Book Review: Notes From The Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky


Notes From The Underground was written in 1864 before Doystevsky wrote his more famous books: Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, The Brothers Karamazov.

The paperback copy I read was not available for me to download without other graphics pasted across the picture in order for you to see the cover photo. If you are interested in reading this story and you have a Kindle, I advice the free e-Read available.

This I have to admit, is one of the oddest books I've read. At 91 pages I read this quickly, but not easily.
The main voice which is a man and (which we do not have a name for) is an: acerbic, acrid, maniacal, isolated, reclusive, introspective, introverted, prudish, and neurotic person.
Half of the book is in monologue, the later half is in his conversations with male friends his own age, and also with a woman. These conversations scream out at the reader that this person, (known as the underground man) is defunct of social abilities.
This book is considered to be one of the first in existentialist books. The meaning of existentialist (thanks to Wikipedia) is "existence precedes essence meaning that a human exists first before they have meaning in life. Meaning is not given and must be achieved."
Notes From The Underground is known as a book of self-analysis, albeit neurotic.
There are a few places that I can express I thought were interesting and at least 1 quote I liked that I'll share later.
What I found interesting was his thoughts and or feelings on suffering, obsession, control, moral subjugation, wanting peace and yet unable to attain it, selfishness.
I am a person that tries to figure other people out. Of course this book has loads of bits and pieces of strange behavior and strange thoughts for me to ponder.
This book is a great book for anyone that is a studier of philosophy or psychology. 
My favorite quote:
"Leave us alone without books and we shall be lost and in confusion at once. We shall not know what to join on to, what to cling to, what to love and what to hate, what to respect and what to despise. We are oppressed at being men--men with a real individual body and blood, we are ashamed of it, we think it a disgrace and try to contrive to be some sort of impossible generalized man. We are stillborn, and for generations past have been begotten, not by living fathers, and that suits us better and better. We are developing a taste for it. Soon we shall contrive to be born somehow from an idea."
This quote is the ending of the book. One sentence was left that I did not quote above.
This quote could be picked apart and dissected from several angles. In the first two sentences he possibly is stating that people like him that are voracious reader's and are also anti-social are lost without a book. A book is their most intimate of friend, possibly their only friend. He goes on to express that we are "ashamed" to be mere men. I personally am not ashamed to be a woman. And further because I am a Christian I am not ashamed or feel guilt. To me shame happens when you feel a guilt. My guilt has been removed by Jesus' shed blood. Further Dostoyevsky writes of being "stillborn" and that we will "contrive to be born somehow from an idea." "Stillborn" gives me a vivid picture of death, death without ever taking a first breath of air. Another words death before a person ever achieved a life. Which is basically a reference for existentialist.
The last quote, "contrive to be born somehow from an idea." Possibly referring to a person grasping to find an idea that will achieve meaning in life. Once again as a Christian meaning in life for me is Jesus. He gives me eternal life, but He is also life itself.

Please forgive me if I have completely fumbled the above analysis on this last quote in Notes From The Underground. I am not a graduate student, and have never taken a philosophy class.
Thank you.

This is a book I read to be included in My Winter Reading Theme 2012. This winter I'm reading books with the theme of Russia.
This is the fourth book I've read by Fyodor Dostoevsky, I've read in the past: The Idiot, The House of the Dead, and Poor Folk. Next by this author I will be reading: The Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky 1821-1881




















Link @ publisher:
http://store.doverpublications.com/048627053x.html
Paperback $3.50

Link @ Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Notes-from-the-Underground-ebook/dp/B002RKSXH8/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1329755316&sr=8-2
Kindle Price is Free
Paperback is $3.45

Available @ Project Gutenberg:
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/600

Sparknotes Available:
http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/underground/

Blissful Reading!
Annette

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