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Notes From Underground Mass Market Paperback – Nov 2 2004

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; Reissue edition (Nov. 2 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451529553
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451529558
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 1.9 x 17.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 141 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #333,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-81) was educated in Moscow and at the School of Military Engineers in St. Petersburg, where he spent four years. In 1844 he resigned his Commission in the army to devote himself to literature. In 1846, he wrote his first novel, which won immediate critical and popular success. At the age of twenty-seven he was arrested for belonging to a socialist group and condemned to death, but at the last moment, his sentence was commuted to prison in Siberia. In 1859, he was granted full amnesty and allowed to return to St. Petersburg. In the fourteen years before his death on January 28, 1881, Dostoyevsky produced his greatest works including Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and The Possessed.
Ben Marcus is the author of The Age of Wire and String, a collection of stories, and the novel Notable American Women. Editor of The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, he is on the faculty of Columbia University and has received a Whiting Award and a National Endowment for the Arts grant. His essays have appeared in Time, Feed, Tin House, McSweeny’s, Bomb, Grand Street, the Pushcart Prize anthology, and Conjunctions.
Andrew R. MacAndrew (1911-2001) was a professor at the University of Virginia and an acclaimed translator of Russian literature. In addition to fiction by Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Gogol, and others, he translated A Precocious Autobiography by poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is my third novel by Fydor Dostoevksy and I don't think I could rate it any less or more than the other two. All of his books seem to be landmarks in literature. All of them unique in thier own way. None of them can be overlooked. All of them are also way ahead of there time. And they are all not for the closed-minded 'logical' reader.
Notes From Underground is one of Dostoevsky's shorter works, it is very intriging so you will find that you finish it very quickly.
The first part of the novel offers little to no plot. It is basically just philosophical rambling from the first-person narrorator. Don't let the world, 'rambling' confuse you, this book is very serious and thought provoking.
In the second part of the novel we are introduced to some characters beside the narrorator and we see the reason for the rambling in the first part of the novel.
I think that most people who read Dostoevsky can relate to his feelings around other people. He is alone, he feels like people are judging him. People don't want him around, but he is too proud to admit any of this.
The novel deals with how much we can know before it becomes dangerous. When we know too much we might find things that we do not want to know. Does this mean we should stop our search for truth? What if in our search we discover that there is no truth? This is a very thought provoking novel.
I highly reccomend this latest translation, it is very easy to read, much better than the old translation of Crime and Punishment that I read. I am in fact considering re-reading these novels just because these new Translators do a very good job.
Buy this book alongside Hunger by Knut Hamsun as they deal with a lot of the same ideas and were written very close to each other in a timeline.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
this is one of the best books i've read to date. its about a man and his failure to connect with the world around him. the novel is spilt up into two parts. chronologically the first part happened after the second part so is essentially the underground man reflecting on his past, by a theoretical means. the first part of the book is a philosophy on life and people, and the second part is the manifestation of what he was talking about in the first part.
the underground man is an interesting character because throughout the novel he liberally depreciates himself and celebrates his own misery. he says that he is doomed to be miserable because of his intelligence, because he has the capacity to critically observe the world, and yet because of this very fact he says that he can never be an insect. this reminds me of a quote from Nietzsche 'even a man who despises himself respects himself as one who despises'. but overall, this over critical approach to living hinders the underground man so that he is quite passive throughout the novel, despite his words, which i suppose could be considered an action of sorts. and it's because of this passivity that he fails at connecting with others, isolating himself with his thoughts. now it could be argued that his refusal to act is an expression of his utilizing his freedoms. he acts in a way that is not accepted by society, which is why he is so isolated, but by isolating himself, he is demonstrating that he has the capacity to exercise free thought and action, to not blindly follow the status quo. his outcast status is the ultimate freedom, and yet he's so miserable, which would tie into the intelligence bit.
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Another Dostoyevsky classic
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Great Book
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It is hard to down-play a classic (i.e., something I read in junior college), but taking a step into the hero's mind is not worth the walk. Internal monologues about abstract concepts such as awareness just don't make it in these days of fast-action, plot (I know, I know, plot is the evil conspiracy of the author and society to dictate what we think), and narrative.

I may be only one, but I found this book very difficult to pick up and very easy to put down.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars 206 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Existentialism and God Nov. 23 2009
By P. J. Owen - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Dostoyevsky is Dostoyevsky, and if you care about literature you will read his great works if you haven't already. But what makes this edition of one of those great works, Notes from Underground, great is that it is combined with other shorter works from different periods in his life. Dostoyevsky is serious stuff. Living in a time and a place of brutal oppression, he could do nothing else but write about the serious questions of life. And through the writings chosen for this collection, we can see the progression of his thoughts and beliefs as he aged.

We start with `White Nights', a story of selflessness in which a young man helps a girl connect with her love even though he loves her too. Though this story has the grave tone common of 19th century Russian literature, it has a tinge of hopefulness in the man's sacrifice. This is the young and idealistic Dostoyevsky, before he was jailed for having `revolutionary ideas' and sentenced to death only to be pardoned moments from being shot. Obviously this had a great impact on his mind and went a long way towards destroying any hopefulness he had. The transition is seen in the three stories selected from The House of the Dead, his first successful work. Written in 1862, or about a decade after his imprisonment, these stories tell of senseless murderers and corporal punishers. Almost entirely devoid of emotion, we can see a Dostoyevsky who has gone inward and narrates simply and pragmatically. Life has become a matter of survival, with no room for the sentimentality of the protagonist in `White Nights'.

Then in the main event, Notes from Underground, the emotion is back, but it has been transformed into anger and hatred in the form of the bitter and isolated narrator. There is much existentialist (this work is considered the founding work of existentialism) rambling in the first part, as he debates with us, the reader (even though these are his memoirs, not a two way discussion) about logic and determinism, arguing that man will not always do what's best for himself, as propounded by the utopians of the time, but will often act in direct antagonism towards themselves to display `individualism'. And, as he is an `individual', he cannot act properly in society, which is why he is now isolated and bitter. Then he gets into a proper narrative in Part II, as he demonstrates his ideas to us with stories from his earlier life. There are three parts to this, but the most interesting is the last: his brief encounter with a prostitute, where he shows the inkling of decency and love towards her, but rejects her when she returns it. Despite feeling much revulsion for the narrator to this point, there is a sense of poignancy at this end for him, and perhaps reflects both Dostoyevsky's struggle with society after his imprisonment, and our admiration for him despite his nihilistic views.

The collection closes with Dream of a Ridiculous Man, a story written just a few years before his death. In it, a man decides life is meaningless and wants to commit suicide. He chances upon a little girl whose mother needs help, but he brushes the girl away. He then goes home, feels guilty, falls asleep, and has a dream. In the dream he goes to a utopia where everyone is happy until heteaches them to lie and ruins the society. He awakens a changed man who only wants to love others as himself. Near the end of his life, Dostoyevsky had found God.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I read this as an assignment from a Great Books course and found it interesting and profound Sept. 21 2016
By Hank Acker - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this as an assignment from a Great Books course and found it interesting and profound. The main character is foolish but is just like most of us which is what makes this book a good read.
4.0 out of 5 stars paranoia Jan. 29 2014
By C. G. Telcontar - Published on
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can be compelling reading. The Russians excel at paranoia and it's carried out to its logical ending here. You won't be comfortable reading this but you won't put it down, either. It couldn't have been easy to have a man gush forth such vitriolic hatred for so many thousands of words, but the author makes it work. Not a story to affirm your faith in human nature, not a happy ending, no romance, do reconciliation with his fellow man. Not for those who have an essentially rosy view of humanity.
5.0 out of 5 stars It is a beautifully written classic that speaks about social situations and power ... Aug. 9 2016
By Aurora - Published on
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This novel should be read by everyone. It is a beautifully written classic that speaks about social situations and power between people.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Oct. 13 2016
By crowlady - Published on
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A great classic read.