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Notes from Underground: with White Nights, The Dreams of a Ridiculous Man, and selections from The House of the Dead

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4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  838 ratings  ·  52 reviews
In this Signet Classic volume can be seen Dostoyevsky's evolving outlook on man's fate. The works presented here were written at distinct periods in the author's life, at decisive moments in his groping for a political philosophy and a religious answer. The characters are representative of the human hearts he probed with such surprising insight. They include a whole range ...more
Paperback, Signet Classic, 240 pages
Published October 1961 by The New American Library, Inc.
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(showing 1-30 of 1,396)
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Bruce
This early work by Dostoevsky (in this edition spelled "Dostoyevsky") is intense, disturbing and claustrophobic, a reaction against Enlightenment rationalism and late 19th century positivism. It is not a comfortable book to read, and it is not one that a person can put out of one's mind after finishing it. I find it fascinating to read works of introspection and intrapersonal exploration in the years shortly before Freud, when Freud's conceptualizations and psychological language were not yet av ...more
Lauren  Rush


The underground is one of those stories that describes the mundane mans depression, isolation and fury with the world around him. I know alot of people have difficulty reading it and understanding what is going on. But the best way is to try and make his thoughts your own and to take everything he says literaly. The man is a liar, he exaggerates, yet he is also blunt and truthful. His aim is to describe to you his story, yet he doesn't even know what the point of it is. He is lost and nameless,
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DH Hanni
Closer to 3.5 stars. I haven't read a lot of the Russian authors but I found this collection of short stories and a novella pretty easy to following along. All of the stories are told in 1st person which was a bit confusing reading the selections from The House of the Dead even with the clear transitions into each section.

The style of writing is obviously different from modern writing and is typical of 19th century literature. All the stories deal with man's condition and I think it's too easy
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Czarny Pies
This collection is for individuals determined to dig deeply into the Dostoyevsky catalogue as I was when I read it. All Dostoyevsky fans at some time have to read the House of the Dead which describes his four years of imprisonment from 1849 to 1853 in Siberia for having participated in an assassination attempt on the life of the Tsar.

The House of the Dead is commonly believed to be first book in the grand Russian of political internees writing about their experiences. I believe that the honour
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Susie Steadman
I learned that it is possible to read a few hundred pages about a character with no redeeming qualities, but it still doesn't make me want to tackle " A Confederancy of Dunces" again.
Joshua Frampton
This edition collects a few short stories from various stages of Dostoyevsky's career, as well as selections from The House of the Dead. The real centrepiece is Notes from Underground, a fearless and elaborate insight into the soul of an antisocial, bitter and alienated man.

This was my first experience with this esteemed Russian author. He has a marvelous talent for digging at the human soul and exposing the weariness, nausea and emptiness of modern man. Notes from Underground foreshadows many o
...more
Matt
Jan 30, 2009 Matt rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Matt by: Joe
Shelves: classics
Just finished the "White Nights" section of the book. I thought it was a great love story where a empty man opens up after all this time of talking to buildings only to get crushed by his love getting rejected. I knew something had to go wrong, but Dostoevsky waits until the last page to bring down the hammer. Skillfully done. I found some good quotes which I will add to my favorite quotes!

The House of the Dead contained some disturbing murder stories in marriage. Ouch.

The Dream of a Ridiculous
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Meen
Jun 23, 2008 Meen rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Meen by: Got it at a yard sale
This is the first time I have read Dostoyevsky, and maybe I should've saved myself for a novel b/c I was not overly impressed with these short stories. They weren't BAD, but I guess I was expecting to be blown away b/c you know, it's Dostoyevsky, right? Now, I will say that the narrator of "Notes from the Underground" might be the most repulsive character I've ever read. I guess that is pretty powerful, huh? Actually, I enjoyed the afterword (a short bio, mostly) as much as any of the stories, a ...more
Joseph Sverker
A wonderful book in many ways. The narrator is unsympathetic and honest, yet these two characteristics makes the reader uncertain if one can trust him or not, which means that he might not be as unsympathetic as he turns himself out to be. Anyway, he seems to have a go at the Romantics in the first part, which I quite like. In the second part the salvific woman comes in, but in a slightly different way than in Crime and Punishment. I wonder if the woman is not able to save, because the protagoni ...more
Cristina
Hesitation is providing my reluctance to comment on this book. This is since it's a very violent and hostile outlook on being a man and I wonder how many people can relate to it. Meaning, it's a depressing outlook on life, yet entertaining and relatable. Especially for someone who is prone to living through chunks of time with emotional nausea.

Satire and black comedy is tricky and really just for adults.

I really like the book cover and especially the plum for the authors last name and the deep
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Gena
Jan 12, 2009 Gena rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes Russian literature or enjoys the prose of authors like Gogol, or Nabokov
The prose in this book really made me appreciate Dostoevsky and his writing. Each story has a fantastic protagonist that one is truly tickled by the things he says, whether it is a mouse speaking or a hermit. The selections from The House of the Dead only make you want to read the entire story. (Akulka's Husband is a great selection.)

The reading can seem a bit hard for readers not use to full pages of small text and very long paragraphs. However, I find that once you get a good rhythm it is almo
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Claire
not my favorite. didn't finish.
Andrew
From the famous opening sentence all the way to the end, this is one of the best books I have ever read. I cannot recommend it enough- it is one of my all-time favorite reads. Solidly constructed, well-written, and with probably one of the most memorable and just damned interested main characters of all time. Anyone who isn't affected by the sequence where the underground man ruthlessly and pointlessly scorns the prostitute just isn't human. Dark, acerbic, and extra bonus points for being Russia ...more
Erik
The Underground Man is a classic Jekyll and Hyde character, all at once being most sympathetic and completely loathsome. You naturally root for the guy, and then he'll go and do or say something that makes your blood boil. And then he'll make a joke about it, and all will be forgiven again. Dostoyevsky's writing, like all his works, is brilliant. The last scene with Liza was the highlight of the book for me. HOW COULD HE DO THAT?!?!?
Teresa
Lots to think about here. This edition had different selections from throughout Dostoevsky's life, and there is a good mix of all he has to offer the reader. Something about Dostoevsky always delights me, even when the characters are awful and miserable.

Notes from Underground is probably the hardest of all of these to read. The protagonist is peevish, banal, and pompous. He's all too familiar, which is likely why it was the least fun.
Ferris
Generally I like Dostoevsky very much. However, "Notes From Underground....." is darkly discouraging. The best way I can describe this collection is as a series of philosophical snapshots taken at distinct periods in the author's life. Clearly he was eternally struggling to make meaning of life and it was an anguish filled process. Apparently I prefer the author's storytelling to his autobiographical philosophizing.
Beth
White Nights is good, the excerpts from House of the Dead make me want to read the whole book, and Notes From Underground is TEDIOUS. However, I found that if you devote some time to it, rather than reading a few pages here and there, it makes a lot more sense.
Syed Aman
In Dostoyevsky’s novel, Notes from the Underground, the protagonist and narrator lives underground. The protagonist embraces physical pain as a way of expressing his free will. He argues that a utopian society will attempt to curb his freedom. By juxtaposing rationalism with man’s desire, the Underground Man exposes the fallacies of a perfect world.
Hannah
I know I'm a little late jumping on the "I <3 Dostoevsky" train, but I really do love him. Notes from Underground was just such a brilliant, paradoxical, psychological, pitiful little novella, I found myself morbidly fascinated by the protagonist, loathing him but feeling an empathy I didn't want to have... great writing.
Jessica
Dostoevsky how I love you. Actually I don't think I've read the other selections in this volume--I should, I will--but 'Notes from Underground:' a classic and longtime favorite.
Krista
Notes from Underground is one of my favorite books of all time. A must read for any person trying to understand a fraction of human nature.

Kevin
white nights - 3 stars. a bit sentimental for my tastes.
selections from house of the dead - 4 stars. this seems awesome.
notes from the underground - 3 stars. just ok. doesn't beat gogol.
dream of a ridiculous man - 4 stars. beautiful.
Huston Mark
Dostoevsky is a brilliant mind. If you want to think as you read and continue to think onward after you have finished the read, F.D. is your man. I have to come back to him ever now and again just to keep my brain exercised.
Carel Venter
The metaphors are powerful and come at you quicker than you can absorb them. Great theme, should be reccomended reading for anyone questioning the Fall of Man and its consequences.
Frank
My personal favorite masterwork from an author who seemed to produce nothing but. I have never seen neurotic powerlessness better encapsulated in prose and likely never will.

Nate
Feb 29, 2008 Nate rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: misanthropes, romantics
notes is a classic misanthropy rant. white nights is typical downer russian stuff, but very well written. the dream of a ridiculous man is a little weird
Tom
The Pevear/Volokhonsky translation is better, but this collection has a few other really good short stories, especially "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man."
Zac
I've never read words and felt so confronted by the disturbed nature of the person who wrote them - and I read the plays by the kid who shot up Virginia Tech.
Sdrali Yianna
whatever i say about Dostoyevsky would not be enouph to express my feelings..only that he is so sensitive writer that "speaks" to me at once..
Alex
I don't know. Maybe I wasn't ready for it or the translation was bad, but I found the story and the narrator to be utterly tedious.
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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.

Dostoevsky 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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“What man wants is simply independent choice, whatever that independence may cost and wherever it may lead.” 7 likes
“And so, since then, I've been preaching. Moreover...I love those who laugh at me even more than the rest. Why, I don't know...but so be it. They say that even now I don't make much sense...” 5 likes
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