In 1864, just prior to the years in which he wrote his greatest novels —Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, The Possessed and The Brothers Karamazov — Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821–1881) penned the darkly fascinating Notes from the Underground. Its nameless hero is a profoundly alienated individual in whose brooding self-analysis there is a search for the true and the good in a world of relative values and few absolutes. Moreover, the novel introduces themes — moral, religious, political and social — that dominated Dostoyevsky's later works. Notes from the Underground, then, aside from its own compelling qualities, offers readers an ideal introduction to the creative imagination, profundity and uncanny psychological penetration of one of the most influential novelists of the nineteenth century. Constance Garnett's authoritative translation is reprinted here, with a new introduction.Intro:
'I am a sick man... I am an angry man. I am an unatractive man. I think there is something wrong with my liver. But I don't understand the least thing about my illness, and I don't know for certain what part of me is affected. I am not having any treatment for it, and never have had, although I have a great respect for medicine and for doctors. I am besides extremely superstitious, if only in having such respect for medicine. (I am well educated enough not to be superstitious, but superstitious I am.) No, I refuse treatment out of spite. That is something you will probably not understand. Well, I understand it.' p.1I like the sound of this beginning. Dostoyevsky seems absolutely unapologetic about his writing and his main character already sounds really fascinating.
'Gentlemen, of course I'm joking, and I know I am not doing it very successfully, but you know you mustn't take everything I say for a joke. I may be joking with clenched teeth.' p.39I definitely love this teaser. I like the interaction with the reader and I think most of us have joked through clenched teeth before!
So, what are you reading? Would you like to read Notes from Underground?