by me, not the author of the book; so don’t be spiteful, gentlemen.

Apropos of the spite, what can I say about Notes from underground? It’s simply stunning. I would say that I can’t understand why some people wouldn’t like this book, but I do understand. Allow me to tell you my pers
...more
Junta
Apr 20, 2016 Junta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Junta by: Crime and Punishment
Some (bad) Dostoyevsky jokes (for children?)

#1
Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Rodion Raskolnikov.

#2
Why did Ivan Karamazov drive through a red light?
(view spoiler)

#3
Yakov Golyadkin Sr. went to McDonald's and ordered a Big Mac, but he was served something else. What was it?
(view spoiler)

#4
How did Yakov Golyadkin Sr. feel when he saw the new guy at work?
(view spoiler)

#5
In Dostoy
...more
Wealhtheow
Apr 28, 2008 Wealhtheow rated it it was ok
Hey wait, are you a misanthrope? Do you feel betrayed and disappointed with life? Are you a bitter, bitter man? Why narrator, I never would have guessed! Why don't you spend the next hundred pages telling me about it? That sounds like loads of fun.
Tracy Reilly
Sep 27, 2015 Tracy Reilly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I cannot write. This is a quite disturbing book to me, second only to NAUSEA.

The narrator, the "anti-hero" who claims to be-- all we are just too self-deluded to be --spends his life destroying his life with contradictory outbursts. They are contradictory because first he assumes one pose, one that is, generally, judgmental, a point of view against his fellow men. Then he spends the next 6 hours regretting what he's done, plotting to undo it,berating himself, but ultimately only sowing confusion
...more
Vanessa
Dec 01, 2014 Vanessa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
3.5 stars.

These novellas were my first ever Dostoyevsky reads, and it was an interesting and somewhat challenging experience. For this review, I will be reviewing each story individually.

Notes from Underground - 4 stars.

This novella was the one I wanted to read the most by Dostoyevsky. I always thought it sounded very interesting, although some people had told me it was challenging. It is narrated by an unnamed protagonist, a retired civil servant living in St. Petersburg. The novella is split i
...more
Sunil
A genius of a book written by a mind that can effortlessly delve into the nuts, bolts and avagadros of the psyche.


Regard this extract:

Every man has reminiscences which he would not tell to everyone, but only to his friends. He has other matters in his mind which he would not reveal even to his friends, but only to himself, and that in secret. But there are other things which a man is afraid to tell even to himself, and every decent man has a number of such things stored away in his mind. The mor
...more
Edward
Translator's Introduction

--Notes From Underground
--The Double

Chronology
David Sarkies
Apr 29, 2015 David Sarkies rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Lovers of dark literature
Recommended to David by: I saw it in a bookshop
Shelves: dark
Two of Dostoyevski's shorter works
12 May 2010

I'm glad that I'm not the only person that found this book hard to follow at times, but since it is a collection of thoughts from a man who is trapped in his own feelings of self-worthlessness it is understandable. Dostoyevsky is a writer that one needs to be able to focus on to be able to read and understand clearly, if it is possible to clearly understand much of his writings. It is not to say that he is not fpr he seems to be able to catch the ess
...more
Gina
Nov 07, 2015 Gina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rereads
I've only read Notes from Underground for class, so my review is restricted to that:

I immediately enjoyed this book more than Crime and Punishment. Maybe I should go back and read that again sometime to see if the distance of years and not being forced to choke through it would help, but that's beside the point.

Dostoyevsky really impressed me with this one. The character is so well fleshed out and he's such a cranky, arrogant jerk it's hard not to laugh as he spews all his opinions like a grump
...more
Almira
Jul 24, 2013 Almira rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Damn it, this one gave headaches...and stomachaches - from laughing.

Dostovyesky's a man who likes to think so much, I think. His lead character has natural queerness, and we could be friends, in fact, best of friends.

If all men would think like this man, well I don't really know, I'll have a hard time picking who's the best lol.

Seriously speaking though, it's easy for him to be disagreeable, but at some parts, I can't help but agree in his views. The book didn't really follow a plot like the usu
...more
Olivia
Jul 05, 2015 Olivia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

The descriptions and blurbs tend to bill both Notes from Underground and The Double as “tragicomic”, and they are certainly right in doing that. Some of the stronger parts of the book are wonderfully funny, often in that horrible, stinging kind of way that almost seems like it could be trademarked by Russia and Eastern Europe. Unfortunately, those parts are interspersed with other, less interesting ones. As a matter of fact, I found both of these stories, but especially The Double, terribly unev
...more
Elliot Chalom
Nov 09, 2014 Elliot Chalom rated it it was amazing
I never thought I'd read Dostoyevsky. Not because I didn't want to read him- I just never thought about it. I don't generally read classics, I don't read Russian lit, and the idea of reading "Dostoyevsky" frankly would intimidate me. Nothing about this author , this book (actually two books) or anything I'd heard about either changed my mind. Yet I found myself reading Notes from Underground & The Double. How did that happen?

My mother had an older cousin, almost more like an aunt to her, a w
...more
Mr.
Oct 07, 2008 Mr. rated it it was amazing
Dostoyevsky's 'Notes from Underground,' is often called the first truly existential work of literature in the history of the west. Yet I think it is read today for the very seem reasons we always read Dostoevsky: for his command over intensity, his genuine and masterly sense of atmosphere, and his ability to psychologize those who are suffering. 'Notes from Underground,' is a true masterpiece in that it recreates the truth of genuine alienation and hatred. It laid the basis for all great works o ...more
Christina
Sep 04, 2011 Christina rated it it was amazing
9/3/11 Lightbulb: must remember to consider Dostoyevsky's time imprisoned in Siberia as more than a footnote finding mention in his novels. Probably life-changing to his views on FREEDOM, FREE WILL and determinism! Which, potentially completely changes my assessment of this work.

-----------------------------------
Posted March 2011

(1) Why did the narrator consistently do everything AGAINST his own self interest? One finds throughout the novel that the narrator vacillates on almost every idea. Th
...more
Leo Robertson
Primordial modernism of Notes... is interesting enough but after it reminded me of this video I couldn't take it seriously aha! (will make sense if you read Notes- I think)
The Double is also decent enough...
Not a particularly special combo, neither a bad plane read at all!
Adrian Colesberry
May 06, 2010 Adrian Colesberry rated it it was amazing
I read this last year sometime in some electronic form or other. The slow deliberate exploration of character is amazing. Reminds me very much of the Kafka character in A Letter to My Father. Weak, aware of his own weakness, defiant of the culture that calls him weak, but still unable to rise above. Terrific character study.
James
Jun 24, 2015 James rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars for Notes from the Underground; 2 stars of The Double. I much prefer the Crime and Punishment and the Idiot.
Yuganka Sharan
Two tormented souls

Notes from Underground and The Double is a book that brings together two works that, among other things, focus really on the uncertain nature of the human mind. Behind the external veneer of stability and decisiveness which man manages to portray in his daily life, sometimes truthfully, there is a whole universe of conflicting thoughts, indecisions, doubts and paranoia that lurk beneath. The fact that, fortunately, most of us haven't seen that side of ourselves, or at least no
...more
Chiara
Jan 24, 2012 Chiara rated it really liked it
In both stories his characters make huge mistakes they pay for for the rest of their lives.

Notes from Underground is about a man so bound by 19th c. societal standards that he will not allow himself to be with the woman he loves because she is a prostitute. The female character, Liza, is compelling, gentle, sadly naive, and deserving of success.

The Double, is about a lonely man trying to climb the social ladder in Moscow. He meets someone exactly like himself with the same name and likeness wh
...more
Steve Porter
Nov 18, 2012 Steve Porter rated it really liked it
Unable to recall if I'd ever read the second of these novellas (The Double), I decided to return to the world of Dostoevsky for the first time in many years. I still think of him as one of the true greats of world literature and my favourite Russian writer. He does psychological anguish better than anybody and gets right to the very 'soul' of his characters. The Double is no exception. The only thing that left me wondering a little is why Mr Golyadkin's doppelganger appears real to other charact ...more
Nick Traynor
Dec 23, 2015 Nick Traynor rated it liked it
Shelves: bookclublove
I didn't think much of Notes from Underground; I thought the philosophy was too basic and the story was horrible and bleak.

I did enjoy most of The Double, it thoroughly reminded me of Gogol. It was funny and outrageous. The ending was very bitter to me though: I was expecting something satisfying and instead it was confusing and disappointing.
Fyodor Underground
Feb 12, 2016 Fyodor Underground rated it it was amazing
Fellow Dostoevsky fans!

I have set up a Tumblr blog, where I, as the underground man, will be posting each paragraph of Notes From Underground. If you are interested, you can find it here
Jeremy
Dec 15, 2008 Jeremy rated it really liked it
Neurotic, Claustrophobic, Angsty, Vital. This novel shows just how Dostoevsky created such psychologically rich works, by moving between the mental extremes of marginalized figures. An incredible, short read.
Ashley
Jul 15, 2012 Ashley rated it really liked it
I found this book attractively repulsive. Loved it, the main character makes you irritated as he comes to life through the ironically crunchy pages drenching with his thoughtful ignorance.
Professor Childermass
I've read the Double, but not Notes from the Underground. The Double is a pretty amazing story, though like everything he writes a little challenging to wade through at times
Geoff Sebesta
Dec 22, 2010 Geoff Sebesta rated it really liked it
Notes from the Underground reads like a livejournal entry from a hundred and fifty years ago.
Randy Pradhana
Sep 19, 2015 Randy Pradhana rated it really liked it
Notes from underground 5 stars, The Double 3 stars
Диана
Sep 29, 2015 Диана is currently reading it
I finished Notes from the Underground today.

I can totally see how Nietzsche was inspired by Dostoevsky. Notes from the Underground is basically a self-portrait of the person of slave morality. Many words and phrases from the first pages of the Notes immediately made me think about Nietzsche's Geneaology. (Although I knew before that Nietzsche admired Dostoevsky, the former definitely was not on my mind when I started reading the Notes, so the association struck me as a strong one.)

Perhaps nobody
...more
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Buddy Read of Notes from Underground 7 24 Aug 11, 2015 03:08AM  
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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
...more
More about Fyodor Dostoyevsky...

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“We have all lost touch with life, we all limp, each to a greater or lesser degree.” 37 likes
“Twice two is four is not life, gentlemen, but the beginning of death.” 23 likes
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