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Notes from Underground and The Double

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  4,675 Ratings  ·  199 Reviews
Gripping new translations of two harrowing psychological novels by the Russian master

The two novels of inner turmoil brought together here mark a turning point for Dostoyevsky, and are among his most personally revealing. The anonymous narrator of Notes from Underground (1864) tells of his refusal to become a worker in the "ant-hill" of society and of his gradual withdraw
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ebook, 352 pages
Published April 28th 2009 by Penguin Classics (first published January 29th 2009)
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Ian "Marvin" Graye
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
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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
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Poncho
Apr 11, 2015 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
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Renée Paule
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've not much to say about this book that hasn't been said before. Both stories are nice and deep.

'Notes from Underground' - a mind bender!

'The Double' - a mind bender in a very different way!

Though hard going at times - I think that was largely due to translations - I loved this book. I'd love to read it in Russian, but I don't speak Russian :)
Blair
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
5 stars for Notes from Underground, 3 for The Double, so 4 overall.

Notes from Underground (1864) is sublimely misanthropic, dripping with scorn, blisteringly horrible. Its narrator is the anonymous 'underground man', whose voice and attitude make him seem a practice run for Crime and Punishment's Raskolnikov. In the first part of the book, he lays out his personal philosophy, a bitter attack on – well, just about everything, including himself. In the second, 'The Story of the Falling Sleet', he
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Wealhtheow
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.
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
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Junta
Apr 20, 2016 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
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Almira
Jul 09, 2013 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
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Tracy Reilly
Apr 27, 2014 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
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Petra
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fyodor Dostoevsky is excellent at creating gloomy and unstable male narrators that make following the story feel like you are solving a puzzle. I enjoyed the book thoroughly and it is hard to say which one of the novels, Notes from Underground or The Double, I liked more. Both of the stories were very dark stories with unreliable narrators; you could see how both of the narrators were sliding into madness slowly through the story, and you couldn't never tell if the details in the story were just ...more
Vanessa
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
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David Sarkies
Jul 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Rachel Louise Atkin
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Notes from Underground is April's read for the Existential Book Club, and is hailed by some as the first work of existential fiction. It's a piece I really enjoyed, and especially the wit from the narrator's voice which I think strengthened the work. The use of unreliability was done very cleverly, and the narrator constantly second-guessed himself providing a really intricate perspective I would love to pick apart further.
The first half of the story consists of the narrator introducing his posi
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Gina
Oct 19, 2012 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
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Edward
Translator's Introduction

--Notes From Underground
--The Double

Chronology
Olivia
May 01, 2015 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
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Christina
Feb 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Mr.
Oct 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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.
Rick Slane
Notes from Underground I did not like much but The Double was excellent.
James
Jun 20, 2015 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
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Elliot Chalom
Oct 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Lady Jane
Aug 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a journey through the darkest crevices of the human mind, truly ahead of its time and a predecessor of Freud. I read this book twelve years ago, so it was nice to reacquaint myself with Dostoevsky's dark humor now with more life experience. At first I thought the narrator is the classic portrait of an introvert because he loves being alone in his allegorical underground cave so much, but this guy goes beyond that in self hatred and misanthropy. Nevertheless, his level of self aware ...more
Chiara
Apr 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Steve Porter
Nov 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Jeremy
Dec 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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Buddy Read of Notes from Underground 7 27 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
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More about Fyodor Dostoyevsky...
“To think too much is a disease.” 54 likes
“We have all lost touch with life, we all limp, each to a greater or lesser degree.” 42 likes
More quotes…