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Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  74,107 ratings  ·  1,748 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
Mass Market Paperback, 233 pages
Published November 2nd 2004 by Signet (first published 1864)
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S.D. Curran I will read everything... This is actually an interesting study in human behavior... I know a few people who act like the narrator does in the cafe, a…moreI will read everything... This is actually an interesting study in human behavior... I know a few people who act like the narrator does in the cafe, awkward, seething beneath the surface.(less)
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 th…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)

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Start your review of Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead
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
Sep 28, 2014 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
Stephen P
Sep 12, 2012 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
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.
Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars
To all, who would like to read opinion or analysis of “Notes from the Underground”. Stop here. The following is something quite different. The only thing it has to do with the book itself is that the man I’m mentioning is a bit like the protagonist. Self loathing and incapable of real love, but much more malicious than Dotstoevsky’s creature.

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 truly gone, maybe yo
David Lentz
Jun 19, 2011 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
Dec 05, 2014 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
Jason Koivu
Feb 24, 2013 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
Ian "Marvin" Graye
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
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
Seth Peterson
Aug 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Possibly my favorite book ever. Bitter, depressing, cynically hopefull and hopelessly ignorant, the Underground Man is every part of myself that I wish wasn't there. The first part is a dizzying philosophical meandering; the second a train wreck of a life captured in one devastating story. A must-read. ...more
Dec 17, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: writers and poets
Notes from Underground is one of the most challenging little books I've read since my stint with Faulkner a few years ago. Dostoyevsky demands your complete attention. This book is no typical fun, summer read. However, if you stick with it, some of Dostoyevsky's insights into the human condition will not only make you say "that's me!" (though you probably won't admit it), they might even make you laugh.

One of the reasons this book is so difficult is due to the narrator. He is obviously a genius
I accidentally stumbled across Notes from the Underground in my early 20s and was stunned. I had never read anything like it before. I reread it about 30 years later and all the power was still there.

I believe the first part probably was a reaction to the spread of Western rationalism as exemplified by the Crystal Palace in London. Dostoevsky’s Underground Man argues (although inconsistently and contradictorily) for exercising free will or even whim, so therefore any planned utopia could never b
This is my first Dostoyevsky and I chose it because it is short, but that doesn't reduce it's value or place in the literary world. I want to read Crime and Punishment and I wanted to know what to expect. This was a tough read for me, that was a long 100 pages. It's not hard to understand, it's just unrelentingly bitter. It's the Underground Man's rant against Russian society, and he is determined to make himself and everyone around him miserable. He succeeds on both counts. In a Tolstoy novel h ...more
May 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Update, as of Jan. 22, 2016: As I was sifting through my bookshelves, I realized that I still haven't written a proper review (if you can even call it that) for this one. I read this almost three years ago and since then it has been in my favorites. Since then I had fallen in love with Dostoyevsky's writing. I've read it more than once already--at least thrice--and it's a shame that I haven't written a better review (I mean, my current "review" is something I wrote years ago and is quite horribl ...more
Poet Gentleness
Nov 06, 2014 added it
Recommends it for: philosophers, serious thinkers
Recommended to Poet Gentleness by: My daughter
I’m pretty sure this is my worst review ever, and I apologize in advance.

I’m tired. And I’m sure my liver is sick and rotten, because there is so much bile in my mouth and acid in my stomach that it can't be working properly.
Me, after reading NFU

With real sufferings and struggles of my own, no rage against the world, and each and every day searching for enlightenment and compassion, I was in a state of shocked disgust when I finished the book.
I have a tendency to get too emotionally invested in
How much I loved the book?? How much?? I clutched the book to me for 15 - 20 minutes after turning the last page,then again leafed through to re-read the pages I marked or underlined and believe me the entire book is marked leaving only a meager percentage of unmarked portions. I could see the book and it's pages in my dreams as well like I was reading subconsciously. Whew!! such were the effects. Seriously,it got imprinted on me.

There are books which you love for entertain
Muhammad Arqum
Oct 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The more I read Dostoyevsky the more I am convinced that nobody on earth understood human nature and the labyrinth that a human mind is more than he did. Kafka said a book should be the axe for the frozen sea within us..Well Dostoyevsky's insight is a chainsaw, a bulldozer, an excavator at the same time. Like I always say, if somebody patiently reads his work he cannot, cannot NOT contemplate about life and its rather acrid ways.
It takes a lot to open up and expose the most gloomy terrains of o
عماد العتيلي


The general idea of this fascinating novella is about a man who is ashamed of everything in his life. He thinks that he's walking under a clouded sky and through a dark road in which he can't see anything clearly, but deep inside his soul he knows that it will end badly! He has a very complicated mind.
In the middle of that dark road he meets a girlish sad star that looks like him. He hopes he could find peace with her for company, but eventually he continued that dark full-of-shadows road alone
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
" Gentlemen, you must excuse me for being over philosophical; it's the result of being 40 years underground. "

According to me,a novel starts once you finish it. I have every reason to believe NFU is not a one sitting read. It should be read in a piecemeal manner, and when you are in a trans-state devoid of all mental constraints ,to assimilate it wholly.

Notes from the Underground is a quagmire of thoughts and dreams accumulated by a socially inert person, who tries to creep out of the mire by j
Vikas Lather
Oct 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Dostoyevsky has described our own story with a better vocabulary, more honesty and sophisticated style. He has disseminated output of inner war of literature and philosophy by explaining with great intelligence about a certain structure of our instability. This book is an impressive look into humanity.
One of the top ten books I have ever read.
Sumirti Singaravel
Dec 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Philosophers, deep thinkers, anyone who wants to have a deep introspection on himself/herself

As I read through this book, I was imagining, which followed me as a motif until the end, the figure of Dostoevsky laughing heartily, with his heart filled with infuriation, and his eyes studying me, steadily and gracefully, at the way I got transfixed with his ideas and prose; the way I was shuddering and smattering to pieces, yet remaining hapless; the way he has made me go naked by telling the truth about myself(and everyone of us); and above all, how in spite of all his attacks and concrete
Daniel Clausen
Mar 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In high school I actually did a monologue from the opening chapter. You know the famous lines, “I am a sick man. I am a wicked man…”

The book is such a smooth and intuitive read that I feel like I’ve read this over and over again before (though this is only the second time I’ve read it.)

Every aspiring author has probably attempted to write something like this when they were younger.

Bup’s review (goodreads) perhaps said it best. “Every time someone in college writes some emo thing where there's
Hoda Marmar
‘I’m a sick man… a mean man. There’s nothing attractive about me. I think there’s something wrong with my liver.’
From the first line in Dostoyevsky’s Notes From The Underground, the narrator exclaims his alienation from his fellow men. He is estranged from his society and feels like an insect. His suffering is mainly psychological, intellectual and emotional. He argues against conformity, and defends his need to remain unchanged by society.
‘you want to cure man of his bad old habits and reshape
Ammara Abid
"Real life oppressed me with its novelty so much that I could hardly breathe".

Ahhh Incredible!
I'm absolutely awestruck and have no perfect words but so many thoughts. How can one wrote about all this! What's the height of his observation, understanding & judgement................
how could he so apt about me, you & all of us........!
while reading it's like someone is digging not soil but me. The more deeper he dig the more secrets he reveal. This Man is a genius and I'm no one to write any rev
Nov 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
I am a sick man. . . .I am a spiteful man. An unattractive man. I think that my liver hurts.

So it begins as many people know. Some might say this is a serious book, or that the main character is seriously screwed up. Some may say this book is a sad book. Some might say this is the first modernist existential book to hit the shelves. Some might think it is thin and spiteful. While I won't disagree, I will add that this book cracks me up, as in double over while chuckling. It's like a funny versio
Hajir Almahdi
Sep 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
I remember picking this up about two years ago, and of course i've only made it past page maybe 30 and stopped reading, you can't imagine how not finishing this tortured me, but i'm the kind of a person that finishes a book even if it takes me a decade! So this morning while suffering from severe cold, insomnia and puffy eyes which makes it difficult to keep up with my daily reading routine, i decided for once and for all to end my misery and cross this off my bucket list, so i went and download ...more
Abeer Abdullah
"Real life oppressed me with it's novelty so much that I could not breath"
notes from the underground is, exactly what it's name implies, notes from the underground.
It follows the narration of an incredibly isolated individual with paranoid and hysterical tendencies who is immensely loathsome and miserable. Deep in his own hole in the underground he shares notes on what it's like to be alive and isolated and human. He is spiteful and hateful and an insufferable person. He is ill that is for sur
Feb 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
What a great finish. I typically don't judge books on endings, but rather on the journey there. I knew what the end of this book was going to be, yet it still hit me like a ton of bricks after actually reading it. For sure I plan on revisiting and further analyzing the concepts in this book further. ...more
Mar 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Torments and Tormenticules: A Review of Notes from Underground

“The sauce here consisted of contradiction and suffering, of tormenting inner analysis, and all of these torments and tormenticules…”

All of Dostoevsky’s books are uncomfortable. Entering the thoughts of one of his antiheroes is like donning a hair shirt. Or perhaps that assessment is too harsh, because in spite of the discomfort there is something enjoyable about reading Dostoevsky that comes from the quick and cunning sense of humor
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Film Meets Litera...: Notes From The Underground 2 14 Jan 28, 2019 04:16PM  
readers advisory ...: 'I am a sick man...I am a spiteful man' 10 180 Dec 15, 2015 07:36AM  
Notes From Underground v. Crime and Punishment 7 329 Mar 15, 2015 02:23AM  
Film Adaptation notes from underground 3 160 Feb 09, 2015 10:14PM  
The Fyodor Dostoy...: NFU Common discussion thread (Spoilers) 3 51 Jul 16, 2014 05:43AM  

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Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky was born in Moscow in 1821. His debut, the epistolary novella Poor Folk (1846), made his name. In 1849 he was arrested for involvement with the politically subversive 'Petrashevsky circle' and until 1854 he lived in a convict prison in Omsk, Siberia. From this experience came The House of the Dead (1860-2). In 1860 he began the journal Vremya (Time). Already married, ...more

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