Notes from the Underground

Notes from the Underground Summary

Published in 1864, Notes from Underground is considered the author's first masterpiece - the book in which he "became" Dostoevsky - and is seen as the source of all his later works. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, whose acclaimed translations of The Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment have become the standard versions in English, now give us a superb new rendering of this early classic.

Book Reviews


The modern character!5 star

Being in and out of grace towards himself and his world! Not good and not bad character, only: no character at all!55


Truth hurts5 star

Painfully accurate on Modern human problems55


Thought provoking3 star

Takes a strange turn in part III to a assume a personal account of his darker side. Maybe a fictional account. Coming full circle to his initial premise. Emotionally macabre. I left this book feeling uneasy although at the same time somewhat enlightened.35


Shockingly chilling5 star

So deplete of positivity is this book that one feels the cold seeping through it. Frightening. I could not but feel sorry for Fyodor. Not sorry in a condescending way, sorry in way for a man who is beaten by an all mighty monster which can never be defeated. Sorry in a fearful way. It follows that I am glad of my flaws, of my stupidity, all the qualities which he finds loathsome, all of which he finds envious.55

writer of pulp fiction

Notes from the Underground4 star

Excellent book. Has a lot of Modern aspects!45


Didnt have the patience for it3 star

I could see it being enjoyable if I could settle in and just savor the unique and humorous nature of it, but I didn’t have the patience for it. Quit at 50 pages in.35

The KD1

Wow..just wow. A must read.5 star

I’m 18 years old and somehow I understand and relate on a soulful, deep level of ( though I don’t agree with everything ) this man Fydor. Almost to where it’s dreadful to think of. I appreciate his honesty. I appreciate his vocabulary ( I learned a lot of vocabulary from this book). A must read. I am convinced that I was meant to read this. Why? you may ask, ask God.55


Brilliant5 star

It’s brilliant the way Dostoyevsky brings you into the mind of a man in psychological disintegration. The contradictions he experiences within himself seem to become your own as you read this. Loved it.55

Glair ion

Review the underground man? Well, if only to spite him...5 star

I think this book creates 2 distinct kinds of readers: 1) those who fit very well within the machinery of society, who delight in sporting suits to impress their fellow bank tellers, who have no trouble smiling at others--even if just for show (and especially), who believe in the prestige a family name or wealth can denote, who think books (like life) have purpose and are only interested in them for their practical application... and 2) those who bristle at all that. Naturally, it might seem that this book can only then be enjoyed by one of these parties, since the two seem so antithetical to each other. And, naturally, one would expect it might be the second of those two parties that enjoys it, as the underground man more often bristles than smiles at anyone. But I would argue that the opposite is true, because anyone who aligns with the second party will, by reading Notes from the Underground, be looking into a mirror reflecting all their own self-loathing and regret and cynicism. The first party, instead, may read this book and think, "Yes! This is why I do what I do: to avoid everything that is the underground man." I could even see members of the first party celebrating this work as a cautionary tale to their children and co-workers, warning them to remain on the up and up, to strive for success and social acceptance, and to not dwell too much on "matters philosophical." I imagine, however, that in the end, the first party will find neither enjoyment nor a friend in this book. And while the second party may suffer in its reading (and suffer dearly), they will at least temporarily stave off their own inner demons for a while whilst reading about another man's.55


Delightful4 star

Dostoyevsky writes in a way that really evokes true emotion in you! This is just the beginning of his work though. In all of his work he does this. You really feel for the characters, even the worst of them. He incorporates his faith (not as much in this work as in his other work), his life experiences, his personal wisdom, and extremely honest portrayals of humanity - at times you cringe because it’s like he is describing you. At least it was that way for me. I think he’s really showing how humans can, and most likely do, have conflicting natures within themselves. And we all tend to find ourselves offended and spiteful for no clear reason. Acting contrary to reason and logic. Working not to our own advantage but sometimes the opposite for reasons we don’t know. But at the same time longing for love and to give love - be reconciled. I thought the novel was really delightful in both parts. The first being extremely thought provoking. The second part being hilarious and dark and just absolutely beautiful at points. I give this 4 stars instead of 5 for a few reasons: 1. You have to be willing to research and try to understand this novel. It’s not a light read. Though, it’s not so muddled with complicated words and phrases that it’s tedious or irritating to read, it’s just not something you can understand without knowing the context, the references, Russian society in the mid to late 1800s, the philosophies and authors of that time and place in history, etc. I love this kind of thing so it was great for me. But some people will not get what he’s trying to say or mock or refer to and not want to look stuff up on the web and… yeah. You’ll probably hate it. You don’t have to be some genius or anything - when he’s speaking about humanity and our nature and habits and problems, we’re obviously all humans and get what its like being human. Dostoyevsky is pretty frank and explains himself. But it’s very contextual and if you don’t want to read up on it a little or really full on try to comprehend this wonderful novel, then you won’t have fun. 2. He has a lot of very long and sometimes complex sentences with a million commas separating things. I had to re-read sentences or whole paragraphs sometimes because I’d get lost in all the commas. Isn’t a big deal, it appears to be his writing style in general. It’s just easier to get confused or lost, so if you hate having to re-read or just hate all those commas - this aint for ya. He kind of rambles on at points and maybe the translation is bad, maybe I just don’t get some bit Russian culture, whatever it is, it just gets plain confusing. 3. Lastly, it doesn’t have much of a “point”, there’s no obvious climax and no real conclusion. It is mostly Dostoyevsky’s personal commentary on what fads and ideas and philosophies and literature are floating around at that time, as well as human nature, and then a painful and beautiful and hilarious anecdote, also very much about human nature. If you’re not deterred by any of this, then you’re gonna love it.45

Other Books by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The Brothers Karamazov


The Brothers Karamazov
4.5     867
The Idiot


The Idiot
4     515
Crime and Punishment


Crime and Punishment
4.5     838

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