Notes from Underground

Notes from Underground

Notes from Underground

Notes from Underground

Synopsis

One of the most profound and most unsettling works of modern literature, Notes from Underground (first published in 1864) remains a cultural and literary watershed. In these pages Dostoevsky unflinchingly examines the dark, mysterious depths of the human heart. The Underground Man so chillingly depicted here has become an archetypal figure -- loathsome and prophetic -- in contemporary culture.

This vivid new rendering by Boris Jakim is more faithful to Dostoevsky's original Russian than any previous translation; it maintains the coarse, vivid language underscoring the "visceral experimentalism" that made both the book and its protagonist groundbreaking and iconic.

Excerpt

Robert Bird

Upon his return to St. Petersburg at the end of 1859, thirty-eightyear-old Fyodor Dostoevsky threw himself into public life with an impatience fueled by ten years of remote isolation. After being convicted of participating in a seditious conspiracy in December 1849, he had spent four years in an Omsk prison-camp and then almost six more in compulsory military service in Semipalatinsk (now Semei, Kazakhstan). Long before his arrival in the capital, Dostoevsky had feverishly begun to follow intellectual news and to correspond with leading literary figures, including his former co-conspirator, Aleksei Pleshcheev, and future rival Ivan Turgenev. He had also started publishing eagerly anticipated new works — namely, the story “Uncle’s Dream” and the novel The Village Stepanchikovo and Its Inhabitants — which hearkened back to the styles and concerns of the 1840s. Despite the goodwill shown to their author upon his return from the ranks of the living dead, the cool critical reception of these first new works showed that Dostoevsky had much catching up to do. Upon reaching St. Petersburg, Dostoevsky set out to meet old friends and new literary stars alike, including Turgenev, poet Iakov Polonsky, and Nikolai Chernyshevsky. Two volumes of his collected works were published in Moscow at the start of 1860. Though still banned from occupying such posts officially, Dostoevsky also became de facto co-editor of his brother Mikhail’s intellectual review Vremia (Time), which began appearing as a monthly in January 1861. Within a year he was well on . . .

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