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Notes from the Underground (Hesperus Classics) [Paperback]

F.M. Dostoevsky , Will Self (foreword) , Hugh Aplin (translator)
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
Price: 6.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

29 Sep 2006 Hesperus Classics
Dostoevsky's Underground Man is a composite of the tormented clerk and the frustrated dreamer of his earlier stories, but his Notes from the Underground is a precursor of his great later novels and their central concern with the nature of free will. Initially musing on his sickness and the detested notion of self-interest, the maladjusted and willful Underground Man turns to a series of incidents from years earlier. Scornful of others and of himself, he recounts a party he attended at which, unwelcome, he got drunk and acted scandalously, the visit to a brothel that ensued, and the chance arrival there of love--love which, of course, by his very nature he cannot accept, and so debases. Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky is one of the greatest, most influential prose writers of all time.

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Notes from the Underground (Hesperus Classics) + Crime And Punishment: A Novel in Six Parts with Epilogue (Vintage Classics) + The Brothers Karamazov
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Product details

  • Paperback: 150 pages
  • Publisher: Hesperus Press Ltd; annotated edition edition (29 Sep 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843911264
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843911265
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 12.3 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 983,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky was born in Moscow in 1821, the second of a physician's seven children. His mother died in 1837 and his father was murdered a little over two years later. When he left his private boarding school in Moscow he studied from 1838 to 1843 at the Military Engineering College in St Petersburg, graduating with officer's rank. His first story to be published, 'Poor Folk' (1846), was a great success.

In 1849 he was arrested and sentenced to death for participating in the 'Petrashevsky circle'; he was reprieved at the last moment but sentenced to penal servitude, and until 1854 he lived in a convict prison at Omsk, Siberia. In the decade following his return from exile he wrote The Village of Stepanchikovo (1859) and The House of the Dead (1860). Whereas the latter draws heavily on his experiences in prison, the former inhabits a completely different world, shot through with comedy and satire.

In 1861 he began the review Vremya (Time) with his brother; in 1862 and 1863 he went abroad, where he strengthened his anti-European outlook, met Mlle Suslova, who was the model for many of his heroines, and gave way to his passion for gambling. In the following years he fell deeply in debt, but in 1867 he married Anna Grigoryevna Snitkina (his second wife), who helped to rescue him from his financial morass. They lived abroad for four years, then in 1873 he was invited to edit Grazhdanin (The Citizen), to which he contributed his Diary of a Writer. From 1876 the latter was issued separately and had a large circulation. In 1880 he delivered his famous address at the unveiling of Pushkin's memorial in Moscow; he died six months later in 1881. Most of his important works were written after 1864: Notes from Underground (1864), Crime and Punishment (1865-6), The Gambler (1866), The Idiot (1869), The Devils (1871) and The Brothers Karamazov (1880).



Product Description

Review

'...a rant against natural laws and a scream of defiance form the man who lives underground. This book, superbly presented as always by Hesperus, is essential reading for the twenty-first century. Warning: not for the faint-hearted!' --The Use of English

'a canny work of literature... "Notes" is still a work of modern literature; it still can kick' --The New Yorker

Book Description

'Notes from Underground establishing Dostoevsky's reputation as the most innovative and challenging writer of fiction in his generation in Russia' Rowan Williams, Guardian --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By Mad Dan
Format:Paperback
I don't usually read novels and was worried that "Notes from Underground" would be one of those "books that get recommended because they are difficult to understand and make you sound intelligent". Not at all. This is the best novel I have ever read in my life: a thorough, lucid analysis of what it means to be existentially and ethically nihilistic. Being philosophically-minded (though not educated), I found it very easy to read and literally couldn't put it down.

The nameless anti-hero ("Underground Man") despises the way that humans want to flaunt their arrogance, put on a performance for others, and judge others based on their performances rather than their intellect alone.

The more intelligent you are, the more you realise the deterministic and relativistic nature of life and ethics and the lack of objective knowledge... and the less capable you are of being resolute and certain, or even blaming anyone for their actions. Intellect does not allow you to rise above evolution or "the anthill" of society; it merely constrains you to a life of inaction and inner torment, and the realisation of the limitations of being human.

Human nature is, in many ways, quite despicably egocentric. But, in a deterministic world, revenge and justice are meaningless concepts. Underground Man struggles with this (and the realisation that he is as egocentrically abhorrent as anyone else), and tries to demonstrate his freedom by acting irrationally: to seek a form of personal justice not for its own sake, but purely in order to gain comfort from the humiliation of others. He craves understanding and recognition of his anguish about the futility of life, yet realises that in getting it he will drag others down to his level of despair, rather than pull himself out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars provoking 30 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
A very intriguing short read, googled for more information just had to find out more about notes and Fyodor Dostoyevsky!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Twos Four But Man Is Still Man 21 Sep 2008
By demola
Format:Paperback
"Give me man" was Oblomov's cry in Goncharov's novel Oblomov. That is exactly the same clamor from Dostoyevsky's narrator. Well then, who is man? Who am I - mind or spirit? Should my life follow reason's path or should I follow my heart? This reminds me so much of Nietszche's Human, All Too Human. The narrator is extremely self-critical. He's mean and malicious, he tells lies, takes bribes and is more intelligent than anyone else around. He refutes rational economic man and just celebrates man - the whole man complete with his wilful (and perhaps destructive?) desires. Incidentally, Dostoyevsky revisits the arguments of reason versus spirit in Crime and Punishment. The last third of this book is about the narrator's seduction of a prostitute. This part is a wee bit dull after the dizzying and dazzling pace of what goes before.

Overall, an impressive story.
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2.0 out of 5 stars ok but not great 30 May 2014
By kej2772
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It is by no means a great read but does have some nice observations. The first part is pretty dull but the second part gets more interesting. Stick to Crime and Punishment which is excellent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful 14 Mar 2014
By Ginger
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
On a par with crime and punishment and the idiot. Would recommend to anyone that is thinking of reading the works of Dostoyevsky and wants to start with a shorter story.
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